It’s the next generation of one of BMW’s most popular models

LISTEN 08:50

BMW rolls into MY2021 with a handful of improvements to its base-model R nineT. The updated engine meets EU-5 emissions standards and the electronics suite delivers more safety- and ride-quality features right off the showroom floor. New suspension components boost comfort as well to finish out the improvements for the 2021 R nineT model.

  • 2021 BMW R nineT
  • Year:
    2021
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    boxer twin
  • Displacement:
    1170 cc
  • Top Speed:
    125 mph (Est.)
  • Price:
    15945
  • Price:

2021 BMW R nineT Design

  • Heritage styling
  • LED lighting
  • Cornering lights
  • Classic dual round instrumentation
2021 BMW R nineT
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2021 BMW R nineT
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The base-model R nineT is the very epitome of the word “essential” with absolutely nothing in the way of the superfluous to weigh it down. Technically it’s billed as a roadster, but the sporty profile, somewhat relaxed rider’s triangle and old-school engine design call to mind the standard cruiser models of the Seventies.

Little is left to the imagination as there is nothing in the way of body enclosures on this model. The pared-down front fender makes a custom connection to go with the laced blackout wheels and pulls double duty with specially-shaped supports that steer wind and road grime around the swept inner-tube area of the inverted front forks. A cyclops headlight housing makes another classic connection with its round shape and blackout housing treatment but the light itself is thoroughly modern. It boasts LED projectors for good, two-way visibility day or night and delivers improved cornering safety at night in particular through its cornering-light feature that illuminates the curve ahead.

The LED tech spreads to the “disappearing” turn signals that, due to the blackout treatment and adjacent black components, tends to be rather inconspicuous when unlit to visually minimize the hang-on gear. That focus continues into the pared-down tail section and rear mudguard with LEDs to finish out the turn/tail/tag lights. The stock saddle comes with a small p-pad and subframe-mount, flip-up footpegs complete the pillion gear, but if you ride solo you can remove the rear of the subframe area in favor of a café-style tail fairing.

2021 BMW R nineT Chassis

  • Four-part frame concept
  • Eager in the corners
  • ABS and Dynamic Brake Control
  • Laced wheels
2021 BMW R nineT
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2021 BMW R nineT
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2021 BMW R nineT
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The dearth of body panels on the R nineT leaves the tubular frame well exposed and visible to the world, but what isn’t as readily obvious is how it’s all put together. A single front frame section and three-part rear frame use the engine as a stressed member to complete the structure and lend it its final rigidity.

Inverted, 46 mm forks float the front end with adjustable preload and damping values, plus the central spring strut out back comes with handwheel-adjusted preload as well as a rebound-damping adjuster and a travel-dependent damping feature. Components at both ends come with 4.7 inches of travel that should be plenty for riding in civilized areas. The steering head establishes a 26.8-degree rake angle with 4.3 inches of trail to make it relatively eager in the corners though you can forget about dragging a knee around a bend. It just ain’t that kind of bike.

Laced wheels add another classic touch with high-speed, Z-rated rubber in a 120/70 ahead of a 180/55. The brakes mean serious business with a pair of 320 mm discs and four-piston Brembo anchors up front opposite a twin-piston caliper and 265 mm disc. Beemer moves its ABS Pro and Dynamic Brake Control features out of the optional equipment list and onto the stock package for double-layer protection against loss of traction due to overbraking. The DBC works through throttle modulation, so not only are there two separate systems, they work entirely independently from each other to help safely brake to the max.

Frame: Four-part frame concept with front frame and three-part rear frame, load-bearing engine-gearbox unit, rear-seat frame removable for one-up riding
Front wheel/Travel: Upside-down telescopic forks, 46 mm fixed-fork-tube diameter/ 4.7"
Rear wheel/Travel: Cast aluminum single swing arm with BMW Motorrad Paralever; central spring strut, spring preload fully adjustable by handwheel, adjustable rebound-stage damping/ 4.7"
Caster: 4.3"
Steering head angle: 63.2°
Wheels: Spoke wheels
Rim, front: 3.50 x 17"
Rim, rear: 5.50 x 17"
Tire, front: 120/70 ZR17
Tire, rear: 180/55 ZR 17
Brake, front: Twin-disc brakes, diameter 12.6", 4-piston calipers
Brake, rear: Single disc brake, diameter 10.4", double-piston floating caliper
ABS: BMW Motorrad ABS Pro

2021 BMW R nineT Drivetrain

  • 1,170 cc boxer-twin engine
  • 109 horsepower and 85.5 lb-ft of torque
  • Automatic Stability Control (ASC)
  • Ride Modes
2021 BMW R nineT
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2021 BMW R nineT
- image 969588
2021 BMW R nineT
- image 969591

The boxer-twin lump in the R nineT sports a classic design that fits quite well with the rest of the build. It maintains the large central case and opposed-twin configuration that have always marked Beemer’s signature engine style, but aesthetics saw a bit of a buff this year with re-designed heads, valve covers, and throttle bodies that change the look a bit.

Quite oversquare, the mill runs a 101 mm bore and 73 mm stroke to give it a total displacement if 1,170 cc and relatively hot 12-to-1 compression ratio that will put you at the premium pump every time. Power output is a claimed 109 horsepower at 7,250 rpm with 85.5 pound-feet of torque at an even six grand, and if you’re thinking that’s one pony less than last year, you’d be correct, but this loss is the price to pay to make the MY21 engine meet the EU-5 emission requirements. Plus the catalyst in the exhaust contributes to the clean emissions too.

It’s primarily an air-cooled engine with newly-redesigned cooling fins to deal with some of the waste heat, but it also rocks an oil-cooler that takes care of the rest for double thermal protection overall and targeted protection for the engine’s very lifeblood. Dual over-head cams actuate the poppets in the redesigned four-valve heads with a 39 mm intake valve diameter and 33 mm exhaust. A hydraulically-actuated clutch couples engine power to the six-speed transmission with a shaft-type final drive and a drive ratio that turns out a top speed that’s governed at 125 mph.

As for the new electronics package, it bundles traction control (ASC) with a pair of variable power-delivery Ride Modes as part of the stock equipment and offers the Ride Modes PRO in the optional equipment list.

Engine: Air/oil-cooled two-cylinder, four-stroke boxer engine with two camshafts and four radially-arranged valves per cylinder as well as central counterbalance shaft
Bore x Stroke: 101 mm x 73 mm
Displacement: 1,170 cc
Rated output: 109 hp @ 7,250 rpm
Max. torque: 85.5 lb-ft. @t 6,000 rpm
Compression ratio: 12.0 : 1
Mixture control: Electronic port fuel injection
Emission Control: Closed-loop 3-way catalytic converter, emission standard EU-5
Clutch: Single dry plate clutch, hydraulically operated
Gearbox: Claw-shifted six-speed transmission with helical-cut splines
Drive: Shaft drive

2021 BMW R nineT Price

2021 BMW R nineT
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2021 BMW R nineT
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2021 BMW R nineT
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The 2021 base-model R nineT rolls for a starting price of $15,945 MSRP. It comes in Black Storm Metallic, with a trio of Option 719 selections in a choice of Mineral White Metallic/Sunset Yellow, Aluminum, or Night Black Matte/Aluminum Matte.

Standard equipment: LED headlight and turn signals, Dual speed indicator and rational-speed sensor instrument with on-board computer content, Automatic Stability Control (ASC), Ride Modes: Rain & Road, Drivetrain and final drive black, Upside down front fork fully adjustable (spring preload, compression stage rebound)
Optional equipment: Ride Modes PRO (incl. Ride Mode: Dynamic), Cruise control and heated grips
Aluminum Fuel Tank, Paint sets, Option 719 wheel Classic / Sport, Option 719 billet packages I & II
Optional accessories: Tail short, Tail Tracker, Function integrated turning signals, Cylinder head covers 2V-Style
Colors: Black Storm Metallic, Opt 719 Night Black Matte/Aluminum Matte, Opt 719 Mineral White Metallic/Sunset Yellow, Opt 719 Aluminum
Price: $15,945

2021 BMW R nineT Competitors

2016 - 2020 Triumph Bonneville T100 - T100 Black
- image 765158
2021 BMW R nineT
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As is so often the case, British giant Triumph rises to the occasion as a worthy competitor for the Bayerische, and the Bonneville T100 Black looks to be my Huckleberry.

Triumph Bonneville T100 and T100 Black

2016 - 2020 Triumph Bonneville T100 - T100 Black
- image 765151

At a glance, the similarities are obvious. Both are built as “Standard” streetbikes with a somewhat relaxed rider’s triangle, laced wheels, and liberal application of blackout paint. The Bonnie enjoys a solid pedigree and is on fairly even footing with the Beemer as far as its impact on the biking culture at large and the custom culture, as well.

In the brakes, the Trumpet falls behind with only a single front disc and a non-cornering ABS feature. Triumph’s beating continues into the stems as the obligatory spring-preload out back is the only suspension adjustment to be found.

The parallel-twin Bonnie engine is sized for a 900 cc displacement – a skosh shy of the Beemer’s Boxer-twin engine – with a concurrent loss of power. Horsepower drops to 55 ponies and torque falls off as well with 59 pound-feet on tap against 109/85 from the BMW. Traction control makes it onto the Brit, as does a slipper clutch, but it still falls short of the fandanglery the R nineT brings to the table.

Price alone may be enough to buy Triumph some business, as a somewhat simpler machine it rolls for $10,450 against the half-again-more BMW though many might find the increased performance and improved electronics worth the extra money for the Beemer.

Read our full review of the Triumph Bonneville T100 and T100 Black.

He Said

“Gotta’ love those Bavarians, they’re so meticulous. The R nineT is very much a natural evolution from BMW’s venerable Boxer-twin bikes of yesteryear, and it looks like it with clear genetic markers from the past along with modern touches that keep it current. What can I say? It’s a winning combination that is actually fairly common among the “old brands” around the world, and it’s impossible to argue with success.”

She Said

My wife and fellow motorcycle writer, Allyn Hinton, says, “The R nineT is a nice bike. It has agile handling, a vintage look, and the performance promises a fun ride. The updated engine has more power and torque in the mid-range and for 2021, Ride Mode Pro is an option. For commuting or just having a fun ride on the weekends, I like the R nineT.

2021 BMW R nineT Specifications

Engine & Drivetrain:
Engine: Air/oil-cooled two-cylinder, four-stroke boxer engine with two camshafts and four radially-arranged valves per cylinder as well as central counterbalance shaft
Bore x Stroke: 101 mm x 73 mm
Displacement: 1,170 cc
Rated output: 109 hp @ 7,250 rpm
Max. torque: 85.5 lb-ft. @ 6,000 rpm
Compression ratio: 12.0 : 1
Mixture control: Electronic port fuel injection
Emission Control: Closed-loop 3-way catalytic converter, emission standard EU-5
Clutch: Single dry plate clutch, hydraulically operated
Gearbox: Claw-shifted six-speed transmission with helical-cut splines
Drive: Shaft drive
Chassis:
Frame: Four-part frame concept with front frame and three-part rear frame, load-bearing engine-gearbox unit, rear-seat frame removable for one-up riding
Front wheel/Travel: Upside-down telescopic forks, 46 mm fixed-fork-tube diameter/ 4.7"
Rear wheel/Travel: Cast aluminum single swing arm with BMW Motorrad Paralever; central spring strut, spring preload fully adjustable by handwheel, adjustable rebound-stage damping/ 4.7"
Caster: 4.3"
Steering head angle: 63.2°
Wheels: Spoke wheels
Rim, front: 3.50 x 17"
Rim, rear: 5.50 x 17"
Tire, front: 120/70 ZR17
Tire, rear: 180/55 ZR 17
Brake, front: Twin-disc brakes, diameter 12.6", 4-piston calipers
Brake, rear: Single disc brake, diameter 10.4", double-piston floating caliper
ABS: BMW Motorrad ABS Pro
Dimensions & Capacities:
Length: 82.9”
Height (incl. Mirrors): 48.8”
Width (incl. hand levers): 34.8”
Wheelbase: 58.5”
Seat height: 31.7”
Inner leg curve: 70.3”
Usable tank volume: 4.5 gal. with app. 0.8 gal reserve
Fuel type: Unleaded super(premium)
Curb weight: 487 lbs.
Permitted total weight: 948 lbs.
Payload (with standard equipment): 460 lbs.
Maximum speed: over 124 mph
Electricals:
Alternator: Three-phase alternator with 720 Watt nominal power
Battery: 12 V / 12 Ah, maintenance-free
Details:
Standard equipment: LED headlight and turn signals, Dual speed indicator and rational-speed sensor instrument with on-board computer content, Automatic Stability Control (ASC), Ride Modes: Rain & Road, Drivetrain and final drive black, Upside down front fork fully adjustable (spring preload, compression stage rebound)
Optional equipment: Ride Modes PRO (incl. Ride Mode: Dynamic), Cruise control and heated grips
Aluminum Fuel Tank, Paint sets, Option 719 wheel Classic / Sport, Option 719 billet packages I & II
Optional accessories: Tail short, Tail Tracker, Function integrated turning signals, Cylinder head covers 2V-Style
Colors: Black Storm Metallic, Opt 719 Night Black Matte/Aluminum Matte, Opt 719 Mineral White Metallic/Sunset Yellow, Opt 719 Aluminum
Price: $15,945

Further Reading

BMW Motorrad

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Read more BMW news.

TJ Hinton
TJ Hinton
T.J got an early start from his father and other family members who owned and rode motorcycles, and by helping with various mechanical repairs throughout childhood. That planted a seed that grew into a well-rounded appreciation of all things mechanical, and eventually, into a formal education of same. Though primarily a Harley rider, he has an appreciation for all sorts of bikes and doesn't discriminate against any particular brand or region of origin. He currently holds an Associate's degree in applied mechanical science from his time at the M.M.I.  Read full bio
About the author

All images featured on this website are copyrighted to their respective rightful owners. No infringement is intended. Image Source: bmwmotorcycles.com, triumphmotorcycles.com

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