BMW R nineT Urban G/S
BMW R nineT Urban G/S RM82,949.72 WE SAY: THIS ADVENTURESTYLED ALTERNATIVE MIGHT JUST TICKLE YOUR NOSTALGIA IF YOU’RE BORED WITH RETRO CAFE RACERS AND SCRAMBLERS
The modern retro motorcycle trend is very much alive and thriving what with the spike in sales and number of models of late in this sub-genre. The very latest from BMW, dubbed the R nineT Urban G/S, perfectly exemplifies the trend in new models.
Aptly, the R nineT Urban G/S draws inspiration from BMW’s legendary R80G/S that rose to fame in the 80s. Not only regarded as one of the originals of the dual-sport adventure bikes genre, the R80G/S was also a machine of substance, going by its Paris-Dakar Rally wins and its many other successes elsewhere.
The R nineT Urban G/S is a modern day tribute to the R80G/S, mirroring it almost perfectly. Replicated are its distinct white and blue race livery, orange seat saddle, dirt bike-like headlight cover and front wheel mudguard. Yes, the Urban G/S looks the part.
It’s simple and well built, something you’d expect of any BMW. Some, however, might argue the kit list is tad spartan because of the absence of things like a rev counter, fuel indicator and gear position readout, features normally expected of bikes in this price range.
Nevertheless, these small quirks are easily overshadowed by the bike’s many fine characteristics, something which it has in abundance. For instance, the seat is as comfortable as it looks, welcoming just about all with its 850mm height, not to mention the ample padding and space that makes it easier to accommodate that significant other.
Like any BMW R-series bike, the real magic begins when you thumb the starter, bringing to life that famed BMW air and oil-cooled 1,170cc boxer – or flat-twin cylinder – heart. Not only does it look good with its horizontally opposed cylinder heads jutting out proudly on each side, it’s also a gem of an engine
renowned for dishing out big torque, especially from low to mid-range.
Typically BMW, the boxer heart is mated with a 6-speed box and shaftdrive setup. You go up and down all six cogs with your left foot as usual, just that this setup feels smoother and more precise than a chain drive. There’s also the added bonus of this driveline’s renowned low maintenance needs, making the bike easier to own over time.
Despite the absent rev-counter, mastering the powertrain’s rhythm is rather easy. The clutch lever’s featherlight pull helps. Get to grips with all that and you’ll find the Urban G/S performs just as well as any modern equal would. What’s extra sweet is its low-end torque, which is a blast especially in point-to-point sprints between traffic lights and corners.
Generating 110bhp and 116Nm, the mill is more than adequate to get the 221kg bike up to speed, with the sound to match. The specially tuned exhaust plays a raspy, bass-rich tune. It’s thrilling and loud enough to render unnecessary the acquisition of the optional slip-on or full system exhaust kits that BMW offers.
Surprisingly, the Urban G/S doesn’t stray too far off from the base R nineT’s impeccable handling abilities despite having a lower-end suspension hardware and a slightly raised handlebar height. We suspect the surefooted grip levels of our tester’s Metzeller tyres, not forgetting the unrivalled reassurance of the ABSequipped Brembo twin disc anchors up front, contributed to its handling ease overall.
Most will agree this setup is a better fit for the tarmac rather than the rough stuff. By the way, there’s a set of optional knobbly off-road tyres and matching wire-spoke wheels available should you wish to complete the bike’s off-road looks.
Off-road looks aside, however, we’d agree with most adventure riding purists who might argue that conquering terrains and crossing continents is best done on the Urban G/S’s not-so-distant cousin, the R1200 GS Adventure cousin. That said, the Urban G/S is a decent urban adventurer and a better cruiser in its own right. And through form and substance, it certainly is a bike that celebrates BMW’s unique and illustrious motorcycling heritage. BMW has shown it too can play the historical homage game just as well as, if not better than, its Italian and English rivals.
It comes at a price, of course: from RM82,949.72, before factoring in on-road costs and any of the tempting extras within the R nineT’s everexpanding accessories catalogue.
Should the Urban G/S look or feel a tad too rugged, there’s the prettier R nineT Scrambler to consider at the same price. It also guarantees riding fun and style. THORIQ AZMI
A signature design element found in all R nineT variants
No chain drive here, just a smooth-operating shaft setup instead
Blue and white livery plus the seat’s orange hue all hark back to the original R80G/S
Rear suspensionpre-load adjustment lets you fine tune theride better