2020 BMW F900R first ride review - Huskytalk.com - Husqvarna Motorcycle Forum



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  1. #1
    Richard230's Avatar
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    Here is the first ride review article for the new F900R that I have seen so far: https://www.revzilla.com/common-trea...orcycle-review
    Richard - Current bikes: 2016 BMW R1200RS, 2018 16.6 kWh Zero S, 2011 Royal Enfield Bullet 500 Classic, 2009 BMW F650GS, 2020 KTM 390 Duke, 2002 Yamaha FZ1 (FZS1000N) and a 1978 Honda Kick 'N Go Senior. 

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    I just test rode the 900XR yesterday, it's on the short list for my next bike and now I think it may be my next bike. They had a 900R there too but I didn't bother taking it out, I really like the idea of the longer suspension travel on the XR. I aimed for every pothole I and rough patch I could find while out on it and it just ate them up. That said, the 900R should behave pretty similarly with the same engine and basically the same weight (tough lighter).

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    One result of the wet weather is that I am able to tell you with great confidence that the F 900 R’s rain mode is pointless. As standard, the bike comes with two riding modes — Rain and Road — and you can pay more to get Dynamic and Dynamic Pro. You will never want to use Rain. BMW should rename it “Sadness.” Choose this mode only if your life is full of too much joy, or if you’re lending the bike to a friend and you want him to give up motorcycling.
    That was so funny.

    Chris
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    I'm not excited about it, I kinda like my 8R, where I can make it into a touring bike, or a sport bike, or an adventure bike. This one seems too sporty. Probably good for those short rides with friends where you go gas station to gas station, but we know as BMW riders, that when we get on, we don't stop.... like all day.
    Also what's wrong with the odd looking headlight, it's distinctive. GS's still have them! Probably getting a 12GS next

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    Interesting read but it's a no for me.
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    And just what we need. Another BMW with a really hard seat and a snatchy throttle.

    I wonder why the US version puts out 6 HP less than the EU version? It is hard to believe that the US EPA emission regulations are more restrictive than Euro 5.
    Richard - Current bikes: 2016 BMW R1200RS, 2018 16.6 kWh Zero S, 2011 Royal Enfield Bullet 500 Classic, 2009 BMW F650GS, 2020 KTM 390 Duke, 2002 Yamaha FZ1 (FZS1000N) and a 1978 Honda Kick 'N Go Senior. 

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    No one I've asked has been able to answer the hp question yet, though it was suggested that it may be different ways of measuring and there's actually no difference. I've even seen it listed as 103 hp in some articles, I think it just depends on the country. I didn't ride the 'R' so I can't speak to the seat, but the XR felt fine for the 10-15 minutes I got to do laps around the neighborhoods. Snatchy throttle though, that was something I did not experience so I'm not sure what that's in reference to. I read another article somewhere that mentioned the exact opposite, saying the throttle angle is mapped to be slow response until the last 20% of the turn where it really ramps up, very similar to the G2 throttle tamer for non ride by wire setups. This is exactly that I felt, it was ultra rideable at low throttle angles, and they when you twist your wrist it was like the power just poured in. I think that if you're riding with the throttle at that tipping point you might feel a change, but that should disappear once you get used to the bike.
    Ultimately, don't trust the articles, go out and test ride for yourself. I was really impressed, but that's just me.

  12. #8
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    I think it is significant when a reviewer actually mentions a downside or negative about a bike. Magazine reviewers have been fired for being too honest in the past as the manufacturer pulls their advertising.

    Back when I first test rode a GT, I also test rode the Yamaha FJ-09. In all the reviews I read about the FJ-09, only one mentioned anything about the throttle being abrupt...all the others raved about the wheelies they were able to do. But when I test rode that FJ-09, I couldn't wait to get off it. I only took it once around the block, and I almost left it at the halfway point and walked back to the dealership. I hated it that much. Later reviews, and especially those of the Tracer GT, mentioned the snatchy throttle being an issue.

    And you can bet that if the seat is hard enough to mention...it's hard. You would think someone would put some thought into the little details like that.

    I'm still happy with my GT.

    Chris
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    Again, not sure about the R, I only rode the XR but that seat felt fine. They said the engines and mapping are identical between the two bikes and I thought the fueling was excellent on the XR, no issues with a snatchy throttle at all. So I shouldn't say I don't trust the magazine, rather I rode the bike and I disagree.

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    Here is what the reviewer said about the throttle response:

    Road mode is much better, though a bit choppy. Blame Euro 5 regulations, I guess, but holding steady speed through corners was trickier than I felt it needed to be. I didn’t get an opportunity to ride the bike in an urban situation, but I suspect owners will experience a certain amount of pulsing when attempting to hold steady speed at around 30 mph. Ever since Euro 4 was introduced a few years ago, a lot of bikes — in particular, those with ride by wire — have struggled to deliver steady throttle.

    He had this comment about the brakes:
    Brakes, meanwhile, are soft. The rear especially. Despite the Brembo calipers gripping dual front discs and a single rear, you’ll want to make use of the engine and some forward planning when applying the whoa. I mean, it’s not as if you’re trundling around on a 1970s Triumph (“Stopping? That’s for pansies!”), but because I’ve ridden plenty of other BMWs, I know the company is capable of offering a more robust setup than this. Perhaps different brake pads would help?

    And here is his comment about the seat:
    Throw a leg over and one of the first things you notice is the stiffness of the seat. I once rode from London to Prague and back on a Harley-Davidson Street Bob without discomfort, so I would not describe myself as persnickety. But, man. This bike’s seat is challenging. I’d assume that you could get used to this, perhaps adding a few more donuts to your diet to help develop additional padding, but it did stand out to me as a problem issue on an otherwise good bike.

    Finally, the F800R comes in for a little criticism:

    That’s a backhanded compliment, I know, but it is infinitely better than the “coffee can full of pennies” rattle emitted by the F 800 R.
    Richard - Current bikes: 2016 BMW R1200RS, 2018 16.6 kWh Zero S, 2011 Royal Enfield Bullet 500 Classic, 2009 BMW F650GS, 2020 KTM 390 Duke, 2002 Yamaha FZ1 (FZS1000N) and a 1978 Honda Kick 'N Go Senior. 

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    So I caved in and put money down on a fully optioned (US market) XR the other day. We don't know when it will arrive, the only ones in the country right now are the first round of dealer demo models, but our best guess is March or April. That gives me plenty of time to unload my 800GS to make some room in the garage for it. My only complaint was lack of adjustable front end, but the wife already gave to ok to throw Ohlins at it if I get some miles in and find it lacking in stock form. It'll still be cheaper than the Tiger 900 GT Pro I was cross shopping.

  16. #12
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    Congratulations! Did you also look at the Yamaha Tracer GT?

    Chris
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    I did and it just didn't tick off enough of the boxes for me, though it is a good looking bike. AFAIK the Tracer is lacking all these and you'd have to go FJR (not my style) - Lean sensitive ABS and TC, variable engine braking, hill hold control, a really well put together software suite, cornering headlight and 1" more travel front & rear. I know most of these are tech aides that aren't 'needed' but I commute year round and a little extra built in safety is always welcome. Then I can always turn it off on the weekends if I want to do something dumb. It's like they took 90% of the best features from the S1000XR,, which was also on my list until I called my insurance agent, ouch!!!

  18. #14
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    The BMW F 800 R (2009-2019) was, by BMW’s own admission, a boring bike. Odd-looking, too, with a front end strangely reminiscent of Bill the Cat
    I like the F800R. If it was not for the need for wet weather protection I may well have bought one over a GT. Beauty is very much in the eye of the beholder but there is not enough difference between the old F800R and the F900R to claim the latter:-

    ....the R has been radically changed:......... and better looks. Now known as the F 900 R, it is delightfully unlike its predecessor in almost every way.
    If you thought the F800R was odd looking the F900R will not have you thinking "now that's what a motorcycle should look like"
    In the Garage 2013 BMW F800 GT,1994 BMW R80 RT,1986 BMW R80 GS,1999 Yamaha SR125
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  19. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by rcb78 View Post
    So I caved in and put money down on a fully optioned (US market) XR the other day.........
    Congrats rcb78, please keep the forum updated on your thoughts on the F900 engine.
    In the Garage 2013 BMW F800 GT,1994 BMW R80 RT,1986 BMW R80 GS,1999 Yamaha SR125
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  20. #16
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    Small update - I went back yesterday (my wife is awesome) to test ride the S1000XR back to back with the F900XR, ya know, just to be sure I shouldn't get the bigger bike. Again, my wife is pretty awesome. I spent about a half hour on each bike, mixing neighborhoods, highways, clover type onramps (closest thing to corning at speed within my time limit) and just some general hooliganry (that's a real word, I promise).
    Let's start with, "For my needs" the S1000XR is insane, so much fun, but as a year round, rain/shine, commuter who lane splits (california) through crazy Bay Area traffic,,, well 160hp on tap, even in rain mode, is not practical. Crazy fun, but mentally exhausting trying to stay smooth at low speeds while weaving through traffic.
    So back to the 900XR, it was a pleasure to hop back on that bike. I had spent time on both my Gen3 SV650 (that sold yesterday morning), then rode to the dealer on my F800GS, then the S1000XR and finally the F900XR. So all those bikes were fresh in my head going into this 2nd test ride. At 215lbs, there's a little bit of fork dive on braking, but really not bad and it didn't seem to upset the bike at all. I will probably at least do springs, if not a full cartridge kit after I take delivery. The demo model was basic, no ESA and I didn't mess with the rear shock at all, so plenty of room for improvement in back, but again, it wasn't bad, just vanilla. I feel like an ESA Wilburs upgrade might be the trick there if I go Ohlins up front.
    On to the engine. I've watched and read every first ride review I can find and only two say anything about the throttle being choppy. After my ride again yesterday, I still stand by my statement that I do not agree with that. The ride-by-wire throttle is mapped like a G2 Throttle Tamer (which I have on my 800GS) so the first half-ish of the throttle is very tame, then as you twist it towards full throttle the ratio changes and it ramps up like a quick turn throttle. I think this change is what those reviewers were talking about and if you're not used to a non-linear throttle response, well it's a little weird at first. It gives the illusion of the bike not making power until you wind it up, but that's not really the case. If that doesn't make sense, then check out a description here. All that aside, it was 'fun' fast. It's not going to pop wheelies at 80mph like the S1000, but I'm ok with that. I do think it will hold it's own from a stop up to and beyond freeway speeds, that seems to be more about traction than power anyways.
    As for vibrations, I still didn't notice anything. It felt like my SV650 which is much smoother than my 800GS and I don't think that's bad either. The whole ride felt very smooth, I didn't rev the engine past 8k (not my bike and still breaking in) but I did cruise at varying rpms on the highway up to about 90mph, all very composed. The windscreen was perfect for me at 6'. No windblast on the chest at all, but full blast on my helmet when in the lower position,,, now here's the thing with that. My helmet does VERY well in undisturbed air flow. It's actually quieter and smoother with no windscreen that with one, so this was perfect for me. I can stand on the pegs of my 800GS on the freeway at 80mph and everything goes pretty silent, it's really nice. No pressure on my chest pushing me back off the bike, but smooth and quiet at my head. With the screen popped up, it would be good for rainy days keeping the weather at bay, but the air is disturbed now and there is some minor buffeting. I think that's going to be a YMMW type thing for most people based on their helmet and how tall they are. For me it was pretty good and I can't see myself worrying about the windscreen until there's nothing else left to tinker with.
    My recommendation stands, if you like the look of the bike but you're unsure based on reviews then go ride it. Every BMW dealer I've dealt with allowed test rides, so there's no reason to not have first hand experience provided they got a demo model in (most did).

  21. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Richard230 View Post
    .......I wonder why the US version puts out 6 HP less than the EU version? It is hard to believe that the US EPA emission regulations are more restrictive than Euro 5.
    Quote Originally Posted by rcb78 View Post
    No one I've asked has been able to answer the hp question yet, though it was suggested that it may be different ways of measuring and there's actually no difference. I've even seen it listed as 103 hp in some articles, I think it just depends on the country..
    It would appear the answer may be in a link posted by Chris (as ever thanks Chris) below.

    https://www.bennetts.co.uk/bikesocia...iew-price-spec

    from the article:-

    "Do be aware that there’s an A2 version of the F900XR, which makes a peak of [email protected],000rpm (so that it can be legally restricted to half that for A2 licence-holders). There’s no way at all to give this version of the bike the same power as the standard machine, so watch out, especially when buying used."

    As to why BMW would send the bikes that can be made to be A2 complicate to the States when you guys don't have an A2 licence is beyond me.
    In the Garage 2013 BMW F800 GT,1994 BMW R80 RT,1986 BMW R80 GS,1999 Yamaha SR125
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  22. #18
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    The bike coming to the US is not a "full power" A2 version, 94≠99. I've heard two theories, one is it's an emissions thing and the tuning took a hit in the States, the other which I think is more likely is that there are different rating systems at work here. My guess is that the engine had to be tested and dyno'd over here in the states and since all BMWs here are 50 state, the testing was probably done in Ca with our alcohol based fuel (e10). That alone could account for the difference. All the BMW manuals I've read state that power will be lost for lower grade fuels as the ecu adapts to it. I'd bet if you dyno'd a US engine on some VP or Sunoco fuel all that missing HP would come back.

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  24. #19
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    I wonder if the power loss has to do with California's requirement for a quieter muffler than what the EU requires? As you know, BMW follows CA's regulations when it comes to importing bikes for the US market.
    Richard - Current bikes: 2016 BMW R1200RS, 2018 16.6 kWh Zero S, 2011 Royal Enfield Bullet 500 Classic, 2009 BMW F650GS, 2020 KTM 390 Duke, 2002 Yamaha FZ1 (FZS1000N) and a 1978 Honda Kick 'N Go Senior. 

  25. #20
    Richard230's Avatar
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    Here is another F900R and XR review to add to the pile: https://www.motorcycle.com/manufactu...rst-rides.html
    Richard - Current bikes: 2016 BMW R1200RS, 2018 16.6 kWh Zero S, 2011 Royal Enfield Bullet 500 Classic, 2009 BMW F650GS, 2020 KTM 390 Duke, 2002 Yamaha FZ1 (FZS1000N) and a 1978 Honda Kick 'N Go Senior. 

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    Interesting that they rate the transmission/clutch differently between the two bikes,,, they're 100% identical.

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    Coming back to this now that I've got an answer to the HP rating discrepancy. BMW customer service for USA has said they loaded a different map for the US market bikes to accommodate 'poor US fuel quality'. I suspect it's the 13.1:1 CR that is the cause, >13 is pretty high for pump gas even with modern tech and knock sensors. The only other bike in their lineup that >13 is the S1000RR @ 13.3 and it does have a knock sensor. The S1000R is only 12.2, the S1000XR is 12.5. I suspect they are pushing the envelope with this platform to distinguish it above the 850 and our seasonal changes to fuel additives are known for their issues. I guess the bright side is, the risk of knocking or pinging due to an 'off' tank of fuel is diminished. Or the other way to look at it is, there's tuning potential left of the table for us to play with.

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    Richard230's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rcb78 View Post
    Coming back to this now that I've got an answer to the HP rating discrepancy. BMW customer service for USA has said they loaded a different map for the US market bikes to accommodate 'poor US fuel quality'. I suspect it's the 13.1:1 CR that is the cause, >13 is pretty high for pump gas even with modern tech and knock sensors. The only other bike in their lineup that >13 is the S1000RR @ 13.3 and it does have a knock sensor. The S1000R is only 12.2, the S1000XR is 12.5. I suspect they are pushing the envelope with this platform to distinguish it above the 850 and our seasonal changes to fuel additives are known for their issues. I guess the bright side is, the risk of knocking or pinging due to an 'off' tank of fuel is diminished. Or the other way to look at it is, there's tuning potential left of the table for us to play with.
    That is interesting and unfortunately makes sense. We do have crappy fuel, especially during the summer when the summer smog gas blend arrives. When that happens my R12RS will not start on the first try in the morning and it takes two pushes of the button to get it started. But during the winter it starts right up with no drama.
    Richard - Current bikes: 2016 BMW R1200RS, 2018 16.6 kWh Zero S, 2011 Royal Enfield Bullet 500 Classic, 2009 BMW F650GS, 2020 KTM 390 Duke, 2002 Yamaha FZ1 (FZS1000N) and a 1978 Honda Kick 'N Go Senior. 

  30. #24
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    They wouldn't elaborate but I do still wonder if there is an 'actual' change or if the lower rating is what will happen when people inevitably run 87 octane in place of 91/92. The user manuals have always stated that they recommend the use of a minimum 90 AKI and that using lower is safe, but the engine will make adaptations and subsequently less power. I suspect (or hope) that this is what's going on here. Digging through the user manual (online) there's a fueling section that states normal capacity is 77kW but with 'regular grade fuel' it's only 73kW and "control is national market specific". 73kW is about 98hp, so that seems believable.
    Oh well, not that it's going to matter. I was happy with the one I test rode, I'll be happy with mine too whenever it shows up. Most recent tracking update has it on a boat due to dock in NY on Thurs. Then maybe 2-3 wks to clear customs, unload and make it across the country.

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    On blind, right-hand, uphill hairpin turns in Italy and you can come to appreciate rain mode.

  32. #26
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    The owner's manual for my 2016 R12RS says to use 89 AKI octane, but I usually use 91 as it only costs an additional 10 cents a gallon more than the 89 octane stuff.
    Richard - Current bikes: 2016 BMW R1200RS, 2018 16.6 kWh Zero S, 2011 Royal Enfield Bullet 500 Classic, 2009 BMW F650GS, 2020 KTM 390 Duke, 2002 Yamaha FZ1 (FZS1000N) and a 1978 Honda Kick 'N Go Senior. 

  33. #27
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    This is out of the manual for the 800GS I recently sold. Pretty much the same as the 900, power reduction for using lower grade of fuel.

    Click image for larger version. 

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