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 five-spoke alloy rims and road tyres there are both laced wheels and knobblies available in the options list.
- Tribute to original R80G/S
- 1170cc air-cooled boxer twin
- Alloy cast wheels
- ABS as standard
- Optional traction control
- Seat height 850mm
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 less-flashy 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 MX-style 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 paintscheme accented by the garish red bench seat. It looks set to be a big hit.
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