All good things should come in pairs. This is why the 900 engine used in the BMW F 900 XR also underlines the new F 900 R, the model that bares it all. All but a few, more subtle changes.
How It’s Made?
From the moment you lay eyes on the new F 900, you notice right away how different it looks from its predecessor (not sold in the United States). The look is undeniably “roadster” with the wide handlebar, the 13-liter fuel tank positioned forward, and the angular LED headlight. The lines give the model a bolder and stronger presence, reminiscent of the R 1250 R but injected with the F 900 XR’s DNA.
BMW studied the model’s ergonomics under a microscope. Compared to the 800, the handlebar and the footpegs on the new R have been moved forward so that the rider’s weight is shifted toward the front of the bike.
Gallery: 2020 BMW F 900 R
While the rake angle remains unchanged at 29.5 degrees, the clamps are positioned slightly higher and forward. This results in a more engaging riding position than on the F 800 R but not so aggressive that it causes fatigue, even though the chest is more leaned in and there’s more weight on the wrists than on the XR.
If you wish to alter the riding position and therefore, the bike’s riding dynamics, you can do so by changing the saddle height and thickness. The height will then vary between 770 and 865 mm.
The 8-valve, dual overhead cam, twin-cylinder engine steals the show thanks to its power delivery. The 270-degree camshaft virtually turns the parallel-twin into a V2 that produces 99 horsepower at 8,500 rpm and 67 lb-ft of torque at 6,500 rpm, resulting in a delivery that pairs well with the 465-pound naked bike’s personality.
How Does It Ride?
From 4,000 to 8,000 rpm, the engine’s pull and sound are exciting. The optional electronic Gear Shift Assist Pro is seamless and quick at high revolutions but requires that you engage the clutch at lower revolutions for more comfort.
As for power delivery, it all depends on your mood. The Rain mode significantly smoothes things out while the Road mode creates the ideal balance which can be improved upon with the optional Dynamic Pro mode, should you expect more from the engine mapping.
The R is naturally agile and felt perfectly at home on the winding Andalusian roads. Though the brakes and the 17-inch wheels are the same as on the XR, the 120/70 front and 180/55 rear Bridgestone T30 EVO tires on the R provided excellent feedback and allowed me to attack the curves at daring angles, as measured by the Sport display. The tool is a double-edged sword should you decide to measure who among you and your friends achieves the best lean angle.
Gallery: First Ride BMW F 900 R
The suspension set up is very efficient and uses an inverted fork with 135 mm (5.3 inches) of travel and a preload-adjustable shock with 142 mm (5.6 inches) of travel. There is an optional electronic suspension but on the R, it’s not a requirement. Once you manually find the setting that works for you, the ride automatically becomes more fun.
Comfort-wise, aside from the absence of any wind protection due to the bike’s naked silhouette, the engine’s vibrations are dampened by the use of two balance shafts. The Slip and Assist clutch doesn’t tire the hand and can be paired up with an optional dynamic braking system.
The 6.5-inch TFT display allows you to manage all of the bike’s electronic settings. The R might be naked but it’s clad in technology. It’s easy to be nostalgic about the analog gauges but you need this type of display to configure this BMW and access all its information.
One might complain that the TFT display is identical as the one used on all the other BMWs but in terms of brightness, usability, and connectivity using the app, this display is irreproachable. It’s challenging not to want to look into the menu of BMW accessories available but if you remain reasonable, so will the price tag.
How Much Does It Cost?
The new BMW 900 F is offered at an aggressive price, starting just below the $9k mark ($8,995 to be specific).
There are three available color options, two of which are offered at a premium. There are also optional accessory packages (Select, Premium, and Premium Tech) that include such features as an adaptive headlight, electronic suspension, and Gear Shift Assist Pro, and increase the price by up to $1,850.