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 A1M 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 A1M.
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 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 I didn’t want to keep the position for long as it hurt my wrists somewhat.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 good 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 put 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.
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……….for me and how I use a motorcycle, this would be a sunny day bike for a quick spin in the country with my mates to enjoy the grip it gives in the bends and the power it delivers out of them. It would be a trip down the pub bike, a weekend roadster bike for riding around town, to cruise the streets of London. It’s 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.