BMW Middleweights Arrive
Two new Bavarians to attract younger riders
EARLIER THIS YEAR WE TRAVELLED TO Spain to ride the BMW Motorrad F 900 R roadster and its faired sibling, the F 900 XR, and you can read the first ride impressions of both these machines in our March 2020 issue. We had then speculated that the Germans were planning a mid-2020 launch for these two machines and it seems that we were bang on the money. Prices start at Rs 9.90 lakh for the F 900 R and Rs 10.50 lakh for its faired sibling (both ex-showroom).
The F 900 R is BMW Motorrad’s take on a naked middleweight roadster and it will go up against established competition in this segment, including the Triumph Street Triple, KTM 790 Duke, and Ducati Monster, to name a few. The bike features minimal bodywork, a forward-canted riding position, and rear-set foot-pegs that enhance its sporty image.
The F 900 XR is BMW Motorrad’s first stab at the mid-size road-going adventure-touring segment. It is basically an F 900 R with all the trimmings to make it suitable for covering longer distances in comfort ― wide bodywork and a screen to protect the rider from the elements, taller suspension at both ends to better tackle bad roads, a larger fuel-tank, and relaxed ergonomics ideal for long days in the saddle. In our market it will be positioned against the road-going Triumph Tiger 900 GT, Ducati Multistrada 950, and Kawasaki Versys 1000.
Like the R, the XR runs on 17-inch alloys shod with 120- and 180-section rubber; typical sportbike tyre sizes that assert that both these motorcycles are designed to be ridden on tarmac, with no intention of heading off road.
Both bikes are powered by an all-new 895-cc parallel twin that makes 105 hp at 8,500 rpm and 92 Nm at 6,500 rpm, with the bulk of this torque available from as low as 4,500 rpm. The motor responds eagerly to throttle inputs, while the 90-degree crankpin offset and irregular 270/450-degree firing intervals add a touch of character and a loping exhaust note to the experience.
Other features include a full-colour TFT dash and a state-of-the-art electronics package, while the extensive options list includes an electronically adjustable semi-active rear suspension, cornering lights, keyless ignition, a two-way quickshifter, and more.
Having ridden both these bikes in quick succession, we are of the opinion that the F 900 XR makes the most sense. It is comfortable to tour on, has the ground clearance to take on our massive speed-breakers and iffy roads, and retains extremely sporty handling characteristics for those days when you just want to hit the canyons and attack apexes.
Now bikers interested in owning a practical middleweight machine have two new options to choose from.
IT TOOK OUR BREATH AWAY AT EICMA LAST year and now, as Italy bounces back from the debilitating COVID-19 pandemic, production of the outrageous MV Agusta Rush 1000 has finally started at the company’s Varese plant.
Based on the already extravagant Brutale 1000 RR, the drag-racer-inspired Rush 1000 takes things a step further with its visually stunning visage, meant to highlight the latest in the brand’s design and engineering capabilities. Melding aggressive lines, sharp creases, and that enclosed rear wheel with the traditional round headlamp, tail-light, and spoked front wheel, the Rush 1000 carries forward the visual flair that MV Agusta are known for.
Generous use of space-age materials such as carbon-fibre and titanium results in a 186-kg dry weight and, combined with the 208 hp available for the 998-cc in-line four derived from the F4 superbike, we expect a top speed just north of 300 km/h. If that isn’t enough for you, MV are offering a track-only exhaust and an ECU remap to push peak output up to an eye-popping 212 hp. Other juicy bits include Öhlins electronic suspension, Brembo Stylema monobloc brake calipers, and a comprehensive electronics package based around a six-axis IMU.
The Rush 1000 is the pinnacle of MV Agusta’s hyper-naked range and, with only 300 units of this ultra-exclusive roadster being built, the chances of seeing one on Indian roads are slim to none.
OVER THE PAST WEEKS, KAWASAKI INDIA have opened bookings for and announced the prices of two new BS6-compliant models. Their middleweight sport tourer, the Ninja 650, gets sharper bodywork with a front end that looks extremely similar to that of the Ninja 400 and the Ninja ZX-6R with those H2-inspired fins around the headlights. Technical updates include an attractive 4.3-inch colour TFT dash with smartphone connectivity, LED lighting all around, and BS6 emission compliance.
Power comes from the existing 649-cc liquidcooled parallel twin, which we already know is an excellent motor. BS6 compliance hasn’t seen peak power drop from the 68 hp at 8,000 rpm of the outgoing BS4 bike, however, peak torque has dropped from 65.7 Nm to 64 Nm and it now comes in 200 rpm higher at 6,700 rpm. The new Ninja 650 is priced at Rs 6.24 lakh (exshowroom), which is Rs 35,000 more than the outgoing BS4 bike.
The other recently launched BS6compliant Kawasaki is the Versys 1000, priced competitively at Rs 10.99 lakh (ex-showroom); the most accessible litre-class tourer available in our market. Built to munch highway miles at high speed in absolute comfort, the 2020 Versys 1000 is powered by a four-cylinder motor that pumps out a healthy 102 Nm at 7,500 rpm and 120 hp at 9,000 rpm; figures that can easily turn the surrounding scenery into a blur with a twist of the throttle.
The 2020 Versys 1000 gets full-LED lighting with cornering lights built into the bodywork, an attractive dash that juxtaposes a large analogue tachometer with a full-colour, informationpacked TFT screen, connectivity options, and a full suite of lean-sensitive safety aids based on a six-axis IMU.
WE MAY SOON BE INTRODUCED TO A NEW MOTORCYCLE FROM TVS Motor, called the Ronin. The Hosur-based brand has recently filed a patent for the Ronin trademark and we believe the new bike might be a cruiser, similar to the TVS Zeppelin concept that we saw at the Auto Expo 2018 or, perhaps, will mark the brand’s entry into the rapidly growing entry-level adventure bike segment. Watch this space for more info on the TVS Ronin in the coming months, and expect an official launch announcement about this new TVS motorcycle in 2021.
Fast Freddie, sid lal and the ed hit the legendary Isle of man