Ride On: 2020 BMW R nineT Urban G/S

SOMETIMES the most satisfying things in life are those that are pure, simplistic and raw. Motorcycles that have spirit and a defined character that leave you yearning for more, fall into that category. Motorcycles like the 2020 BMW R nineT Urban G/S.

The R nineT is not about fancy gadgetry, rather it’s the experience it delivers on and off road. It’s a bike that captures all the expectation of a marque like BMW, and then delivers the rider a true connection to the road.

Drawing its inspiration from the legendary R 80 G/S, a bike that twice won the Paris-Dakar Rally in the 80s, the 2020 BMW R nineT Urban G/S, with optional spoked wheels and studded tyres is a homage to that great bike.

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And thanks to its unmistakable signature paintwork, and the air/oil cooled flat twin boxer 4-stroke engine protruding out of both sides of the bike, it has loads of old-school BMW character.

That power plant features two camshafts and four radially aligned valves per cylinder, producing some impressive numbers, with 1170cc creating 81kW or 110bhp, and 116Nm of torque. It’s an exciting and dynamic ride.

Combining the power figures with a bike dry weight of 221kg, the numbers start to paint a picture of how much fun this bike is to ride.

Add a raised exhaust system made of brushed stainless steel that gives a sweet raspy gurgle on the downshift, and you can begin to understand the excitement this bike stirred among the team.

And this is why we describe this bike as pure, simple and raw. Although it encapsulates the best of BMW’s motor, frame and handling technologies, it does not bother or pretend to be something it is not.

This is a bike you hop on and ride. You do not fuss around with pre-programmed riding modes, there is no need for Bluetooth connectivity. It’s a motorbike, a connection between rider and road, and a God damn satisfying way to make that connection.

Commanding the 2020 BMW R nineT Urban G/S from an upright seating position is not only comfortable, but enhances the rider’s capability for maneuvering the nimble R nineT effortlessly and efficiently, with minimum effort.

With a standard seat height of 850mm there is not much of a stretch for the rider to place both legs on the ground when it comes to a halt either. The bench seat looks the business too, and is quite comfortable, especially with the well thought out foot-peg position.

Slightly higher handlebars complete the ergonomic triangle, which is designed to give the rider a more relaxed and confident riding experience, and, although this seems like marketing babble, it pretty accurately sums up our time on the bike.

A classic round speedo houses all rider info and is masked nicely in a white headlight nacelle, that not only looks neat but offers minimal wind buffering. The instrument cluster is rider friendly and displays speed, trip meter and kilometres.

The LCD display at the bottom of the speedo can be navigated through the menu key, which is mounted on the handlebars just beneath the indicator selector. Every button is within easy reach of the rider and operates smoothly.

Although we’ve described this bike as simplistic, don’t let that take away from the quality and function of the 2020 BMW R nineT Urban G/S. From changing gears to engaging the indicator, every function is executed with the quality you would expect from a BMW.

ABS is standard on the R nineT, with 320mm twin disc brakes with 4-piston fixed calipers handling the braking up front, while a single 265mm disc brake with double-piston floating caliper looks after the rear. It’s a combination that works exceptionally well.

43mm fixed-tube diameter telescopic forks soak up the bumps on the front suspension while a cast aluminum single swing arm keeps the rear wheel on the tarmac. In the tight stuff, we found the handling to be a treat.

The bike was agile and nimble, and minimum effort was required to punt the R nineT in the right direction. On the freeway, it felt planted and was not excessively blown around on the road. There’s a bit of road noise from the well mannered studded tyres though.

The 2020 BMW R nineT Urban G/S is a very good bike. It needs to be to match it with rivals like the Ducati and Triumph Scrambler. But, armed with a BMW pedigree, as well as a brotherhood of R nineT siblings, it’s certainly up for the challenge.

We tested the Light White edition of the 2020 BMW R nineT Urban G/S, but there also two other options, Black Storm Metallic/Aurum and Black Storm Metallic/Light White.

With pricing starting from $21,370 ride away we reckon you should jump on one. It might just remind you what riding a motorbike is all about.

Our test bike was provided by BMW Motorrad Australia. To find out more about the 2020 BMW R nineT Urban G/S, contact your local BMW Mottorad dealer.


Ride experience
Style and comfort
Braking and handling
Technology and connectivity
Overall bike performance


Pros - handling; power delivery; harnesses the spirit and character of what riding should be.
Cons - freeway tyre noise.
Andrew Jenkin
Andrew Jenkin
Andrew Jenkin is the ride editor at Exhaust Notes Australia, founding editor of Two Wheel Addicts, a contributor at Bike Review and panel judge for Harley Davidson's Breakout Boss competition. Andrew has a love for anything on two wheels whether that be sports, naked or adventure bikes, with a guilty pleasure for cruisers.


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<strong>Pros -</strong> handling; power delivery; harnesses the spirit and character of what riding should be.<br> <strong>Cons -</strong> freeway tyre noise.Ride On: 2020 BMW R nineT Urban G/S