BMW F900R – The Duke 790’s worst nightmare?

BMW Motorrad had a lot of motorcycles on display at EICMA in 2019, but the one that caught our attention was the F 900 R. This is proper naked motorcycle and it shares it mechanicals with the F 900 XR. The bike is equipped with a new 895cc parallel-twin engine producing 103bhp and 92Nm of torque. Even the chassis, swingarm and main frame remain the same. The F 900 is brimming with equipment, featuring bi-directional quickshifters, LED headlamps with a cornering function and an electronically adjustable rear shock. The bike also gets BMW’s Connected app that gives you access to a lot of data, like maximum speed, lean angles etc.

Aggressive face

There’s no denying that the BMW F 900 R looks quite stunning with its aggressive looks. The bike looks like it wants to scare little children with its wide stance. It features a massive fuel tank and huge side panels giving it the look of a proper street-naked motorcycle from BMW Bikes. A lot of buyers are bound to get attracted to the BMW F 900 R because of its big-bike appeal. However, towards the rear, the BMW F 900 R has a tail that doesn’t bode with the rest of the design, but that exhaust looks neat.

Sporty, not tourer

Get on to the motorcycle and you’ll absolutely love the seat height and the nice TFT display, which is so much more functional than the ones seen on some other BMW Bikes. It also features an S 1000 RR-like dynamic display with a lean angle indicator. This display can be controlled through BMW’s scroll-wheel system positioned on the left-hand-side handlebar. The riding posture is unsurprisingly sporty, although the handlebar is set at an accessible position. The foot pegs are placed high up and the overall riding position is committed, and we found the bike to be quite heavy at the front, unlike its rivals. And it’s no light bike, weighing in at 211kgs. Riding the bike takes a little getting used to, and the moment you’ve learnt it a little, that’s where the fun begins. The F 900 R features four riding modes: Rain, Road, Dynamic and Dynamic Pro. In Dynamic Pro, the electronically adjustable rear shock gets a bit firm and throttle response improves. Around corners, the F 900 R is happy to change direction but not without some needed effort. The ride-by-wire throttle could use some improvement however.

Around the bends

On wider roads, the bike is a lot nicer to experience. It has a wide breadth of talents and the meaty mid-range is worth a mention. The engine feels flexible and smooth and refinement is reasonably good, but once you reach the limit, then the buzz seeps through. The quickshifter works efficiently at high RPMs, but in urban conditions, we found it to be clunky. The deep-chested exhaust sound is pleasure to the ears. The 900 can also be used as a tourer for not-so-long distances, plus you get a lot of accessories like cruise control, heated grips, soft panniers and a windscreen. You also get five seat height options to choose from, and the suspension can be lowered too. This is an expensive bike and feels almost perfect. With the BMW badge comes a lot of features like keyless start, an electronic shock-absorber and a cornering headlight. But for the India market, all you get is the standard model, meaning it features traction control, a TFT display, ABS, two riding modes and LED lighting. Since it’s a CBU, it is pricey and is most certain to face rivalry from Triumph and KTM.

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