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BMW F900XR (2020-on) Review

Published: 24 January 2020

Updated: 12 March 2020

Don’t dismiss the BMW F900XR as a poor relative to the S1000XR – the middleweight has a character all of its own

BMW F900XR riding shot straight line

Don’t dismiss the BMW F900XR as a poor relative to the S1000XR – the middleweight has a character all of its own

  • At a glance
  • 895cc  -  103.5 bhp
  • 50 mpg  -  170 miles range
  • Medium seat height (825mm)
  • New: £9,825

Overall Rating 5 out of 5

The BMW F900XR was developed as a defined model in its own right. It’s not just the F850GS dressed up to rival Yamaha’s hugely popular Tracer 900, nor is it trying to be a mini-S1000XR. Using a big-bored F850 engine and the same frame, it’s a fabulously composed and usable road bike.

Though the engine doesn’t always feel desperately fast, it makes up for it with flexibility, efficiency and just enough character. Handling is light and agile, yet with utter composure and stability, while the effective screen, balanced ergonomics and decent ride quality make distance work a breeze.

Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5

Forks are unadjustable, while the rear shock has rebound and remote preload. It’s not glitzy kit, but the shortage of adjusters and gold bits doesn’t mean ‘budget’ – action is good, and the mix of control and comfort is almost cock-on.

Chassis balance is a highlight: the F900XR can be flicked about easily regardless of speed or surface, yet always with total composure and confidence-boosting manners. ESA is optional (rear shock only), but while it allows a sportier set-up the XR feels nicest on the regular settings. There’s no shortage of real-road braking power and feel from the four-pot Brembos.

Engine 4 out of 5

It’s a big-bore job on the parallel twin from the F850GS, displacing 895cc and making 68 pounds-feet of grunt and 105bhp. It feels free-revving and crisp under hard acceleration in first and second, though the sparkle fades in higher ratios; however, the twin makes up for this with roll-on flexibility and accessible thrust of normal riding.

And the deep rumble from the 270˚ crank makes it the best-sounding parallel twin BMW to date. Throttle response in Rain mode is super-smooth; there’s a tiny off-on step in Road mode, but you get used to it within a few miles. Get the Riding Modes Pro option and the extra Dynamic mode gives more direct response but brings a snatchy action too.

Build Quality & Reliability 4 out of 5

The donor F850 engine (and the F800 before that) are proven and dependable, so we wouldn’t expect issues with the 900. Specific power (bhp-per-cc) is modest and it’s not a highly-strung unit.

Chassis parts are good quality, switchgear and dash are as used across BMW’s range, and the level of finish is like you’d get on a specced-up R1250GS costing almost twice as much.

Insurance, running costs & value 5 out of 5

List price for the base model is dead in-line with rivals, and the F900XR matches them on equipment levels too. There are various accessories, with pre-configured packages offering the best value.

BMW residual values are strong too, so it won’t depreciate like a Yamaha Tracer 900 or Suzuki V-Strom 1050.

Equipment 5 out of 5

The F900XR boasts an adjustable (and effective) screen, two riding modes, colour TFT dash with oodles of data and phone connectivity, multifunction switchgear, ASC, ABS, full-size grab handles, and LED headlights that are closer to sunlight rather than piercing white (so the surrounding dark doesn’t look as black).

Options and accessories put the F900XR ahead of alternatives, and include everything from luggage, centre stand and different seat heights, to heated grips and cornering lights, through to electronic suspension, cruise control, quickshifter, dynamic traction, cornering ABS, keyless ride… hey, it’s a BMW. Did you expect anything less?

Facts & Figures

Model info
Year introduced 2020
Year discontinued -
New price £9,825
Used price -
Warranty term 2
Running costs
Insurance group -
Annual road tax £91
Annual service cost -
Max power 103.5 bhp
Max torque 68 ft-lb
Top speed -
1/4-mile acceleration -
Average fuel consumption 50 mpg
Tank range 170 miles
Engine size 895cc
Engine type 8v DOHC parallel twin
Frame type steel bridge-type
Fuel capacity 15.5 litres
Seat height 825mm
Bike weight 219kg
Front suspension 43mm USD fork, no adjustment
Rear suspension monoshock, adj. preload and rebound (optional ESA)
Front brake 2 x 320mm discs, four-pot calipers, ABS
Rear brake 265mm disc, one-pot caliper, ABS
Front tyre size 120/70 ZR17
Rear tyre size 180/55 ZR17

History & Versions

Model history

  • 2006: updated F series introduced using a new Rotax-built 798cc parallel twin and solid-handling twin-spar chassis. There’s the half-faired F800S sportsbike and more upright F800ST sports-tourer.
  • 2008: F650GS and F800GS adventure bikes launched with a new trellis frame. Both use the same 798cc engine despite the names – the 650 version has a lower state of tune and more basic, commuter-focused chassis.
  • 2009: F800R roadster (basically a stripped-back F900S) joins the range.
  • 2011: F800S discontinued.
  • 2013: heavily revised F800GT replaces the F800ST; F800GS also updated, and the F650GS becomes the F700GS.
  • 2018: more capacity, new bridge-style frame and complete chassis refresh turns the F800GS into the F850GS. New 270˚ firing interval gives the parallel twin the sound and feel of a V-twin. F800GT discontinued.

Other versions

There’s a naked version called the F900R. It’s the same platform, but with shorter-travel suspension, more aggressive riding position and more front-biased weight distribution. It’s still as sure-footed and stable, but with more weight on the front the steering feels heavy and the chassis less nimble.

Owners' Reviews

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Photo Gallery

  • BMW F900XR riding shot straight line
  • BMW F900XR cornering overhead
  • BMW F900XR cornering side profile
  • BMW F900XR cornering head-on
  • BMW F900XR static headlights
  • BMW F900XR exhaust
  • BMW F900XR engine
  • BMW F900XR rear shock
  • BMW F900XR fairing
  • BMW F900XR left handlebar
  • BMW F900XR right handlebar
  • BMW F900XR TFT screen
  • BMW F900XR TFT screen
  • BMW F900XR static side profile
  • BMW F900XR static rear three quarter
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