BMW R ninet Pure C

Motorcycle News (UK) - - Road Test -

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

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