BMW R NINE T URBAN GS (2017 - on) Review


  • Retro scrambler looks pay homage to the legendary R80 G/S
  • Air cooled boxer twin engine
  • Based on the excellent R nine T Scrambler

At a glance

Owners' reliability rating: 4.7 out of 5 (4.7/5)
Power: 108 bhp
Seat height: Tall (33.5 in / 850 mm)
Weight: Medium (487 lbs / 221 kg)


New £10,550
Used £7,000 - £10,500

Overall rating

Next up: Ride & brakes
4 out of 5 (4/5)

The BMW R nine T Urban G/S may look like a retro adventure bike, but underneath the cool bodywork is little more than a re-styled urban scrambler model.

That said, it does look fantastic and when the base bike is as good as the BMW R nine T Scrambler, this is no bad thing at all. If you like the look, you will love the air-cooled boxer’s spirit.

It's also a great way to get a bike infused with the retro charm of the original R80 G/S with modern running gear and comfort. What's more, it will tackle the odd gravel track, just don't expect to take it greenlaning in November.

BMW R nine T Urban G/S on the road

The entire BMW R nine T range got a facelift in 2021 and then in 2023 a new BMW R 12 nine T was unveiled with a reworked engine to meet stricter emissions regulations.

Ride quality & brakes

Next up: Engine
4 out of 5 (4/5)

Despite their heritage looks, the R nineT models never fail to impress when it comes to handling and the Urban G/S retains this trait. With the same chassis and wheels as the Scrambler, it comes as no surprise it handles identically and that means loads of grins and more angle and corner speed than you would rightly expect from such a bike.

And all backed up with brakes that are also thoroughly modern in their performance levels and have ABS as standard. The seat is a touch hard and the cowl pretty ineffective, so it’s a short hop bike rather than a serious mile-muncher like the modern GS.

BMW R nine T Urban G/S left side


Next up: Reliability
4 out of 5 (4/5)

The boxer motor suits the G/S’s attitude perfectly, as you would image seeing as that is what has always powered a G/S (or GS) model! It has bags of grunt as well as a really raucous exhaust note and spirited attitude that is quite unexpected on a modern BMW. It’s not the smoothest, and lurches when you blip the throttle due to the torque reaction, but these traits only add to the bike’s character.

BMW R nine T Urban G/S left side on the road

Reliability & build quality

Next up: Value
4 out of 5 (4/5)

The build quality on the whole R nineT range is beautiful with a high attention to detail, as you would expect on a bike with a price tag north of £10,000. The boxer’s reliability record is proven and so there is nothing to worry about mechanically – even the residual values are generally very high!

BMW R nine T Urban G/S right side

Value vs rivals

Next up: Equipment
4 out of 5 (4/5)

With a price tag of £10,550 for the basic model, the higher specification X seems quite good value considering all the extras you are getting for the added £635. They certainly aren’t the cheapest scrambler style retro bikes, but they go a long way to justifying their price tags through build quality and lovely attention to detail.

There's no shortage of retro-styled scramble models on the market these days, starting off with a model from the firm that arguably started the genre, the Triumph Scrambler 1200. Another possible contender comes from Italy in the shape of the super-cool Ducati Scrambler 1100.

Or fresh for 2023 is the Fantic Caballero Scrambler 700, a bigger version of the popular retro range from the Italian firm that uses Yamaha's CP2 parallel-twin engine.

BMW R nine T Urban G/S front


3 out of 5 (3/5)

The whole point of the R nine T range is stripped back with a lack of electronics and as such the Urban G/S is fairly basic with only ABS as standard. The X model adds spoke wheels and a choice of on or off-road tyres as well as a chrome exhaust, LED indicators and heated grips for £11,185. ASC traction control is an optional extra.



Engine size 1170cc
Engine type Four-stroke, air-cooled boxer twin
Frame type Tubular steel
Fuel capacity 17 litres
Seat height 850mm
Bike weight 221kg
Front suspension 43mm conventional forks, non-adjustable
Rear suspension Single shock, adjustable spring preload and rebound damping.
Front brake 2 x 320mm discs, four-piston calipers; ABS
Rear brake 265mm disc, two-piston caliper ABS
Front tyre size 120/70X19
Rear tyre size 170/60x17

Mpg, costs & insurance

Average fuel consumption 55 mpg
Annual road tax £117
Annual service cost -
New price £10,550
Used price £7,000 - £10,500
Insurance group -
How much to insure?
Warranty term Two year unlimited mileage

Top speed & performance

Max power 108 bhp
Max torque 85.6 ft-lb
Top speed 130 mph
1/4 mile acceleration -
Tank range 160 miles

Model history & versions

Model history

2017: Model introduced

Other versions

2014: BMW R nine T model introduced to attract younger people to the brand.

2016: BMW R nine T Scrambler introduced.

2017: BMW R nine T Urban G/S and R nine T Racer added to the line up. The Racer was later dropped. BMW also added a new base model called the R nine T Pure that costs almost £3000 less than a standard R nine T.

2023: BMW R nine T 100 Years created to celebrate the firm's centenary.

Owners' reviews for the BMW R NINE T URBAN GS (2017 - on)

3 owners have reviewed their BMW R NINE T URBAN GS (2017 - on) and rated it in a number of areas. Read what they have to say and what they like and dislike about the bike below.

Review your BMW R NINE T URBAN GS (2017 - on)

Summary of owners' reviews

Overall rating: 4.3 out of 5 (4.3/5)
Ride quality & brakes: 4 out of 5 (4/5)
Engine: 5 out of 5 (5/5)
Reliability & build quality: 4.7 out of 5 (4.7/5)
Value vs rivals: 4.3 out of 5 (4.3/5)
Equipment: 4 out of 5 (4/5)
4 out of 5
13 March 2021 by Tuxracer

Year: 2019

I had an R1200RS that I was very happy with, a great bike loaded with all the toys and a joy to ride and own. Then I went into my local dealer one day and they offered me a test ride on one of these. I honestly didn’t fancy the bike much but never knock back the chance for a ride on something new. Ten miles down the road And I’m starting to warm to the bikes stripped down old school charm, it just felt right somehow. By the time I got back to the dealers I’d fallen in love with it and did a deal for one in the black/gold options paint scheme. A year on and I’ve no regrets, it’s the most fun I’ve had on a bike in year’s. Just a fantastic usable bike that can turn it’s hand to most things and puts a smile on my face every time out.

Ride quality & brakes 4 out of 5

Brakes are very good and the bike handles well. Ride quality as standard is probably it’s worst feature and is pretty hard. You do get used to it but I upgraded the rear shock and fitted upgraded springs to the front forks which made a huge difference. The Urban looks like just another styling exercise at first but the more I’ve ridden this bike the better it’s become. I’ve used it for a bit of light of roading on gravel tracks, explored remote single track back roads and thrashed it round twisty A and B roads where it will scrape the pegs and it’s done it all, a lot less Urban than it might first appear.

Engine 5 out of 5

The engine is the star of the show, loads of grunt from low down as well as plenty of go at the top end. It’s also very tractable and smooth if your trundling along at low speed and picks up smoothly with no throttle snatch. Sounds great through the standard can with a nice bark when you crack the throttle open

Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5

Great build quality, no reliability issues so far. Some folk report heavy oil consumption but my ones uses very little. Options paint work on the tank is stunning.

Value vs rivals 4 out of 5

It’s a BM and they have never been cheap to buy. However it’s well built, should hold it’s value reasonably well and servicing costs at my local dealer are pretty reasonable

Equipment 4 out of 5

It’s a stripped back retro style bike so not much in the way of equipment but that’s part of the charm. It has all the basics right, a decent 17ltr tank with good economy so has a decent range, ABS, heated grips and span adjustable levers. Not much else you really need to have fun.

Buying experience: Bought used from a main dealer with 800 miles on the clock. Got an excellent deal plus it came fitted with BM sat nav which was a bonus.

5 out of 5 Just go ride it
23 May 2020 by Keith Holmes

Year: 2019

A fabulous real world bike for the Yorkshire Dales, nimble and grunty with a wonderful blap when you open it up. With a very usable first gear, engine braking and so much low end pull, I hardly use the good brakes. It is so much fun, from near vertical switchbacks on loose gravel to flowing twisties. The knobblies are very grippy and comfortable, as is the seat. Riding position is cock-on and it is very nimble, you can ride it super-moto style if you wish. Easy to push and park. Biking as it should be, all the involvement is in the riding and not the gizmos. Easy to clean and a conversation starter.

Ride quality & brakes 4 out of 5

I have not found any issues with the ride, but it is not as supple as a full Ohlins set up. Handles everything I through at it, including some light off road. Brakes are fine, when I use them.

Engine 5 out of 5

A peach. Pulls forever, flexible and a joy to feel/hear. The gearbox is smooth, it fires up first time, even after lockdown. I like the pull when you blip it at idle. Much more involving then the latest variable valve engines.

Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5

Its a BMW

Value vs rivals 5 out of 5

Not much to go wrong. I get 190 miles before the reserve on gnarly roads, running 98RON.

Equipment 4 out of 5

It has what you need - you do not need a tacho or traction control if you know how to ride, believe me. I will fit a taller screen for Scotland trips.

Buying experience: Local main dealer Alan Jeffries. Ex demo with 600 miles on clock.

4 out of 5 Boxer brilliance
10 July 2017 by jonathan smith

Version: R9T Urban G/S X

Year: 2017

this is going to be a niche bike in the R NINE T range but to people of a certain age and persuasion it brings back memories and dreams. It’s exactly what I expected. A simple well made bike that looks and sounds brilliant. Hopefully it will prove reliable and be in my garage a very very long time.

Ride quality & brakes 4 out of 5

If you don’t want a pillion then it’s great. Can’t comment on pillion or long distance as only done one 70 mile ride in the sunshine and a 30 mile commute in the rain.

Engine 5 out of 5

The last air/oil cooled boxer perfected and a nice gearbox too. That exhaust sounds awesome too.

Reliability & build quality 4 out of 5

Feels and looks very well built and it should be they’ve had years of practice to get this right

Value vs rivals 4 out of 5

Usual bmw stuff

Equipment 4 out of 5

If it’s what you want, it’s perfect, and it’s what I want. Simplicity, pure.

Buying experience: Bmw dealer, Manchester, always a pleasure.

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