BMW F900 XR TE – first rides, impressions and early thoughts

BMW F900 XR TE – first rides, impressions and early thoughts

I wrote a few days ago about saying goodbye to my BMW F800R and welcoming the F900XR. At the time of writing that post I had only managed one short ride from the showroom. Although I enjoyed the ride it wasn’t enough to form anything other than the most superficial of impressions.

Since then, dire weather conditions have curtailed riding opportunities as well as leading me to re-schedule a couple of weeks away (see this post if you missed it). But nevertheless, in the last few days I have been out a couple of times, and to cut to the chase – have absolutely loved the bike!

So read on for more information about this 895cc DOHC parallel twin. You’ll also find there are a couple of picture sets from recent rides.

Easy to ride

It’s easier to ride than it is for me to push around. Weight wise it comes in at about 480lb, which is about 40lb more than the F800R. It’s actually a little lighter than my RnineT.  I think that maybe it feels a little heavier for me to push around due to the position of the bars/height of the bike.  In practice though it’s a neither here or there sort of issue.

In contrast, once moving the bike feels super agile, perhaps more so than any I have ridden for a long time. It instantly feels very very good on the road and feels like an incredibly decent road bike. If your looking for rocket ship acceleration then this isn’t the bike for you, same if your looking for your 160mph + superbike performance.

From the Suzuki line up I’ve had a couple of GSX-R 600s, a 750 and a 1000 along with Honda Fireblade and CB1000R and a Kawasaki Z1000SX (and a few others) so I’ve had a reasonable amount of ‘quick’ bikes and that isn’t the sort of biking I do or want to do these days.

In a nutshell and at this time, my early impression is that this bike just works well.

But there is one thing …

The seat I have is the ‘low’ version and it’s probably fair to say that not only is it low in height, without doubt it’s a little bit low in comfort.

I knew this was always likely to be the case and as I have said so many times in the past, no matter what bike you ride, it would be a rare machine that didn’t have some element of compromise.

The question is what compromises are acceptable? For me this was one of them, it’s not awful but there is room for improvement so that’s something I will consider in the coming weeks.

Comfort on a motorbike is a very individual thing. I’ve heard some people refer to the seat on a BMW RnineT as being like a plank and impossible to ride for much more than an hour without having to stop and stretch.

But comfort on the RnineT has never been an issue for me, and in fact I did one trip of about 2,500 miles so and had a cracking couple of weeks travelling in Spain and Portugal.

Others find the angle their knees are at, due to the height of the footpegs can be an issue, for me at 5′ 7″ it’s a non issue. There really are so many variables.

But I will have a look at what seat options there are – ranging from the Air Hawk type solution to replacement seats along the lines of those knocked out by Wunderlich.

It’s pretty well equipped

The bike has the superb BMW heated grips. This one has three heat settings in contrast to the two settings on the RnineT and the F800R (that I traded for this F900).

Traction control, riding modes, electronic suspension adjustment (ESA), ABS (including cornering ABS), cruise control, quick shifter, LED lights and a superb TFT display.

Connectivity to the TFT display was simple and a first time operation. It’s another aspect of the bike that just works.

Do I need all the information that is available via the dash – absolutely not. Do I like the option of having more information than I can shake a stick at – absolutely yes I do.

Information and controls

The information and controls are at the complete opposite end of the scale to my other bikes, especially my wonderful Moto Guzzi V7 cafe. The Guzzi has just about nothing extra on it and even has a manually operated choke lever!

When it comes to the RnineT, I don’t even have a petrol gauge.  I’m not sure that I have fully explored all the options and functions of the TFT display.  But I do know I can check the fuel level from my hotel room or in the house by using the BMW Connected app’ on my phone! In addition I can review my ride, fuel consumption, lean angles, speed, trip meter settings etc etc.

So no I absolutely don’t need any of that information at all … but I do like having the option of using it.

Didn’t know it had this

The BMW navigation function wasn’t something I was expecting and although I like to have the option of using a sat nav this is a reasonable alternative. However if you don’t have one or are out without it the navigation function seems to work well.

A simple and quick download of the maps to your mobile phone and basic route information can be shown on screen and played via bluetooth to my Cardo headphones in my helmet.

The default voice is a bit on the whinny side but maybe that can be changed, it’s not something I have checked out yet.

There’s probably a lot more information available via the TFT and that I have yet to find out about. I’ll post more about the TFT and the bike in general in due course when I’ve ridden a few more miles.

Fitting accesories

Why not head over to this post – and see one of the first items I fitted

Picture gallery one

Clicking on any of the images will open a picture gallery that can be clicked or scrolled through.

What have I added and what have I sold


Happy days

At the moment I have just added a Shad luggage rack and a small Givi tanklock bag (from the Easy T range). The luggage bars allow me to continue using  the SH40 topbox I used on my F800R. I had to buy the appropriate flange for the Givi bag. I also bought a decent tank protector from Motografix.  I’ll write again in due course about these additions.

I sold a few items that were all in pristine condition and were all sold almost instantly. These were the previous Givi tank bag/tanklock fittings for the F800, a Kappa tank bag, R&G Aero crash protectors and the Haynes service manual. Selling these covered about 90%  of the cost of the new bits.

I’ll probably buy an extender for the rather short OEM hugger – this seems to be a low cost option that will save a lot of muck ending up underneath the bike and covering the shock. As I said earlier I’m considering seat options and of course I’ll post an update in due course.

Picture gallery two

Clicking on any of the images will open a picture gallery that can be clicked or scrolled through.