BMW’s replacement for the F 850 with more horsepower and a fatter torque curve

BMW Motorrad finally gave its mid-size sportbike range a much needed update ahead of MY2020 with its new F 900 R roadster. Built for fun, the F 900 R delivers the goods with a new chassis, new all-plastic fuel tank, and a bevy of electronic systems for ride-quality and safety control. A new, parallel-twin powerplant drives your on-road adventures with almost 100 horsepower on tap, and as always, BMW has a well-rounded accessory line that pulls from the top shelf to boost its capabilities even more.

  • 2020 BMW F 900 R
  • Year:
    2020
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    Flat-twin
  • Displacement:
    895 cc
  • Top Speed:
    134 mph (Est.)
  • Price:
    8995
  • Price:

2020 BMW F 900 R Design

  • LED lighting
  • 6.5-inch color TFT display
  • BMW Motorrad Connectivity
  • “Plastic-welded” fuel tank
  • Adjustable clutch and brake levers
2020 BMW F 900 R
- image 879198
2020 BMW F 900 R
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In true classic roadster style, the F 900 R carries itself with minimal body cladding along with blackout treatment that lends it a bit of a home-made vibe.

It starts with the cut-down front fender that pushes the limits of function and is just large enough to contain the front-wheel fling, and as simple as it is, it sets the stage for the rest of the machine.

Since the front forks are inverted, the fender is mounted to the fork feet and the uprights pull double duty as both a grit guard for the swept area of the inner fork tubes and as a wind shunt to direct the lower slipstream out and away from the stems for improved penetration. A compact, over-under, LED headlight rides in a blackout, naked-style housing to split the night as part of the stock package, but if you pony up for the optional Headlight Pro you will get a set of cornering lights that automatically illuminate when you exceed 7-degrees of lean. This puts the light in the corner where you are headed as opposed to the fixed headlight that shines where the front wheel is pointed. If you’ve ridden at night, you know how useless the latter actually is in the bends.

LED turn signals finish the forward lighting on short standoffs mounted to the upper abbreviated cowling panels, and that’s too bad as it leaves them vulnerable in a drop or slide. Unfortunately, U.S. laws require a certain amount of separation between the front blinkers, and on bikes like this with no front fairing to speak of, builders are left with little choice in mounting positions to satisfy that requirement. Nothin’ for it if you ride in the States.

Thin Film Transistor displays and wireless connectivity are becoming more ubiquitous every day, so it’s no surprise to see that tech on Beemer’s newest roadster. A 6.5-inch color screen serves as a digital instrument cluster and acts as a rider interface for the ride-control systems. Naturally, it also comes with BMW Motorrad Connectivity that networks wirelessly with your smartphone to enable an on-board navigation system, pipe in your favorite tunes, and field hands-free phonecalls. The Ride Modes Pro accessory unlocks additional screen configurations to give you a choice in high-visibility layouts.

In a first for streetbikes, a 3.4-gallon “plastic-welded” fuel tank contributes a dramatic hump to the flyline ahead of a deep swale that pulls you into the bike and supports your butt at 32 inches off the deck. If that doesn’t work for you, the factory offers optional seats and suspension that range between 30.3-inches and 34-inches high to accommodate a wide range of body types. The factory doubles down on the variable rider’s triangle with adjustable clutch and brake levers as well.

Mainframe-mount, fold-up footpegs, J.C handles and a cushy pillion pad come stock to let you share the fun with a friend, but if you prefer, you can chuck on the tail cover for that solo-streetfighter look. An all-in-one rear fender mounts the taillight, license plate, taglight, and rear blinkers, again, all in super-bright LED tech just like the front lights.

2020 BMW F 900 R Chassis

  • Blackout styling
  • Agile handling
  • ABS
  • point
2020 BMW F 900 R
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2020 BMW F 900 R
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2020 BMW F 900 R
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Hollow “steel-shell” members on the F 900 R make up the bridge-type frame for the balance of strength, rigidity, and low weight they add to the equation. Much of the main frame is actually visible due to the dearth of body coverings, but that fact is less-than-conspicuous due to the generous blackout treatment that tends to visually homogenize the design.

Cast aluminum is the material of choice for the yoke-style swingarm, and it relies on a single, centrally located, coil-over shock for support. Adjustable spring preload and rebound damping are the only two suspension adjustments on the bike as the usd, 43 mm front forks come with fixed values.

Rake and trail ride at 29.5 degrees and 4.5-inches respectively to give the F 900 R an agile nature without crossing over into squirrely territory for a workable balance.

Suspension travel is pretty generous for a strictly-street machine with 5.3 inches of travel up front opposite 5.5 inches out back, so it will tolerate the roughest roads in your particular urban jungle.

Cast-aluminum rims round out the rolling chassis with “Z”-rated hoops in a 120/70 and 180/55 in a tread that is meant to remain grippy even in inclement weather. When it’s time to drop anchor, you can rely on dual, 320 mm discs and four-pot calipers to slow the front wheel and a single-piston binder that grabs the 265 mm rear disc, all with BMW Motorrad’s proprietary ABS feature to prevent loss of traction due to overbraking and/or slippery conditions.

Frame: Bridge-type frame, steel shell construction
Front Suspension/ Travel: Upside-down telescopic fork, Ø 43 mm/5.3" (135 mm)
Rear Suspension/ Travel: Cast aluminum dual swing arm, central spring strut, spring pre-load hydraulically adjustable, rebound damping adjustable/ 5.5" (142 mm)
Castor: 4.5" (114.3 mm)
Steering head angle: 60.5°
Brake, front: Dual disc brake, floating brake discs, Ø 320 mm, 4-piston radial brake calipers
Brake, rear: Single disc brake, Ø 265 mm, single-piston floating caliper
Wheels: Cast aluminum wheels
Rim, front: 3.50" x 17”
Rim rear: 5.50" x 17”
Tire, front: 120/70 ZR 17
Tire, rear: 180/55 ZR 17
ABS: BMW Motorrad ABS

2020 BMW F 900 R Drivetrain

  • New 895 cc flat-twin engine
  • Slipper-style clutch
  • 99 ponies @ 8,500 rpm
  • 67 pound-feet @ 6,500 rpm
2020 BMW F 900 R
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2020 BMW F 900 R
- image 879195
2020 BMW F 900 R
- image 879201
The F 900 R's engine first saw light of day back in '18 in the F 850 GS, but has been revised for more horsepower and a fatter torque curve.

The new flat-twin engine on the F 900 R generates 99 ponies at 8,500 rpm with 67 pound-feet of torque at 6,500 rpm. Standard equipment includes the Automatic Stability Control (traction control) feature and a pair of Rider Modes (Road/Rain) to give you some control over the engine’s personality and let you dial in for the road conditions.

An 86 mm bore and 77 mm stroke gives the mill its 895 cc total displacement and 13.1-to-1 compression ratio. It’s water cooled for thermal stability and runs with dual over-head cams to time the 8-valve head, eliminating the need for pushrods and the reciprocating mass they would add to the system. A closed-loop, 2-into-1-into-2 exhaust system takes care of business with a three-way catalyst. The catalyst burns off free hydrocarbons that make it out of the combustion chambers to meet Euro 5 emission standards. The engine boasts a 56 mpg mileage rating that’s pretty fuel friendly, and that’s a good thing considering that the sizzlin’ hot compression ratio will have you at the premium pump exclusively.

A slipper-style clutch provides anti-hop mitigation by de-coupling the drivetrain from the engine to prevent the buildup of excessive backtorque when you downshift/engine brake for yet another safety feature. Plus, it provides a light clutch pull to give your left hand a break.

The factory didn’t neglect the engine when it comes to accessories, and if you spring for the extra cheddar you can score additional ride modes, lean-sensitive traction control, and new engine drag-torque control for your electronics suite. Power flows through a six-speed gearbox and O-ring chain final drive, and the overall drive ratio turns in a rather ambiguous top speed of “over 134 mph,” according to the factory.

Engine: Water-cooled 4-stroke in-line two-cylinder engine, four valves per cylinder, two overhead camshafts, dry sump lubrication
Bore x Stroke: 86 mm x 77 mm
Displacement: 895 cc
Rated output: 99 hp @ 8,500 rpm
Max. torque: 67 lb-ft @t 6,500 rpm
Compression ratio: 13.1 : 1
Mixture control / engine management: Electronic fuel injection
Emission control: Closed-loop 3-way catalytic converter, emission standard EU-5
Clutch: Multiple-disc wet clutch (anti hopping), mechanically operated
Gearbox: Constant mesh 6-speed gearbox integrated in crankcase
Drive: Endless O-ring chain with shock damping in rear wheel hub

2020 BMW F 900 R Pricing

2020 BMW F 900 R
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2020 BMW F 900 R
- image 879191
2020 BMW F 900 R
- image 879194
Priced to move, the base-model 2020 F 900 R rolls for $8,995.

It comes in a trio of paint packages that include Hockenheim Silver Metallic over Racing Red, San Marino Blue Metallic, and Black Storm Metallic, all of which come with plenty of blackout treatment.

Standard Features: Colored TFT Display With BMW Motorrad Connectivity, LED Headlight (Low / High) Beam, LED Indicators, ASC, Riding Modes (Rain/Road), Adjustable Hand Brake and Clutch Levers, 12V Socket
Color: Hockenheim Silver Metallic / Racing Red, San Marino Blue Metallic, Black Storm Metallic
Price: $8,995

2020 BMW F 900 R Competitors

2018 - 2020 Ducati Monster 821
- image 773267
2020 BMW F 900 R
- image 879202

Looking at this new Beemer, it seems clear that it was built for the same kind of buyer who would appreciate what Ducati’s Monster 821 brings to the table, so let’s see how they stack up.

Ducati Monster 821

2018 - 2020 Ducati Monster 821
- image 773554

Even more naked than the F 900 R, the Monster carries a teensie-weensie little front fender below a similarly compact headlight assembly for that typical naked look. In profile, the lines borrow from the ’93 Monster to establish a continuity of design that pays an appropriate amount of homage to the original without becoming a slave to it. Seriously though, it’s hard to beat Ducati for aesthetics but this time Beemer manages to give Duc a run for its money, at least to mine eyes.

The Monster slips a little in the suspension department because it comes with adjustable preload out back as the only suspension tweak to cede the advantage to the BMW’s rear shock that also has a rebound-damping adjuster. Up front, the usd forks run with fixed variables across the board, so honestly, there’s room for improvement on both machines.

Bosch ABS and Brembo anchors break even with the Motorrad’s brake hardware, and the stock electronics are fairly equal, as well, with the basics well represented all around. Ducati powers its entry with an 821 cc L-Twin plant that, in spite of its lower displacement versus the 895 cc BMW twin, produces 109 horsepower and 63 pounds o’ torque against Beemer’s 99/67 for a slight edge in brute power.

You'll pay dearly for that extra 10 ponies, 'cause the Base Monster 821 fetches $11,995 and that three-thousand dollar difference is liable to buy BMW some business, for sure.

Read our full review of the Ducati Monster 821.

He Said

“The objective of the rebuild was to offer a fresh, competitive, mid-size model for sport riders, and it seems safe to say mission accompli at this point. Even though it comes with ride modes, ABS, and traction control, it’s fairly basic by today’s standards, but if BMW follows its usual pattern of development we can expect to see some of the optional equipment show up on the base model soon enough.”

She Said

My wife and fellow motorcycle writer, Allyn Hinton, says, “Torque is available low in the rev-range, which you’ll notice right away, and even though this is the engine out of the 850 GS, it’s been bored, has new heads, and it’s remapped for better response. To accommodate a wide range of rider heights, six different seat heights are available and two different handlebars so you can really dial in the rider triangle to your liking. BMW calls it aggressive styling, but looks a bit unintimidating to me."

"The emphasis is on ride quality rather than flat out performance, so this could be your everyday bike.”

2020 BMW F 900 R Specifications

Engine & Drivetrain:
Engine: Water-cooled 4-stroke in-line two-cylinder engine, four valves per cylinder, two overhead camshafts, dry sump lubrication
Bore x Stroke: 86 mm x 77 mm
Displacement: 895 cc
Rated output: 99 hp @ 8,500 rpm
Max. torque: 67 lb-ft @t 6,500 rpm
Compression ratio: 13.1 : 1
Mixture control / engine management: Electronic fuel injection
Emission control: Closed-loop 3-way catalytic converter, emission standard EU-5
Clutch: Multiple-disc wet clutch (anti hopping), mechanically operated
Gearbox: Constant mesh 6-speed gearbox integrated in crankcase
Drive: Endless O-ring chain with shock damping in rear wheel hub
Chassis:
Frame: Bridge-type frame, steel shell construction
Front Suspension/ Travel: Upside-down telescopic fork, Ø 43 mm/5.3" (135 mm)
Rear Suspension/ Travel: Cast aluminum dual swing arm, central spring strut, spring pre-load hydraulically adjustable, rebound damping adjustable/ 5.5" (142 mm)
Castor: 4.5" (114.3 mm)
Steering head angle: 60.5°
Brake, front: Dual disc brake, floating brake discs, Ø 320 mm, 4-piston radial brake calipers
Brake, rear: Single disc brake, Ø 265 mm, single-piston floating caliper
Wheels: Cast aluminum wheels
Rim, front: 3.50" x 17”
Rim rear: 5.50" x 17”
Tire, front: 120/70 ZR 17
Tire, rear: 180/55 ZR 17
ABS: BMW Motorrad ABS
Dimensions & Capacities:
Wheelbase: 59.7" (1,518 mm)
Length: 84.2" (2,140 mm)
Width (incl. Mirrors): 32" (815 mm)
Height (excl. mirrors): 44.4" (1,130 mm)
Seat height, unladen weight: 32" (OE suspension lowering kit: 30.3", OE low seat: 31.1", OA high seat: 32.8", OA comfort seat: 33", OE extra high seat: 34")
Inner leg curve, unladen weight: 71.6" (OE suspension lowering kit: 69", OE low seat: 70.2", OA high seat: 73.2", OA comfort seat: 73.6", OE extra high seat: 74.4")
Unladen weight, road ready, fully fueled: 465 lbs (211 kg)
Permitted total weight: 947 lbs (430 kg)
Payload (with standard equipment): 482 lbs (219 kg)
Usable tank volume: 3.4 gal 0.9 gal reserve (13 L with approx. 3.5 L reserve)
Fuel consumption: 56 mpg (WMTC)
Fuel type: Premium Unleaded
Maximum speed: Over 134 mph
Electrical:
Alternator: Permanent magnetic alternator 416 W (nominal power)
Battery: 12 V / 12 Ah, maintenance-free
Details:
Standard Features: Colored TFT Display With BMW Motorrad Connectivity, LED Headlight (Low / High) Beam, LED Indicators, ASC, Riding Modes (Rain/Road), Adjustable Hand Brake and Clutch Levers, 12V Socket
Color: Hockenheim Silver Metallic / Racing Red, San Marino Blue Metallic, Black Storm Metallic
Price: $8,995

Further Reading

BMW Motorrad

ALLYN IMAGES: DO NOT DELETE
- image 789359

Read more BMW news.

TJ Hinton
T.J got an early start from his father and other family members who owned and rode motorcycles, and by helping with various mechanical repairs throughout childhood. That planted a seed that grew into a well-rounded appreciation of all things mechanical, and eventually, into a formal education of same. Though primarily a Harley rider, he has an appreciation for all sorts of bikes and doesn't discriminate against any particular brand or region of origin. He currently holds an Associate's degree in applied mechanical science from his time at the M.M.I.  Read More
About the author

All images featured on this website are copyrighted to their respective rightful owners. No infringement is intended. Image Source: bmwmotorcycles.com, ducati.com

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