Tech Specs
BMW R NineT Pure

1170cc longitudilnal boxer, air and oil cooled, with four valves per cylinder. Dual overhead cams. 6 speed gearbox with shaft final drive. 107bhp at 7,250rpm.

Steel cradle frame. Fully adjustable front forks and monoshock rear. Four pistonfront calipers on twin 320mm discs. Single rear disc brake. Lean sensitive ABS. Multi- adjustable riding modes.

120/70 17"
180/55 17" rear

Length: 2105mm
Seat height: 805mm
Wet weight: 219kg
Fuel capacity: 17 lit.

Price: £ 10.980
as tested




The good Old Days... but better

2021 BMW R Nine-T Pure

Words by Simon Bradley, Pic from BMW UK

A library pictureBack in the day (why do people say that?) BMW were renowned for making sensible motorbikes. Well, when I say sensible I mean conservative. The cylinder layout was anything but sensible as the pots stuck out into the breeze and made enthusiastic cornering an adventure. But that didn't matter, because their target customer, to be honest, didn't tend to go in for that much enthusiastic cornering anyway.

Fast forward quite a long time, and while BMW core products (and best sellers) still have that boxer engine it's generally linked to vast off road machinery that still appeals, frankly, to their core buyers from years ago. Plus, of course, their devastatingy effective four cylinder sports missiles are hoovering up a chunk of the market.

And then there's this. The R NineT range.

This pariticular version is the R NineT Pure, and it is stripped back and bare motorcycling. Basically it's a return to the halcyon days of the BMW R90 that so many of us lusted after in the late seventies (but so few could afford). isn't.

I was lucky enough to spend time on R90s and R100s when they were nearly new. and while they were great for tackling long journeys and wee beautifully built, they were, um, boring. They sounded rubbish, they really didn't handle terribly well, their brakes were squishy and while they did have a character they were basically the grey suits of the motorbike world. You would, as a friend was wont to say, seat them at the "Dull but worthy" end of the table.

The R NineT isn't like that.

Now I only had this for a day and it wasn't planned, which is why I've had to nick pictures from the BMW website. But I can tell you a few things from the off. It's a genuinely quick bike. Not rip yer face off quick like an S1000, obviously - it's about a hundred horsepower down on that - but plenty quick enough to make quite indecent progress under just about any conditions.

It's tiny. Not something you normally associate with a BMW boxer, but it's like sitting on a moped. Which is great for filtering through traffic. In essence your shoulders are the same width as the bike which makes it very easy to judge what's going an and what (or won't) fit through that gap.

It handles. Really. It's over-tyred and has grip to spare, but the suspension is also beautifully balanced. The result is...well, I'll come onto that later. Let's just say it works.

Happily BMW have eschewed their old switchgear and are now back with conventional stuff, and it's all great. This being a stripped down bike, of course, there's hardly anything to worry about anyway. Apart from the adjustable ABS, multi-riding mode selector, heated grips and cruise control of course. Well, it is a BMW you know. The heated grips are fabulous and definitely worth having. The cruise control works but is probably pointless most of the time (though I still used it on a brief run through an average speed limit) and the riding modes really do make a difference. Do you need them? Probably not, but if you're inexperienced then maybe the rain mode would be good until you get used to riding in the wet (or indeed in the UK generally). There is no additional instrumentation though - there's just one big speedo with a little LCD panel that shows tank range and so on.

That's a neat introduction to a fallacy about BMWs. That lazy boxer engine is miserly on fuel. Except it, um, isn't. Not in this case anyway. You see, this bike is uttery hilarious to ride because it is, in so many ways, completely bonkers. It asks, no, positively begs to be thrashed and ridden like a yobbo. Spiritually this is a Buell Lighting, not a sensible BMW. It's an accountant in DMs with a skinhead and tattoos. Who supports Milwall. And has been on a week long binge of Stella and pickled onions. And it is immense fun to be with. But there's a price. It's still an 1170cc engine, and when the taps are wide open it drinks fuel accordingly.

But you won't care. Because you'll be grinning like The Joker.

Everything about this bike just works. The brakes have the perfect combination of bite and sensitivity so you can take a massive handful and still be trailing them as you stuff the thing onto its ear and throw it around a corner before wringing its neck again before repeating. Even the noise is brilliant, the twin stacked pipes sounding just right. And the diminutive size means that you can move around easily, yet somehow it's never cramped or uncomfortable.

To sum up, this bike is bloody brilliant and I loved it. I could genuinely see myself buying one and never regretting it.

Thanks to Vines of Guildford in general and Simon in particular for a brilliant level of service and for loaning me this bike to abuse at short notice. They're still lovely people to deal with. Give them a try if you're after something new.



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