World Launch : BMW F900R, F900XR & S1000XR

February 2013 Preview

Remember the Days? This is a preview of a BLAST FROM THE PAST issue of BikeSA. To view the full issue,...

January 2012 Preview

Remember the Days? This is a preview of a BLAST FROM THE PAST issue of BikeSA. To view the full issue,...

How Much Power Does The 2021 BMW R 18 Make?

The 2021 BMW R 18 heavyweight cruiser certainly gives you a lot to look at, but the monstrous 1,802cc or 110ci...

Benelli Releases 1200GT Tourer And Plans More Bikes

The new 1200GT is Benelli’s entry in the middleweight luxury sport-touring market. (Benelli/)Surely everybody wants to see Benelli succeed. A legendary Italian brand with...

2021 BMW M 1000 RR First Look

US pricing has not been set, but the BMW M 1000 RR’s price tag is expected to be close to $40,000. (BMW Motorrad/)If you...

Confusing Detonation And Preignition

Kevin Cameron (Robert Martin/)There are two major forms of abnormal combustion that can damage a spark-ignition piston engine, and they have entirely different causes...

BMW introduce their F900R, F900XR and S1000XR to the media – Almeria, Spain –

We don’t ever think just how fortunate we are to live in this day and age. We cracked an invite to the launch of BMW’s exciting new middleweights in Almeria, on the east coast of Spain. A hop to Dubai, a skip to Madrid and a jump to Almeria and less than twenty four hours after leaving Johannesburg, we were settled in our hotel, listening to Markus Schramm, head of BMW Motorrad, introducing the new bikes to the assembled journalists. Spare a thought for poor old Bartholemew Diaz, who took 5 months to sail from Lisbon to where Cape Town is today! The world is a veritable village! Let’s forget the trivia and focus on the new Beemers.

At a launch like this, one is reminded of the incredible amount of work that goes into the design and building of a new model like the F900. We had Steffen Rau, the engineer tasked with “lighting functions” at BMW Motorrad, use a disassembled headlight assembly to illustrate the “Adaptive cornering” lights incorporated into the headlights. These lights essentially switch on as you corner, to light the verge of the road on the side to which you are turning. As you straighten up, they switch off, leaving you with the regular LED headlights with their typical dim and bright functions. A dummy handlebar setup mounting the headlights showed us the functionality of the design in a real world simulation. Both F900 variants sport daytime running lights. Impressive!

The Chief Engineer on the F900 project is Stefan Selinger, ably assisted by Thomas Dudenhoeffer, the project Quality Manager. Both were in attendance to answer questions and give us the lowdown on the R and XR models.  

The XR and R share the same pressed steel chassis and the engine and gearing is identical. Where they differ is in their suspension, with the XR sporting 170mm of front fork travel and 172 mm in the rear. The R has 135mm in front with 142mm in the rear. This also endows the XR with a standard seat height of 825mm vs 815mm for the R. Both bikes have seat height adjustment for shorties, or those of you born on a long weekend.The R is the naked, more minimalistic model, sporting a tiny fly screen, whereas the more touring oriented XR has a manually adjustable screen with decent wind protection. The XR has a more comprehensive fairing housing  a double headlight , whereas the R has a single stacked headlight. Both are, in my opinion anyway, seriously handsome bikes. To suite its touring duties, the XR has a 2 litre larger fuel tank than the R which has 13,5 litres of fuel. The fuel tanks are a first for motorcycles, being plastic halves welded together by a process perfected by BMW’s car division. The bikes are pretty frugal at touring speeds allowing adequate range. BMW has paid a lot of attention to ergonomics. The XR has a more upright, almost GS like riding position, whereas the R plays in a more aggressive, sporty space. I found both bikes comfortable for their intended purpose.

Let’s talk motor. 895cc, twincam parallel twin with double balance shafts and a 270 degree crankshaft. This enhances traction and gives a deep V – twin like exhaust note. Power is up to 105 very accessible ponies and torque is a hefty 92Nm, delivered at 8,55 and 6,500 respectively. Top whack is over 200 kph. On the road, the bike is endowed with rich torquey power which punts you from corner to corner effortlessly. At no point is there any intrusive vibration, no matter how hard you lean on it. Somehow the motor has way more soul and character than the old 800 or, for that matter, the 850. It complements the excellent chassis to perfection. The gearbox is positive, with a light action. The test bikes were quickshifter equipped, which was a bit clunky in the lower gears, but sweet at higher revs, from third gear and up. A slipper clutch prevents any back wheel histrionics when gearing down. Rolling on and off the throttle between corners, allowing engine braking to retard your progress before pitching the bike into the next corner, made for smooth and rapid riding. Intoxicating!

The front suspension has no adjustment, but feels perfectly dialled in, whether at touring or tearing speeds. Firm yet supple, both models give plenty of control and feedback. The R more so due to its shorter stroke. The Spanish road surfaces are incredible! Wonderfully smooth and free of the blemishes that mar SA roads. One section of back country mountain road was a trifle dodge, with some loose gravel and uneven surfaces. Both bikes handled flawlessly, maintaining traction in quite surprising fashion. The R will always be the scratchers choice. The test bikes were all equipped with electronic suspension adjustment [ESA] on the back shock, which has a dynamic Pro setting for serious sport riding. In short, it is excellent! The slightly more rearset pegs and lower bars on the R, get you more over the front of the bike. Ground clearance is excellent with nothing grounding, even with 50 degree lean angles. [As verified by the “Sport’’ screen info on the excellent TFT display] 17” wheels, with a 180 at the back and a 120 in the front turn intuitively and hold a line to perfection. These are seriously good handling motorcycles, probably eclipsing the ability of your average rider. They have all the modern “idiot proofing” that we have become accustomed to. ABS Brembo brakes [excellent] ,traction control and stability control can be further customised and enhanced by the optional “Riding modes Pro” with Dynamic traction control DTC and cornering ABS Pro as well as Dynamic Brake Control DBC. Engine braking can also be increased or decreased with “engine drag torque control” [MSR] [whatever that stands for?] Engine modes are Road, Rain, Dynamic and Dynamic Pro which adjusts the throttle response to suit your preference. Adding to the comprehensive electronics package, as explained to us by “Connectivity Expert”, Roman Vilimek, is a Navigational system as well as the ability to talk on your smart phone or listen to music as you ride. There is an app which is a data logger of sorts, storing all manner of route and ride information. Mind blowing, really!

As the last rotation of journalists, we had guides who knew the route intimately and could set a serious pace. They all have serious riding credentials as riding instructors for Motorrad, or with racing experience. This gave us the opportunity to really get on it and properly asses the bikes sporting credentials. They were not found wanting! Quick steering without being flighty, the bikes are as rock solid going quick in a straight line as they are when tipped on their ears! A steering damper, tucked away under the headlight is there for back up, just in case things get out of shape. At no point of a highly spirited ride, did I experience even a hint of instability. At one point our route took us past the famous Almeria race track. I would have loved a lap or two, given the chance. I reckon the R900R in particular, would have been a hoot, trundling around the track.

Ok, so I’ve given you the lowdown on the F900’s, but what about the S1000XR?  Well, that’s a bit of a strange one. BMW had a bunch of them for us to ride, but essentially swore us to silence, as they are not quite ready to distribute them to dealers as yet. In March perhaps. Suffice to say that all it has in common with the old bike is the shape. Lighter, faster, more power and torque, with new ergonomics, it is a total remake! Suspension is upgraded and fine tuned. If your Sport bike is becoming a literal pain in the neck, you may just need to ride this new beast! It is like the love chIld of a GS and a S1000RR, dynamically speaking. Comfy, competent and FAST! ‘Nuffsaid!

In conclusion. BMW’s new middleweights are going to cause one hell of a stir in the market! The whole package is extremely well executed with a quality feel. They really do everything well. We seem to be living in a golden age of motorcycling, where we are spoilt for choice. No one who buys one of these beautiful Beemers is going to be disappointed. Of that I am sure!

Words : Dave Cilliers Pics : BMW & danielkrausphotoworks

The XR and R share the same pressed steel chassis and the engine and gearing is identical. Where they differ is in their suspension, with the XR sporting 170mm of front fork travel and 172 mm in the rear. The R has 135mm in front with 142mm in the rear. This also endows the XR with a standard seat height of 825mm vs 815mm for the R. Both bikes have seat height adjustment for shorties, or those of you born on a long weekend.The R is the naked, more minimalistic model, sporting a tiny fly screen, whereas the more touring oriented XR has a manually adjustable screen with decent wind protection. The XR has a more comprehensive fairing housing  a double headlight , whereas the R has a single stacked headlight. Both are, in my opinion anyway, seriously handsome bikes. To suite its touring duties, the XR has a 2 litre larger fuel tank than the R which has 13,5 litres of fuel. The fuel tanks are a first for motorcycles, being plastic halves welded together by a process perfected by BMW’s car division. The bikes are pretty frugal at touring speeds allowing adequate range. BMW has paid a lot of attention to ergonomics. The XR has a more upright, almost GS like riding position, whereas the R plays in a more aggressive, sporty space. I found both bikes comfortable for their intended purpose.

Let’s talk motor. 895cc, twincam parallel twin with double balance shafts and a 270 degree crankshaft. This enhances traction and gives a deep V – twin like exhaust note. Power is up to 105 very accessible ponies and torque is a hefty 92Nm, delivered at 8,55 and 6,500 respectively. Top whack is over 200 kph. On the road, the bike is endowed with rich torquey power which punts you from corner to corner effortlessly. At no point is there any intrusive vibration, no matter how hard you lean on it. Somehow the motor has way more soul and character than the old 800 or, for that matter, the 850. It complements the excellent chassis to perfection. The gearbox is positive, with a light action. The test bikes were quickshifter equipped, which was a bit clunky in the lower gears, but sweet at higher revs, from third gear and up. A slipper clutch prevents any back wheel histrionics when gearing down. Rolling on and off the throttle between corners, allowing engine braking to retard your progress before pitching the bike into the next corner, made for smooth and rapid riding. Intoxicating!

The front suspension has no adjustment, but feels perfectly dialled in, whether at touring or tearing speeds. Firm yet supple, both models give plenty of control and feedback. The R more so due to its shorter stroke. The Spanish road surfaces are incredible! Wonderfully smooth and free of the blemishes that mar SA roads. One section of back country mountain road was a trifle dodge, with some loose gravel and uneven surfaces. Both bikes handled flawlessly, maintaining traction in quite surprising fashion. The R will always be the scratchers choice. The test bikes were all equipped with electronic suspension adjustment [ESA] on the back shock, which has a dynamic Pro setting for serious sport riding. In short, it is excellent! The slightly more rearset pegs and lower bars on the R, get you more over the front of the bike. Ground clearance is excellent with nothing grounding, even with 50 degree lean angles. [As verified by the “Sport’’ screen info on the excellent TFT display] 17” wheels, with a 180 at the back and a 120 in the front turn intuitively and hold a line to perfection. These are seriously good handling motorcycles, probably eclipsing the ability of your average rider. They have all the modern “idiot proofing” that we have become accustomed to. ABS Brembo brakes [excellent] ,traction control and stability control can be further customised and enhanced by the optional “Riding modes Pro” with Dynamic traction control DTC and cornering ABS Pro as well as Dynamic Brake Control DBC. Engine braking can also be increased or decreased with “engine drag torque control” [MSR] [whatever that stands for?] Engine modes are Road, Rain, Dynamic and Dynamic Pro which adjusts the throttle response to suit your preference. Adding to the comprehensive electronics package, as explained to us by “Connectivity Expert”, Roman Vilimek, is a Navigational system as well as the ability to talk on your smart phone or listen to music as you ride. There is an app which is a data logger of sorts, storing all manner of route and ride information. Mind blowing, really!

As the last rotation of journalists, we had guides who knew the route intimately and could set a serious pace. They all have serious riding credentials as riding instructors for Motorrad, or with racing experience. This gave us the opportunity to really get on it and properly asses the bikes sporting credentials. They were not found wanting! Quick steering without being flighty, the bikes are as rock solid going quick in a straight line as they are when tipped on their ears! A steering damper, tucked away under the headlight is there for back up, just in case things get out of shape. At no point of a highly spirited ride, did I experience even a hint of instability. At one point our route took us past the famous Almeria race track. I would have loved a lap or two, given the chance. I reckon the R900R in particular, would have been a hoot, trundling around the track.

Ok, so I’ve given you the lowdown on the F900’s, but what about the S1000XR?  Well, that’s a bit of a strange one. BMW had a bunch of them for us to ride, but essentially swore us to silence, as they are not quite ready to distribute them to dealers as yet. In March perhaps. Suffice to say that all it has in common with the old bike is the shape. Lighter, faster, more power and torque, with new ergonomics, it is a total remake! Suspension is upgraded and fine tuned. If your Sport bike is becoming a literal pain in the neck, you may just need to ride this new beast! It is like the love chIld of a GS and a S1000RR, dynamically speaking. Comfy, competent and FAST! ‘Nuffsaid!

In conclusion. BMW’s new middleweights are going to cause one hell of a stir in the market! The whole package is extremely well executed with a quality feel. They really do everything well. We seem to be living in a golden age of motorcycling, where we are spoilt for choice. No one who buys one of these beautiful Beemers is going to be disappointed. Of that I am sure!

Words : Dave Cilliers Pics : BMW & danielkrausphotoworks

Church of MO: 2010 Harley-Davidson Road Glide Vs. 2010 Victory Cross Country

And this is from God; because for the Messiah’s sake it has been granted to you not only to trust in him but also to...

UPDATE: No Plans to sell 2021 Honda CBR600RR in US

Honda confirmed a remodeled CBR600RR is on the way. Full details about the 2021 Honda CBR600RR will be released on Aug. 21, but the...

Top Five Underrated Harley-Davidsons

Picking out underrated Harleys is tough, sort of the moto equivalent of writing up the five least-attractive Playboy centerfold moles, the five least-cute puppy...

Church of MO: 2010 Electric Motorcycle Shootout

As the world turns, dominus vobiscum, it seems we have made quite a bit of progress on the electric bike front over the last...

MO Tested: Bridgestone Battlecross X40 Review

Okay, maybe it’s not the last dirtbike tire you’ll ever need, but they last a heck of a long time and perform great as...

Harley or Indian? Which American Iron Icon is Right for You?

Two weeks ago we attempted: Indian vs Harley, Five Ways to Pick the Motorcycle That’s Right For You, and that was kind of fun. But...

Hilleberg Brings Out New Models for 2021

Published in: NewsHilleberg is proud to introduce two new tent models for 2021: the Black Label Soulo BL, a very strong, remarkably roomy and fully...

Mystery KTM Model Leaked Alongside Norden 901

Published in: News   Unveiled as a concept bike at the 2019 EICMA show, Husqvarna’s Norden 901 stirred the proverbial ADV pot with its possible 890cc...

The Rekluse RadiusX for KTM 1190R Review

Published in: Gear“Look Mom, No Hands!” The name Rekluse is well known and highly respected within the off-road communities worldwide as the leader in auto-clutch...

DENALI Electronics Launches the T3 Switchback Signal Pods

Published in: NewsDENALI Electronics has reinvented the common turn signal to create a shockingly bright amber turn signal with an integrated white DRL in...

LEAKED – Black Dog Cycle Works KTM 390 Adventure Skid Plate

Published in: NewsWhen KTM released their long awaited 390 Adventure, the tin sheet of a skid plate attached to the frame seemed like the...

All-New Trail 125 Joins Honda’s 2021 Lineup

Published in: NewsThe model honors the past while offering modern on- and off-road trekking performance Sixty years after Honda introduced customers to the joys of...