Surprise!! A budget-friendly naked bike from BMW Motorrad. And no, its not a boxer.
When BMW Motorrad Philippines launched the BMW F 900 R last year, it created quite a stir among the elite motorcycle community. In a sea of emerging big bike models (and expensive at that), along comes a new player from that German marque that boasts, not only a big displacement engine, but of a competitive price too.
When you say “BMW” images of the iconic GS1250 or the fine R Nine T comes to mind. With exceptional performance, premium price naturally followed. You get what you pay for. Quality isn’t cheap. That’s why the F900R is sort of an oxymoron. In fact, some sources say that the newcomer managed to snatch valuable clientele from its GS sibling as well as other European brands.
A closer look.
The BMW F 900 R is powered by a 900cc (895cc to be exact) 4-stroke, parallel twin engine that boasts 105hp and 92Nm of torque. The displacement puts it past the med bike category, bordering on the sub-1000cc superbikes. A steel bridge frame with an aluminum swingarm, inverted fork and single adjustable rear shock holds everything together. Higher variants have the Dynamic Electronic Suspension Adjustment (Dynamic ESA) for the different drive modes.
Brakes are handled by dual 320mm discs with 4-piston BREMBO calipers up front, and a single 220mm disc and single piston caliper at the rear. Wide tires are featured, with 120/70 ZR17 Bridgestone S21R and 180/55 ZR17 Bridgestone S21R.
The cockpit consists of a single LED display that actually shows all pertinent information. The Left grip dial scrolls down to show different modes and info. The 6.5“ TFT color display and BMW Motorrad Connectivity can connect your smartphone with your F 900 R via Bluetooth connection. The glare free display will now show you all information relevant to your ride and also offers additional features like navigation, music and telephony (which is nice but really don’t need it by the way). Gear selector and Neutral indicator is greatly appreciated
First off, familiarization with the grip controls is a must. The left grip houses most of the controls, like the menu button, selector dial and the hazard switch. Also, the signal lever and horn button are located at the bottom part. May I add that the controls are nicely placed alongside each other, giving adequate reach even for short fingers – a boon for pinoy riders.
The (adjustable) 30 to 34 inch seat height is a bit high but tolerable, even for an average height rider. Since the F900 R is basically lightweight, there is no difficulty standing still in traffic. Can easily be pulled out of parking slots too. Relaxed foot-reach for the shifter, and rear brake pedal. The seating profile and leg stance is upright but comfortable
First impressions last, and it is good. The throttle response is instantaneous but not jarring. Torque is also evident even in lower rpms, negating the need to downshift every so often, the half clutch pressure is also helpful. Suspension is firm and predictable, which is recommended in city driving.
This naked cruiser makes you want to be a bad boy. The combination of the power, fast shifting and balance gives you more confidence, especially in splitting and cornering, not to mention overtaking other vehicles. There is no sign of twitchiness or unnecessary vibrations. This bike, guys is a smooth operator.
Along highway twisties, the F 900 R also evokes confidence. The clutchless shifting gives you the edge in coming in and out of sharp curves, with both feet planted on the pegs. Banking is also effortless. But words to the wise; don’t attempt extreme banking unless you are a trained professional and most importantly, in a sanctioned racetrack.
Intuitive, spontaneous, and dynamic – you don’t wait around for opportunities, you make one as you go. The spirited ride of the F 900 R is more than enough to satisfy your get away from it all drive.
Point of Contention
Both variants are powered by the same parallel twin-cylinder, 895 cc, that’s mated to a six-speed transmission that’s more than capable of accelerating from 0-100 km/h in 3.7 seconds.
The F 900 R Style Sport comes with “Rain” and “Road” ride modes. Although no difference in power, the distribution of torque is more gradual in wet situations.
ABS is standard with the base model, while the higher-spec Style Sport Variant comes with more tech and safety features, namely ‘Dynamic’ and ‘Dynamic Pro’ selectable riding modes, Dynamic Traction Control (DTC), cornering ABS Pro along with Dynamic Brake Control (DBC), and engine drag torque control (MSR).
The prices quoted raised a lot of eyebrows, arguing that it delved in to Japanese price range. While a few doubts its German origins, (with some claiming India based manufacturing), a few hot laps with the base F 900 R settled that issue fast. In fact, some buyers of the great 1250 GS opted for the lower F 900 R. This will surely grab the a substantial number from competitors market share.
The F 900 R is priced at PHP655,000, while the BMW F 900 R Style Sport is higher at PHP775,000
- Engine Type: Water-cooled 4-stroke in-line two-cylinder engine, four valves per cylinder, two overhead camshafts, dry sump lubrication
- Bore x stroke: 86 mm x 77 mm
- Capacity: 895 cc
- Rated output: 105 hp at 8,500 rpm
- Max. torque: 67 lb-ft at 6,500 rpm
- Compression ratio: 13.1 : 1
- Mixture control / engine management: Electronic fuel injection
- Emission control: Closed-loop 3-way catalytic converter, emission standard EU-5
- Performance / fuel consumption
- Maximum speed: 220kph
- Economy: 56 mpg (WMTC)
- Fuel type: Premium Unleaded
- Electrical system: Alternator Permanent magnetic alternator 416 W (nominal power)
- Battery: 12 V / 12 Ah, maintenance-free
Text/Images Earl Manalansan