BMW R ninet Pure C
A modern take on retro
During this test I was left pondering if the BMW R ninet Pure can really be classed as a retro. It may have an air-cooled motor, but the styling takes its inspiration from the modern movement of stripping back machines to make them into customs or rat bikes and that’s a very different concept to the Bonnie and CB, which replicate iconic machines of yesteryear.
From the moment the boxer fires into life you can’t help but love the Pure’s attitude. It’s loud, raw and where the CB1100 EX cossets you on your ride, the Pure grabs you by the scruff of the neck and drags you along whether or not you are in the mood for a fight.
The Pure is genuine fun and incredibly engaging. But if you want a relaxed ride, or take a pillion, this isn’t the bike for you. Which is a shame as you will be missing out on one hell of an exciting ride.
With its wide flat bars and single clock, the Pure’s seating position instantly puts you in an aggressive stance and gives the impression that this is a bike built with nothing but the bare necessities. According to its specs the BMW only weighs 5kg less than the Triumph, but it feels so much lighter thanks to the boxer’s low centre of gravity and that really shows up in the corners. You can hoon into bends on the Pure and its 17in wheels, shod with modern tyres, grip and slingshot you out the other side. This is a seriously good-handling bike and one that just begs for you to thrash it even harder thanks to the naughtiest standard exhaust note on the planet. How the hell that can passed Euro4 I will never know, but I’m bloody glad it did as it only heightens the whole riding experience by adding character. Lots of it.
I have already criticised the Triumph for lacking that bit of spirit (and to a lesser degree that is true of the CB as well), but the Pure is overflowing with it and could probably spare a drop for its rivals. The sound, vibes, torque reaction and light weight all enhance the enjoyment and make it a bike that you can’t help but grin when you are riding.
This attitude makes it nowhere near as relaxing to ride as the Triumph or Honda as the throttle response, power and even brakes are quite abrupt in their delivery, which is why it won’t suit everyone, but for a rider who wants a cool looking bike but isn’t quite ready to take it too easy, the Pure is the one to get. A retro for the modern generation who still feel the need to rush around rather than take it easy.
‘The Pure grabs you by the scruff of the neck and drags you along’
Yes it’s retro but the Pure is also a bit of a hooligan The BMW (right) has character to spare for the other two