Zonko’s attack on the BMW R nineT

Zonko’s attack on the BMW R nineT

Retro, not residual waste

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Retro doesn’t have to be residual waste. With the BMW R nineT, Bavaria is showing the way. Zonko calls Rod and reports about the "Karcher" effect.

Rod sounded kind of excited. Maybe it was because of the poor connection that I couldn’t understand everything, or maybe it was just Rod’s speed of speech. You know the phenomenon from driving: up to a certain speed, the brain can process the impressions collected cleanly, you drive even faster, a lot falls by the wayside and no longer penetrates to the control center. That’s how I felt now with Rod’s waterfall-like flow of speech. Yes, heaven, what exactly did he want to tell me? I realized that he was stuck somewhere in the Alps, that he was with the BMW R. nineT had been traveling far too fast that he … And then came the sentence that put everything else in the shade and shed light on the darkness: "For joke, I called him a gorge shit, but he had no sense of humor. "All right. Well done, Rod.

Zonko’s attack on the BMW R nineT

Retro, not residual waste


The Bavarians originally called the BMW R nineT – at least the first prototype of it – "LoRider".

Rod would have had no bad cards at all. He had the master bonus. Law enforcement officers in Austria, if they drive a motorcycle themselves, turn a blind eye – as the saying goes – when the offender’s driving skills are impressive. So if you fire in a fully controlled manner with a sloping wheelie from the turn, you have a good chance of getting away with a warning if you are hit by the radar gun a hundred meters further with 140 objects. Someone who carries the machine around the corner and then pours it on the straight like a superhero has little prospect of the gentleness of the authorities.

If speed and driving skills do not go together, you are already at a penalty, so to speak. In that sense, Rod could have got away with it. “Forget it,” he now made clear, “they didn’t collect me in Tyrol, but in Switzerland. Obviously overlooked a limitation. 160 instead of 50. “Well boom – that for the Swiss. And then the joke about the gorge. Hmm, that might take a while. Switzerland is a beautiful country, the quality and standard of life are very high, but unfortunately so are the penalties for traffic offenses.

If you fire, the Karcher effect occurs

Speaking of which: it can take time. To the inclined reader who is already choking the cat or scolding the budgie because he cannot grasp the length of this introduction and finally wants to know how the BMW R nineT drives, I can quickly say in a nutshell: I was able to Rod, The emblematic not only the dungeon supervisor sat badly on the neck, but also the chief editor waiting for the article, the request not to refuse and got the Bavarian return sum. The picture of the performance tester with leather and helmet behind the bars (he kept his camouflage even in the cell) made me think of Bruno, the unhappily in love gorilla in Schonbrunn Zoo.

Unfortunate Rod. However – I don’t want to gloss over that – my sadness immediately faded when I really fired the BMW R nineT for the first time at the city limits. Don’t be offended, but when I sit on a sharp iron it simply blows the worries and inconveniences of everyday life out of my brain. In psychology this is called the “Karcher effect”. I believe.

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The 110 hp boxer of the BMW R nineT is convincing

The Bavarians originally called the BMW R nineT – at least the first prototype of it – "LoRider". The machine presented at the Intermot several years ago was not only good for me, but also for many others. The name was kind of strange, though. To me it sounded like Lou Reed’s Slovak fan club in ex-Eastern Bloc intonation. Harley-Davidson clearly recognized their “Low Rider” in “LoRider” and enforced the corresponding rights. No harm I think.

The R nineT doesn‘t come off my tongue easily either, but somehow it fits better than LoRider. Especially because there is nothing “Low” about the Bavarian return hum. On the contrary. BMW sets the bar very high for the other manufacturers of classic machines that have been reduced to the essentials. The Kawasaki W800 and Moto Guzzi V7, with their 48 hp, trigger a terrible depressive boost when they are confronted with the 110 hp boxer of the BMW R nineT, and also the around 70 hp Bonneville series from Triumph doesn’t make any meters at all. Not only because of the lack of power and torque, but also – possibly even primarily – because of the chassis.

Blind trust is good, I prefer clear feedback

The Telelever is certainly a great invention and has proven itself in practice for casual to brisk road driving, but for race-oriented smokers, I simply prefer a conventional fork (of course it can’t be one from the toothpick department!). In contrast to the Telelever, the machine dips into the front when throwing anchor. This not only changes the geometry in favor of better turning behavior, but you can also feel the front tire more clearly. Blind trust is good, but I prefer clear feedback. You just dare to do it more. From that point of view, I am extremely pleased that you donated a USD 46 to the BMW R nineT. With a sporty setting. There may be people who quarrel with the lack of any adjustment options, but not me. I am glad about it. The engineers found a really good fork setup – and I can’t water it down by clicking in the wrong direction. I have a special talent for that.

The paralever of the BMW R nineT is sublime. This optically very spectacular type of rear wheel guidance is now so technically mature that an uncomprehending freak like me can express nothing but admiration and, casually formulated, observes the following: The spaghetti wutzler (ie the cardan) actually works inconspicuously, the stability of the rear is absolute sufficient for controlled, small slides for testing the asphalt quality, the transparency is given to a pleasantly high degree.


The exhaust of the BMW R nineT.

Only the rebound of the central shock absorber is a touch too low for me. For me personally, that springs out a nuance too briskly. But you adapt quickly to that. And because the braking – radially mounted monoblocks bite into 320 mm discs – works great, you can fire the BMW R nineT unleashed through the open country with a clear conscience. The W800, V7, Bonneville, Thruxton and Co., on the other hand, are real Schlapfen – the machines mentioned, whose charisma I appreciate very much, can not take it amiss.

But even the long-running XJR 1300 and the secret beauty queen CB 1100 F cannot quite follow the BMW R nineT in terms of the chassis. I really don’t know why most manufacturers believe that nakeds with a retro flair don’t need a decent chassis. The lower the engine power, the more important the chassis is because you have to drive through the radius with a lot of momentum. Unless you like to be burned here all day. Perhaps there are actually people who feel good when they tell their budgie at home in the evening: “Schurli, it was wonderful! Today four hundred other motorcycles overtook me! It’s so wonderful to be pounded in the ground all day. A dream! ”But it won’t be that many. I think.

Be the first to order mint tea from the summit host

Real racers will love the spectacular developments in the electronics sector. For me, however, traction, wheelie and launch control are also masterpieces of technology, but I don’t necessarily want them when I ride my motorcycle. In my opinion, the BMW R nineT wins a lot because it lacks the electronic superstructure. It is a machine that has been reduced to the essentials and can be controlled very well even without driving aids. The brute boxer already in the lower area washes torque onto the 180 mm Roller like a dam breaking and then does not decrease over the entire speed range. There is no question that where orgiastic four-cylinder engines only come to life, the boxer is already hanging desperately in the limiter, but the usable band is still wide. Granada plays it from 3000 to 8000 rpm.

Accompanied by a hoarse roaring sound, you grasp a thrust that pulls you past the extras on the street as if they were screwed into the asphalt. There are undoubtedly irons that are even better suited for the hard attack on the Pass of Good Hope than the 222 kilo BMW R nineT, but you can also ride it in a very fast game and have the chance to be first in the Summit host to order the mint tea. But if you get lost on a racetrack, you can only count on respectable successes in the tourist class. If you ride with the super athletes, you need two things: firstly, a really stable psyche and, secondly, the insight that a cow can only be happy as long as it has not set its mind to becoming a horse.

With the BMW R nineT you can really rage

As soon as you have got used to the fact that, due to the long tank, you are sitting a bit further away from the handlebars than on super sports bikes or sporty nakeds and the relatively long machine with the relatively flat steering head angle does not turn thought-controlled, but requires manual input from the driver, you can really rage with the BMW R nineT. In unlocked mode, you only have to be considerate of the boxer. Due to the lengthways crankshaft, there is a certain pitching moment with every shift. The higher the speed and the more ambitious the gear change, the stronger the torque – of race.

When I let the engine roar for the first time and accelerated the BMW R nineT from zero to 240 km / h on the speedometer (wonderful crack!), I knew why the wonderfully balanced and good-natured machine had a steering damper. Hell, at full throttle there was a real jolt from the one to the two through the machine, which clearly continued into the handlebars, from the two to the three too. Then it got quieter. That is probably due to the stabilizing forces of the ever faster turning wheels.

Interest in cafe racers and retro machines is increasing

To avoid any misunderstandings: These nodding moments are by no means frightening or worrying, but typical appearances of the charismatic boxer, whom I personally consider to be a killer engine. I am not surprised that Bayern have relied on it for 90 years – and have continued to develop it for 90 years. The currently huge interest in cafe racers and retro machines is certainly one of the reasons that the BMW R nineT is selling like hot cakes.

To put it bluntly, with the BMW R nineT, BMW has shown that retro doesn’t have to be residual waste. And I’m sure that Bayern will usher in a trend with it. New retro irons from other manufacturers will come, and we can look forward to around 100 hp and serious suspensions. Exactly what I have wanted for a long time. Why no one except Bayern has built it so far will remain an eternal mystery to me. Well, luckily, the other puzzle should come free soon. Unless Rod puts his plan, which I strongly advised against, into action and actually cooks up the post commander’s daughter. 

Technical data BMW R nineT


The engineers of the BMW R nineT have found a really good fork set-up.

Two-cylinder boxer engine, four valves / cylinder, 81.0 kW (110 PS) at 7750 / min *, 119 Nm at 6000 / min *, 1170 cm³, bore / stroke: 101.0 / 73.0 mm, compression ratio: 12.0: 1, ignition / injection system, 50 mm-
Throttle valves, hydraulically operated single-flat dry clutch, six-speed gearbox, G-Kat, gimbal.

landing gear
Load-bearing motor-gear unit made of steel, steering head angle: 64.5 degrees, caster: 103 mm, wheelbase: 1476 mm, upside-down fork, Ø fork inner tube: 46 mm, central spring strut without deflection, adjustable in spring base and rebound. Suspension travel front / rear: 120/120 mm, light alloy spoked wheels, 3.50 x 17 / 5.50 x 17, front tires: 120/70 ZR 17, rear: 180/55 ZR 17, initial tires: Continental Road Attack 2C, 320 mm Double disc brake with four-piston fixed calipers attached radially at the front, 265 mm single disc with single-piston floating caliper at the rear, ABS


Smoother boxer with a nice start. The waves and dents are barely noticeable when driving – not good for super sports.

Max. Rear wheel power **: 76.5 kW (104 PS) at 195 km / h

0-100 km / h: 3.3 s
0–150 km / h: 6.3 s
0-200 km / h: 13.3 s   

Draft **
50-100 km / h: 4.2 s
100–150 km / h: 4.4 s

Top speed *: 217 km / h

Weight: 222 kg with a full tank, v./h .: 50.7 / 49.3%,
Tank capacity: 18.0 liters
Setup fork: no setting options
Setup shock absorber: N / A..
Base price: 14,500 euros, test machine: 14,500 euros

all damping settings counted from completely closed; static negative spring deflection standing vertically without driver; U = revolutions; K = clicks * manufacturer information ** PS measurement



The cockpit of the BMW R nineT.

It took a long time for the Bavarians to dare to bring an “old” iron onto the market, but now they are boarding the ship with great power, which is under the banner of retro machines and cafe racers in the ocean of passion. It reminds me of the appearance of the S 1000 RR. Back then, too, when the Bavarians decided to build a great sports cannon after decades of fiddling around in shallow waters, they left no doubts and simply put 20 hp more into the row four than the stunned competition. The BMW R nineT is currently the best retro iron and will arouse the ambition of engineers and developers around the world. No harm I think. On the contrary.

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