TECH WATCH

Why is the R ninet’s sub­frame de­tach­able? Q

Motorcycle News (UK) - - Garage -

Although the BMW’S sub­frame will only weigh a few pounds (sec­tions of steel tub­ing, pil­lion pad, pil­lion footrest hang­ers, un­der­tray, num­ber plate, rear in­di­ca­tors and rear lights), it’s all in the worst pos­si­ble place. Pop­ping out the eight bolts that hold the sub­frame on will no­tice­ably im­prove the ninet’s han­dling, giv­ing a more nim­ble steer­ing re­sponse as its weight tips for­ward onto the front wheel.

But if you re­move the sub­frame, where do BMW sug­gest you fit rear lights and num­ber­plate? Well, tech­ni­cally they don’t sug­gest any­thing be­cause they’re sell­ing the ninet as com­pli­ant with UK Con­struc­tion and Use Reg­u­la­tions (among var­i­ous world­wide al­ter­na­tives), which means the rear tyre should not be the fur­ther­most rear­ward ex­ten­sion of the bike; it should have a hug­ger of some sort. As an owner, you don’t have to com­ply and can take it off. If you do that, it may or may not be a co­in­ci­dence the plas­tic rear ‘hug­ger’ fit­ted to an R1200GS bolts straight onto the ninet’s hub, giv­ing you the ideal plat­form for a light and a num­ber­plate.

The ninet’s sec­ond in­no­va­tion is twin wiring looms. The first car­ries en­gine, ECU, ABS and fault di­ag­no­sis data, and the other han­dles lights and an­cil­lar­ies. This sim­pli­fies the cus­tomis­ing process so own­ers can fit some­thing like, say, a rear light clus­ter to a new rear hug­ger with­out hav­ing to hack into a sen­si­tive wiring har­ness. It’s al­most plug-and-play cus­tomis­ing.

Giv­ing own­ers a push to get in the garage and get mod­i­fy­ing shows BMW can’t help in­no­vat­ing, even when they’re build­ing a retro.

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