11 Common BMW F 900 R Problems (Explained)

The BMW F 900 R is a dynamic mid-range motorcycle known for its potent engine, stylish design, and cutting-edge features.

Yet, like all vehicles, it’s susceptible to issues.

This article lists the common problems with the F 900 R and the causes, symptoms, and possible solutions.

1. Cold Start Issues

Several F 900 R owners note that the bike can be hard to start in cold weather or if it’s been idle for a while. Once started, the engine might stutter or run unevenly until it heats up.

Potential culprits include worn spark plugs, issues with the fuel injection, or outdated engine software.

“So, my [BMW F 900] XR has 3500 km, and it seems to have the same problems on cold start as the 850gs. It happened to me two days in a row at around 18 degrees Celsius: it started and stopped immediately, 3-4 times in a row. I had to give it some gas for about 20 seconds to keep the engine on. I will try to film it next time and send it to the dealer. Does anyone else have this problem? Maybe a solution?”

“I have the same [cold start] issue basically every time I start the bike after a 24-hour period. Only the 4-5th time it stays on if I help a little with the throttle. This is with 100-octane fuel. Still breaking her in with around 500km on the clock, so I hope the first service and maybe an update will solve it.”

If your BMW F900R experiences cold start issues, here’s what you can do:

  1. Inspect the spark plugs and replace them if they appear old or dirty.
  2. Add a fuel stabilizer or injector cleaner to keep the fuel fresh and prevent blockages.
  3. Ensure the engine software is up-to-date.
  4. Keep the battery in good condition using a tender or charger.
  5. Let the engine warm up for a short while before riding.

2. Lean Fueling

Riders report that, under certain circumstances, their F 9000R operates on a lean mixture—meaning the engine doesn’t receive enough fuel given the excessive amount of air in the system. This can lead to suboptimal performance, hesitations, or even audible pops from the exhaust.

For example, in this video, the owner of a 2020 BMW F900R says that he sold it after two months because of problems with the fuel injection system, which caused the bike to run lean and stall. He also mentions that he found many complaints about the same issue on online forums.

Some riders have integrated aftermarket fuel devices to optimize fuel levels and elevate engine performance to rectify their lean air-fuel ratio.

If you’re keeping up with your maintenance, yet your BMW F900 R still experiences a lean air: fuel ratio, here are some recommendations:

  1. Consider adding a superior air filter or a performance-focused exhaust system, enhancing airflow and minimizing back pressure.
  2. opt for high-octane fuel or include an octane enhancer to avert premature ignition or detonation.
  3. Adjust the throttle position sensor (TPS) to increase the fuel delivery at low rpm and throttle openings.
  4. Install a fuel controller or a remapping chip that allows you to customize the fuel map and enrich the mixture according to your preference.

3. Faulty Clutch Operation

Some BMW F 900R owners have reported difficulties in shifting gears or engaging the clutch, which may be caused by premature wear of the clutch components.

If the clutch lever fails to smooth operation, inspect the clutch fluid for proper level and color.

If the fluid looks optimal, but the clutch still feels spongy or slips, your clutch, clutch cable, or lever may need to be replaced or adjusted.

One owner described the problem as follows:

“I have a 2020 BMW F900XR and have an issue with the clutch grabbing when not been ridden for a couple of days. When setting off, it grabs so fast it stalls or jerks forward very fast when first letting the clutch out. Once I had ridden to the end of my street, all was fine, and no further issues until I left for a couple more days. Then, it happens again. I’ve changed the oil, and it still does it. The bike is also difficult to get into neutral, which I think may also be due to the clutch.”

If you’re experiencing clutch issues with your BMW F 900R, consider these solutions or preventive steps:

  1. Ensure the clutch cable tension is adjusted to spec; adjust if it’s too slack or taut.
  2. Purge the clutch hydraulic system of any air pockets or impurities.
  3. Swap out old or low clutch fluid with fresh fluid.
  4. If showing signs of wear or damage, consider replacing clutch components like plates, springs, or discs.
  5. A hydraulic clutch conversion kit might be a good fit for those desiring a gentler and more fluid clutch experience.

4. Connectivity Issues

The F 900 R boasts a 6.5-inch TFT dashboard, complete with Bluetooth and integration through the BMW Motorrad Connected app. However, some owners have reported glitches with device pairing, handling calls or texts, navigation, media functionalities, and app updates.

Additionally, there’s a potential for battery drainage if the connectivity remains active.

To address these issues:

  1. Ensure your device’s software and Bluetooth configurations are compatible with the motorcycle’s system.
  2. Regularly update the BMW Motorrad Connected app to its newest version.
  3. To reset the bike’s system, switch off the ignition and briefly disconnect the battery.
  4. Re-pair your device by adhering to dashboard instructions or consulting the owner’s manual.
  5. To conserve battery life, deactivate the connectivity system when it’s unnecessary.

5. Fuel System Failures

Some BMW F 900R owners complain about inaccurate or erratic fuel gauge readings, low fuel warning lights, or fuel leaks. The fuel pump may also fail or make loud noises.

Furthermore, factors like wear, heat, or fuel composition—especially ethanol content—can lead the plastic fuel pump to leak.

“…On my second day of ownership, the tank vent and filler neck drain began leaking at the right foot peg. The charcoal canister flooded. The dealer picked up the bike and replaced both those hoses inside the tank. A couple months later, the fuel neck drain line started leaking by the right peg. It turned out that the filler neck was rotated 60 degrees counterclockwise, the two hoses were reversed, and the filler neck o-ring was swollen and not seated to seal the tank–all of which I repaired myself.”

“…This afternoon, I pulled the tank. The first thing I noticed was that the high-pressure hose to the fuel pressure regulator/distributor is an inch or two short and under stress. I’ll need to lengthen it. After pulling the fuel pump plate, I found that vent hoses were triple-clamped at the plate and damaged. Just waiting to leak.”

“A few days ago, doing 75 mph in the passing lane, my motorcycle started to feel slightly starved for fuel–slightly low power at full throttle. It took about 8-10 miles before the condition progressed, and the engine stopped dead. After a 2 1/2 hour wait and 100-mile tow (thank you, BMWMOA Platinum Club), I’ve debugged this to the point that I know the problem is inside the tank (lots of fuel flow but no pressure) and will drain it (it’s full of course) and figure out what’s wrong later today. Since the failure, I’ve been thinking about adding a low fuel pressure annunciator.”

Here are some steps to ensure optimal fuel system performance for your motorcycle:

  1. Inspect the fuel filter and replace it if you find any blockages or dirt.
  2. Examine the fuel pump; if it’s malfunctioning or making unusual noises, consider replacing it.
  3. Investigate for any leaks within the fuel tank, hoses, or injectors and repair as needed.
  4. Recalibrate your fuel gauge sensor if it gives inconsistent or inaccurate readings.

To prevent potential issues, refuel your motorcycle consistently and steer clear of running it on a near-empty tank.             

6. Non-Adjustable Suspension

The F 900 R is fitted with a 43mm upside-down fork and a singular rear shock, which is mainly non-adjustable aside from rear preload and rebound damping. Some riders feel the suspension isn’t tailored to their riding preferences or physique, noting it might either be too yielding or too rigid.

Additionally, there are concerns about the suspension’s ability to handle minor bumps or its tendency to bottom out on uneven surfaces.

Although there’s an optional Dynamic Electronic Suspension (ESA) for the rear shock, it doesn’t extend to the fork.

To address these issues:

  • Consider the Dynamic ESA for enhanced customization of the rear suspension.
  • To tailor the fork to your liking, consider aftermarket springs, oil, or valves.
  • A fork brace or steering damper can bolster front-end stability and responsiveness.
  • Regularly inspect and tweak tire pressure and alignment for the best ride comfort and handling.

7. Rider Aid interference/malfunction

The F 900 R has an electronic rider aid suite that includes two selectable ride modes (Rain and Road), traction control, and ABS. These features are designed to enhance the safety and performance of the bike, but riders report they can malfunction or interfere with your riding style.

We suggest checking the rider aid settings and functions for proper operation and customization.

If the rider aids are not working or are too intrusive, they may need to be reset or disabled.

Furthermore, some riders claim that the ride modes switch on without input or that the dynamic mode upgrades fail to make significant changes.

“Apart from clutch issues, this is not a fast bike as I only have the two riding modes, Road & Rain, I bought the chip that everyone is saying unlocks dynamic and dynamic pro and plugged this in, and it still doesn’t give me any more modes.”

  1. If available, Check and update the bike’s software to the latest version.
  2. Examine and clean the ride mode switch and connector for any dirt or corrosion.
  3. Inspect and replace the battery if it is weak or faulty.
  4. Use the Ride Modes Pro feature to customize the rider aid settings according to your preference.
  5. Turn off the rider aids if you don’t need them or if they bother you.

8. Exhaust System Problems

Some F 900 R owners have pointed out issues with the exhaust system, including leaks and unusual noises. These could arise from damaged components, subpar fuel quality, or imbalanced fueling.

Solutions include:

  1. Inspecting and updating exhaust components.
  2. Opting for high-octane fuel.
  3.  Integrating a fuel controller or remapping chip.

9. Bulky and Heavy

Weighing 465 pounds when wet, the BMW F 900 R can be perceived as hefty, especially for the naked bike class. Owners often report that weight impacts their agility and comfort, particularly at slower speeds or confined spaces.

For some, this bike handles efficiently at typical speeds and is even suitable for light touring.

Adjusting the suspension, tire pressure, or rider position can enhance performance.

10. Low Seat Height

At 32.5 inches high, the F 900 R’s seat might be uncomfortably low for specific riders, compromising legroom, ground clearance, and overall ergonomics.

Options to alleviate the BMW F900R’s low seat height include:

  1. Adjusting seat height
  2. Modifying the seat cushioning
  3. Enhancing your F900R’s suspension
  4. Adding a steering damper.

11. Side Stand Too Short

Some riders find the F 900 R’s side stand too short, risking the bike’s stability when parking on uneven or soft ground.

To mitigate the BMW F900R’s low seat height, riders can:

  1. Utilize wooden blocks or metal plates when parking on soft ground.
  2. Install aftermarket side stand extensions for added support.

What Are the Pros and Cons of the BMW F 900 R?

Pros:

  • Powerful and smooth engine
  • Electronic rider aid suite
  • Comfortable
  • Fun to Ride
  • Large TFT dashboard with connectivity and smartphone integration
  • Attractive and muscular design
  • Versatile and user-friendly character

Cons:

  • Cold start issues
  • Lean fueling
  • Faulty clutch
  • Connectivity issues
  • Fuel system failure
  • Non-adjustable suspension
  • Rider Aid interference/malfunction
  • Exhaust issues
  • Bulky machine
  • Low seat
  • Short side stand

What’s the Resale Value of a BMW F 900 R?

Year Mileage Used Listing Price
2020 1,610 mi $7,499
2023 1 mi $11,501
2021 205 mi $12,590
2021 4,477 mi $9,491
2020 6,250 mi $7,581
2021 9,866 mi $11,988
2021 5,263 mi $9,350

What Are Some Alternative Models?

Make/Model MSRP MPG
Ducati Monster $11,895 44.2
KTM 890 Duke R $11,999 49.0
Suzuki GSX-S1000 $11,099 41.0
Yamaha MT-09 $9,399 44.0
Kawasaki Z900 $8,999 45.4
Triumph Street Triple RS $12,550 50.2

What do the Reviews Say?

“The F 900 R in standard trim is a solid roadster; it shies away from the crazy hooligan image of the KTM Dukes and takes a more comfortable, reserved stance than the Yamaha MT-09.”

“The BMW F 900 R enters the market as a capable middleweight naked at a competitive base price—just $8,995. Opening the throttle of our F 900 R test unit uncovers a friendly yet entertaining engine character while sounding an intriguing exhaust note.”

“The F900R may not be conspicuously exciting, aurally thrilling or brim-full of character, but it is genuinely effective, versatile, reasonably fuel efficient and, for most people, most of the time, more than quick enough.”

Sources:

2020 BMW F900R | 5 Things I Hate About It! – YouTube

BMW F900R Motorcycles for Sale – Motorcycles on Autotrader

Bmw F 900 R Motorcycles for Sale Near Me – Cycle Trader

BMW F 900 R Cup Bike Review | Cycle World

2020 BMW F 900 R First Ride Review | Cycle World

BMW F900R (2020 – on) Review | MCN (motorcyclenews.com)

Author:

  • Michael Ta Nous

    I've been weaving words into stories since my early scribbling days, and my journey in the world of motorcycles and their communities spans almost two decades. Living with a talented motorcycle mechanic as a roommate, our garage transformed into a vibrant workshop where I absorbed the intricacies of...