BMW F900XR: the test-ride of the crossover between Valtellina and Valcamonica

I grew up in a time when the crossover it was a musical genre and not a segment of the motorcycle market. He mixed rap with metal and the seminal album of this genre was a soundtrack: Judgment Night of 1993. You are wondering what all this has to do with an article on the BMW F900XR. Nothing, but I wanted to show off musical skills. Now we come to us, the crossover is a type of motorcycle that in recent years has gained more and more space on the market, especially for one reason: like it.

Excellent opportunity this test-ride of the BMW F900XR to try to find out the reasons for this new, unexpected love on the part of many motorcyclists for a kind of motorbike that has existed since TDM but is experiencing a second (and brighter) period of splendor. The queen of the latter period in the crossover segment is the new arrival of BMW Motorrad, powered by twin cylinder 895cc and 105hp. A good power of easy management, without the angular personality of the boxerone and without that 4 cylinder 1000cc too powerful to become accessible to everyone.

Combining the delightful with the delightful, we decide with friends to spend two days walking on the Alps between Lombardy and Trentino. 550km of perfect roads to play the “Motorcycle Game”. Only the mountains allow you to make this game in its essence, because it is above all a game of curves.

When you see it the eyes are activated in search of information, before starting you have already imagined everything. Climb, the curve begins and govern the battle between the forces with accelerator, brake and clutch until you find the balance point. As soon as you reach it, stay a few moments on the road: the perfect harmony of contrasting forces. Then straighten, go out and on one / two gears. A few meters and BAM! another curve. And another one. And another and then another. A hypnotic pendulum, made of eyes that snap behind the visor, concentration and absolute mental emptiness, the whole body that listens and dialogues closely with instinct. The wonderful game of motorcycles that pushes people of all ages to crowd the streets.

There is nothing better to test a motorcycle designed for this type of riding, to see how it behaves. And on these roads I assure you that it behaves great. I understand that one of the reasons for the success of this BMW F900XR is the mix of cycling precision and power delivery at the right speeds. Third and fourth gear are the best for elasticity, perfect for mixed. The second serves just on the hairpin bends, if not, you float between the two upper gears, unloading all the power necessary to have fun on the ground.

We go up and down from the San Marco pass, then after making a piece of Valtellina start on Mortirolo. I know him well, yet I never get used to his anomalous way of taking you to altitude. This legendary ascent of the Giro d’Italia it starts on the Valtellina side with a road that looks like little more than an asphalted mule track. A few curves between the houses at the bottom of the valley and tears begin with an impressive slope. If you didn’t know it, you would think you were on the wrong track. The first stretch goes away like this, between narrow streets on the coast and sudden steep climbs, after a while you meet the first hairpin numbered in descending order from down to the pass: the sign says “26”. And there you understand the extent of the sporting achievements of cyclists and the Pirate Pantani, who built his myth on this road. An uphill hell inserted in the Giro for pure sadism. Sometimes there is the doubt of having to put the first gear.

The BMW F900XR is still at ease on the tightest mix, even if it is better on wider and faster roads with a fairly high center of gravity. The evening comes, we go down in Valcamonica and we leave the bikes in the pits because a party awaits us with other friends waiting for us, in a village in the valley that is our “Island That Isn’t There”, where age stopped by magic on the days when , little more than children, we became friends. The driving position together with the protection from the air made the hours spent on the motorbike read, despite the very poor training in the saddle in the previous months. The evening passes sober. I retire while a big man of over a quintal, known for having bitten a friend’s pit bull, shows the back to the bystanders asking to be whipped. All embellished with a cowbell around the neck. The scene itself is strange, but even more so is the fact that all this is quite normal to me.

We leave early in the morning. Passo del Tonale, Cles, then Andalo and down to Riva del Garda. When downhill you decide to sink, you find it imposing braking and a stable and muscular front end. Perhaps braking is the best defined feeling among those that remain on you while riding this bike. By the lake I take the time to take some photos. The BMW F900XR is well made, well finished and harmonious. The balances between empty and full are successful. Perhaps the 17 ′ rim leaves a little void between the fork and muzzle, moreover there is a little too much in front and a little little behind, but they are reflections from shotguns of custom aesthetics. The bike is beautiful and that’s it.

We return to the plain from Gardesana, in a traffic delirium. Good opportunity to test the handling between the tails: test widely passed. Perfect vehicle for driving in an urban context. On the stretches of the route I have time to play with the display and the adjustment functions. All very intuitive and effective, they allow numerous configuration options for the control unit and shock absorbers, thanks to simple controls and a large colored display that, as a friend said, you can also put DAZN.

Closed the box behind me it is much clearer why the BMW F900XR works and likes: because it responds to a sum of concrete needs. It’s done to go and enjoy Sunday rides but also long journeys, with a powerful engine designed to entertain everyone, with excellent chassis and electronics functional to the needs of the driver, all at a not excessive price. These elements, all together, make the difference when choosing, between the bikes that are not sold and those that are sold. And it is no coincidence that the BMW F900XR is in the second category.