BMW F900 XR – what do I think after the first 1,000 miles
Following a short but really enjoyable trip to Scotland I wrote and posted a three part blog post.
If you missed that you can head to Part 1 at this link and you’ll find that Parts 2 and 3 link from there.
As part of the third and final post (in that three part set) I wrote some thoughts about the BMW F900 XR. This post simply separates out and lifts those thoughts from the general information, written about the Scotland trip.
As an aside I found quite a detailed article on the F900 at Total Motorcycles.com – here’s the link and you may find it worth a read.
What about the bike then?
I had already written about my first impressions and early thoughts of the F900 in a previous post (which you can see at this link). The short to Scotland saw me do around 760 miles or so and the first time on a ‘trip’ rather than just out for a ride.
So what do I think – well pretty much more of what I had said in that first impressions post which was:
‘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.’
So to add to that from the Scotland trip/experience, there is no doubt that this bike just works. It really does.
There is no drama or fuss when riding, gear changes are smooth and reliable, whether using the quick shifter or not. I must admit, a lifetime of using a clutch still sees me reaching for it even when I know I don’t need to.
The ‘general feel’ of the bike on different road surfaces is really good – wet, dry, loose etc it doesn’t seem to make much of a difference, the bike always feels good.
Mid corner gear changes and braking which may not be something you want to do as matter of routine don’t seem to unduly unsettle the bike. I did this numerous times whilst away simply to have a sense of how the F900 felt when this was done and so I could comment on it here.
The brakes are good, power delivery is smooth and the wealth of information available on the dash is clear, easy to read and easy enough to access once you have figured out and got used to how the ‘jog wheel’ works.
Fuel economy is good (not quite at the exceptional levels of the F800R) but up around the 57mpg mark, my other BMW (an RnineT) typically returns about 54mpg.
Of all the bikes I have owned the F800R with it’s Rotax engine reigned supreme when it came to fuel economy. It always returned around the 74mpg mark, but I knew when I traded that for the F900 I would be saying goodbye to those remarkable levels of fuel economy.
I removed the OEM panier holders when I got the bike and fitted the bars and rack from Shad so as to be able to use my Shad SH40 top box (that I used on the F800R). That a more than adequate solution luggage wise and it’s on my list to do a separate post about that.
In the past I have travelled for more than two weeks and managed to carry all I need in the SH40.
Mind you I did a couple of weeks in Spain and Portugal on the RnineT with just the Motorrad tail bag. I’ve also done more than a couple of weeks in Europe on a GSX-R 1000 with Kriega tail packs. It’s fair to say I’m reasonably well practised at travelling light!
I’m more than happy with the bike and I would say it’s easily exceeded my expectations so far, but there are a couple of things worth mentioning.
The cruise control is superb, not something I ever thought I would say but it really is. Worth being aware though, that if you use the front brake to knock the cruise control off there is quite a reaction and an immediate dive of the forks as 10mph is instantly wiped off the speed, a smoother approach is to pull the clutch in.
The adjustable screen is good and easy to use – but for me (and this is a personal thing as it’s always going to be related to height/size). Raising the screen up does a good job of shifting the airflow and rain but at the expense of a level of wind noise that I don’t want.
I could probably solve that by fitting some sort of wind deflector or after market screen, but to be honest it’s not much of an issue for me so I probably wont bother.
I’ve had a lot of bikes and never bothered having a seat altered as I have always found them acceptable but this seat isnt great. My seat is the low version but reading comments online there seems to be a general sense that the seats are not comfortable at all. And of course it’s not just BMW that make seats that are not always o comfortable. A
A look at third party seat manufacturers selling after market seats at premium prices for what seem to be all manufacturers and all models tells you that.
Added to that are the numerous suppliers of seat cushions and there are many different brands supplying gel cushions, air inflatable cushions etc etc and some of the costs of these are not insignificant. So there is clearly a market for seat alterations and/or replacements.
I have never had my own seat altered – the only occasion I had a seat altered was on a Kawasaki Vulcan S (the 650cc cruiser style) and we had the pillion seat altered for my wife.
But because I like this bike so much and because it feels like it doesn’t need a lot of work on the seat to make a difference, I’ve decided that I’ll get the seat sorted – you’ll want to check back soon for that post to see how it works out … it’s coming soon.
All round thoughts
I think the F900 XR really is a really good bike.
It’s a joy to ride, plenty enough power, great for a Sunday ride and great for a tour. Once the seat is sorted I think it’s heading for a minimum of a 9/10 score.
Even as I’m writing this I’m looking forward to my next ride – I’m fortunate enough to have a choice of bikes when I go into my garage – and I know it’s going to be a hard call not to get on this one the next time I open the garage door.
Some pictures from my time with the F900