BMW R NINET PURE C
Manufacturers are really cottoning onto the re-creation of yesteryear’s brilliant bikes – BMW more than anyone.
A modern take on a boxer twin roadster.
So, I’m sat atop the BMW R ninet Pure C, a machine which BMW describes as a ‘purist roadster, for dynamic, classic riding pleasure on country roads’. The marketing blurb continues: “The R ninet Pure embodies the essence of the purist, classic roadster – authentically designed, without frills and reduced to the absolute essentials.” So, the Pure is the very essence of a good roadster, boiled down, updated and repackaged for us, the classic-riding masses. From my position aboard it, I’m feeling the ‘classic riding pleasure’ full-on. This bike is very good fun to ride. It’s all there, everything that you need – by which I mean ‘not a lot’. It’s got a grunty engine, it has good steering and brakes, a single, solitary clock and – well, not a lot else. I’ve literally thrown a leg over this bike and felt instantly at home, such is its easy-going nature. Snaking along the curves near Sywell Aerodrome in Northamptonshire, the moist roads are not putting me or the Beemer off. That engine is so responsive to the throttle inputs and the sound even beats the cacophony created by The Blades air display team, whose Extra EA-300 aircraft are battling vainly to eclipse the lovely aural assault on my ear-drums. It seems an 1170cc, 108bhp boxer-twin beats four 300bhp Lycomings every time… Keeping the plot ticking along nicely is the chassis. Now, the whole look of the R ninet family is similar as they share the same chassis base, but obviously changes are made between the various models, such as the R ninet Racer (which we will ride in a few months’ time) and the R ninet Urban G/S (see September 2017’s issue). So, what I will say in isolation for the Pure is this: those big bars give you a lovely amount of leverage and the 43mm un-adjustable forks do not in any way leave me wanting some adjusters to fiddle with. There is also nothing bad in the notes about the rear suspension. It’s all unobtrusive and it works. Pick your line, feed in the power and just – well – chill! The Pure C handles neutrally and naturally and it’s like a plug and play device, this R ninet Pure C just needs a rider and – off you go to have fun.
The view of the road ahead is unobstructed by multiple clocks, just a single clock with a speedo (no tacho here) but with peak power coming at 8500rpm you’re probably enjoying thrust from around 2000rpm. As basic as the clock-set looks, you do get an LCD display with an odometer and a couple of trips. And an indication of engine temperature and whether you have the heated grips (a £250 option) on or not. The Pure has some good anchors, too, which pull you up in plenty of time and while I loved my day riding it, there were some niggles. Firstly, the mirrors could be more practical. For me the right-hand one showed something of the road behind while the left one, not so much – despite some adjustment. Then there is the overall look: I liked it, but I felt it could look better. That ‘Catalano Grey’ is just very uninspiring. And the seat could be more comfortable, but the biggest criticism is for the rear of the bike. What is it with motorcycle designers these days? Since the 2005 Triumph Speed Triple the rear-end of many naked motorcycles has seemed ‘cut-down’ and insubstantial. It’s all fashionable now, as the Hipster brigade who make café racers or bobbers out of any old bike they can lay their hands on seem to insist on hacking back the rear of the bike. In my opinion it leaves the whole plot as a ‘solo’ operation only. Roadsters are often best shared, but the two people I asked to go on the back point-blank refused. BMW may as well remove the rear foot-pegs and stop sodding about: in fact you can remove the pillion frame anyway. I would… But let’s get back to this being a blank canvas… If you walked into a BMW Motorrad dealer today and fancied a naked boxer-powered roadster, you would be faced with a number of choices. The standard Pure is the very basic model, priced around £10,100 and you can only have it in this dull grey. The Pure C that I’m riding (£10,815) gives you wire wheels, heated grips, LED indicators and chrome exhausts. An extra grand will see you with a choice of two aluminium weaves on the tank – either a ‘sanded weave’ or ‘visible weave’ as opposed to the grey, steel tank. Next up is the R ninet, with spoked wheels which (for £12,300) comes in black only, but you can spec up a grand to get two funky/strange schemes, one of which looks like a vintage race bike – complete with single-seat. The big change here is the forks: on the Pure we have old fashioned-looking right-way-up forks but on the ninet you’re paying extra for those upside-down golden legs and radial brakes. The R ninet Scrambler (£10,650) has the high-pipe look of such a machine and (again) can be specc’d up to your desires, along with off-road tyres and spoked wheels once more. Again, the R ninet Scrambler X has already got some of the options such as wire-wheels for your £11,295 outlay. If all this seems like bike buying has suddenly become more complicated – it’s because it has. In the old days you ordered tea or coffee, today ordering a coffee gives you more options to select than those annoying automated telephone helplines… I am told this is a good thing, as you can choose just the sort of R ninet roadster you want. Well, I can’t, as I want one with a bright red colour scheme and a more substantial rear seat so I can actually take someone out on the back of it. My minor niggles aside I have to say I loved riding the Pure: it is an unadulterated riding experience and – if you’re in the market for a retro naked roadster, it’s well-worth getting a test ride on one.
IN DETAIL: 1/ Clock, not clocks: no rev-counter here. 2/ Wonderful boxer twin with plenty of lunge in it. 3/ Rear shock: it works. 3 2