New BMW R12 nineT joined by R12 cruiser

BMW has revealed a new version of its retro-styled R NineT, and it's brought along a sibling

BMW R12 nineT

Just when you thought we were done with new bikes for 2024, say ‘howdy’ to BMW’s new R12 – a more laid-back ‘custom’ based on the new R12 nineT which joins the German marque’s R18 in its burgeoning cruiser family.

The new R12 nineT was officially unveiled back in May as effectively an updated RNineT, the retro roadster originally launched way back in 2014 as a limited edition to commemorate BMW Motorrad’s 90th anniversary – hence its name.

That bike, based on BMW’s old air and oil-cooled, 1170cc boxer twin, proved such a hit it became a key part of BMW’s range, spawning a host of variants including the 2017 RNineT Urban G/S and RNineT Pure. The RNineT itself, meanwhile, was updated to meet Euro5 in 2021.

Now BMW has gone not just one, but two steps further. The new R12 nineT will replace the old RNineT and, although its 1170cc engine is largely unchanged except for a new airbox under the seat, new rocker box covers and new exhaust, and its styling is familiar, most of the rest is new.

The key difference is a new, two-piece, tubular steel ‘bridge’ style space frame complete with a bolt-on rear sub-frame. This replaces the old RNineT’s front and rear main frame and is claimed to be lighter, simpler and with cleaner lines. It also allows for easier modification. On top of that, there is a repositioned rear shock, new aluminium tank and bodywork and uprated electronics with three riding modes: Rain, Road and Dynamic.

Rider ergonomics are also claimed to be improved due to the 16-litre tank being 30mm shorter and narrower at the rear, enabling the rider to be closer to the bars and have an overall more ‘front-oriented’ riding position overall. 

The new R12 nineT has a peak output of 109bhp at 7,000rpm and torque of 85lb ft at 6,500rpm and will be available from March priced at £14,420.

But the even bigger news is the new R12 cruiser, which is derived from the R12 nineT. Intended as a more laid-back, lower, cruiser, and as a sister model to BMW’s R18 cruiser family, the new R12 is based on the roadster R12 nineT but with a number of key differences

The 1070cc air/oil-cooled engine is essentially the same but has been retuned for more torque. This results in a peak power figure of 95 bhp at 6,500rpm and a torque of 110 Nm at 6,000rpm and also enables it to qualify for conversion into an A2-compliant, more novice-friendly machine. The R12 (below) also gets different riding modes – with just two different ones, ‘Rock’ and ‘Roll’, in the same way as the R18.

The R12’s tubular bridge steel spaceframe is essentially the same, too, but has a more kicked-out steering head, resulting in a rake angle of 29.3 degrees compared to the R12 nineT’s 27.7 degrees. In addition, the R12 has shorter travel suspension front and rear, with just 90mm of movement compared to the R12 nineT and has cruiser style 19/16inch wheels instead of the roadster’s 17 incher front and rear.

On top of that, the R12 gets its own bespoke 14-litre steel fuel tank, which has been designed, BMW say, to be reminiscent of the ‘toaster’ style tanks BMW employed in the 1970s. Accordingly, it also gets different mudguards and, clocks and more high-rise handlebars. A whole range of custom items and accessories are being made available including screens, headlamp cowlings, different rear fenders, ‘719’ custom parts and more.

The R12 will also be available from March priced R 12 - £11,990.