Which 2022 BMW RnineT Should You Ride?

2022 BMW R nineT article highlights:

  • Inspired by the original boxer-powered BMW bike, the retro 2022 R nineT is identical to the 2021 model
  • Available in base, Pure, Scrambler, and Urban G/S form, the stylish R nineT mainly shines on paved surfaces, but can briefly venture onto gravel surfaces
  • As the cheapest version, the 2022 R nineT Pure arguably offers the most value, but the more expensive models have more equipment

Practically every motorcycle brand offers a retro model these days, and BMW is no exception. However, you don’t have to spring for a big R 18 cruiser to get your classic-style riding on. Years before the Beamer bagger hit the road, the BMW R nineT charmed its way into many motorcyclists’ hearts (and Instagram feeds). So, if you want one of these vintage-looking motorcycles, which 2022 R nineT should you swing a leg over?

The 2022 BMW R nineT is a retro standard that channels its ancestors with a beating Bavarian boxer heart

A black-and-silver 2022 BMW R nineT
2022 BMW R nineT | BMW
2022 BMW R nineT
Engine1170 air/oil-cooled boxer-twin
Horsepower109 hp
Torque86 lb-ft
TransmissionSix-speed manual
Front suspension and travelR nineT: 46mm Marzocchi fully-adjustable inverted fork; 4.7”
Pure: 43mm Marzocchi inverted fork; 4.7”
Scrambler, Urban G/S: 43mm Marzocchi fork; 4.9”
Rear suspension and travelR nineT, Pure: Preload- and rebound-adjustable Marzocchi monoshock; 4.7”
Scrambler, Urban G/S: Preload- and rebound-adjustable Marzocchi monoshock; 5.5”
Seat heightR nineT, Pure: 31.7”
Scrambler: 32.3”
Urban G/S: 33.5”
Curb weightR nineT: 487 lbs
Pure: 483 lbs
Scrambler, Urban G/S: 492 lbs
Starting priceR nineT: $15,945
Pure: $10,995
Scrambler: $13,495
Urban G/S: $13,995

‘R’ is a significant letter in BMW motorcycle fandom. Whether you’re talking R Series GS or R 18, it signifies a motorcycle with a boxer engine and shaft drive. And the BMW R nineT is a stylized throwback to the bike that started this formula, the 1923 R32.

While the R32 predates modern motorcycle segment designations, the R nineT falls solidly in the standard category. As such, it’s an upright, jack-of-all-trades machine that can handle commuting duty and some canyon carving. It’s not as focused as a sportbike nor as stretched-out comfy as a cruiser, but then, it’s not trying to be either. And this do-it-all design makes it receptive to modifications by custom shops and BMW itself. We’ll get to that second part shortly.

The BMW R nineT enters 2022 essentially unchanged since its 2021 update, Cycle World says. BMW revised the boxer engine to satisfy Euro5 emissions regulations, which made it lose one horsepower but boosted mid-range power and torque overall. The retro standard also got some minor styling tweaks, a new rear shock, LED lighting, and a standard USB charging port. Plus, all 2022 R nineTs have cornering ABS (‘ABS Pro’), engine-braking control (‘Dynamic Brake Control’), stability control, as well as Rain and Road riding modes.

What are the differences between the 2022 BMW R nineT models?

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BMW briefly offered the R nineT in a café racer-style Racer trim. It’s not available for 2022, though the motorcycle does have four other trims:

  • Base
  • Pure
  • Scrambler
  • Urban G/S

In addition to the suspension differences, the Pure model is more stripped-down than the base 2022 BMW R nineT. So, it doesn’t have a stand-alone tachometer like the other models. Also, while the R nineT Pure has the same tubular-steel chassis as the other bikes, it has a different rear subframe, MCN reports. However, it still has Brembo front brakes, a steering damper, and adjustable brake and clutch levers.

Meanwhile, the 2022 BMW R nineT Scrambler is, well, the off-road-scrambler-style model of the group. To make it more off-road-friendly on paper, it has more suspension travel, softer spring and damper settings, and a 19” front wheel instead of a 17” one. Also, it has a longer wheelbase and more rake than the regular R nineT and Pure for extra off-road stability. And while the R nineT and R nineT Pure offer optional spoked wheels, the Scrambler offers optional Metzeler off-road tires on top of that.

However, like the Pure, it only has one gauge as standard; the tach is optional. In addition, instead of an optional Dynamic riding mode, the R nineT Scrambler has an optional Dirt mode.

Finally, there’s the 2022 BMW R nineT Urban G/S. As the name suggests, it’s a tribute to the icon R80 GS, the first adventure bike. It has the same off-road-focused upgrades as the Scrambler, but instead of Metzeler Karoo 3 tires, it has optional Continental TKC80s.

Apart from the different optional riding modes, all 2022 BMW R nineT bikes have similar option lists. You can equip these retro motorcycles with cruise control, traction control, heated grips, adaptive headlights, and a wide variety of different wheels, color schemes, and controls.

How do these vintage-style BMWs compare with their competitors?

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The 2022 BMW R nineT lineup has plenty of retro rivals these days. Ducati’s Scramblers spring immediately to mind, as do the Triumph Bonneville, Scrambler, Street Twin, and Speed Twin. You also have the Moto Guzzi V7 and V9, which both received updates for 2022. And against such heavy competition, the BMW’s results are mixed.

Although the R nineT Scrambler and Urban G/S are certainly stylish, they’re not extreme off-roaders, Cycle World notes. Both the Triumph Scrambler 1200 and Ducati Scrambler Desert Sled out-perform them once the pavement ends. And while the Triumph Street Scrambler is less powerful, less torquey, and only has five speeds, it’s also cheaper than either BMW. Furthermore, it beat the larger, heavier R nineT Scrambler in a recent MCN comparison. These R nineTs are good, comfortable road bikes, and can slide on gravel, but there are better off-roaders.

With the other models, though, things are a bit different, especially for the BMW R nineT Pure. Yes, you lose the adjustable forks and standard tach. Also, both models’ standard seats are rather uncomfortable over long distances, Cycle World reports. However, you get the same level of fit and finish, not to mention that strong, rich-sounding boxer engine. And that engine is more powerful than the 2022 Bonneville T120’s parallel twin.

Admittedly, the 2022 Triumph Speed Twin is nimbler and cheaper. But the R nineT’s chassis and suspension handle transitions and bumps well, even in Pure form. It takes more concentration to make smooth shifts with the BMW’s single-plate clutch and shaft drive, though, Cycle World says. And the transmission is a bit too clunky. But that arguably makes it more involving and therefore more enjoyable to ride.

Which 2022 BMW R nineT is the one for you?

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There’s a lot to like about the 2022 BMW R nineT. It’s more expensive than many of its rivals, but for some, its design is worth it. And if you don’t like it, there’s no shortage of custom kits ranging from mild to wild.  But before you customize your R nineT, you must pick one.

Styling preferences aside, the Scrambler and Urban G/S are for those looking to explore the occasional gravel path. However, if you genuinely want to go off-road, there are better bikes. Also, the Scrambler’s and Urban G/S’s geometry changes make their steering feel more sluggish, Cycle World adds. So, if your riding plans only involve paved roads, the standard R nineT and Pure are better choices. And if you can live without inverted, fully-adjustable forks, the Pure offers the same fun for less cash.

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