We just got a hold of the new BMW R900GS, which has to be considered the most dirt oriented BMW adventure bike ever. We first got a look at this bike about a month ago on a ride with BMW’s new Superbike racer JD Beach, who did some pretty amazing things on it. Now that we have one of our own we get it; this bike is a big leap forward over the F850GS. If you’re not familiar with BMW’s middleweight adventure line, it can be a little confusing. In 2019 the F850 was a complete redesign over the older 800. It was the most dirt oriented middleweight twin of the day. It had a new 798cc parallel twin motor that was manufactured in one of BMW’s Asian facilities. It was lighter and had better suspension than the previous 800, which had been around since 2012.


Mark Tilley on the BMW F900GS

At the time, it got a little confusing because a bike called the F750 was introduced as well. It has the exact same displacement! That was the base model and even though it was an 800, it was called a 750 because horsepower, features and suspension were all at a lower level. That same plan exists for the new F900GS; there’s also a new F800 with the same motor, but with limited output and fewer features. The F900 we have here has the redesigned 895cc parallel twin motor at full strength, which is said to be 105 horsepower. Everything is new this year; there are extensive changes to the chassis including a new plastic fuel tank to contribute to a weight savings of over 30 pounds. It comes with an Akrapovic exhaust and spoke wheels in an 17/21-inch combo. The F900GS starts off with a base price of $13,495, although very few dealers in the U.S. will carry that version. This particular one is in the most off-road oriented configuration, which means it has the Enduro Package Pro, including a 45mm Showa fork and a fully adjustable Sachs ZF shock. It also has the Premium accessory package, which includes a lot of things, but tops on the list are the extra ride modes, which tailor the power delivery to various conditions. We also have various other items including the Pirelli Rally tires to bring up the price to a grand total of $18,390.

BMW has come a long way in its off-road capability. They had to; even though these guys have been in the adventure bike game longer than anyone, they’ve recently spawned some pretty intense competition from other manufacturers who take off-road performance very seriously.
Up front, we have to say that the standard, unmodified power power delivery is wonderfully smooth. If you’re looking for something with a wild surge that has the front wheel coming up and your eyes watering, this isn’t it. The BMW has massive torque and has such a smooth delivery that it conceals that 105 horsepower rating. We rode it back to back with a KTM 890, which feels completely different. That bike is noticeably more powerful but it hits harder and demands more from the rider. On a dirt road, the unaltered KTM is going to spin wildly until you engage some level of slip control. The BMW, on the other hand, is perfectly controllable without doing that. The power output is smooth, controllable and super easy to use.
That’s a good thing, because BMW’s traction control is still fairly limited. With everything enabled, the F900 has five ride modes; Street, Rain, Dynamic, Enduro and Enduro Pro. Each has its own mix of output, throttle response, anti-lock braking and Dynamic Traction Control (what BMW calls “DTC”). You can also go into submenus to cook up your own recipe. The default setting for Enduro Pro has disabled rear brake anti-lock, slightly reduced throttle response and a moderate amount of traction control. As it turns out, that reduction in engine output mixed with the bike’s naturally smooth power delivery is perfect for the dirt without any traction control at all. Even in its most minimal setting, DTC comes across as an engine miss. In deep sand, it can actually bring you to a halt. For a quick elimination of DCT, BMW has supplied a dedicated button that you can use on the fly.

If you’re at risk for getting stuck, the BMW has a dedicated button to disable traction control on the fly.

The BMW has excellent off-road suspension. Again, our test bike had the enduro suspension package, which is a $1495 option. Get it. The Showa fork and Sachs shock provide a cushy ride and still have plenty of travel left over for ditches and ruts. It’s still set up a little too soft for hitting real whoops, but that’s okay. The shock has a hand crack for increasing preload and plenty of range in the damping clickers. In overall handling, the bike is surprising. It’s a great big motorcycle, but you can muscle it around fairly easily even at low speed. Then, when you come to rocks and sand and find yourself in the seat with your feet out–something we all do–the seat height is reasonably low. It’s still best to get up on the pegs as quickly as possible because the tank forces you too far rearward when you’re in the seat. The bike handles much, much better when you’re standing, just like pretty much everything in the adventure bike world. Thankfully, the rear brake has a flip-down platform to make it accessible when you’re standing. That’s a welcome addition.
We’re still putting some miles on the F900GS and learning more about it. I don’t think we’ll ever be capable of the things that JD Beach was doing, but we’re getting better all the time. The full test will appear in the September 2024 print edition of Dirt Bike.

Following weeks of voting, the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame announced the five inductees who will be honored during the 2024 AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony on Oct. 10 in Pickerington, Ohio.


The AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame Class of 2024 is Mike Lafferty, Debbie Matthews, Mat Mladin, Rob Rasor and Kevin Windham.

Mike Lafferty on the March 2004 cover of DB riding our ’94 300 test bike.


Mike Lafferty was bitten by the enduro racing bug in 1982 when he was 7 years old, and he turned this passion into one of the most successful off-road careers ever. Racing throughout the 1980s, Lafferty broke through when he won back-to-back East Coast Enduro Association championships as a teenager in 1993 and 1994. Lafferty hit a launching point in 1997, when he claimed his first AMA National Enduro Championship. In total he tallied 71 National Enduro wins — second all-time — and eight titles, which leaves him tied for the most all-time. Lafferty also raced AMA Grand National Cross Country and was a member of four U.S. ISDE teams.


Debbie Matthews has spent her life contributing to motorcycling and has done so by serving in — and excelling in — almost every role the sport has to offer to increase opportunities for women riders. Known for her smooth and effortless racing style, Matthews set the record for longest consecutive pro and amateur career in women’s motocross when she raced for 27 years. In 1996, she co-founded the Women’s Motocross League, and Matthews further worked on behalf of women riders when she met with AMA Congress and drove the change to give women “A” Rider classification for the first time in history. Recognizing Matthews’ work promoting women’s motocross, announcer Erv Braun described her as the “Godmother of Women’s MX.”


In a 10-year span from 1999 to 2009 that continues to defy belief in hindsight, Mat Mladin notched seven AMA Superbike titles and won 82 AMA Superbike nationals in the process — each of those numbers more than anyone in history. Mladin also won the legendary Daytona 200 three times during that period, achievements that have him tied for third all-time behind AMA Hall of Famers and multi-time Daytona 200 winners Scott Russell (five) and Miguel Duhamel (four). In 1999, he won his first of seven AMA Superbike titles — achievements that would make him, according to series promoter MotoAmerica, “the most dominant rider in the history of the AMA Superbike Championship.”


For decades, Rob Rasor was instrumental in carrying out the AMA’s mission to promote the motorcycle lifestyle and protect the future of motorcycling. Hired in 1973 as part of the AMA’s Government Relations Department, Rasor helped ward off a federal “superbike” ban, helmet requirements and bike bans in several states and cities, and aided in the fight to ban healthcare discrimination against motorcyclists. Rasor was also a champion for off-road riding and led the AMA’s efforts to win public land access for off-road riders. Rasor’s efforts extended beyond the United States, and he was awarded the FIM Nicolas Rodi Del Valle Gold Medal in 2019.

Kevin Windham rode for Puerto Rico at the 2018 MX of Nations.

Kevin Windham’s 19-year AMA Supercross and Pro Motocross career is one for the history books. During his long, illustrious career, Windham raced to 47 total AMA Pro wins and collected the third-most starts (325), third-most points (9,070) and the seventh-most podiums (130). While Windham saw success domestically, he thrived in international competition — winning the 1999 FIM United States Grand Prix and 2005 Motocross of Nations as a member of the American team.


MORGANTOWN, W. Va. (June 20, 2024) – MX Sports Pro Racing, Inc., in conjunction with the event organizers at Washougal MX Park, has announced that the 43rd running of the storied MotoSport.com Washougal National Presented by Peterson CAT will host the “Military Appreciation Race” on Saturday, July 20, at Round 8 of the 2024 Pro Motocross Championship. The event will be a celebration of both veteran and active-duty service members, in recognition of the sacrifices they’ve made in defense of our country and ensuring the freedoms of all Americans.

Washougal organizers, the Huffman family, will collaborate with the Veteran Motocross Foundation to ensure all enthusiasts within the industry that have served will have a chance to be a part of this special event. Plans are ongoing to coordinate a memorable F-15 flyover to kick off the event in addition to a Blackhawk flyover that will lead to a commemorative veterans’ lap. During the lap, a full 40-rider gate of service members will take their turn in the spotlight and be honored by the tens of thousands of spectators that will line the fences around the scenic facility.

“The Washougal MX family is honored to host the Military Appreciation Race this year for 43rd running,” said Ryan Huffman, Owner, Washougal MX Park. “A logging accident prevented my dad from serving, so he looked for other ways to show his support for veterans both on and off the track. The Huffman family looks forward to continuing our support for years to come. With the help of Veteran MX, we hope to reach more service members and bring together our shared love for the military and motocross.”

See you next week!~

–Ron Lawson

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