The class of middleweight sports motorcycles is one of the most controversial segments in the industry and one of the most varied. Filled with machines that should be everything to everyone, these motorcycles often span a wide range of activities, from commuting, canyoning, hiking, and even an occasional day on the track.
Beyond being multi-faceted machines that bring joy to our lives, the genre of midweight sports bikes has several options that appeal to our wallets, such as the 2020 Yamaha MT-09, a class-favorite that offers a great deal. of performance for $ 8,999. Yamaha’s shiny roadster has kept drivers grinning from ear to ear since it was unveiled in 2014. During its six-year service period, the MT-09 received a few updates, in the form of an upgraded suspension. , ECU mapping, electronics and appearance. However, it is mostly the same motorcycle that rocked the class a few years ago.
This year, BMW launched the F 900 R, a naked sports machine built explicitly to offer the kind of value that Japanese manufacturers offer. It’s no secret that BMW makes some of the most sophisticated motorcycles on the market, but that sophistication comes at a price that excludes many buyers. Outsourcing production of the 895cc parallel twin engine to Loncin, China is just one of several ways BMW has managed to keep the base price at a competitive $ 8,995.
BMW wants to compete with the Japanese in terms of price, but was curious how it would compare on the road. So I pitted the newcomer 2020 BMW F 900 R against the stalwart 2020 Yamaha MT-09. These two bikes belong to the bare middleweight sport class, but that’s where the list of comparable features ends, with some surprising results.
The moment a leg is thrown at either of these machines, it becomes very clear that BMW and Yamaha have radically different ideas of what a roadster should be.
Climb aboard the F 900 R and you’ll find yourself in a compact and firm cabin with a sporty driving position. The narrow chassis of the R makes the BMW’s 32.1-inch seat height accessible to riders of a variety of sizes, and my 32-inch inseam was able to hit solid ground with ease. However, the seat-to-peg ratio is reminiscent of a superbike-based streetfighter, as the footpegs are set relatively high, causing noticeable knee flexion. Combined with close reach to the handlebars, the F 900 R makes you feel like you’re always ready to jump into the next set of corners.
That aggressive rider triangle translates to a motorcycle that is particularly adept at the guns. When you’re driving with a frown, it’s more than worth it as it allows you to wrestle the BMW into submission. Those same traits make it burdensome at lower speeds and in the city. You will never have to worry about dragging the footpegs, although the rubber pads should be removed because they deform under the weight of the rider.
The Yamaha MT-09 takes an ergonomic approach for all riders. While it has compromised sportiness a bit in its riding position, it has happily made up for it in the form of sheer comfort. We’ll call it “sport casual,” a rider triangle that is half a step ahead of neutral, with plenty of legroom and a relaxed reach for the bars.
Although the MT-09 features a slightly higher 32.3-inch seat height, the driver is positioned on the Yamaha’s chassis, rather than on top like the BMW, making it feel lower. The seat-to-peg ratio is much wider, increasing comfort in all environments. You won’t shy away from a good rip on the barrels, but you will need to be a little more aware of your lean angle as you are more likely to start dragging the footrests due to their lower location.
The saddles are noticeably different too, with a fine, firm foam on the BMW and relatively comfortable seats found on the Yamaha. The BMW offers the option of high and low seat from 30.3 to 34.1 inches, while Yamaha has a more luxurious comfortable saddle available as a factory accessory.
New to the party is the BMW 895cc parallel twin, which produces 99 horsepower at 8,500 rpm and 67 pound-feet at 6,500 rpm. If you need a one-word description of the revamped p-twin, it’s “manageable.”
The F 900 R has a shooting range of 270/450 degrees and an offset of 90 …