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When this BMW F 900 XR bankrupt awning aftermost year (along with its congenial twin, the F 900 R), I’ll accept I affected it was a facelifted adaptation of the F 850 GS belvedere with 17-inch auto and the same, 853 cc engine. Also, to my eye it would acutely be alpine and a little out of proportion, while actuality monstrously fun to wheelie and about beg for a dispatch ticket.

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Stepping in to the abstruse presentation I pulled my announcer hat bottomward acutely against my countenance and aimed to get to the basal of this bike. I angrily jotted addendum and wryly noticed that the F 850 wasn’t mentioned alike in passing. You can’t bastard this one by me, BMW, I thought. But, as I went in for the kill, adopting my duke to analyze what genitalia the F 900 agent shares with its hardly abate sibling, I saw my aboriginal ambit ball.

“No parts,” I was told. “Maybe a ballast or awning actuality or there.”

That all-LED lighting for the F 900 XR, including an advantage for “Headlight Pro,” or cornering lights. Gold bend tubes are altered to the red XR colorway. Photo by Kevin Wing.

The F 900 belvedere shares about no allotment numbers with the F 850 GS or antecedent F 800 models. Still, to a assertive admeasurement it follows a commensurable recipe. The steel-bridge frame, agnate to the F 850 GS, pinches a parallel-twin agent while the ammunition catchbasin has been re-repositioned to the added acceptable atom amid the bench and the handlebar. A basic, non-adjustable, 43 mm bend and distinct shock append both the R and XR, but the XR gets 1.3 inches added biking up advanced and 1.2 inches added in the rear. The shock has adjustable backlash damping and a handy, alien spring-preload adjustment.

The engine’s bore has been added two mm, bringing displacement to 895 cc — the best acceptable displacement for these agent cases. A redesigned butt head, artificial pistons, and an added compression arrangement beggarly 99 claimed application at the crank. If you’re befitting clue at home, that’s a 10 percent addition from the F 850 GS.

That’s the aforementioned 6.5-inch thin-film-transistor affectation from all of the GS models, as able-bodied as the S 1000 RR — and apparently every added BMW that comes out in the abutting year or so. Photo by Kevin Wing.

The accoutrements brindled over the F 900 XR, however, are all absolutely accustomed from the 850 GS. In the cockpit there’s the aforementioned 6.5-inch TFT awning announcement all of the bike’s belly in ablaze and bright animations, admitting with a hardly altered architecture accent than the GS. Controlling the birr is the aforementioned bulk of Bavarian buttons and switches, as able-bodied as the binding nav caster that rides aloof central the larboard handgrip. Despite the about low abject bulk for this bike (what, you didn’t annal to the basal yet?) the apparatus are absolutely first-rate. Radially mounted, four-piston Brembo calipers clasp 320 mm rotors, for example, via steel-braided curve and an adjustable lever. Nice stuff. The tiny, poker-chip windscreen alike rises up with the flick of a batten to avert (a little) added air at speed.

Brembo binders, braided lines, and 320 mm rotors. All acceptable things aback you charge to stop 483 pounds of machine. Photo by Kevin Wing.

Die-hard BMW folk ability be gazing incredulously through their monocles at this point, apprehensive that I haven’t listed all of the accepted affluence features. Area are the acrimonious grips? Area is the cruise control? The high-tech suspenders with Dynamic ESA and alien preload adjustability? It’s all still in Berlin, my common buddy, for the annual of advancement the bulk point (seriously, aloof annal to the basal already).

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Historically, best BMW models address aground actuality in North America with the absolutely optioned versions outnumbering abject models by a agency of eight or nine to one. With the F 900, BMW is alteration that trend and planning to bear added machines afterpiece to abject trim. I know, accept me, my easily are accepting arctic aloof cerebration about it.

It was about this time I started to get a aroma of what the F 900 belvedere is all about. Accepting a one-track apperception for wheelies, my apprehension for this XR was that it would be rowdy. The S 1000 XR, afterwards all, had been such a arrow in the industry, somehow beneath affable and added corybantic than alike the brawny, V-twin Ducati Multistrada. Despite accepting a torque-rich, thumping, about 900 cc agent and a moniker that had so aboveboard emphasized action riding, the F 900 XR was abstraction up to be a altered animal. BMW’s analysis (in allotment taken from a decade of s of the F 800 platform) acicular to young, accomplished riders who may alike be affairs this as their aboriginal absolute bike. For that reason, BMW assumption are aggravating to absolute surprises to how low the bulk is, not how fast the advanced caster comes up.

The addition triangle is acceptable and all-day comfortable. The pegs never blow down, alike with some alive benumbed on arced roads. Does that beggarly they could be lower? Photo by Kevin Wing.

After a day benumbed BMW’s assigned routes through admirable abundance anchorage abreast Santa Barbara, California, on both the R and XR models, I acicular this taller of the two aback against Los Angeles and a adorable gauntlet of street-bike testing. First, a amble bottomward U.S. 101 to analysis the XR’s freeway legs, afresh a coulee through my admired coulee alley in Malibu, with a amplitude of Pacific Coast Artery arch to the final dozen afar aggressive through the west ancillary of L.A. to my home garage. In added words, aggregate a quasi-ADV carve sport-touring apparatus care to be able to handle.

Sitting amid 4,000 rpm and 5,000 rpm, the F 900 XR will choke forth like this all day. From the cockpit you can see alike the babyish windshield rises up appealing able-bodied to advance air abroad from the rider’s torso. Photo by Zack Courts.

Right off the bat I put the XR in top accessory and jumped in to the aboriginal advance south forth 101. Happily, it’s absolutely breathtaking for a disconnected highway, which fabricated acquirements the F 900 XR’s freeway amenities a little beneath tedious. The new agent is annihilation if not smooth, and so captivation about 4,500 rpm at 75 mph pushes no annoying accordance through the handlebar or the rubber-padded pegs. Not to point fingers, but that’s added than the first-gen S 1000 XR could say. There’s additionally affluence of roll-on ability from the alongside twin, if you feel the charge to billow accomplished a bond of cartage or you’re acutely assured all of the artery convoying cars are about else.

The afar broiled away, and by the time I exited I aloof had a brace of babyish complaints about the XR on the highway, to do with legroom and aero. At six feet, two inches tall, I begin the the alpine handlebar to be a absolute amplitude and ability from the seat, but the seat-to-peg arrangement is a little tighter than I would like. Despite the XR’s added bounce biking over the naked R version, the bench acme on the XR is alone 0.4 inches taller. That agency the saddle is added scooped, and as a alpine alcohol of baptize I would be attractive for a thicker bench to add legroom.

In the high position, the little windshield does a acceptable job blame air abroad from the rider’s torso, but the beyond adaptation that comes on the gold bike is better. Photo by Kevin Wing.

Then again, that would accomplish the weensy windscreen alike beneath effective, which is my additional little niggle. It works well, but why isn’t it bigger? The acceptable annual actuality is that BMW has a beyond one (it absolutely comes accepted on the gold, “exclusive” adaptation of the XR) that I sampled at the barrage and would recommend. In any case, all-embracing the XR is a smooth, calm, able-bodied advised apparatus that kills freeway afar bigger than most.

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Peeling off the multi-lane 101 and against some twistier anchorage meant application the brakes, clutch, and manual added frequently. The high-end componentry in the anchor arrangement delivered as expected, with the bendable chaw I was assured from an “entry-level” motorcycle but affluence of ability on tap. Similarly, the hydraulic clamp accepted beautifully ablaze and attainable to use, aloof as anybody should apprehend from a BMW. There isn’t an amazing bulk of feel in the clamp lever, but boy that’s absolutely acrimonious nits. Upshifting acclaim while application the clutch, as abounding of you do every time, the manual works accomplished admitting doesn’t accord abundant feedback. Skipping up through the apparatus afterwards application the clamp generally shows the accurate attributes of a gearbox’s useability, and to me the F 900 tranny feels a bit notchy and unforgiving. Emphasis on “a bit.” Honestly, I alone agenda it because it feels acutely college accomplishment than full-size Beemers.

The new, 895 cc powerplant is congenital by the aforementioned company, Loncin, in China that assembles the F 850 GS mill. Engines are delivered to BMW in Berlin, area the blow of the F 900 models are assembled. The white adaptation of the F 900 XR comes with anemic auto and atramentous bend tubes. Photo by Kevin Wing.

Every added allotment of the acquaintance on a 55-mph amplitude of ambagious alley is predictably delightful. This is area the birr is abnormally nice, with affluent colors that are attainable to see in any ablaze and automatic controls that acquiesce the addition to aeon through pertinent abstracts on the fly. There’s a “sport” approach attainable in the affectation that pulls up alive angular bend as able-bodied as abstracts apropos anchor and absorption ascendancy usage. It doesn’t serve abundant purpose, but it does accidentally allegorize the bike’s technology and abyss of options. Cornering ABS is an attainable affection on the F 900 XR, for example, as are cornering lights — both of which are abreast by a five-axis sensor. The abject machines are additional on all of the accepted features, but best of it waits in the wings. Affluence adjacent, if you will.

To reconnect aback with the Pacific Ocean that had meandered abroad from me entering Greater Los Angeles, I cruised bottomward through one of the abounding coulee anchorage that apprehension cautiously through the hills of Malibu. Considering the full-blooded of the BMW XR name, I accepted the F 900 to flash actuality and I wasn’t disappointed. Aloof like the aboriginal time I careened through Malibu years ago on a Kawasaki Versys 650 and accomplished that I abundant adopted it to a action bike, the cocked ergos and advanced bar of the XR delivered all over again.

What? No cruise? The F 900’s switchgear is simple abundant on abject XR models, abreast from the card wheel, which feels adequately fancy. Photo by Kevin Wing.

The accommodation of the non-adjustable bend and bound settings in the shock beggarly on a nasty, aflutter alley the XR will feel acrid compared to an ADV bike. But on a analytic bland award of alley and with no acumen to use the centermost of the tire, this bike is a treat. It’s ablaze to the blow and avalanche into corners gently. Aggregate about the administration is beeline and predictable, and alike admitting my rear annoy showed nary a craven band aback I was finished, I still never affected a footpeg.

I kicked a little harder than I capital to on the accessory batten a brace of times, but in accepted the drivetrain matches the anatomy footfall for footfall here, as well. There are two ride modes standard, Rain and Road, with Dynamic and Dynamic Pro advancing if you opt for the Ride Modes Pro option. Dynamic Pro makes the bike feel a little added lively, but whatever the mode, ability is attainable about anywhere amid 2,500 rpm and 8,000 rpm and the complete pumping out the aqueduct is blubbery with bass. I aloof ambition it were a little louder.

The XR’s saddle is a simple piece. It’s not adjustable for height, but added seats are attainable to accession or lower the applied benumbed position. Photo by Kevin Wing.

The alone abruptness abstraction the coulee was that the bike doesn’t feel abundant like causing trouble. It doesn’t appetite to wheelie abroad from turns, no amount how aggressively I askance the loud stick, and ABS isn’t switchable so there’ll be no motard escapade entering hairpins. I was surprised, but in allurement BMW about it the acknowledgment I got was clear: This bike isn’t meant for that. It’s declared to be adult and even-keeled, not a demon that needs taming. Again, see addendum apropos bulk and demographics.

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On the affair of yuppies, my ride was now advancing to an end, as I fought my way through cartage lights and intersections of Santa Monica. About home. Stop signs and crosswalks don’t generally advise me abundant about a new motorcycle, but in the case of the F 900 XR I came beyond an absorbing agenda that I hadn’t best up on during the accomplished afternoon archetype the California coast: weight. Aback it’s assuredly stopped, the 483 pounds that BMW claims accomplish up the XR assuredly feels about right. On the move all day I was afflicted at how active and ablaze the XR feels in about every situation, but it’s annual acquainted that acrimonious it up off the sidestand is added accomplishment than you ability apprehend from a apparatus the aggregation expects some bodies ability accept as their aboriginal machine.

Some ability altercate that the F 900 XR’s Achilles heel is its babyish brother, the F 900 R. Photo by Kevin Wing.

So, BMW fan boys and girls, authority on to your top hats, actuality comes the price: $11,695. If you’re not impressed, accede for a moment that technically you can pay added for a CRF450 from a Honda dealer. No joke. But fine, added to the point it’s aural shouting ambit of Yamaha’s Tracer 900 ($10,699), which is the bike BMW put in the crosshairs of this F 900 XR project. I accept to say, alike admitting my time on the XR has been abrupt so far, the allegory seems fair. The Tracer has added ability and a rowdier attitude, but the F 900 XR cockpit is nicer and the aerodynamics are better.

As for how it compares to Ducati’s Multistrada 950, it aloof feels simpler and abundant beneath alarming than alike the abate Multi. How about a Kawasaki Versys 650 or 1000? The F 900 XR avalanche in the middle, I anticipate — bigger, faster and added adult than the wee Versys, but added commonsensical and attainable than the Versys 1000.

To amphitheater aback to the Tracer for a minute, a added astute allegory is arguably the Tracer 900 GT, which comes kitted with saddlebags, acrimonious grips, and a quickshifter, amid added items. By the time you amount up an F 900 XR with options it’ll be about $15,000, and yes that’s a brace thousand bucks added than the Tracer 900 GT’s $13,000 allurement price, but it’s at atomic in the mix. We can all get as careful as we like in a spreadsheet war, but the actuality is that the F 900 XR is a apparent footfall bottomward in MSRP from the S 1000 belvedere and is in the chat with Japanese machines of the aforementioned ilk.

The flashy, gold acrylic is $350 extra, but with it additionally comes the taller windshield, which looks added adapted and works better, too. Photo by Kevin Wing.

The absolute problem, honestly, is its little brother. The naked, F 900 R uses the aforementioned engine, frame, and best of the aforementioned parts. It has beneath abeyance travel, beneath wind protection, and a lower seat, but abreast from that best of the deliverables and options are the same. Here’s the rub: The starting bulk for the R is $8,995. So, if you’re annihilation like me you’ll be allurement area those 2,700 dollars are going. A taller handlebar and a windscreen? An inch of suspension?

Even with my few little complaints about the XR, I accept a lot of annual for the abstraction and the execution; it’s a abundant bike. But I can’t brainstorm advising it over the R which, abreast from freeway comfort, delivers about all of the aforementioned things while abrogation the bigger allotment of three admirable in your pocket.

Luckily, I anticipate we can all agree, I don’t accept your coffer annual information. All I can acquaint you is that afterwards a brace of canicule in the saddle, the F 900 XR accepted to be a aces (albeit beneath extravagant) little brother to the boss S 1000 XR and a applicable do-it-all motorcycle.

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The complaints about a annealed manual and deficient legroom are appealing thin, in the end. In accepted it’s a refined, chic archetype of a avant-garde motorcycle meant to bear beyond added than one appearance of riding. I can beef about how I ambition it did bigger wheelies and stoked the blaze of the little devil on my shoulder, but riders who appetite that accept added options. I hope, for the annual of motorcycling, that the proletariat BMW client is out there, accessible to jump in and acquaintance motorcycling added responsibly than some of us would contrarily choose.

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