BMW R nineT

An instant classic with some serious guts

Four wheels moves the body, two wheels moves the soul.

This is a statement I could not agree with more. However, so often in the hustle and bustle of the daily commute we seem to forget that we’re doing what we love while riding a motorcycle, and focus more on getting from point A to point B. Every second on the BMW R nineT is a reminder of what I love about motorcycling. It is beautifully simple and gut wrenchingly powerful. You can comfortably cruise up the coast for some coffee with a friend, or take it to the track, dragging knees and sliding rubber with the best of them.

One needs not sacrifice style for speed on the R nineT. The design of the bike evolved from Roland Sands Design’s Concept 90 and maintained it’s full-performance aesthetic while stripping the new bike down to the bare minimum. The shape of the tank is somewhat reminiscent of BMW’s R90S tank, yet it maintains a modern look. The naked body, unfaired headlight, paired with the minimal tail section and inverted forks give this bike a timeless sense of class, while never letting the rider doubt the fact that this a pure ass-kicking machine.

I find myself wanting to lump this bike in with other retro-styled bikes, but performance-wise it is head and shoulders above any that I have ridden. The engine doesn’t house any technology that is brand new for BMW, but it remains a performance-based engine, not something detuned to be more approachable (I’m talking to you CB1100). In every sense, this naked sport standard is a bike for people that actually want to ride. Yes, it may be a statement because it’s damn good looking, but don’t hold that against it.

From the rider’s point of view the controls are very simple. Looking down at the bars you don’t see a mass of screens, levers and gauges: you see an analog speedometer and tachometer, minimal buttons at the handles, and a small digital readout that has little more than a clock and some mpg indicators. The rider isn’t laden down with distractions or really anything other than the ride and the road. BMW has found the perfect balance between allowing the rider full control, and providing the modern safety features that can save you if things go random.

Every person I spoke with that had spent some time on this bike said the same thing through a big smile: "That's a bike with some soul."

I thank the gods for the ABS on this bike, as I thank them for the lack of traction control. There's nothing fun about having your bike back the throttle out on you after you picked up the front end taking off from a red light. Just like there's nothing fun about locking up your brakes. I was riding with my mother as my passenger a few weeks ago(I know, brave woman) when we were cut off by some oblivious housewife on her phone. With a quick CHIRPCHIRP* of the tires, we were stopped ten feet in front of the car. I knew this thing could go, but now I was instantly sold on the incredible braking power of this bike.

BMW did not fall into the stylish bike trap of making a replica of an older successful model. They brought us a modern bike, brilliantly designed. They made what they are always making, a precision machine that is pushing the limits of performance in it’s class, it just happens to look better than just about any other new bike out there.

For more information on the BMW R nineT, visit