By John Burns Editor Score: 86.5%
2020 BMW F 900 R
Editor Score: 86.5%
The pie, everyone agrees, is shrinking, and nobody can agree on how to bake a new one. Many, if not most industry people seem to have concluded millennials are just cell phone-addicted slackers, though slackers is not the word many of them use in private conversation. What it’s all about now, then, is conquest sales, and when the Germans start talking conquest, people listen. One way to conquer is by lowering prices, which would seem to suggest the slackification could be a money-related issue, wouldn’t it? I can’t remember the last time BMW admitted to taking aim at a specific competitor, but for the new F 900 XR in our lead image, it’s the Yamaha Tracer 900. For the barer-boned F 900 R, it’s the Kawasaki Z900 – both rich targets and great bargains.
Your F 800 R was a pleasant enough motorcycle, with emphasis on design, easy handling, affordability… With the new 900 versions, BMW moves the bike more in an S 1000 R direction, stressing sportiness, with visuals and performance “considerably more aggressive” than the 800.
F 900 R
To that end, we’ve got an all-new frame with more torsional rigidity and a stiffer swingarm. Attached to it are footpegs 0.6-inch higher and 0.2-in rearward, and the handlebar moves 1 inch forward. Gas moves from under the seat to the traditional spot, all of which makes the 900 a tad more front-wheel centric. Though the target may have been Z900, I was surprised to find myself thinking KTM Duke 790 after a few sections of curves. The chassis feels way more nimble, solid and eager than the F 800 R, …read more