With the 2022 model, BMW are offering many features, once optional, as standard
Story: Joshua Varghese
Photography: Sanjay Raikar
Be it a T-shirt or a motorcycle, if it has the blue-and-white badge and the letters “BMW”, one is paying for the heritage along with the product. Being a BMW owner required one to be affluent and that, perhaps, ruled the F 900 XR out for some motorcyclists because for the price back then, the number of features offered as standard were surprisingly low. Of course, this allowed rivals to undercut the F 900 XR but the German manufacturer has levelled the playing field in 2022 by importing motorcycles from their facility in Thailand which has allowed them to revise the pricing and make it competitive, nay, tempting.
Visually, there are no changes at all. Hardly a bad thing because this BMW’s sharp design is still as attractive as it was when it was first launched. The sharp lines, large fuel-tank, fairing, and 17-inch wheels are all elements right out of the sport bike handbook but they exist higher off the ground thanks to the long-travel suspension. This contrast is as aesthetically engaging as it is functional and that makes the F 900 XR an interesting prospect from any angle. In the list of changes for 2022, this motorcycle gets a lot of kit (that was previously optional) as standard and that includes adaptive lights, keyless functions, heated grips, and luggage mounting points.
The F 900 XR’s saddle is 825 millimetres off the ground and that puts it in a sweet spot just below the tall ADVs. When coupled with the amazing weight distribution, this mean-looking motorcycle gets transformed into a friendly beast once in the saddle. The instrument console remains unchanged but brings up the riding modes menu and one will be pleased to know that extra money is not needed any longer to use the Dynamic and Dynamic Pro modes. By offering them as standard, BMW have increased the appeal and improved the versatility of the F 900 XR. For the conditions we live in, I believe this motorcycle is enjoyed best in Road mode where the fuelling is progressive and the responses are sedate; for pure thrill, however, one has to step up one’s game. In Dynamic mode, the F 900 XR is on a hair-trigger, demanding greater focus and commitment from the rider. The fuelling is precise and throttle response immediate. This makes acceleration almost ballistic and, when combined with the handling, it is easy to see that Dynamic is as close as it gets to a sport bike-rivalling experience. Advanced riders could use the Dynamic Pro mode to further customize multiple rider aids.
No mechanical changes means that the 895-cc, liquid-cooled, eight-valve, parallel-twin continues to develop 105 hp and 92 Nm of peak torque. A quick-shifter is also standard and that makes things very lively. Beyond 5,000 rpm, this BMW gets properly unleashed and the gruff parallel-twin bark transcends into a full-blown aural attack, interrupted only by short angry bursts as I shifted through the gearbox with the quick-shifter. I found the low seating and wide handlebar an optimal combination for quick and precise steering input while the chassis complied almost immediately; following up with amazing composure through the remainder of the turn. Factor the Michelin Road 5 tyres into the equation and it is a marriage made in heaven. Suspension componentry remains unchanged and the electronically adjustable preload setting at the monoshock precludes having to fiddle around with a C-spanner. The ride is on the stiffer side which allows impeccable high-speed handling. Over particularly bad roads, however, the XR is out of its comfort zone and the rather firm seat only adds to the discomfort.
As seen in these pictures, this BMW F 900 XR costs Rs 12.30 lakh (ex-showroom) and that may mean a price drop of only Rs 10,000. To fully understand what BMW have done and what I am talking about, one will have to spec a 2021 model with these new standard features. That is when we will fully grasp the magnitude of the new pricing.
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