BMW’s budget R nineT Pure delivers largely the same as its more-expensive big brother.
Pared-to-the-bone when it comes to equipment, but boasting great dynamics and a characterful engine, BMW’s R nineT Pure is a charming motorcycle. The base model of the R nineT family (which includes the half-faired Racer retro sportsbike, the Scrambler and Urban G/S offroad-style bikes and the top-of-the range R nineT with higher-spec running gear), the Pure has been designed to be a blank canvas for modifiers and specials builders and costs £9990.
Compared to the £12,220 big-money R nineT, it has 43mm non-adjustable right way-up forks rather than the S1000RR-derrived Sachs USD items of the more expensive bike. It also has axial-mount Brembo brakes rather than radial calipers, and a steel, rather than aluminium fuel tank. There’s also a single instrument binnacle with no rev counter.
The bike shares its chassis with the R nineT Racer, Scrambler and Urban GS, which has a frame with a slightly kicked out-front end to accommodate the Scrambler’s 19-inch front wheel and a slightly simplified rear subframe design.
The riding experience is comparable to the whole R nineT family – a nimble, accurate chassis combined with a friendly motor and more than enough performance to mean that this is a credible motorcycle.
And it’s fun, too. The R nineT’s 1170cc, 108bhp Boxer twin is as lively as it is torquey and has a playful kick at the top-end that encourages you to ride faster than the retro looks suggest. Before you know it, you’re chasing that imaginary red line. We say imaginary because of course the Pure doesn’t have the rev-counter, or the gear indicator you get on the Racer or the stock R nineT. And to be honest, you do miss it – even though the motor is flexible enough that it doesn’t really matter what gear you’re in.
The handling is pretty playful too. The chassis is identical to the Racer, but the taller, wider bars impart more leverage, making the bike feel more nimble. The downgraded suspension does its job well and even though the forks are a little bit soft there’s plenty of feel. On standard settings the rear can feel a little bit uncontrolled during hard riding, but the rebound-adjustable shock should have the range to adjust this out. But you can really tramp on if that’s what you fancy.
There is real fun to be had. The chassis doesn’t tax your brain, but gives you confidence to push hard enough to have fun and the lack of quirks and foibles mean that it would be a great bike for new riders, too. To be honest, it offers everything the more expensive R nineT does when it comes to dynamics and is a more convincing retro bike too – for many the Superbike-style suspension and brakes of the more-expensive R nineT jarred.
As standard the Pure comes with cast alloy wheels, but our test bike came with spoked wheels (£330), optional traction control (£330) and LED indicators (£100). The spoked wheel option suits the bike, even though it means you have to run tubed tyres. The Metzeler Z8 Roadtecs that this bike came with were beyond reproach in some terrible weather.
However, the Pure is happiest when it comes to relaxed cruising in the sun. With its straight-backed riding position, visibility is very good and gives the chance to just sit back and enjoy the view. It is also an excellent urban bike with great natural balance. Through the slippery town streets of a wet Spanish resort, the bike felt just as sure-footed as it did in the Andalusian mountains.
As well as being easy to modify, the fact that the bike has very cheap PCP deals means the Pure is a bargain entry into R nineT ownership. Its only real problem is, its Racer brother. As nice as the Pure is, if you can stand the riding position, the Racer is sexier, better equipped and just £800 more.
R nineT Pure specs
Engine: 1170cc (101x73mm), air/oil-cooled, DOHC, four-stroke
Frame: Steel tube
Seat height: 805mm
Suspension: 43mm right-way-up forks, non-adjustable. Monoshock rear, adjustable for preload and rebound
Brakes: 2x320mm discs with Brembo four-pot axial-mount calipers, 265mm with two-piston caliper
Price as tested: £10,750
Power: 108bhp @ 7750rpm
Troque: 86ft.lb @ 6000rpm
Weight: 219kg (wet)
Tank capacity: 17 litres
If you can live without the rev-counter, BMW’s R nineT Pure offers lots of fun in a quirky, genuinely-retro package. While BMW say the bike is built for modifiers, many owners will be happy just as it is. It’s a credible machine.
We like: Looks, finish, engine feel
We don’t like: The lack of rev counter
Rating: 4/5 stars
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