2020 BMW F 900 XR (bike review)

BMW Motorrad have been quietly growing their presence in the mid-range touring market, and the latest offerings include the 2020 F 900 XR; a great all-rounder designed to eat up long distance miles, all while offering a host of innovative equipment.

Launched earlier in the year in conjunction with its close sibling, the F 900 R, the XR sets itself apart with its versatility. Not just a weekend fun machine, the XR sports a fairing, screen, and a relaxed and comfortable riding position.

The combination translates into a significant reduction in rider fatigue, stiffness and soreness over some other comparable bikes, including its own sibling, which we tested alongside the XR.

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Having the opportunity to compare the two, side-by-side, it gave us the opportunities to not only identify the similarities, but highlight the considerable differences between the two, including rider leg room between the seat and foot pegs.

The XR feels like it has additional leg room (depending on seat height between 775-870mm). The R feels more squashed, for lack of a better word. This bike simply allows riders over 180cm tall to feel more comfortable when smashing out the kilometres.

Without too much comparison between the two, it’s quickly obvious that the F 900 R and F 900 XR are aimed at totally different audiences. The latter is focused on delivering an athletic feel, with outstanding handling; it literally sticks to the bitumen.

Put through its paces between Wiseman’s Ferry and Mangrove Mountain on the NSW Central Coast, the front suspension on the XR soaked up the bumps and took them in its stride quite beautifully.

For us, the surprise was that the front suspension on the XR was compliant for faster cornering speeds on rough country roads. It was on-point, thanks to its 43mm upside down telescopic forks.

At the rear, a cast aluminium dual swing arm with central spring strut features spring pre-load, and is hydraulically adjustable and rebound adjustable. This allows 170mm of travel on the front and 172mm of travel on the rear.

Stopping power on the F 900 XR is provided by floating 320mm dual discs with 4-piston radial brake calipers on the front, and a 265mm single disc floating caliper on the rear, with both working well in conjunction with BMW Motorrad ABS.

A water-cooled 4-stroke in-line-two-cylinder engine with four valves per cylinder, two overhead cam shafts and dry sump lubrication provides the go power for the F 900 XR. This 895cc motor combo produces 73kW (99hp) and 88Nm of torque.

A constant 6-speed gearbox paired with BMW’s Gear Shift Assist Pro (quick shifter up and down) is mated to the motor, and works an absolute treat. In fact, it works so well it is an absolute effort to go back to riding a bike without a quick shifter.

Like the F 900 R, the F 900 XR boasts tons of technology including Dynamic ESA, ABS Pro, MSR, DTC and RDC+, ASC, cruise control, and four selectable riding modes. There are enough options to truly make your new F 900 XR fit your riding style.

For us though, the pick of the ride modes was Dynamic, as it allowed the XR’s suspension to do its thing, while offering a little more animation from the 895cc motor, which had a charm of its own.

BMW’s 6.5-inch TFT display is excellent. It’s easy to control and select options through the toggle switches on the handlebars, and provides every bit of info you could ever possibly want, both clearly and precisely.

There are two different displays to use as a speedo and both are clear and easy to read on the fly for the rider. Standard inclusions on the F 900 XR are also very good and include LED Lights, adjustable levers and windscreen, hand guards and heated grips.

There is also a range of aftermarket accessories available to individualise your 2020 BMW F 900 XR. Items such as seats and luggage options are available should you wish to turn it into a full touring beast.

Our test bike came in Light White, but you can also choose Racing Red and Galvanic Gold Metallic. In a twist of irony, perhaps the biggest competition for this bike comes from within, in the form of the 2020 BMW S 1000 XR.

With ride away pricing starting from $19,835 it may be a good time to visit your local BMW Motorrad dealer and test ride one for yourself.

Our test bike was provided by BMW Motorrad Australia. To find out more about the 2020 BMW F 900 XR, contact your local BMW Motorrad dealer.

REVIEW OVERVIEW

Riding experience
9
Styling and cofort
8
Braking and handling
9.5
Technology and connectivity
9
Overall bike performance
8
Value for money
9

SUMMARY

Pros - great corner eating capabilities; good fuel economy; jack of all trades; comfort and versatility for longer rides. Cons - more expensive than its Japanese rivals; hard not to spend the extra cash on the S 1000 XR; no panniers as standard.
Andrew Jenkin
Andrew Jenkin
Andrew Jenkin is the ride editor at Exhaust Notes Australia, founding editor of Two Wheel Addicts, a contributor at Bike Review and panel judge for Harley Davidson's Breakout Boss competition. Andrew has a love for anything on two wheels whether that be sports, naked or adventure bikes, with a guilty pleasure for cruisers.

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<strong>Pros -</strong> great corner eating capabilities; good fuel economy; jack of all trades; comfort and versatility for longer rides. <strong>Cons -</strong> more expensive than its Japanese rivals; hard not to spend the extra cash on the S 1000 XR; no panniers as standard.2020 BMW F 900 XR (bike review)