... but which one would you choose?They are both outstanding motorcycles in their own right, each from the ‘Roadster’ segment, but poles apart in terms of how they deliver a thrilling ride. We couldn’t decide between them, so if you’re struggling too, then listen to what these two fans have to say…If you’re after a naked superbike (as opposed to a super naked bike) then the new BMW S 1000 R power roadster could well be the bike for you. Aggressive and dynamic, with its tail-up, nose-down stance, the ‘R’ is so much more than a naked version of its double-R sister model. It’s a true sports roadster that is capable of owning the asphalt on a track-day, but is perfectly comfortable to enjoy for hours at a time on the road due to its upright, ergonomically sound riding position.The formidable engine power it offers has been well-documented ever since the launch of the RR it shares its motor with, but in the ‘street’ version the engine has been retuned to offer increased low and mid-range power and torque from its 160 horses – perfect for blisteringly fast acceleration and quick overtakes.Naturally, the R shares its DNA in many areas with its RR and XR stable-mates, and is packed with high-tech features as standard (such as ABS, traction control and a choice of electronically adjustable riding modes). However, it is very much a standalone machine with a distinctive appeal. Fit a bigger screen, tank-bag and tail-pack, and longer tours are well within reach. Or keep it stripped down to the essentials as the ultimate sports roadster for town or country.Riding a racing red, non-metallic S 1000 R for this photo-shoot was Florian Stiller, who is the CEO of Agentur 22, a Munich-based creative agency. He had this to say about the 999cc inline-four.“The S 1000 R is a brilliant naked bike; it’s the perfect mix between a superbike and a naked bike. It's fun to ride – especially with all the different modes to choose from – and when the ABS intervenes, you hardly notice it. What I particularly liked was the comfortable seating position on the R, as I found that I could ride for several hours without getting tired. Personally I like the design very much and the asymmetrical front just looks awesome. It’s without a doubt my favourite bike to ride in the city but also for long-distance journeys.”Then there is the other end of the Roadster spectrum – the BMW R nineT. It’s a bike that doesn’t look fast, but is. A bike that is both modern, yet ‘old-school’. A bike that allows owners to modify it in many different ways according to their individual taste. How refreshing is that?The R nineT or ‘9T’ for short, just looks right, from whatever angle you approach it. The front end offers beefy forks and brakes right off the S 1000 RR. Forged aluminium is used in many parts, including the fork yokes and handlebar clamp brackets. A classic round headlight – with a neat BMW Roundel in the centre – completes the look.From the side, the standard double-stacked exhaust system is arguably the best looking, although other styles are available, such as high, or low mufflers, or even a titanium Akrapovic end can. The brushed aluminium tank is a work of art and even the dual seat can be disguised with a brushed aluminium tail cover – or replaced with a single seat for an entirely different look. The options are seemingly endless and require more space to explain than we’ve got here.What attracts most attention though is the distinctive sound that emanates from the 1,170cc air/oil-cooled boxer engine (the predecessor of the latest LC version) when the motor is started. It’s one of the many reasons that endeared 9T rider Dimitri Barkov to this memorable motorcycle, as he explains.“The BMW R nineT is an interesting bike with an interesting name. The ‘9T’ name is a pun on the English word ‘ninety’ as it was produced to commemorate 90 years of BMW motorcycles, which was celebrated in 2013, when the 9T was unveiled. As striking as the bike is, the best effect comes when the engine is started – the lion makes known his presence – and this is certainly the case among bystanders, who usually appreciate its good acoustics! The bike is a clever mix of old styles, classic materials and new technology. It’s instantly recognisable and I like the way it looks, especially from the front with the golden fork and the round headlights incorporating the BMW logo. It also has a unique sound, with that unmistakable Akrapovic dual exhaust. You are riding in colour, but it feels like you’re in a black-and-white film.”So there you have it, two completely different bikes that can be admired and enjoyed in contrasting scenarios. Each is very desirable in its own unique way, so the only way for you to find out which one is best for you is to test ride them both. It’s a tough job, but someone’s gotta do it…Photos: Max Wiedemann
April 2015 | © BMW Motorrad
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