Heritage harks back to Dakar
THE fifth iteration of the BMW RnineT roadster, revealed at the EICMA show, is inspired by the original R80 GS from 1980.
The RnineT Urban G/S is touted as a classic enduro style reminiscent of the original Dakar Rally motorbikes, right down to the paint scheme and front mudguard and tank design.
The R80 GS is credited with establishing the adventure bike segment and was the first serial production BMW to use a single-sided swingarm, which evolved into the Paralever suspension found on Beemers today.
The Urban’s look might be retro but the mechanicals are modern, from the 81kW/116Nm 1170cc air-cooled boxer engine to an optional stability control set-up to limit wheel spin on greasy surfaces, be it slick tarmac or clay trails.
The Urban name hints at the fact this machine isn’t as offroad focused as the Scrambler, occupying the middle ground between it and the roadoriented RnineT variants.
Those wanting to take it offroad can option a set of wire wheels — 19-inch upfront and 17-inch at the rear — along with knobby off-road rubber.
Customisation is still a big part of the RnineT ethos and the modular frame lets owners bolt on items from the BMW parts catalogue
For the uninitiated, the Urban G/S differentiates itself from the regular RnineT with a conventional set of gaitered front forks in place of the upside-down units and comes with 5mm more suspension travel.
Steel brake lines and BMW’s anti-lock brakes are fitted to stop the bike, via dual 320mm front discs with four-piston calipers.
The instrumentation has also been revised, with a circular analog speedo set above a two-line LCD display with clock, trip meter functions and warnings such as low fuel.
The bike weighs in a 221kg and the seat height is 850mm, meaning shorter-statured riders may need to look at the low seat, which is of course available as an option along with the likes of hand protectors, heated grips, LED indicators. A brushed alloy fuel tank with a visible weld seam reinforces the connection to the Dakar-era machines.
Attention to detail extends to forged aluminium fork bridges, steering damper mount and the handlebar clamp, all embossed with “BMW Motorrad”.
BMW has now spun five variants off the RnineT architecture in what it terms the Heritage collection.
The appeal of the retro machines has Japanese rivals keenly assessing their own lineups to see how many ways they can slice the nostalgic appeal of old-school styled machines.
Expect the Urban G/S in local dealerships late next year.