BMW Motorrad’s R nineT plan of attack is brilliant in its simplicity and leans heavily on a sampling of common sense. Study the market and find out what your customers like. Then, take a proven, refined engine, like the 1200cc Boxer twin, and build five variants around it to meet a range of desires, including the BMW R nineT Pure and Racer.
BMW R nineT Pure
First, release the flagship R nineT, fully furnished with high quality parts: adjustable forks, aluminum tank, spoked wheels, etc. Then, shave a little off and drop the price. Shave off a little more and drop the price further. Pared down to the most basic model, simply called Pure, $3,400 has been knocked off the flagship MSRP. A bike positioned for a completely different economic bracket at $11,995.
None of this is evident when riding Pure for the first time. The boxer snaps to attention upon ignition, delivering a satisfying response to each twist of the throttle. Its steel tank is heavier, but less expensive than aluminum. There is a single speedometer gauge instead of dual speedo and tach, and cast wheels instead of spokes. The most notable difference is traditional forks, instead of inverted, but they certainly do the job.
Unless spending an extended amount of time on both the flagship R nineT and the Pure, one would not notice much difference in the quality. The Pure was fun to ride around town, with a comfortable, upright riding position, ample power, smooth shifting and sound braking.
BMW R nineT Racer
The sleek R nineT Racer, provides much more of a departure from the flagship. Unlike the others in the line, the extreme forward riding position takes that comfortable Sunday cruise right off the table. Same engine, but this bike is all about performance, in anything but a straight line.
The Racer uncompromisingly demands the unnatural forward riding position. Stay in full-tuck if you expect to get the most out of this machine. Riding the Raver is a physical commitment. However, those who commit will find the Racer to be relatively comfortable and a lot more fun to ride. Take a firm hand and put the Racer through its paces, the rewards are quite exhilarating.
The BMW R nineT Racer gobbles up twisties, crushes corners and inspires pilots to dig down for more. It can handle it. Though not tuned any different than its more civilized siblings, the Racer delivers plenty of immediate, usable power on the windiest roads. On mountain roads, with several steep hairpins, the Racer was up for the challenge. Leaning over as far as we dared, the Racer tracked the selected line with full precision.
On such roads, we appreciated the dynamics of the boxer engine, which responded to throttle roll-off with just the right amount of compression braking. This eliminated a lot of needless braking, offering some cushion when coming in a little hot on downhill turns. On faster entries that benefited from a bit of trail braking, the suspension was also rock solid. Traditional telescopic forks and Paralever suspension calming the chassis.
ABS is standard (on every BMW), and a pair of 320mm discs up front do most of the stopping work. The Racer is built for one, with a single seat in front of a small cowl that serves as a tiny storage compartment. This setup may be replaced with a double seat, if desired, but requires the addition of a passenger seat frame section first.
The Racer lists at $13,295, the second-most expensive version in the lineup. It’s still $2,100 less than the original, and still flagship, R nineT.