Today BMW Motorrad officially unveiled a first look at the long-awaited BMW R NineT. Teased previously as the “Boxer” model, the R NineT is the culmination of BMW’s year-long celebration of 90 years making motorcycles. At first glance, the R NineT looks like a special edition of the BMW R 1200 R naked roadster with a dash of “cafe racer” thrown in. Yet there are key differences. Upside-down front forks from the S 1000 RR have been fitted to replace the usual “paralever” front end found on the R 1200 R. The whole machine has been stripped down and simplified, taking many of its cues from the contemporary custom scene.
The NineT is more simple, more bare-bones, and most importantly, more in-tune with the present popularity of customizing vintage BMW R-series motorcycles. It’s a production motorcycle designed with builders like Deus Ex Machina, Cafe Racer Dreams and Classified Moto in mind. Not only does the R NineT take a page from the book of contemporary customizers of vintage machines, it’s built intentionally with the flexibility to allow for builders to make the R NineT entirely their own. For example, the rear subframe intended for carrying a passenger is completely removable — making a true solo seat an easy option on the NineT. The electrical system is also designed with flexibility in mind.
Not a builder yourself? BMW will offer a full line of bolt-on customization accessories for the NineT, starting with seat, exhaust and other custom touches. However, BMW is positioning the NineT more as a factory-bred customization platform. Unlike other factory models that get taken and customized more-or-less in defiance of the OEM, the NineT is BMW saying to the builder community “Here, take this platform and go nuts.”
Fundamentally, the BMW R NineT joins a small list of other “modern classic” machines like the Triumph Bonneville lineup, the Royal Enfield, the Moto Guzzi V7 and the Honda CB1100. At fist glance, the NineT is set apart mostly by its performance focus. Fully modern, superbike suspension and a modern engine producing 110 hp and 88 ft-lbs of torque give the NineT a level of performance the other “modern classics” can’t quite touch. In the right hands, this platform can then be molded into something very visually interesting. Unlike the contemporary Bonneville however, it’s unlikely anyone on the street will mistake the NineT for their old R 90 S they had 30 years ago. For all its throw-back intention, the BMW R NineT remains an unmistakably modern machine. It will likely be the halo bike of the segment as well, in terms of both technology and price.
Look for the BMW R NineT to debut in person at EICMA in November and to arrive in BMW dealerships in early 2014.
Official press release follows:
BMW R nineT – the essence of 90 thrilling years of BMW Motorrad.
The BMW R nineT, which has been created to mark “90 years of BMW Motorrad”, radiates purism and power in undisguised form. It skillfully blends the boxer engine’s rugged character and the design traits of various motorcycle eras with cutting-edge technology and a modular concept that offers the rider maximum scope for personalization. Strictly reduced to the essentials, the BMW R nineT – or just nineT for short – is made all the more alluring by its hand-built feel and strong emotional appeal.
The classic roadster bike is built to cater to the many motorcycle enthusiasts who yearn for unadulterated, stress-free riding pleasure. When it came to developing the design of the nineT in particular, terms such as “puristic simplicity”, “emotion” and “authentic, traditional materials” were also high on the list of priorities. Styling cues from old-school motorcycle manufacture are thus united with the very latest drive and chassis components on the nineT to produce a sensational motorcycle that is just as adept at cruising along serenely as it is at powering down country roads.
Powered by a classic boxer engine.
Like the first ever BMW motorcycle from 1923 – the legendary BMW R 32 – the new BMW R nineT is driven by the classic flat twin boxer engine with its punchy response from standstill. This construction principle has been synonymous with unmistakable design, abundant torque delivery and inimitable acoustics for 90 years now. The nineT employs the 1,170 cc air/oil-cooled boxer unit. It produces 81 kW (110 hp) at 7,750 rpm and musters up a maximum torque of 119 Nm (88 lb-ft) at 6,000 rpm.
Conceived for maximum customization.
The nineT pools together the genes from 90 years of BMW Motorrad and its unique concept has been designed to keep customization fans happy. During each stage of the puristic roadster’s development, the focus was very much placed on enabling riders to tailor it to their personal preferences in a variety of ways. The choice of modifications ranges from BMW Motorrad genuine accessories to custom-made add-on or accessory parts from specialist customizers, making it possible to create a truly unique machine.
The high scope for customization offered by the nineT is down in no small part to its special frame concept. The tubular steel space frame that was specially developed for the nineT incorporates the boxer engine as a load-bearing element. The frame’s basic construction consists of a front frame section with integral steering head and a rear section with swing arm mounting.
The removable pillion frame allows the nineT to carry a passenger or to be set up for just a solo rider, when it cuts a truly stylish figure. Together with the aluminum tail cover available as a special accessory, this injects the nineT with a striking solo character that is reminiscent of the early café racers.
Exhaust positioned on left with twin silencers and personalization options.
The exhaust system that runs down the left-hand side with two silencers placed one above the other is fully in keeping with the concept of a classic sporty roadster. There is room for customization here too, courtesy of the BMW Motorrad accessory range. Adding a real touch of technical finesse to the nineT, for instance, is the Akrapović unit made of titanium. By fitting a short or long connecting pipe, the silencer can furthermore be mounted in either a lowered or a raised position, radically altering the appearance and character of the nineT.
Traditional chassis design combined with high-performance technology.
The telelever usually fitted on the boxer models from BMW Motorrad has been replaced on the BMW R nineT by an upside-down telescopic fork borrowed from the S 1000 RR superbike, resulting in a distinctly classic look paired with absolutely top-class engineering. The rear suspension employs the paralever single-sided swing arm in conjunction with a central spring strut.
The housing for the rear axle drive includes three mounting points that can be used to attach a bracket for positioning the license plate and light unit on one side, for instance. What’s more, the swingarm on the nineT is designed in such a way that a 17-inch wheel with a width of 6 inches can be fitted instead of the standard 5.5-inch-wide version and submitted for individual approval if applicable.
Designed as an out-and-out roadster, the nineT follows in the tyre tracks of role models from the past by featuring wire-spoke wheels with black anodized alloy, non-flanged rims, black aluminum hubs and stainless steel spokes. Radial 4-piston mono-block brake calipers work in unison with floating 320 millimeter brake discs and BMW Motorrad ABS to provide sure stopping power.
Pared-down design and hand-built feel.
One of the overriding design objectives was to reduce the bodywork as far as possible in order to achieve a puristic look. The attention to detail that consistently infused the work of the designers and engineers on the nineT is a further attribute that shines through over and over again.
The sides of the 18-liter aluminum tank have been painstakingly brushed by hand and then coated. The aluminum plate with embossed nineT lettering on the right above the air intake duct is likewise befitting of the bike’s hand-built feel.
The surfaces of many forged aluminum parts, including the yokes and the handlebar clamp bracket with BMW Motorrad lettering, have been glass bead-blasted and then given a natural anodized finish. The circular headlamp with the BMW emblem in the centre of the bulb cover pays homage to various role models from 90 years of BMW Motorrad.
A classic Black storm metallic paint finish with contrasting silver and metallic highlights was chosen to match the character of the nineT.
Specially designed electrical system to allow plenty of scope for customization.
The bike’s electrical system has been specially configured for greater technical flexibility, thereby facilitating the installation of alternative electrical components, such as headlights or turn indicators.
Highlights of the new BMW R nineT:
- • Puristic design.
- • Hand-built feel of the workmanship.
- • Air/oil-cooled twin-cylinder boxer engine with a displacement of 1,170 cc. Output 81 kW (110 hp) at 7,750 rpm, maximum torque 119 Nm (88 lb-ft) at 6,000 rpm.
- • Ideally suited to customization.
- • Modular frame concept with removable pillion frame and frame end-piece.
- • Classic wheel suspension concept using high-quality upside-down telescopic fork at the front and paralever at the rear.
- • Exhaust system with two silencers on the left-hand side, with variation options.
- • Traditional wire-spoke wheels with black rims and hubs.
- • Radial 4-piston monoblock brake calipers, steel-braided brake lines and floating 320 mm brake discs.
- • Model plate riveted onto steering head in classic BMW Motorrad style.
- • Bespoke range of special accessories made to BMW Motorrad’s customary high standards of quality.