BMW Motorrad has taken the covers off of their latest creation, the R 12 nineT. This “purist classic roadster” is the successor to the R nineT introduced a decade ago and marks the centennial of BMW’s first motorcycle, the R 32. BMW touts “an even more classic, reduced design language,” which explains the naked appearance, but as the manufacturer points out, this allows for “even greater degrees of freedom when it comes to customizing.”
Head of Design BMW Motorrad Edgar Heinrich, describes the new two-wheel wonder: “The purist design language is dominated by the clear tank/seat/rear line, in the style of the traditional /5 or the legendary R 90 S of the 70s. At first glance, the tank itself is a classic BMW boxer tank, with a typical bend in the lower edge and classic knee contact. The new R 12 NineT also features side covers in the area of the frame triangle in the authentic Roadster look—another reminiscence of BMW motorcycles of the 1970s.”
Why add the “12” to the model name for this generation? BMW says, “The number 12 has been added to reflect the model’s engine capacity, as done in other BMW motorcycle models.” BMW used to do this with their cars, too. A 1998 328i (E36) was a 3 Series with a 2.8-liter engine. It was nice and simple. But then turbos were introduced, and models stopped being named by their engine displacement. So, a 2015 328i (F30) actually has a turbocharged 2.0-liter engine. Makes perfect sense, right? Don’t even get me started on even and odd model numbers correlating to the number of doors.
There’s something quite satisfying about the R 12 nine T. It’s somewhat of a blank canvas, which BMW says has been “reduced even more to the essentials.” In the age of bigger, heavier, and more expensive, perhaps the R 12 nineT “reduction” is exactly what we need. Pricing and specifications will be announced in the second half of 2023.—Mike Bevels
[Photos by BMW.]