BMW’s Rnine T has been a bike in worldwide demand since it was launched in 2014, and for good reason.
Since then we’ve seen the Rnine T Pure, Rnine T Scrambler, Rnine T Urban G/S, and this – the Rnine T Racer.
Taking inspiration from the old R90S of the Seventies and Eighties, the Rnine T Racer is the sportiest-looking Rnine T yet. Like the rest of the bikes in the range, it’s all about retro cool, combined with modern technology.
The Racer uses the same steel trellis chassis, air-cooled 1170cc 110bhp air-cooled lump as the rest of the range, and combines it with a long and low sporty riding position. Then there’s a half fairing painted in traditional BMW Racing white, red and blue, with fairing lowers reaching in to the side of the tank, and a bubble headlight, for that real Eighties look fashionable right now in the modern classic scene, and with our chums down at The Bike Shed London.
Hunched low, and tucked in with your bum against the seat cowl, it’s just begging for a rider in a Bell Bullitt helmet, and a pair of jeans, preferably stone washed, tucked in to your boots.
That riding position means you’re laid out over the long tank, and all the weight of your body is on those clip-on handlebars mounted directly to the top yokes. It starts to get a little uncomfortable quite quickly, in the same way Yamaha’s café racer take on its XSR900, the XSR900 Abarth, does. That too has some seriously low clip-ons and is uncomfortable. It’s the price you pay for an authentic café racer style, I guess.
The faster you go, the more the wind takes your weight off the bars and the bike starts to make a bit more sense. It’s no lightweight, weighing in at 219kg wet, but it hauls through bends, making the full use of its un-adjustable 43mm front forks, plus its rebound and pre-load adjustable rear shock.
Although it has slightly steeper geometry than the Rnine T, those narrow bars restrict how much steering force and leverage you can put through them, and ultimately the standard R nine T, is more fun to throw through some corners.
It sounds good on the pipe, bouncing off its 8500rpm redline, but somehow not as raucous sounding as the glorious BMW Rnine T Urban G/S. But make no mistake that the 110bhp offered always feels like way more on these bikes. It delivers it perfectly with plenty of torque making a maximum of 116 Nm at 6000rpm, and is more than fast enough for UK riding.
It harks back to a time when motorcycling was simpler, life was free and easy and superbikes had one purpose – to look cool and go fast, without any of today’s complicated multiscreen layouts, traction control and power modes. Just get on and ride it.
I like the Racer, it looks fantastic, but I can’t help thinking I’d rather be riding an Urban G/S or the first generation Rnine T. They’re both just a whole lot more fun, and chuckable, and easier to rider slowly too. I love those versions and would happily spend my own money on one. I merely liked the Racer but each to their own, I guess.
Get a test ride at your local dealer and see what you think as you can’t argue with its looks, or its presence.
Ultimately, BMW’s Rnine T heritage range is meant to be the start of a journey for riders wanting to personalise their own motorcycles and as a café racer base. Whichever one of the models you choose, there are few better places to start.
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