Long-term BMW R12 nineT test update two | Time to see how the retro fares on a wet Welsh weekender

Since I took delivery of the BMW R12 nineT in April, I hadn’t spent more than 80 miles in the saddle at any one time. As a retro naked bike, I didn’t know how the boxer would handle a longer-distance trip – so I thought I’d find out via a 600-mile, three-day trip around Wales.

The first issue I had was luggage. With no mounting brackets to the rear of the bike, I had to get inventive. Luckily, I had a tail bag that was ideally suited for the job – SW-Motech’s Legend Gear 48-litre bag – and with a bit of finessing around the pillion pegs I think I did a decent job at making the retro into a makeshift tourer.

As I left my starting point in Northamptonshire, the rain was stubborn. So stubborn that three days later I hadn’t had a dry moment in the saddle. But the BMW’s Rain mode softened the throttle response and upped the traction control, which meant that pulling out of corners with my new tyres (update to come) caused no brown-pants moments.

The only issue came when I kept stopping to take pictures at the roadside and found that my USB charge cable and port on my phone filled with water. With no charge for the navigation, I ended up having to rely on road signs and knowledge for the final stop of the day.

But I will say that despite the position of the USB port on the bike, BMW have manufactured it in such a way that no water, grit or dirt impeded the socket itself.

BMW R12 nineT filthy exhaust

With my first stop three hours away, comfort was put to the test. After two hours, I was craving to get up and out of the saddle, and the boxer engine meant my knees were itching to straighten. I did end up with some pain in my left knee on day three due to the gearshift lever being quite close to the bike, but for a naked retro (with no fairing yet) it managed well.

On the final day of the three-day tour we rode up the Elan Valley. The A470 was a delight, and we had a great time skirting around the long, picturesque corners and rejoicing in a lighter rain shower than the previous day.

When my sat nav took me off the main stretch, I hoped I would find another great road… instead it was a single track, covered in gravel and cracks, and took me along a valley top in the rain clouds… sketchy is probably the best word for it.

But despite my reluctance, I found myself laughing as I descended steep slopes and bathed in the Welsh rain – all thanks to the BMW.