BMW’s TRIPLE THREAT
MOTORRAD SOUTH AFRICA invited the media to the launch of their overhauled middle weight sport naked – F900R, and sport touring – F900XR motorcycles. Also thrown into the fray, was the new S1000XR.
We all met at Gemelli Restaurant out in Bryanston. Upon arrival, we found a total of six bikes – two of each model – perfectly lined up for us in the middle of the parking lot. Motorrad SA had our riding day perfectly planned. To ensure each of us spend adequate amount of time on each model of bike, there were pre-determined stop and go points along our route, where we could interchange bikes in order to make instant comparison between all three models.
From Bryanston where we started off, I was assigned the F900R. And for our second stop in Magalies I took over the F900XR. Last and definitely not least, I managed to round off our ride on an S1000XR. Man!!! What a bike. But, let me reserve that specific riding experience for now.
The F900R boasts a lot more presence and character, replacing the 11yr old bland F800R. The red and white color scheme looks amazing on this naked supremo. Changes made on this middle weight contender are much more than meets the eye. Even though BMW’s primary objective was to give the F900R great aesthetics, they were still faced with a challenge of matching great visuals with great performance. Guess what, they didn’t fail.
Riding the F900R took me straight back to my bicycle riding days. The bike has featherweight agility and had me fooled for a moment as I caught myself unintentionally challenging the national speed limit. The F900R has an alluring grunt similar to a V-Twin and makes it so easy for one to become throttle happy and get carried away. Ergonomics are great, compared to other naked bikes, the F900R doesn’t give you that exaggerated feeling of being right-over-the-front. This bike is perfect for novice riders. Daily commuters would appreciate too as it won’t look too sporty for your formal corporate wear.
“XR” stands for an uncompromising mix of sportiness and touring capability. Having established this family with the BMW S 1000 XR, BMW Motorrad is now expanding it with the addition of a mid-range model. The design style and vehicle concept clearly refer to the kinship with the “big sister”.
The F 900 XR also demonstrates easy mastery of the Adventure Sport segment’s key qualities: sporty riding dynamics combined with upright, GS-like ergonomics, outstanding long-distance and passenger suitability and a design that conveys a powerful sense of character.
The two new models – the F 900 R and F 900 XR – currently set the technological benchmark in the mid-range segment with their high-quality standard equipment (Connectivity, LED all round as standard) and their wide range of optional extras – in some cases unique in this class (including Adaptive Cornering Light, Keyless Ride, Dynamic ESA, Riding Modes Pro, Shift Assistant Pro, ABS Pro, engine drag torque control (MSR), Dynamic Traction Control (DTC), Dynamic Brake Control (DBC), and RDC.
In the new F 900 R and F 900 XR, enhanced riding dynamics are ensured by the further development of the 2-cylinder in-line engine first introduced in 2018 in the F 850 GS, now with 77 kW and an even fuller torque curve. The main factor here is an increase in capacity to 895 cc (previously 853 cc). With an ignition distance of 270/450 degrees and a new underfloor silencer
system, the engine offers a particularly emotional sound.
The new F 900 R and F 900 XR already offer the “Rain” and “Road” riding modes as standard. The standard trim also includes ABS and ASC Automatic Stability Control, which can be disengaged.
Like the GS models in the F Series, the new F 900 R and F 900 XR make use of a steel bridge frame that integrates the engine as a load-bearing element and a fuel tank that is now back in its classic position in front of the rider. Front wheel control is taken care of by an upside-down telescopic fork, while the rear wheel is guided by a double-sided swinging arm with central suspension strut.
The light, plastic-welded fuel tanks with a capacity of 15.5 litres (F 900 XR) and 13 litres (F 900 R) are a world first in motorcycle construction. The bolt-on steel rear frame has also been newly developed for the F 900 R and F 900 XR in order to create a visually short and slim rear. While the new F 900 R is a dynamic roadster focusing on sporty use and therefore shorter spring travel, the new F 900 XR – with its somewhat longer spring travel – offers a noticeable increase in comfort and therefore an even wider range of potential uses.
• The new BMW F 900 R: the dynamic roadster for purist riding pleasure.
• The new BMW F 900 XR: a genuine “XR” for the mid-range.
• The powerful common backbone integrates the further developed 2-cylinder in-line engine with an increased capacity of 895 cc (previously 853 cc).
• Further enhanced output and torque: 77 kW at 8 750 rpm and 92 Nm at 6 500 rpm.
• More than 87 Nm torque in the relevant lower speed range from 4 500 to 8 500 rpm.
• High level of running smoothness due to two opposed counterbalance shafts.
• Two riding modes “Rain” and “Road” as well as ABS and ASC as standard.
• Riding Modes Pro with two further riding modes as well as Dynamic Traction Control (DTC), ABS Pro, Dynamic Brake Control (DBC) and engine drag torque control (MSR) as ex works options.
• Steel bridge frame for optimum rigidity, robustness and riding precision.
• Newly developed slim steel rear frame.
• World first in motorcycle construction: light, plastic-welded fuel tanks with a capacity of 13 litres (F 900 R) and 15.5 litres (F 900 XR).
• Front upside-down telescopic fork and aluminium double-sided swinging arm with rear central suspension strut.
• Spring travel: 135 mm (F 900 R) and 170 mm (F 900 XR) at front, 142 mm (F 900 R) and 172 mm (F 900 XR) at rear.
• Electronic suspension adjustment Dynamic ESA at rear as an ex works option.
• ABS Pro for even greater safety when braking at an angle as an ex works option.
• Sophisticated ergonomics and numerous seat alternatives.
• Fairing with practical wind and weather protection and adjustable windshield (F 900 XR).
• Adaptive Cornering Light unique in the mid-range as part of the ex works option Headlight Pro.
• Perfectly readable colour 6.5-inch TFT screen with BMW motorcycle connectivity as standard.
• Powerful LED lighting units all round as standard.
• Keyless Ride for convenient activation of the locking functions by remote control as an ex works option.
• F 900 R in dynamic roadster design with muscular front section, aggressive headlight graphics and short, slim rear section.
• F 900 XR in Adventure Sport look with striking contours and sporty, dynamic fairing.
• High-quality workmanship down to the last detail.
• Three powerful colour and style variants each for unmistakable roadster and adventure sport characters.
• Extensive range of optional extras and Original BMW Motorrad Accessories as well as rider equipment.
F 900 R
F 900 XR
I have been a superbike enthusiast even before I started riding. In the past decade, I have found myself attending biking events between Johannesburg and Capetown at least twice a year on either superbikes or supertourers. My first ever Joburg to Capetown ride was on a Honda Blackbird. I then later sold it for a Suzuki GSXR 1000cc K6. The Gixxer did it’s fair amount of 2800km round trips. I then later sold the K6 for my current bike, a Kawasaki ZX14. Mam’Ruby – that’s what I call her – would probably tell you that there’s no province in South Africa where she has never been. She has even crossed a few border gates too visiting neighbouring countries. I find long distance rides extremely therapeutic.
Now as age begins to take it’s toll, the discomfort of riding a superbike over long distances is beginning to rear it’s ugly head. Thing is, the adrenalin seeking side of me is not yet willing surrender the thrill of instant throttle responses one gets from superbikes for the comfort of adventure bikes and cruisers. It’s the short bursts of adrenalin, unleashed by that exhilarating twist of the wrist that I often chase in each ride, a feeling I can only derive from riding superbikes. Earlier this month, I was introduced to the 2020 BMW S1000XR and let me tell you, my worries of finding a bike that possesses great speed and superior riding comfort have been officially laid to rest.
The S1000XR inherits all the power and performance attributes of the S1000RR, and yet manages to deliver the riding comfort of the BMW GS1250.
This Adventure Sport bike is radically lighter and more agile, as well as achieving an unprecedented combination of long-distance performance and sports capabilities. The new S1000XR advances the sports to touring range in its own distinctive new way.
The newly developed in-line 4-cylinder engine is based on the S 1000 RR engine and delivers an output of 121 kW at 11,000 rpm. The maximum torque of 114 Nm is available at 9,250 rpm. Based on a particularly linear torque curve, it was possible to further make the engine speed range somewhat broader, more fulsome and more harmonious with a view to enhanced ridability. The 4th, 5th and 6th gears now have longer ratios in order to reduce noise, fuel consumption and engine speed level, especially at country road speeds. In addition to a smoother and self-reinforcing anti-hopping clutch, the new S 1000 XR also features engine drag torque control (MSR) for the first time. Electronically controlled, the MSR prevents the rear wheel from slipping as a result of abrupt throttling or downshifting.
5 kg lighter, newly developed 4-cylinder in-line engine based on the S1000RR with further optimized mid-range power and rideability as well as new transmission gradation for the 4th – 6th gear.
• Superior performance and torque: 121 kW at 11,000 rpm and 114 Nm at 9,250 rpm.
• Effort-saving, linear torque curve: even better ridability over the entire speed range.
• Newly developed suspension featuring Flex Frame, with the engine taking on a more pronounced load-bearing function.
• Significantly improved ergonomics due to Flex Frame.
• Dynamic ESA as standard plus Dynamic ESA Pro with two damping modes (Road, Dynamic) and automatic load compensation as ex-works options.
• New 19% lighter swinging arm with directly articulated suspension strut for an even more sensitive response.
• Dynamic brake assistant DBC Dynamic Brake Control.
• Weight reduction by 10 kg to 226 kg (adjusted for equipment) as compared to the predecessor model.
• New, lighter exhaust system, EU5-compliant.
• New 6-axis sensor cluster.
• Dynamic Traction Control DTC as standard.
• DTC Wheelie Function as standard.
• Engine drag torque control MSR and engine brake function as standard.
• ABS Pro for increased safety when braking, also in banking position, asstandard. Dedicated rain braking mode with flat brake pressure gradient.
• Four riding modes “Rain”, “Road”, “Dynamic” and “Dynamic Pro” asstandard.
• Hill Start Control Pro as standard.
• HP Shift Assistant Pro for quick up and down shifting without clutch as anex-works option.
• Electronic cruise control as an ex works option.
• New instrument cluster with 6.5-inch, easy-to-read TFT screen and four screen displays.
• LED light units all round.
• Turn indicators with new “Comfort Indicator” function.
• Adaptive turning light incl. DRL as part of Headlight Pro as an ex-works option.
• Completely redesigned bodywork for an even more dynamic design style, optimised aerodynamics and even further enhanced wind and weather protection.
• Two colour schemes for the market launch: Ice Grey and Racing Red/White Aluminium (extra charge).
• Extension of the range of Original BMW Motorrad Accessories and ex-works options.
• Case holder (decoupled) in series production.
S 1000 XR