BMW Motorrad is arguably at the top of the food chain anywhere in the world when it comes to motorcycles. Unfortunately, this premium pricing and reputation meant only the affluent could get their hands on such nice motorcycles.
With an SRP starting at PhP655,000, the pricing would really make any buyer think twice before buying a Japanese rival.
BMW Motorrad PH generously lent us a unit to test. This Standard trim is priced at PhP655,000 and is the lower of the two trims offered. The higher end is the Style Sport at PhP775,000. The pricing may lead you to think these bikes are made somwhere in Asia. However, both trims are actually made in Berlin, Germany.
Powering the F 900 R is an engine is similar to the powerplant of the F 850 GS. It's an 853cc upsized to 895cc and refined to increase power. It does this with forged pistons, reworked cylinder heads and an increased compression ratio vs the F 850 GS.
As a result, the new F 900 R is claimed to have a whopping 106 Ps of power and 92 Nm of torque for a small parallel-twin, DOHC engine. It is mated to a 6-speed transmission with chain as final drive.
During my lengthy period with the unit, I was able to take the new F 900 R to Tarlac, in Central Luzon with a couple of friends on larger bikes. On the expressway, power delivery was felt as early as 3,000 rpm, with the sweet spot at around 7,000 rpm. I liked the growl of the twin-cylinder 900, although it's not as throaty as their 1-liter inline 4s. It was still enough to get everyone I passed on the streets look on in awe.
My friends in larger 1200cc bikes set a fast pace, but it was easy for the F 900 R to keep up. BMW claims it can go beyond 200 km/h, and judging by that run, it's certainly easy to believe. We'll know for sure when we get a chance to try out this bike on a race track.
The dual 320mm discs on 4-piston calipers are also superb, making it easy to stop the F 900 R precisely where and when I wanted it to stop. It was especially handy on the streets of Metro Manila where the traffic was beginning to go back to the old normal.
One of the comments I got for the F 900 R is that it's “small like a Japanese bike.” I find that a good thing. The F 900 R’s slim dimensions made it more agile than its bigger siblings. In fact, it is so agile that I never had a problem filtering the F 900 R through the congested streets of Metro Manila.
The 6.5-inch TFT screen's interface is comparable to the 1250 GS HP, which can also be paired to the rider's smartphone
The demo unit that we tested from BMW Motorrad PH has two riding modes: Road and Rain. The higher-level trim gets additional Dynamic ride modes, Gear Shift Assist Pro for clutchless shifting, Dynamic Traction Control, cornering headlights, electronically adjustable suspension and the Dynamic Engine Brake Control. These various modes can be seen and adjusted on the 6.5-inch color LCD screen.
Like the R 1250 GS, the new F 900 R also features keyless ignition and fuel filler cap opening. These let you keep your keys securely in your pocket without having to fumble for it when starting up the bike or filling up at a station.
The demo unit’s suspension settings were a bit too hard for my liking. Then again, most of my trips were within the city and on highways. Stiffer suspension will likely work in its favor if brought to the twisties of Marilaque, or the famous 'bitukang manok' (chicken intestine) section of road in Quezon. A setup like that would be the most ideal in carving those winding roads.
At only PhP655,000, this German contender would be really nice to have in the garage. It offers the same German quality and premium build, compact dimensions and agility of a Japanese bike, and peace of mind thanks to its 5-year, 500,000-kilometer comprehensive warranty.