Now, let me just start by saying I’m grateful to have been given a loan bike whilst mine is in for a service, I’m not being mean spirited here or complaining about the bike I was given, far from it.
(a quick start up and show around video of the BMW R Nine T)
I’m simply going to give you my opinion of the bike and do my best not to compare it to my BMW GSA R1200 as they are completely different bikes and serve totally different purposes.
So…….what do I think?
Well, this is the second R Nine T I’ve been loaned by BMW. My first experience was last year when my bike was in for its 600 mile service and I only road it around the streets of London for the afternoon, and the next day to work and then back to the workshop at Battersea, but my feelings about the bike are almost the same.
Now my bike is in for its 30000 mile service and once again I’ve been given an R Nine T, but this time I took my bike to SBW Motorrad in Welwyn Garden City and had the pleasure of riding the R Nine T back to London down the A1 M and around the country roads just inside the M25 and then back home via a torrential rain storm!
They gave me the keys and I checked it over for any loose nuts and bolts, checked the brakes worked, checked the lights worked, saddled up and dropped her into gear and was away through the myriad of roundabouts and making my way to the A1 M.
My first encounter with traffic was ok, I filtered past the cars and tucked in when needed and realised how tight the turning circle is on the bike. It doesn’t give you much to play with when you’re making your way through the lanes and you have to choose your turns correctly in the gaps available.
The seating position is rather racy, knees up, butt back in the seat (if you can call it a seat) and leaning forward on the wrists. Not very comfortable at all for a 6ft tall dude like me. You can sit upright and get a good field of vision but you won’t want to keep the position for long.
Around the curves and exits of the roundabouts it felt great, very responsive and so much power available from the air cooled beast! You kind of have to lean it in to the corners and hold it using counter steering I found to be best, but wow o wow, twisting the throttle out of the bends and into the straights she’s as quick as a rocket. A German rocket!
Then the motorway and WOW! Boom! She winds up beautifully, I popped her into 6th gear and wound the throttle on to 70 mph and stuck there. Any more than that and I’d be breaking the law.
If you were to go 127 mph (the bikes top speed) your belly would have to be on the tank and your head would have to be tucked in behind the clocks because it has no windscreen or protection of any kind.
It wouldn’t make for a comfortable ride at all. You’d get bashed by the wind and wish you’d had a windscreen or something!
It needs something. (The new R Nine T Racer has a headlight fairing with a small windshield, I wonder if that helps with the wind at high speed?)
It’s cold on the hands and knees from lack of protection and when it rains you get hit from all angles because of the lack of fairing or screen or anything to deflect it away from you and your riding gear.
It handles well in the rain and feels stable on the straights and in the corners, the suspension set up is a bit hard for the streets of London with all the sleeping policeman and traffic calming measures we have in this city, the bumps and potholes in the road go right through you, it’s a shame the suspension can’t be softened for around town riding, but on the whole it’s okay and handles very well.
The gearbox is smooth and selects the gears quietly and without fuss, the brakes are amazing and very responsive.
The controls are BMW standard at the moment which is a shame as it lets the bike down a bit.
I think BMW could have worked on the design for the controls a bit more rather than shove the same gear as the rest of the fleet.
It is a great looking bike and much can be done with it, it exudes BMW’s design and build qualities, with the full Akrapovic exhaust it’s noisy and sounds fantastic, it’s an instant classic. It’s a shame you can’t have the option to disable the ABS as it would be great to skid to a stop!
I just saw this on wiki
“The BMW R nine T has several design elements configured to allow the bike to be easily modified, such as separate engine and chassis wiring harnesses and minimal bolts attaching the rear sub frame, tail lights, and headlight.”
If that’s is the case, if I were rich I would use this engine on a custom build bike as it is a rocket! How fantastic would it be to be let free In a workshop using this engine to build a custom off road bike! I’d be at the front of the queue!
But until I win the lottery……….this is a sunny day bike for a quick spin in the country with your mates to enjoy the grip it gives in the bends and the power it delivers out of them, it’s also a trip down the pub bike, a weekend roadster bike for riding around town, to cruise the streets of your local city and look cool on but ultimately feel uncomfortable on after a while. It’s a short trip bike.
And if that’s what your looking for then go right ahead, but if you go in blind, you’ll probably wonder why you bought it in the first place. In fact I bet there won’t be many people that keep it for more than three years before they sell it for something else. Something like a GSA 😉
It’s for the rich and stupid, there, I said it. But if that describes you then go right ahead because it is quick, it is fun, it does have that old school BMW twitch that shakes the bike (and your eyes at idle/tick over) from left to right when you twist the throttle, it has the appeal you desire and the engine to satisfy you, it has a ‘cool’ look, it just doesn’t have the comfort or the longevity you’ll want after riding it for a while.