First ride: BMW R nineT Racer and R nineT Pure review

BMW wants its new R nineTs to be customised up to the nines, but what are they like to begin with?

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Simon Greenacre's picture
Submitted by Simon Greenacre on Thu, 16/03/2017 - 16:40

BMW R nineT Racer

BMW’S R nineT sold out when it first went on sale. No wonder – it’s more than just a handsome looking bike; it’s got the performance and engaging ride to back things up.

Now, with the addition of the R nineT Racer and R nineT Pure, BMW has expanded its heritage line to appeal to those who really want to customise their R nineTs.

The thinking behind this is simple: the R nineT is a premium bike and as such it comes with a premium price and some proper kit on it, like the forks and brakes from the S1000RR. If you’re the kind of person that wants to really start making it your own, you’re unlikely to want to start removing expensive parts and take an angle grinder to your standard R nineT.

The Racer and Pure share many of the same fundamental differences over the standard R nineT – they both use conventional forks and a pair of Brembo four-pot calipers instead of the USD forks and Brembo monoblocs on the standard R nineT.

Both bikes also use a modular frame, the same one used on the R nineT Scrambler. It’s made of three separate sections – the main frame, rear frame and pillion frame. The pillion frame can be easily removed to customise the rear of the bike, or fit a different seat.

Both model roll on 17 inch wheels at both ends (and not the 19 inch front wheel from the R nineT Scrambler). Spoked wheels come as standard, but you can spec cast if you want.

Aside from a larger catalytic converter and some changes to the mapping to make it Euro 4 compliant, the R nineT’s 110hp, 1170cc air-cooled boxer engine remains unchanged in both the Racer and Pure. Traction control is available as a £300 option.

The real differences between the Racer and Pure are the feeling they’re trying to deliver. The Racer, with its front half-fairing draws upon nostalgia for superbikes from the 1970s and 80s, while the Pure is a minimal version of the R nineT – ready for customisation.

We spent a day hopping between the new R nineT Racer and R nineT Pure (and the new S1000R, which you can read about here). More on the next page.

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