BMW, Cafe Racer, Scrambler

2016 BMW R nineT – The Perfect Base

The nineT genes are dating back from the 90 years of 20th century. BMW followed the concept of designing a great motorcycle for all those fans of the custom bikes.It seems that through the development focus was placed on enabling riders to modify the bike up to their own taste.

The ability to customize the BMW R nine T is extremely due to the design of the special four-section trellis frame, which gives the bike the old fashioned appearance. It’s made of a front sub-frame with steering head and a rear section for the swingarm mounting points. In this case, I’m sure that you can realize that the engine is used as a fully stressed member. This kind of frame construction tends to give the engineers room to lower the overall weight of this great machine.So the scale stops at 222 kg wet and ready to ride. BMW offers a tail cover in aluminum, so after the installation the bike has a look that is reminding of early cafe racers.
Obviously, during the development, the engineers took a great decision, to bury the telelever  system usually equipped on the boxer models, and to change them with fully adjustable 46 mm USD forks borrowed from the S 1000 RR. This move in combination with the single-sided swingarm gave to the bike this classic look paired with up-to-date superbike technology.

For years BMW Motorrad keeps coming back to the roots. Like in the legendary 1923 R 32, the 2016 R nine T is powered by a classic flat twin boxer. The unit is a 1,170cc air/oil-cooled which produces 110 ponies at 7500 rpm and a maximum torque of 119 N-mat 6000 rpm. These numbers make the bike a great classic roadster made for on-road pleasure, no matter if you go to the church or to along road trip, it will give its soul for you.

To ensure that you could bridle all this power, the guys from BMW equipped this unique motorcycle with a hardcore braking system. Two 320 mm floating discs at the front with Brembo radial 4 pot calipers and a single 265 mm disc with 2 pot floating caliper at the back. I believe that this system is here just to let us know why our money literally sunk in the BMW RT 9. Damn, no one will use all this brake power on the road.The weight of the bike does not suppose to need it, but everything nowadays is about style.


I got through my mind I found that if you are crazy enough you could put some heat in a set of 120/180-17 supercorsas and try to nail down the twisties and the tracks all around just to give some sense of all of that braking capacity.
As you can imagine a lot of guys around the world were impressed by the chance of working over the 2016 BMW R nine T.So some of them take the shot and tried the best that they can do to make the bike a self-expressing custom motorcycle.

I will share with you the experience of Catrina Motosurf. These guys give the bike very cool old school style by simplifying everything that they can. They made a custom cafe racer seat and they did swap the airbox for a pair of pods. That’s their way to strip the bike a little bit more. But, hey, no one likes dressed strippers, right.

The paint job of the tank is made in BMW colors but in a scheme which straightens up the line of the fuel tank through the tail up to the end of the horizon.


MASS twin outlet exhaust system was installed to let the beast breath freely. The black ceramic coating is there just not to mess up the lines. In addition,the guys from Catrina added Power Commander and Auto-Tune system to bulk up the engine a little bit and to ensure the reliability of the engine after the air flowing mods. More power needs even better brakes, so the OEM front brake rotors are changed with Braking wavy rotors to finish the look and the performance of the bike.

Catrina didn’t forget to put their trademark front headlight grill and to change all the lights to keep the vision of their project #4.9 as clean as possible. With all of their job, they’ve shed around 30 kg from the bike which in addition with the improved power delivery for sure make that badass cafe racer great for riding.
Another company that played on that platform is Rough Crafts. They’ve named it Bavarian Fistfighter. Yes, it really looks like that. Brutal, hardcore, elegant and astonishing fist fighter. This guys reached their own level of craftsmanship.  Fuel tank lines are inspired from various old BMW gas tanks. The custom rubber single seat, the retro-styled custom billet CNC wheels are like a shout from the past. To finish their vision they installed very interestingly looking custom asymmetric front fairing and a stylish familiar clip-on set.

But even that can’t let you miss the main idea behind the bike. After a look around the Brembo/Beringer brakes, the open exhaust system, the custom velocity stack and the that Pirelli slicks you understand that this bike is built for speed. Rough Crafts created a track masterpiece which could pose at the stage of every motorbike expo around the world. For our bad, the people behind the project didn’t share what kind of improvement the performance of the bike got. But not everything is up to the power, sometimes better grip is all that you need and in this case, I’m sure there’s a lot.’



For sure guys from BMW keep a look over the market of custom motorcycles, maybe they even met some custom R nine T scrambler or cafe racer.  It could be a result of that or a pure coincidence but in 2018 BMW has brought back Motorrad BoxerCup which ran alongside MotoGP and WSBK races.

The cup was very popular from 2001-2004. For the purpose of racing, BMW released The BoxerCup 2.0 version of the R nineT. There are 30 different teams, which will race against each other with identical machines. It’s purely a cafe racer version of the bike with modified suspension by Wilbers, titanium exhaust from Akrapovic, racing wheels and ABS with racing software. This racing project is the way that BMW shows to the general public the potential behind this model, they’ve turned into a BMW R nine T racer.


So by building your own nineT, you could finish with more cafe or more racer but in the end, you will get the best of both worlds.

Photo Credits: Rough Crafts; Catrina Motosurf; bmwmcmag.com;

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