When BMW shows a concept bike at the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este it’s a pretty safe bet that a production model will be along in the near future. In 2013 it was the Concept 90, which became the R nineT. In 2014 came the Concept Roadster that turned into the R1200R. For 2015 BMW brought the Concept 101, which previewed the K1600B.
And last year it was the turn of the Concept 9Cento; a sports-tourer derived from the all-new F850 parallel twin and sharing key design cues with the S1000XR. Is an F850XR on the way? Of course it is, and here are the design patents that show the bike in its finished form.
Some parts have changed, of course. The Concept 9Cento featured a super-short tail on a carbon-fiber subframe, and an unusual sharkfin on the rear hugger, but there’s no question that this is the bike it previewed.
It’s abundantly clear that every major mechanical part of the bike is pulled directly from the F850GS production line. The engine, visually at least, is identical, suggesting it will be the same 853cc unit giving 90 hp at 8,000 rpm and 63 pound-feet at 6,250 rpm. It sits in the same steel chassis as the F850GS, with the same swingarm, and even the bars appear to be unchanged. As a result there’s a clear adventure-bike element to the new model’s upright stance, but its styling, wheels, and tires mean it’s never intended to leave the asphalt.
With 17-inch cast alloy rims front and rear, shod in road-going rubber, it’s every inch a baby brother to the S1000XR, right down to styling that includes a vestigial “beak.” Big, radial-mount, four-piston brake calipers are another alteration compared to the GS, adding to the new machine’s sportier slant.
So many parts are shared with the F850GS that the bike’s weight will inevitably be in the same ballpark as that model’s 504 pounds (wet). Other GS hand-me-down parts include the instrument pack, and there’s no doubt it will enjoy a similar suite of electronics including multiple riding modes, ABS, and stability control. The full color TFT screen that’s an optional extra on the GS is again certain to be offered on the XR, with the built-in navigation and smartphone connectivity that it brings with it.
What’s In A Name?
While every inch of the new machine’s styling screams “XR”—and its styling is the work of the same man, Andreas Martin, who designed the S1000XR—there remains a school of thought that says this bike will be marketed under the name “F850RS.” That rumor stems from a misprint in a 2019 BMW brochure, which mentioned a nonexistent F850RS, saying “the F850RS midrange tourer is both popular and versatile and a fantastic choice for those wishing to enter the BMW touring range of motorbikes.”
BMW passed this off as a typo, and it’s clear the sentence was supposed to refer to the F800GT, but the implication is that there are enough people in BMW’s marketing department who are familiar with the name “F850RS” that nobody picked up on the error.
But while an F850RS is indeed a likely addition to the F850 range at some stage in the future, the Concept 9Cento-derived styling of the bike seen in these patent images leaves us believing it must be destined to carry the same “XR” tag as the S1000XR it so closely resembles. The XR name implies the same tall, adventure-bike-influenced riding position seen here, while any future F850RS will surely be a derivative of the naked F850R that’s equally certain to be on BMW’s product plan for the next couple of years. The F850R, which hasn’t yet been seen, is likely to share the same engine but to use a different frame, just as the previous F800R (and F800GT) used a lower-slung, road-oriented, alloy beam frame rather than sharing the old F800GS’s tubular steel chassis.
With Villa d’Este just around the corner (it runs from May 24–27), we’re sure to see another BMW concept bike unveiled next month. Perhaps it will preview the F800R or RS…