The BMW R nineT is a stylish modern classic, a retro café racer built with modern technology integrated into its DNA.
While the R nineT is a popular choice celebrated for its powerful capacity, like all bikes, it has flaws.
This article explores the most common problems with the BMW R nineT motorcycle.
Table of Contents
1. Soft Suspension Poorly Affects the Ride Quality
One of the most commonly expressed complaints R nineT riders share is the non-adjustable suspension preventing riders from fine-tuning the settings to suit their weight, riding style, and road conditions. Because of the diversity of riding techniques in the modern classic market, there is no shortage of riders complaining that the suspension is either too soft or too stiff.
Some riders find the suspension too soft and unbalanced, causing the bike to dive under braking and bottom out over bumps.
This affects the R nineT’s handling and stability, reducing the ground clearance and braking performance.
“The basic problem with the [BMW] R nineT is the forks are too soft, and the rear shock is too stiff, which creates an unbalanced condition. The soft stock fork springs cause the forks to ride low in the stroke.”
Other riders find the suspension too stiff and harsh, transmitting every bump to the rider and reducing comfort.
This can make the ride unpleasant and tiring on rough roads, especially for longer trips.
“The main problem with my bike is its suspension, which I find MUCH too harsh for the roads here in the UK. The basic problem is that the suspension just does not seem to absorb bumps. It just seems too stiff to me.”
A possible solution to this problem is to upgrade the suspension with aftermarket parts that offer more adjustability to suit the rider’s needs or the demands of their riding conditions.
Various customizable aftermarket options are available from different brands and price ranges, depending on the rider’s preferences and budget. By replacing the stock suspension with better quality components, the rider can improve the ride quality and the handling of the bike and customize it to their liking.
2. The Challenge of Dealing with a Flat Tire on a Spoked Wheel
While the spoked wheels on the BMW R nineT enhance its classic look with a retro and rugged charm, the drawback is that they require tubes for the tires. Tubes can be a hassle if you get a flat tire on the road, mainly because the R nineT doesn’t have a stock center stand.
Tubes require more time and tools to fix or replace than tubeless tires, which can be easily plugged or patched.
“I had a flat on my rear tire yesterday. I got it off the bike and took it to a shop to have it fixed. They said it was a small nail that punctured the tube. It cost me $40 and an hour of my time.”
“I got a flat on my front tire last week. I had to call roadside assistance and wait for them to tow me to the nearest dealer. They said they had to order a new tube, which would take two days to arrive. It cost me $100 and two days of my riding time.”
A flat tire on a spoked motorcycle wheel can be a costly, inconvenient, or dangerous problem, especially if you are far from home or in an unfamiliar area, as a sudden loss of air pressure can affect the handling and stability of your nineT.
Therefore, we suggest taking some preventive measures and preparing for this situation is advisable:
- Check your tire pressure regularly and keep it at the spec PSI level.
- Inspect your tires for any wear or damage before every ride.
- Avoid riding over sharp objects or debris that could puncture your tires.
- Carry a spare tube, tire levers, and an air pump or CO2 cartridges in your toolkit.
- Upgrade to tubeless spoked wheels available from aftermarket brands.
3. BMW R nineT Has No Fuel Gauge
As a minimalist and elegant roadster, part of the BMW R NineT’s charm is its lack of bells and whistles.
That said, one of the features owners feels is missing is a fuel gauge, which can be a source of annoyance for some and anxiety for others.
Instead of a fuel gauge, the R nine T has a low fuel warning light when the fuel level drops below a certain point and a counter that shows how many miles you have traveled since then. More than a few riders have expressed dissatisfaction with the amount of math required in the system.
“I don’t like not having a fuel gauge. I don’t like having to reset my trip meter every time I fill up. I don’t like having to guess how much fuel I have left. I don’t like having to worry about running out of gas in the middle of nowhere.”
“I think it’s ridiculous that a bike that costs this much does not have a fuel gauge. It’s a basic feature that every bike should have. It’s not retro; it’s just cheap and lazy.”
While a lack of a fuel gauge isn’t a significant problem, as long as you take some precautions and use some common sense, there are some steps you can take to help manage your fuel level on the R nineT:
- Check your fuel level visually before every ride by opening the fuel cap and looking inside the tank.
- Reset your trip meter (by pressing and holding the left button on the display monitor next to the speedometer) every time you fill up and keep track of your average fuel consumption and range.
- Avoid riding over sharp objects or debris that could puncture your tank or damage your fuel line.
- Carry a spare fuel bottle or canister in your toolkit or luggage in case of emergency.
- Plan your route ahead and know where the nearest gas stations are along the way.
4. Thin Seat with No Storage
The BMW R nineT has a thin and minimalist seat that matches the sleek and straightforward design of the bike. The retro seat design hurts the rider’s comfort and convenience.
Riders complain that the nineT’s seat is quite hard and narrow, which can cause discomfort, pain, and fatigue on longer rides. The seat also has no storage space underneath, which riders feel is a missed opportunity for carrying space on a bike that otherwise has none.
“The seat’s quite thin, though, being one of the few universal criticisms of the R nine T by owners. Most upgrade their perch, either with BMW’s own Custom accessory version or an aftermarket part – the one from Sargent is widely recommended (it’s around £300, though).”
“The stock seat is a torture device. I replaced it with a Corbin Gunfighter and Lady. It’s much more comfortable and has a small storage compartment under it.”
The only solution is to replace the seat with an after-market option you find more comfortable.
5. Poorly Designed Mirrors
R nineT riders often complain about their mirror, a small and round bar-end mirror attached to the handlebar’s end. Some say the mirror looks cool and stylish, while others note it fails to provide enough visibility or adjustability for some riders and that it vibrates and shakes, making it hard to see.
A possible solution to this problem is to upgrade or replace the mirror with better quality or more suitable ones that fit the rider’s preferences and needs.
6. Faulty Headlight and Speedometer Wiring
More than a handful of BMW R nineT riders have encountered issues with the wiring harness, namely with the headlight and speedometer wiring.
Riders report that failures with the wiring result in flickering and intermittent problems with the headlight and speedometer, sometimes resulting in permanent loss, affecting the safety and functionality of the bike.
“I have a problem with my headlight and speedometer. They flicker on and off randomly; sometimes, they work fine, and sometimes they don’t. It’s very annoying and dangerous. I checked the fuses and connections, but they seem fine.”
“I have a problem with my speedometer. It stopped working completely, with no display, no backlight, nothing. I took it to the dealer, and they said it was a wiring issue. They replaced the wiring harness, but it still didn’t work. They said they had to order a new speedometer unit.”
7. Loose Swingarm Pivot Pin Bolt and How to Avoid It
The BMW R nineT stocks a sturdy and robust swingarm, the part that connects the rear wheel to the frame and suspension of the bike.
Some riders claim the swingarm pivot pin bolt, the main bolt holding the swingarm in place, loosens over time due to vibration or improper torque, which can cause the swingarm to move or wobble, risking distraction and collision.
“I have a problem with my swingarm pivot pin bolt. It came loose while riding, and I felt the bike’s rear end moving sideways. It was very scary and dangerous. I stopped immediately and checked the bolt. It was almost falling out. I tightened it back, but I don’t know if it’s safe to ride.”
“I have a problem with my swingarm pivot pin bolt. It keeps coming loose every few hundred miles. I torque it to spec every time, but it doesn’t stay tight. I don’t know what’s wrong with it.”
What Are the Pros and Cons of the BMW R nineT Motorcycle?
- Classic and stylish design that combines retro and modern elements.
- Powerful and reliable boxer engine; smooth and responsive performance.
- Customizable and versatile.
- High-quality and durable bike that is built with premium materials and components.
- Fun to ride; offers a great riding experience and character.
- Thin and uncomfortable seat that causes soreness and fatigue on longer rides
- No fuel gauge.
- Faulty headlight and speedometer wiring that can cause them to flicker or fail.
- Loose swingarm pivot pin bolt that can compromise stability.
What’s the Resale Value of a BMW R nineT Motorcycle?
|Year||Mileage||Used Listing Price|
It’s important to note that other factors such as condition, maintenance history, crash reports, and customization may also affect the resale value of a BMW R nineT.
What Are Some Alternative Motorcycle Models?
|Ducati||Scrambler 1100(Sport Pro)||$15,495||44|
|Moto Guzzi||V7 Stone (100th Anniversary)||$9,190||51|
What Do the Reviews Say?
“The R nineT is a bike that gets under your skin and is a fabulous machine for anyone looking for a retro that has bags of spirit and soul as well as modern handling. It’s not the cheapest out there, but it is one of the best-looking with lots of scope for customization and also the most fun to ride.”
“The bike is a joy to ride; it handles well, has plenty of power and torque, and sounds great with the Akrapovic exhaust. The seat is comfortable, the riding position is relaxed, and the wind protection is adequate for my needs. The bike attracts a lot of attention and compliments wherever I go.”
– “Without a slipper clutch, quick shifter, or auto-blipper, the R nineT was best ridden with smooth inputs and a patient demeanor. Aggressively banging through the gears only unsettled the big boxer, but rolling off the throttle slightly before shifting rewarded riders with a satisfying thud.”