Centurion - Following the launch of the R NineT Scrambler in October 2016, BMW has gone even further out in left field with the next model in its Heritage retro series, the R NineT Urban G/S.

Channelling the Bavarian bikemaker’s first off-roader, the original R80 G/S of 1980 - cheekily named the GelandeScooter* by enthusiasts - it’s finished in an almost exact replica of the original G/S livery, in white with tank graphics in two shade of blue, high-mounted white front mudguard and red seat, as per the factory motorsport colours of the day.

An original G/S-style white flyscreen around the big circular headlight frames a classically styled round analogue speedometer with an inset LCD screen for further info.


As with all NineT heritage models the Urban G/S has BMW’s previous-generation air/oil-cooled 1170cc boxer twin, tuned in this application for a healthy 81kW at 7750 revs and 116Nm at 6000rpm, coupled to a close-ratio six-speed gearbox and lightweight shaft final drive.

Suspension is by 43mm conventional telescopic forks in front and BMW’s familiar paralever at the rear, braking by dual 320mm front discs with four-piston callipers and a 265mm rear disc with two-piston calliper. ABS is standard, automatic stability control a factory-fit option.

Cross-spoked wheels with road tyres - 120/70 ZR19 in front and 170/60 ZR17 at the rear - underline the bike’s tarmac orientation, although deeply treaded mudplugger tyres are available as an option for the more adventurous.

And that’s what this bike is all about: options. The standard Heritage modular frame consists of three components - the front and rear mainframes and a detachable rear subframe, which can be fitted with a variety of aftermarket seats, available from BMW, along with a wide range of bolt-on aftermarket accessories, or be replaced by a ‘shorty’ single-seat bobber set-up.

Thirty-seven years ago the original G/S - intended as a heavyweight enduro machine - instead invented an entirely new category as the first adventure tourer; now BMW pays homage to what has become an accidental icon.

Relive the eighties on the R NineT Urban G/S from R177 740.

FACTS: BMW R NineT Urban G/S

Engine:1170cc air-cooled boxer twin
Bore and Stroke:101 x 73mm
Compression Ratio:12.0:1
Valvegear:DOHC with four valves per cylinder
Power:81kW at 7750rpm
Torque:116Nm at 6000rpm
Induction:Electronic fuel-injection
Starting:Electric
Clutch:Single-plate dry clutch, cable
Transmission:Six-speed gearbox, shaft
Front Suspension:43mm conventional telescopic forks
Rear Suspension:Paralever monoshock
Front Brakes:320mm, 4-piston fixed calliper
Rear Brake:265mm, 2-piston floating calliper
Front Tyre:120/70 ZR 19
Rear Tyre:170/60 ZR 17
Wheelbase:1527mm
Seat Height:850mm
Kerb Weight:221 kilograms
Fuel Tank:17 litres
Price:R177 740

*BMW insists that G/S stood for Gelande/Strasse (Country/Street). Today, GS (the slash is long gone) is a generic term for a BMW adventure tourer. 

IOL Motoring
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