BMW put an XR in its mid-displacement GS lineup

BMW buffed its mid-size adventure-bike range with the new-for-2020 F 900 XR model that builds on the equally new F 900 R roadster. The XR is built as an on-road tourbike/commuter on a new chassis with a new plastic-welded gas tank and a handful of top-drawer electronic safety and ride-quality control features to polish off the package. A new parallel-twin engine drives the XR with nearly 100 ponies on tap to drive your asphalt adventures.

  • 2020 BMW F 900 XR
  • Year:
    2020
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    Flat-twin
  • Displacement:
    895 cc
  • Top Speed:
    130 mph (Est.)
  • Price:
    11695
  • Price:

2020 BMW F 900 XR Design

  • Upright, relaxed sitting position
  • LED Lighting
  • Low seat height
  • 6.5-inch color TFT screen
2020 BMW F 900 XR
- image 879913
2020 BMW F 900 XR
- image 879908
The 2020 F 900 XR is essentially a cross-breed with a blend of both sportbike and adventure bike features.

A cut-down front fender on the F 900 XR contains the forward fling and pulls double duty with foil-shaped uprights that protect the inner fork tubes from grit and grime, and shunts the incoming air around same for low-drag penetration.

Short, standoff-style turn signals mount just inside the sportbike-style upper cowling where they are unlikely to be damaged in a drop or slide, and they are joined by thin DRLs that line the bottom of the dual headlights like eyeliner, all with super-bright LEDs to split the night and ensure you remain visible from the front during daylight hours.

A lightly-smoked windscreen rides up top and comes both adjustable and vented for your comfort – the former so you can dial it in for your height/preferences and the latter so the head-buffet effect is minimized – all to extend your riding times. The tweaks don’t stop there. Both hand levers are also adjustable so you can adjust them for your hand size, plus the saddle comes in heights that range from 30.5 inches high up to 34.25 inches off the deck to accommodate a range of inseam sizes.

There’s a bit of rise and pullback in the shape of the handlebar to allow for an upright riding posture but remain comfortable when you want to tuck in for speed. The 4.1-gallon fuel tank starts out wide up front ahead of a steep drop to the seat. The tank has a strong wane toward the back to create the knee pockets and let you pull your stems in out of the slipstream and still leave room for some body English.

Mainframe-mount passenger footpegs join a pair of substantial J.C. handles and tapered pillion pad in case you want to share the fun with a friend, plus it doubles as an open-air cargo deck and you can use the grabrails as an anchor for your bungee net. That’s fairly important since the bike rolls without any stock baggage.

LED turn signals, taillight, and tag light are bundled with the short mudguard that uses the license plate itself as part of the coverage to finish out the gear in the rear. As for the instrumentation, it’s all shoehorned into a 6.5-inch color TFT screen, and the XR comes stock with the BMW Motorrad Connectivity feature that networks with your phone via a Bluetooth wireless connection

2020 BMW F 900 XR Chassis

  • New bridge-type frame
  • Flickable and straight-line stability
  • Switchable ABS
  • Dynamic Brake Control and Engine Braking Control
2020 BMW F 900 XR
- image 879924
2020 BMW F 900 XR
- image 879910
2020 BMW F 900 XR
- image 879921

The new bridge-type frame on the F 900 XR uses what the factory calls a “steel-shell construction” for the main structural component, but it relies on the engine as a stressed member to complete the assembly and lend it its final rigidity. The yoke-style swingarm finishes off the bones and there’s a steering damper to mitigate the kickback effect when the front wheel comes back down from a moonshot.

The steering head establishes a 29.5-degree rake angle with 4.1 inches of trail to deliver a balance between straight-line tracking at speed and flickability in the corners. A set of 43 mm usd forks float the front end on fixed preload and damping values, but the suspension isn’t all plain vanilla as the rear monoshock sports the obligatory spring-preload adjustment along with variable rebound damping to let you compensate for changing passenger/cargo loads.

Cast-aluminum, 17-inch wheels round out the rolling chassis with Z-rated rubber in a 120/70 and 180/55 on the front and rear, respectively. Beemer’s proprietary Motorrad ABS stands overwatch to prevent accidental lockup and concurrent loss of traction as the first layer of electronic ride-safety gear. Dual, four-piston calipers bite 320 mm discs to slow the front wheel, and out back, a single-pot anchor and 265 mm disc takes care of business.

Frame: Bridge-type frame, steel shell construction
Front Suspension/ Travel: Upside-down telescopic fork, Ø 43 mm/6.7" (170 mm)
Rear Suspension/ Travel: Cast aluminum dual swing arm, central spring strut, spring pre-load hydraulically adjustable, rebound damping adjustable/ 6.8" (172 mm)
Castor: 4.1" (105.2 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 XR Drivetrain

  • Retuned F850 GS engine
  • Fatter torque curve
  • 99 hp @ 8,500 rpm
  • 68 lb-ft @t 6,500 rpm
  • Ride Modes
  • Switchable Automatic Stability Control
2020 BMW F 900 XR
- image 879919
2020 BMW F 900 XR
- image 879909
2020 BMW F 900 XR
- image 879914
Beemer took its F 850 GS engine and tuned it up for more power and a deeper torque well.

It’s a liquid-cooled parallel-twin in the F 900 XR with dual over-head cams to time the 8-valve head (four per bore) instead of pushrods. This reduces reciprocating mass in the top end and combat harmonic valve float at high rpm. That’s important since you’ll have to wind it up to a lofty 8,500 rpm to milk all 99 ponies from the mill.

The fattened torque curve starts to pull earlier than in the previous generation, and it maxes out at 6,750 rpm with 68 pound-feet of grunt. It’s a slightly over-square engine with an 86 mm bore and 77 mm stroke for a total displacement of 895 cc and a smokin’ hot 13.1-to-1 compression ratio that’ll demand top-octane fuel. An electronic fuel-injection system delivers the juice, and it’s coupled with a 2-into-1 exhaust system complete with a catalytic converter that burns off any free hydrocarbons that makes it past the exhaust valve to meet the stringent Euro 5 emission standards.

As for the engine-control electronics, Beemer sends the XR out the door with a pair of stock Ride Modes (Road, Rain) that let you dial in the power delivery and an Automatic Stability Control(traction control) that is switchable so you can turn it off for a raw ride, just like the ABS feature. If you want more fandanglery than that, the factory offers a robust line of higher engine-control electronics that add a lean-sensitive component to the mix along with two extra Ride Modes and a drag torque-mitigation feature.

An O-ring chain final drive carries power to the rear wheel, and the overall drive ratio pushes the XR to around 130 mph in top gear at the redline. That’s fine for the Autobahn I’m sure, but you aren’t likely to be able to use the full potential on U.S. roads and you better not get caught trying.

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: 68 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 XR Pricing

2020 BMW F 900 XR
- image 879923
2020 BMW F 900 XR
- image 879912
2020 BMW F 900 XR
- image 879925
No matter which palette you choose, you can expect to fork over $11,695 for the base model.

The 2020 F 900 XR can be had in a trio of color packages; Racing Red, Light White, or Galvanic Gold Metallic (my fave), all of which comes over lots of blackout treatment. Of course, BMW offers a full accessory range that gives you plenty of opportunities to inflate the final ticket.

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, Steering Damper, Self-Canceling Turn Signals, Electronic immobilizer, ABS, 12V Socket, Windshield Adjustment
Color: Racing Red, Light White, Galvanic Gold Metallic
Price: $11,695

2020 BMW F 900 XR Competitors

2020 Triumph Tiger 900
- image 877949
2020 BMW F 900 XR
- image 879915

It was tough to find something in the appropriate displacement range, but British giant Triumph just about hit the nail on the head with its Tiger 900.

Triumph Tiger 900

2020 Triumph Tiger 900
- image 877957

Like brothers from another mother, the Tiger carries itself with much the same adventure-sport look, just with a slightly smaller front fairing. All the same components are there, but the break between the bird’s beak and the cheek fairings seems to make for a sparser front end.

A vented windscreen tops the Tiger up front, and Trumpet uses a TFT instrument panel but it is a bit smaller at five-inches corner-to-corner against Beemer’s 6.5-inch display. Triumph falls behind a skosh again in the suspension department with only the spring preload adjustment out back against the preload/rebound adjustments the XR carries. The brakes are a wash with dual, four-pot anchors and 320 mm discs up front across the board and ABS protection as stock features.

An 888 cc triple powers the Tiger and delivers 93.9 ponies and 64 pounds o’ grunt against 99/68 from the XR’s twin, but that’s a minor difference and even the most calibrated heinie dyno won’t tell the difference. However, the preponderance of details has BMW subjecting the Triumph to a death of a thousand cuts, as it were, with slight advantages across the board. The final straw is the $12,500 sticker price that finally puts the Tiger on top, but not in a good way, against the F 900 XR’s $11,695 MSRP.

Read our full review of the Triumph Tiger 900.

He Said

“BMW needed to update its mid-range, and the F 900 XR does just that for the adventure range much like the F 900 R does for the sport sector. Like many street-centric adventure bikes, the XR looks to be a decent commuter bike to replace the sport-tourers that are now serving as such, though it could be better with some stock baggage. That said, a quick look through the accessory catalog can plug that particular hole, and to be fair, the Tiger is in the same boat.”

She Said

My wife and fellow motorcycle writer, Allyn Hinton, says, “Before I say anything else, I want to point out one important detail. The seat height is a low 30.5 inches...on an adventure bike. Okay, it’s a road-oriented adventure bike, but you wouldn’t be wrong to call it a sport-tourer that isn’t afraid of rough roads. On paper, it’s nearly identical to the F 900 R, but the differences make the two bikes kissing cousins rather than siblings. Comfortable seat, wide bars, big TFT screen, combined with more torque, it’s really about time BMW put an XR version in its GS family.

2020 BMW F 900 XR 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: 68 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/6.7" (170 mm)
Rear Suspension/ Travel: Cast aluminum dual swing arm, central spring strut, spring pre-load hydraulically adjustable, rebound damping adjustable/ 6.8" (172 mm)
Castor: 4.1" (105.2 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: 60” (1,521 mm)
Length: 85" (2,160 mm)
Width (incl. Mirrors): 33.9" (860 mm)
Height (excl. mirrors): 52.0 – 55.9" (1,320 mm – 1.420 mm)
Seat height, unladen weight: 32.5"
Inner leg curve, unladen weight: Standard Seat: 72.4”, High Seat: 73.6”, Low Seat: 70.7”
Unladen weight, road ready, fully fueled: 482 lbs (219 kg)
Permitted total weight: 966 lbs (438 kg)
Payload (with standard equipment): 483 lbs (219 kg)
Usable tank volume: 4.1 gal with approx. 0.9 gal reserve (15.5 L with approx. 3.5 L reserve)
Fuel consumption: 56 mpg (WMTC)
Fuel type: Premium Unleaded
Maximum speed: Over 130 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, Steering Damper, Self-Canceling Turn Signals, Electronic immobilizer, ABS, 12V Socket, Windshield Adjustment
Color: Racing Red, Light White, Galvanic Gold Metallic
Price: $11,695

Further Reading

BMW Motorrad

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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, triumphmotorcycles.com

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