BMW F 900 XR Review: First Ride

By Jared Solomon | on February 17, 2021

The BMW F 900 XR is an exotic sports tourer, which offers plenty of fun and excitement. 

Adventure touring usually means riding for long hours while being comfortable and relaxed. The big burly ADVs currently offered in the market focus on new technology and different riding modes, which allow you to tweak the bike depending on your preference. Sports touring on the other hand is a little different. If you like to ride for hours on end, with the bike gripped tightly between your legs and the throttle twisted as you carve corners, then you require a lighter and more agile machine, tuned for aggressive riding. Case in point is the new BMW F 900 XR.

Although it was launched a year ago, we finally got out hands on this new Bavarian beauty recently, and I must say that it's a fantastic motorcycle. The F 900 XR is not your typical ADV. The bike is designed to be a sporty machine, which also allows you to ride it for extended periods without straining your shoulder and back muscles. It's light, agile, and has plenty of power to keep you thoroughly entertained. 

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Design

The F 900 XR is a beautiful machine. It stays away from the traditional bulky ADV design and opts for a more athletic approach. It's narrow, with a beautifully designed front cowling. And there are no added panels in the wrong places. If you think the Ducati Multistrada is beautiful, then I am sure that you fill find the F 900 XR majestic.

It gets full LED lighting, 17-inch alloys, and a narrow tail section. It doesn't have a large fuel tank, and its 15-litre fuel tank allows the bike to keep down the weight to just 219kgs. It's got a strong stance on the road, and the red and grey paint job makes it even more appealing. It's certainly one of the best-looking ADVs available today. 

Engine

Just like the F 900 R, the XR also gets the 895cc twin-engine, which has been from the F 850 GS. The engine is good for 103bhp and 92Nm of torque. All of this power is available through the bottom, mid, and top-end of the rev-counter. Thanks to the heavy torque, its acceleration is lightning quick and throttle response is instantaneous. There are two riding modes. In Road mode, you need to be a little careful with your twisting action, especially in traffic. Once you hit a nice stretch of road though, the bike's lightness and quickness will enthral you. In Rain mode, you don't get that fast-acceleration rush. As the name suggests, this mode is useful only if the road is very wet. Coming back to the engine, it's a rowdy one. What I mean is that it feels like it wants to be pushed and that it can always give you more. It doesn't feel like it wants you to cruise on the highway, even though you can easily do so. Its aggressive nature perfectly compliments the overall design of the bike. The exhaust note is not the loudest, but it does bring joy to your ears. The refinement levels are also impressive, but there is a nice rough feel to it, which further emphasises its aggressive nature. 

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Ride, Handling & Touring

The F 900 XR blends the best of sporty riding with easy touring by offering you a wonderful riding position. The seat is certainly not the best for highway touring, as it feels a little hard, but you can always opt for a more comfortable seat. Also, you can choose the seat height. The PRO variant of the F 900 XR we rode offers electronic suspension at the rear. The Road setup makes the suspension pretty good for Indian conditions. It can soak up bumps and ride smoothly over uneven road surfaces, but it doesn't feel great when you go off-road, which is something you should do as little as possible. The XR demands to be ridden on the tarmac. Even though the front suspension is non-adjustable it feels great. If you want to push the bike a little harder you can do so easily, and even in Road mode, the suspension feels pliant at high cornering speeds. In the Dynamic setup, the rear stiffens up to offer better control and stability. It's only marginally felt though, but once you hit broken roads you can feel it, and it's not pleasant. 

The powerful engine is mated to a 6-speed transmission, and in the PRO variant, it also gets a quick-shifter. It works wonderfully and allows you to effortlessly shift through gears when you are pushing the bike. There is no jerkiness felt at all when you downshift quickly, which only enhances your ride. The XR handles really well, thanks to its lightweight and narrow frame. I was attacking corners with ease and great confidence. It doesn't have the most direct sensations or feedback you would expect from a proper sports machine, but the front-end is very responsive and obeys your every command. 

For allowing you to ride easily, the PRO variant also comes with Cruise Control, and it works just good as any other system in a BWM Motorrad motorcycle. There is also switchable Traction Control and Dual Channel ABS, which allows you to ride without any worries on the highway. The bike is very easy to ride, and because of its proportions, easy handling, and comfortable ergonomics, it can also be ridden in the city on an everyday basis. 

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Verdict

It is not your average ADV. It's a proper sports machine, which can also be used as a tourer. It's also an urban motorcycle, which can be easily ridden in the city. The Triumph Tiger 900 GT or the Ducati Multistrada 950 are its main competitors, but they are heavier and pack more technology and are more expensive. The F 900 XR is relatively cheaper, but it still has a powerful engine and offers phenomenal riding characteristics. On top of that, it still has a BMW badge on it. The BMW F 900 XR might not excel as a proper touring machine or go off-road, but it can still be ridden for hours on the tarmac. It might not have all the fancy gadgetry, but it does have a decent features list. The XR makes up for its lacks with its sporty performance. So, how can you go wrong with this machine? It's beautiful, comfortable, incredibly athletic, and has a phenomenal engine. It's basically an exotic sports tourer, which isn't overly expensive and offers you immense riding pleasure.

  • BMW F 900 XR Pro

Engine: 895cc / In-Line Two-Cylinder / Water-cooled

Transmission: 6-Speed 

Power: 103bhp @ 8,500rpm

Torque: 92Nm @ 6,500rpm

Price: ₹12.40 Lakh (Ex-Showroom)

X-Factor: An exotic sports tourer, which is comfortable, fun, and not outrageously priced.

Pros           
• Engine
• Handling

Cons
• Less tech than its competitors

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Tags: BMW F 900 XR BMW

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