Heels & Horsepower Magazine

READER REVIEW: Crescentia Ndimande takes charge of the BMW F 900 XR at the 15th International Female Ride Day

Anyone who has ever met me would be hard-pressed to use the word ‘tall’ to describe me, so, when it came to selecting a bike, I had to be mindful of which it would be. 

– Crescentia Ndimande

Anyone who has ever met me would be hard-pressed to use the word ‘tall’ to describe me. Not that I am diminutive but rather it is important that any motorcycle I chose has to accommodate my particular height. So, when it came to selecting a bike to use at the 15thInternational Female Ride Day 2021 I was careful in the iron horse which I would champion. 

The models on display at BMW Motorrad Fourways, were all appealing and at first, I gravitated towards the R 1600 RT; but after sitting on it I realized I would need to choose something much lower.  Gift Gumbi, Motorrad Sales Executive, suggested I try the F 900 XR and I immediately remembered it as the bike which Vuyi Mpofu had used on her Pride of Africa Ride the previous year.  Knowing that Vuyi is approximately the same height as me, I was hopeful that the F 900 XR would ‘fit’ me too. 


Jumping onto the bike and switching on the engine, I discovered yet another pleasant surprise – the 6.5-inch TFT screen with BMW Motorrad Connectivity.


The model available to me was Galvanic Gold and from the moment I sat astride it I was confident the F 900 XR would suit me just fine.

To be sure, however, I asked to take it for a quick spin and discovered, to my delight, that it was a Keyless ride, further scoring it points in my book.  

The convenience of it being keyless signaled I would not have to worry about searching for the key in the numerous pockets of my jacket and pants. 

Jumping onto the bike and switching on the engine, I discovered yet another pleasant surprise – the 6.5-inch TFT screen with BMW Motorrad Connectivity. Fitted as standard, I knew this feature would be handy during this and any other ride.  

The screen is big enough to read comfortably while riding, which is great news for people like me who wear glasses or contact lenses.  Satisfied with my final choice, I left the dealership and spent the next few days familiarizing myself with the features of the F 900 XR.

The day of the Ride finally arrived and to my dismay, it was cold and wet. Fortunately, the mid-range F 900 XR is fitted with “Rain” and “Road” riding modes as standard. I simply selected the appropriate mode to suit the wet tarmac and set off to meet the other women from all across Gauteng who would be attending the ride.

Powered by an 895cc engine, and with a fuel capacity of 15.5 litres, I didn’t have to worry about performance nor fuel efficiency.  The F 900 XR weighs 219kg and at first, this had been a concern for me because I had had a tennis elbow operation on my right hand. 219kg is a hefty amount of metal but instead, the sports adventure bike proved light and easy to manoeuver. 

Powered by an 895cc engine, and with a fuel capacity of 15.5 litres, I didn’t have to worry about performance nor fuel efficiency.

Of all the things I found impressive about the F 900 XR, I was most taken by its upright, yet relaxed riding position.  I could quite easily see myself riding very long distances without fear of discomfort and lower back pain. 

Overall, my time on the F 900 XR was too short – as if any amount of time would suffice – and I would highly recommend it to any lady looking for a motorcycle that isn’t a superbike.  That said, I would want BMW Motorrad to make the Electronic Suspension Adjustment, a standard feature to make it easier for short riders to get on and off it safely and with ease. 

Priced from:  R 217 000 – 00

Thanks to BMW Motorrad Fourways for the bike loan

About Crescentia Ndimande

Crescentia Ndimande, mother of two, has been riding motorbikes since 2006, after being introduced in the biking fraternity by her late brother in law in 1991. Crescentia is part of Cancervive, and co-owns Dynamic Road Safety alongside her husband.  Over the years, Crescentia has ridden a variety of bikes namely the Indian Chieftain, Triumph Rocket, Thunderbird 1700cc, Commander, Tiger 800cc, Harley 1200c, Hayabusa 1300cc, Honda Blackbird 1100cc, VFR 1200cc.

New on the Tarmac: Meet the BMW F 900 R & F 900 XR

BMW South Africa has recently launched the dynamic new Roadster F 900 R and the F 900 XR in the Adventure Sport segment.  In so doing, BMW Motorrad is further expanding its product range for the popular mid-range.

Both models offer sporty riding pleasure, straightforward handling and a unique range of equipment options, packaged to offer attractive value for money. Based on a powerful shared backbone, the two models differ significantly in terms of character and positioning.

The new F 900 R – the Dynamic Roadster for purist riding pleasure

Suitable for everyday riding, the new BMW F900 R is a dynamic roadster fashioned for self-confident, sporty and active bikers.   Aimed at experienced riders and newcomers alike, the new F 900 R’s aggressive design, sound, engine output and torque conveys an irresistible sense of freedom.

The new F 900 XR – a genuine “XR” for the mid-range

The F 900 XR boasts sporty riding dynamics combined with upright, GS-like ergonomics, outstanding long-distance and passenger suitability and a design that conveys a powerful sense of character.

The new F 900 XR also benefits from the technology transfer from the upper class: Adaptive Cornering Light and Keyless Ride are unique features in the mid-range.

In addition to sporty riders, the XR is also aimed at newcomers thanks to its low minimum seat height and attractive entry price.

Pic Courtesy of BMW SA

Technology benchmark in the segment

The two new models – the F 900 R and F 900 XR  – currently set the technological benchmark in the mid-range segment with their high-quality standard equipment (Connectivity, LED all round as standard) and their wide range of optional extras – in some cases unique in this class (including Adaptive Cornering Light, Keyless Ride, Dynamic ESA, Riding Modes Pro, Shift Assistant Pro, ABS Pro, engine drag torque control (MSR), Dynamic Traction Control (DTC), Dynamic Brake Control (DBC), and RDC.

Adaptive Cornering Light as a component of Headlight Pro, is unique in the mid-range and comes as an optional extra ex works


2-cylinder in-line engine along with new engine drag torque control

In the new F 900 R and F 900 XR, enhanced riding dynamics are ensured by the further development of the 2-cylinder in-line engine first introduced in 2018 in the F 850 GS.  While offering a particularly emotional sound, the engine produces 77 kW of power and 92 Nm of torque.

In addition to the standard anti-hopping clutch, the new F 900 R and F 900 XR can be fitted with engine drag torque control (MSR) for the first time. MSR prevents the rear wheel from slipping as a result of abrupt throttling or downshifting, thereby ensuring even greater safety.

Pic Courtesy of BMW SA

Two standard riding modes

The new F 900 R and F 900 XR already offer the “Rain” and “Road” riding modes as standard. The standard trim also includes ABS and ASC Automatic Stability Control, which  can be disengaged.

With “Riding Modes Pro” as an ex works option, the sporty characteristics of the new F 900 R and F 900 XR can be experienced even more intensively. The additional riding modes “Dynamic” and “Dynamic Pro”, Dynamic Traction Control DTC and banking capable ABS Pro are available, along with Dynamic Brake Control (DBC) and the new engine drag torque control (MSR).

Even greater safety is offered by the Adaptive Cornering Light as a component of Headlight Pro, which is unique in the mid-range and comes as an optional extra ex works. Here, the rider benefits from improved illumination of the road when cornering for even safer riding at night. All lighting units in the new F models are based on LED technology as standard.


Readable colour 6.5-inch TFT screen with BMW Motorrad Connectivity 

The BMW Motorrad developers attached great importance to optimum readability for the instrument cluster – even in difficult lighting conditions. In addition, information diversity, display quality and user-friendliness are unmatched. The graphics on the screen are visually adapted to the sporty on-road world. Additional Core screens are available in conjunction with the optional Pro riding modes. The standard BMW Motorrad Connectivity is a unique feature in the mid-range, offering the ability to conveniently talk on the phone, listen to music or navigate while riding.

Cleverly designed ergonomic triangles for dynamic riding pleasure 

As a dynamic roadster, the F 900 R offers a particularly sporty, active seating position.

Meanwhile the F 900 XR offers an impressively active yet relaxed riding position for touring and travelling. The front fairing –  including an adjustable windshield – combines a sporty look with sound rider protection.

Various low and high seats along with the optional lowering feature also allow individual adjustment to various body heights.

Three powerful colour and style variants for an unmistakable sense of character

Three dynamic colour and style variants for the new F 900 R and F 900 XR ensure unmistakable characteristics.

The new F 900 R is available in Blackstorm metallic, San Marino Blue metallic and Style Sport in Hockenheim Silver metallic/Racing Red.

In addition to Light White, the new F 900 XR offers the two Style variants Style Exclusive in Galvanic Gold metallic and Sport in Racing Red.


F 900 R        From   R164 700-00

F 900 XR     From    R169 100-00