R ninet Ur­ban G/S rolls back the years to BMW’S ad­ven­ture orig­i­nal

Motorcycle News (UK) - - This Week - By Richard New­land DEPUTY ED­I­TOR

When BMW launched the R ninet back in 2013, few could have pre­dicted what a ram­pant suc­cess story it would be­come – and even fewer would have pre­dicted the four ver­sions that have ar­rived since: the Scrambler, Racer, Pure, and now this – the Ur­ban G/S.

But the R ninet sold so fast that BMW strug­gled to meet de­mand with bikes at first. Now the firm has worked on cre­at­ing a family of new ver­sions to fur­ther broaden the plat­form’s ap­peal.

The Pure, es­sen­tially a base model, was launched with the sleek retro Racer a month ago. The two are now joined by this homage to the orig­i­nal R80G/S from 1980. Styled as a stripped-back ad­ven­ture bike, the Ur­ban part of the name sug­gests that BMW are well aware this it­er­a­tion will likely never sully its tyres with mud. But if you want the full look, or the op­tion to head off-road, they have made con­ces­sions to help. The pro­tec­tive fork gaiters are stan­dard, and while the Ur­ban G/S comes on fivespoke al­loy rims and road tyres there are both laced wheels and knob­blies avail­able in the op­tions list.

The styling is an­other jump into the dress­ing-up box, but the foun­da­tions of this model are shared with the rest of the R ninet range. The main rolling chas­sis and 1170cc air-cooled boxer twin are com­mon through­out (now also Euro4 com­pli­ant in all guises), while this Ur­ban G/S is part of the more bud­get-fo­cused group of R ninets, rather than the high-spec Road­ster (see right). That pri­mar­ily means less-ex­pen­sive sus­pen­sion, a sin­gle clock in­stead of the Road­ster’s more com­pre­hen­sive di­als, a steel fuel tank in place of the alu­minium work of art on the ex­pen­sive ver­sion, and less­flashy brak­ing com­po­nents.

It’s not de­void of nice touches though. There are plenty of forged alu­minium parts in­clud­ing the fork bridges, fat han­dle­bar and bar clamp. The footrests also mir­ror the G/S’S off-road styling with bear-claw pegs fit­ted with re­mov­able rub­ber in­serts, and the sim­ple stain­less ex­haust sys­tem is classy and sleek. There’s also a cute dou­ble front mud­guard, with an MXstyle main fen­der com­ple­mented by a shorter wheel-level de­flec­tor.

But what re­ally de­fines this bike is the over­all vis­ual ef­fect. It takes you right back to the orig­i­nal 1980 G/S in a heart­beat, with that fa­mil­iar paintsheme ac­cented by the gar­ish red bench seat. It looks set to be a big hit.

Ex­clu­sive mea­sures

The Ex­clu­sive model is the road-fo­cused ver­sion of the new duo, aimed at rid­ers who want a GS be­cause it de­liv­ers a su­perb ev­ery­day rid­ing ex­pe­ri­ence, ex­cep­tional tour­ing ca­pa­bil­ity, and has the ver­sa­til­ity to go any­where when the road (or lack of one) de­mands.

It’s also aimed at rid­ers who want all the GS so­phis­ti­ca­tion with­out be­ing too shouty in terms of colours, or Ac­tion Man add-ons that hint at global travel pre­ten­tions.

At the core of this sub­tle ap­proach is the ‘Iced Choco­late metal­lic’ paintjob. The fuel tank side trim pan­els are fin­ished in ‘Mono­lith metal­lic matt’ and also fea­ture bold R1200GS de­cals on each side. The frame is pow­der-coated in Agate Grey metal­lic matt, while the driv­e­train is all fin­ished in black, with gold-coloured brake calipers pro­vid­ing a flash of con­trast.

There are no other spe­cial parts with this ver­sion, mean­ing that it’s ef­fec­tively a bit of blank can­vas for own­ers to spec to their taste – from Pro rider modes through to the new self-lev­el­ling next-gen­er­a­tion Dy­namic ESA semi­ac­tive sus­pen­sion, and myr­iad lug­gage and pro­tec­tion add-ons.

Ral­lye raid

While the new Ex­clu­sive op­tion doesn’t add a great deal to the model line-up in terms of di­ver­sity, the new Ral­lye re­ally does. The R1200GS af­ter­mar­ket cat­a­logue has al­ways been big enough to ex­ceed a pan­nier’s weight limit, mean­ing that you could build pretty much what­ever ver­sion you want, but this new ver­sion pan­ders to those who wanted the stock GS blended with some of the more off-road fo­cused cues from the GS Ad­ven­ture – with­out hav­ing to buy the more im­pos­ing GSA.

The GS Ral­lye comes on cross-spoke laced rims for im­proved off-road ca­pa­bil­ity and ver­sa­til­ity, and while they still come on road tyres, you can spec it to ar­rive on knob­blies. Own­ers can also re­move the lug­gage bridge and pas­sen­ger footrests, blank­ing off the re­sul­tant holes with cov­ers that are pro­vided with the bike.

The Ral­lye also gets a raft of lit­tle touches to dif­fer­en­ti­ate it fur­ther, in­clud­ing a Ral­lye seat, sports wind­shield, ra­di­a­tor and frame guard, and wider en­duro footrests. Sus­pen­sion up­grades are also avail­able if you want to re­ally go tonto off-road.

Op­tional knob­blies and spoked wheels com­plete the look

It’s part of BMW’S retro R ninet family, but some­thing of an hon­orary GS too

Bold red seat is a pow­er­ful, in­stant re­minder of BMW’S 1980 R80G/S

Ral­lye sits half­way be­tween GS and Ad­ven­ture

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