Everyone has their own ideal version of a Cafe Racer, and they all need a solid foundation. To celebrate 90 years in the motorcycle business BMW released the R nineT in 2013. The air-cooled flat twin-engine is a throwback to simpler times, and it allows for the lowest center of gravity on the market.
We spent a week trying to find reasons to dislike this bike, but they are few and far between. The factory pipes are from the titanium wizards of Akrapovic. It allows the 1170 cc engine to make 110 hp and 87 lb-ft of torque. The rugged design might look devoid of luxury, but heated grips and easily adjustable suspension make for an easy rider. It was designed with customization in mind, so the rear suspension is removable if you want to build your own. If you need more grip the frame is wide enough to fit 6″ wheels.
Many don’t realize that BMW invented the hydraulic motorcycle fork, and these are inverted for optimum handling. The R nineT offers chunky low-end power and a weight of 490 lbs. Seating position is comfortable with the iconic cylinder heads out front. The clutch is a single plate and very consistent and the transmission shifts easier than most. It is easy to lean, and the broad powerband makes for a relaxing ride. Shaft drive eliminates many of the mechanical noises you expect on a bike of this size, and the engine is silky smooth.
BMW’s minimalist approach has been embraced by the aftermarket. In addition to a full line of factory accessories you will have several options for upgrades. The R nineT arrives with chic styling and ABS brakes for $15,095. You will be hard pressed to find such refinement and quality at that price. Dare to be different, the ride is worth it.