Review: 2022 BMW R nineT Urban G/S 1200 40 Years GS Edition

Is this special-edition classic worth the hefty price tag?
by Leandre Grecia | Aug 24, 2022
BMW R nineT Urban GS 1200 40 Years GS Edition
PHOTO: Leandre Grecia

BMW Motorrad has produced a number of iconic bikes over the decades, but only a few come close to the famed R nineT. I’ve heard a lot of people call this their dream bike—and not all of them are riders, mind you.

BMW Motorrad Philippines recently offered me a chance to try out the R nineT Urban G/S 40 Years GS Edition—a mouthful, I know—and I made it a point to find out what truly made the bike special. After spending nearly a week with it, I’m here to share what I’ve discovered.

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Styling

BMW R nineT Urban GS 1200 40 Years GS Edition

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The R nineT is easily one of the most beautiful bikes that have ever rolled out of the German marque’s lineup. To be honest, the clean retro look was what I really preferred, so I was a bit bummed out when I found out this special-edition variant was what I was getting. But the design really grew on me. Big time.

The R nineT really is a great canvas for customization, and this 40 Years GS Edition is proof. BMW basically played around with the already beefed-up Urban G/S and added more flair and color to it, and that retro and off-road combination just works. The blacked-out look with the yellow accents and the gold spoke rims are eye candy.

You’ve got that touch of class with the base R nineT’s silhouette, and the accessories, the high exhaust tips, and the chunky tires give the bike a very rugged appeal. Overall, it’s a good mix. The entire design is tastefully done.

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Of course, what’s important to note for would-be owners is that the customization won’t need to stop here. Just because this is the anniversary edition doesn’t mean you can’t dress it up any further, right?

The saddle

BMW R nineT Urban GS 1200 40 Years GS Edition

This bike’s seat may look a bit uncomfortable at first, but it’s actually not the case. It’s not too wide so you’ll still be able to sit on the bike and grip the frame properly when you ride, and it also provides good cushioning which I was able to test on long rides. Plus points for BMW for hitting the mark with the colorway, too.

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The bike’s pillion seat is equally as comfortable, so you and your backride won’t have any problems here. The rear part of the seat is soft, and the footpegs are positioned nicely. My girlfriend who rides pillion, however, stands flat at 5’, so taller individuals might find the seat position a bit off for them. Now, there’s one thing I wish the saddle did have: grab bars at the back. Just for added security for the pillion. I guess those are just some of the things you forego in classic bikes like this one.

As for me, I stand at 5’5”, and with my riding boots on, I didn’t have any problems straddling the R nineT. Seat height is a bit tall at 850mm, but given just how properly engineered this bike is, it isn’t really hard to maneuver even through heavy traffic. But more on traffic woes later.

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Engine performance

BMW R nineT Urban GS 1200 40 Years GS Edition

The R nineT has a very, very potent 1,170cc air- and oil-cooled boxer engine that generates 109hp and 116Nm. Torque peaks at 6,000rpm, but you’ll still feel pulling power even right from a standstill, which is essential if you intend to take this bike off-road. There’s just no shortage of power across the rev range.

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The powertrain is mated to a six-speed manual gearbox that’s smooth and adequate. It has no problems keeping the revs within a desirable range when cruising on the highway or giving that extra oomph when downshifting to overtake on the expressway.

The boxer engine also produces a nice, husky exhaust note. This is what I like about BMW’s big bikes—they’re not subtle by any means, but they’re never too loud either. Just enough for motorists to hear you when you pass by.

When it comes to fuel consumption, I got mixed results. I initially averaged about 20km/L. Then on a different trip, I got about 25km/L. The road conditions during the two trips weren’t that far different, but perhaps the latter was just a more relaxed ride.

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Ride and handling

BMW R nineT Urban GS 1200 40 Years GS Edition

Like I said earlier, maneuvering this machine is a cinch. As with BMW’s adventure bikes, riding the R nineT just feels very intuitive. It feels light despite its size. The riding position also feels very ergonomic, and I was told that was probably because the handlebars are a bit higher than the other R nineT variants. I haven’t tried those yet, so I can’t really say for sure.

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I never had fear of tipping over, especially when going at speed. The Brembo brakes with the dual discs up front provided impressive stopping power as well, complemented by the single-disc and OEM caliper setup at the rear. Cornering, however, felt a bit awkward with the chunky all-terrain tires. There’s enough grip, still, but it’s not just as grippy as you would want when you’re tackling twisties at speed.

Speaking of the tires, they’re pretty noisy on the road. It’s very noticeable even with your helmet on and you’re already at 100kph on the expressway. Not that it should be an issue, as I assume the tires will serve their purpose when taken through the trail. Just a bummer that I wasn’t able to do so—maybe next time.

That being said, ride comfort is decent for this off-road-oriented setup. One thing you should note, though, is that it can be a pain through traffic. Similar to the R1250 GS, the clutch lever is a bit stiff, even if you try adjusting it to your preferred setting. I can assure you that crawling through gridlock will take its toll on your left hand.

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The boxer engine gets real hot when idling for prolonged periods as well. I had to keep a close eye on the engine temperature gauge when I was using the R nineT around Metro Manila and riding through heavy traffic. At times when it got too hot, I made sure to turn the bike off.

Extra features

BMW R nineT Urban GS 1200 40 Years GS Edition

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Unlike other retro bikes these days, the R nineT 40 Years GS Edition doesn’t come with the bare minimum in the tech department. It’s got ABS and Active Stability Control as standard. You can also switch between the standard Road and Rain ride modes as needed.

The instrument cluster isn’t digital and doesn’t come with smartphone integration and all that jazz, but it does provide information such as the aforementioned engine temperature. Trip meters are also available. My biggest gripe? The lack of a fuel gauge. Seriously, will adding that in really ruin the retro vibe?

Verdict

BMW R nineT Urban GS 1200 40 Years GS Edition

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The BMW R nineT Urban G/S 40 Years GS Edition is easily one of the most desirable bikes out there. It’s got the style, the performance, and even the heritage to back it up. It also comes with the safety tech you’ll need in a big bike.

Perhaps the biggest obstacle to this would be the price tag, as it costs P1.275 million. You could argue that you’d already be able to get multiple bikes for that amount, and I reckon you’ll probably get more of your money’s worth.

But will you get something as iconic as the R nineT? That bit’s questionable. You’ll be hard-pressed to find two-wheelers in our market right now that are as big of a head-turner as this special-edition BMW. It’s simply the complete package, and if you’re loaded enough to spend more than a million bucks on a single bike, I’m sure this will be worth every penny. With or without the fuel gauge.

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SPECS: 2022 BMW R nineT Urban G/S 40 Years GS Edition

BMW R nineT Urban GS 1200 40 Years GS Edition

Price: P1,275,000
Engine: 1,170cc air- and oil-cooled, two-cylinder boxer
Transmission: 6-speed manual
Power: 109hp @ 7,250rpm
Torque: 114Nm@ 6,000rpm
Seat height: 850mm (33 inches)
Score: 19/20

BMW R nineT Urban GS 1200 40 Years GS Edition

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BMW R nineT Urban GS 1200 40 Years GS Edition

BMW R nineT Urban GS 1200 40 Years GS Edition

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BMW R nineT Urban GS 1200 40 Years GS Edition

BMW R nineT Urban GS 1200 40 Years GS Edition

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BMW R nineT Urban GS 1200 40 Years GS Edition

BMW R nineT Urban GS 1200 40 Years GS Edition

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BMW R nineT Urban GS 1200 40 Years GS Edition

BMW R nineT Urban GS 1200 40 Years GS Edition

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BMW R nineT Urban GS 1200 40 Years GS Edition

BMW R nineT Urban GS 1200 40 Years GS Edition

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BMW R nineT Urban GS 1200 40 Years GS Edition

BMW R nineT Urban GS 1200 40 Years GS Edition

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BMW R nineT Urban GS 1200 40 Years GS Edition

BMW R nineT Urban GS 1200 40 Years GS Edition

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BMW R nineT Urban GS 1200 40 Years GS Edition

BMW R nineT Urban GS 1200 40 Years GS Edition

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BMW R nineT Urban GS 1200 40 Years GS Edition

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PHOTO: Leandre Grecia
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