Everything good must come to an end, and it was with sadness that I received the call from BMW Motorrad last month, declaring that it was time for my long term F900R to be returned home.
After four months, three seasons and several hundred miles together, the news was a sad but expected blow, and thanks to BMW’s relaxed approach, we managed to squeeze one last week of essential travel together in.
Not that we had anywhere to go… Aside from the Covid-compliant Christmas shopping, that was – trips to the post office, local supermarket, and, before we escalated into Tier 4, TK Maxx. The beauty of shopping on a motorcycle (especially a naked, luggage-less one such as this) is that it really makes you think about what you’re buying – suddenly an 18-piece saucepan set for your mum seems like a terrible idea… On a few occasions, the groceries suffered as a result of my enthusiastic ride home – squashed bananas, agitated beers – but I was the opposite, exhilarated by the few fragments of normality that I could grasp (and the F900’s 106PS (104bhp) parallel twin, of course).
Somewhere among these short, sharp excursions, it dawned on me – much like the lockdown confusion of when you last washed your hair, I couldn’t remember the last time that I had filled the 900’s 13-litre tank. While the fuel economy wasn’t quite the claimed 56mpg, it wasn’t far off 50, even with frequent stop-starts and heavy acceleration. In fact, on longer, faster journeys, such as the F900’s eventual trip home, it returned far higher – 54.3mpg on that occasion. The tank just seemed to last for miles – sometimes more than the predicted 160.
It was a cold December afternoon when the F900R and I set off on that final jaunt. Dialling BMW’s Farnborough HQ into the Motorrad Navigator VI, I chose the long way, up the A3 before cutting cross country to the M3. Personally, I’m not a fan of BMW’s own navigation system, which once attempted to send me to Portsmouth, Virginia (3,676 miles away) rather than the UK alternative and my actual destination, which, at just 79 miles away, was almost 50 times closer.
It was sluggish and slow but alas, it did the job, allowing me to concentrate fully on the final ride – the firm suspension, fluid steering and the enthusiastic throttle in dynamic mode. Yes, the F900R had its foibles, but it still managed to make me smile come rain or shine when, let’s face it, there hasn’t been much else to smile about.