UK exclusive! BMW R NineT Racer first ride

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We get the first taste of BMW’s new beautiful café racer.

BMW’S £10,755 R nineT Racer has arrived in the UK and judging by our sneaky first ride, this is a motorcycle that goes as well as it looks. The rest of the UK press are due to ride the bike next week in Spain, but UK bikes have started filtering into dealers, so we took one out to see what it’s about. We weren’t disappointed…

The Racer is one of three new R nineTs this year (the others are the cut-price Pure and the retro Urban G/S) and compared to the full-fat £12,220 original R nineT, it has a slightly different frame, conventional forks and brakes, clip-ons, different footrests and that lovely fairing.

It feels long and low, like a proper 1970s café racer and the reach to the clip-ons puts you into a continuous racing tuck. At the same time your feet are further back than usual – at times you feel almost horizontal.

But once you get going it feels much like a traditional R nineT, the bike dominated by that 1170cc-air/oil-cooled motor. The boxer makes usable strong power between 3 and 8,000rpm and acceleration is dealt in lunges that are a joy to experience.

On the fast, flowing A-road we tried the bike on it was as effective as it was enjoyable. The handling is impressive. Budget suspension can be crude and harsh, but the Racer’s isn’t and there’s feel too – helped by those wide clip-ons and the extra weight the riding position imparts on the front end.

But the level of detail will be enough for many. Everything part is simple and beautifully-executed, from the elegant fairing and the neat footrests, to the slightly-retro BMW Motorsport colour scheme.

For the full test, plus a behind-the-scenes exclusive interview with the R nineT’s creator Ola Stenegärd see this week’s MCN. 

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Matt Wildee

By Matt Wildee

Former MCN Senior Editor