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R Nine T - alum tank w/o seam

Discussion in 'R1200RS Versus The Competition' started by runnerhiker, Oct 19, 2017.

  1. runnerhiker

    runnerhiker Well-Known Member Contributor

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    My dealer sells both BMW's and Triumph's. Today I took my '17 Bonneville T120 for service and took an R Nine T for a 45 minute test ride. I found this bike is not for me, I prefer both my RS and T120. Nevertheless, here are some of my observations.

    The WC Boxster engine is so much better: more power, smoother, more refined, easier to ride. The Air/Oil head has a lot of engine braking, it's not obvious to me why that would be, but it is. It's not a bad engine, it's just inferior to the WC Boxster is all aspects. This motorcycle is apparently very popular, but the reason is NOT because it is a better bike than the R1200 R.

    Perhaps price is the big attraction, but the one I rode listed for $16,900. It had the aluminum gas tank without the seam and fully adjustable suspension front and rear (manual adjustment).

    Another big attraction is the "Harley way" of offering various models at varying prices, appearances, and configurations. This is a marketing success, good for BMW.

    The bike rides well, is very competent, and I enjoyed it. I found it comfortable, too. I wanted to test it to see for myself what all the hype was about. My conclusion is that it is a marketing success for sure but the bike is not for me. The R1200 R is a much better naked bike.

    PS: They had just received a 2018 GS with the new instrument panel, WOW! I liked that a lot, I think BMW has a big winner here. Very large. Very clear. Very colorful.
     
  2. SauRoN

    SauRoN Well-Known Member

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    I do like the extreme sideways torque on the oil-cooler version in the RnineT though.

    Gives it some character where the RS can be a bit sterile.
     
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  3. James Bagley

    James Bagley Well-Known Member

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    I like the R9Ts, but they don't meet my riding criteria. If I can't make my bike suitable for travel, it doesn't fully meet my needs...
     
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  4. stuart2820

    stuart2820 Active Member

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    If I was in the enviable position to make the choice I'd go with the Triumph Thruxton R.
    I saw a German-registered one in the Isle of Man this summer, silver with the addition of the front headlight cowl. First one I've seen in the flesh - thing of beauty.
     
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  5. Aussie Import

    Aussie Import Well-Known Member

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    I have, today, the R Nine T while my RS is getting (probably its last) dealer service. It is now 2 years old and out of warranty. Oh well....

    So, I have had the chance to ride the 9T, and the words of Willy Nelson's song, "Mamas Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys" really sums it up.

    "He ain't wrong he's just different"

    Executive Summary? - the RS kills it.

    The dry clutch is terrific. It is the same one on my old "S". The absence of the wet clutch "clunk" and the smooth engagement and disengagement is better than the RS. Against this is the PITA of changing it (see my Avatar) and the much greater flat twin torque reaction. It is really surprising how the RS has tamed the "twist". The RS has also quelled the small amount of vibration that is really visible at idle on the 9T, but is not a problem (may even add character to it) when it is underway. I always felt my "S" had a pulse, the RS not so much.

    The bike is very basic. The tapered handlebars are a "feature", and they are a really impressive bit of tube bending. Their appearance, their function, their position are all fine - and consistent with a more "sit up and beg" riding position. Riding position is "Classic Wind Sock", which may appeal to some, especially in urban environments. "Rider aides" are absent.

    There is a speedometer and a small "watch face" LCD display with a number of read outs that can be toggled. The most interesting was the "Engine Temp" which even on a cool spring morning in Melbourne (about 13 C) was reading over 125 C in easy urban running. The RS runs up to 100 C. Otherwise the Clock display is useful. There may be a fuel warning light, but there is no gauge. There is no tachometer. There is no "gear" indicator. There are 3 trip meters, A, B and "today".

    Mirrors are fine - again I prefer the RS, but there is nothing wrong with the set up on the 9T.

    Foot pegs are heavily serrated (at least to me, not being a dirt bike rider). I don't see the need. Foot controls are fine. The 9T does not have the GASP.

    Brakes are ABS, but without seeing data on the 9T I don't know if they are linked, but they feel to me as if they are not linked.

    Power is adequate - I am not going to cane someone else's bike, and it has good torque. The exhaust note is better than the RS standard.

    My guess is that it would be lighter than the RS, not by heaps, but by a bit, maybe 20 kg, maybe less.

    The absolutely worst part of the 9T is the seat. It reminds of a Ducati Darmah - perhaps even worse than that. A true vinyl covered blank that managed to give me pain in the hips, lower back and in that very sensitive area between the exhaust port and the tackle. Just how BMW can make a seat like that after making such a great standard seat on the RS is beyond me. I may be too sensitive about the seat. I know that your body adapts to the seat in time, more or less. I could never adapt to the original "S" seat, which was heavily crowned, meaning that weight was carried on the same places at the 9T - with the additional crushing caused by the "pocket" and the upsweep against the tank.

    Otherwise, the 9T is competent, it feels planted and does not intimidate with bulk or slow, sluggish controls. It feels smaller than the S or the RS and even with wider bars, it is ok to filter through the traffic.

    As I rode it, I could see that 40 years could disappear from me, but my face would be covered by a beard, and my haircut would be "trimmer". The inner Hipster could have well broken out. Lucky the tattoo parlour was closed.
     
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2017
  6. Grumpy Goat

    Grumpy Goat Well-Known Member Contributor

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    Very nice review, Aussie Import. Another bike which I would likely not try ...
     
  7. SauRoN

    SauRoN Well-Known Member

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    @Aussie Import it's interesting you mention the dry clutch as I never knew that but it does explain why it felt so different over the RS and why I enjoyed it so much more.

    Had a laugh at "Classive Wind Sock".

    Do you have any idea which year you rode? Maybe it's the new one with the new dashboard (which I didn't like the look of) because I'm pretty sure the demo I had ridden had a Gear Indicator as well as a Fuel Gauge and it had an analog tack.

    I did also love the twist on that bike, it gave it some serious character which the RS somewhat lacks.

    ****

    Yup just double checked. I had one with this dash and as you can see there is a gear indicator and tacho, but I may have been wrong about the fuel gauge.

    [​IMG]

    I know the new ones have a different dash so it seems like they've gone backwards then.

    Unless you maybe took the Scrambler? That seems to have a different dash that is very minimal.
     
  8. Aussie Import

    Aussie Import Well-Known Member

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    I think it was the Scrambler because it had a high mount dual silencer. The tyres were pure road type so I wasn't sure.
    It was a new one with 4k klm on the clock.
     
  9. SauRoN

    SauRoN Well-Known Member

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    The Scrambler would have been silver with a brown leathery seat.

    Scrambler is also cheaper in features and doesn't have the same brakes and suspension from what I remember.

    The original RnineT would have been black more than likely with a black seat.
     
  10. Aussie Import

    Aussie Import Well-Known Member

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    Scrambler for sure.
     
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