First Look: BMW R nineT and R 12

First Look: BMW R nineT and R 12

In 2013, the BMW R nineT married the look of classic Bavarian machines with then-modern electronics. Over the next 10 years, it would spawn BMW’s entire Heritage motorcycle series.

The company is introducing new members to the Heritage line this year with the 2024 R 12 and R 12 nineT. The former seeks to carry on the R nineT’s legacy with a classic look and customizability, while the latter aims to be nothing but pure cruising fun.

Let’s take a closer look at what each bike brings to the table.

The Classic Boxer

Both the R 12 nineT and the R 12 are powered by the same 1170cc air/oil-cooled two-cylinder DOHC boxer engine. The powerplant is linked to a six-speed transmission with a shaft final drive. BMW’s Shift Assistant Pro is offered as an optional add-on for riders who want clutchless shifting.

The engine’s output differs slightly between the two models. On the R 12 nineT, the boxer produces a little more oomph, with 109 ponies at 7,000 rpm and 85 lb-ft of torque at 6,500 rpm. Meanwhile, the R 12 creates 95 horsepower at 6,500 rpm and 81 lb-ft at 6,000 rpm.

BMW has installed a new Twin Pipe exhaust configuration on the motorcycles, with the exhaust pipes terminating in two mufflers on the left side. This system eliminates the exhaust flap found on earlier R nineT models.

Both motorcycle models come equipped with dynamic traction control (DTC) and engine drag torque control (EDTC). The ride modes in charge of applying DTC and EDTC, however, differ between the bikes.

The R 12 nineT has three ride modes—Rain, Road, and Dynamic—while the R 12 has to do with only two modes, titled Roll and Rock. The Road and Roll modes are more or less comparable, intended for regular road riding, as are the Dynamic and Rock modes, which allow the bikes to perform to their full potential.

All-New Front Frame

The R 12 nineT and R 12 share an all-new, one-piece trellis steel front frame in a departure from the two-part front frame of previous nineT motorcycles. By eliminating the need for fastenings, the motorcycles are lighter than their predecessors.

For front suspension, the bikes share the same inverted 45mm telescopic fork. However, the R 12 nineT offers more suspension travel (4.7 inches vs. 3.5 inches), alongside rebound and compression adjustability.

In the rear, the bikes sport an aluminum Paralever swingarm hooked to a central shock with adjustable spring preload and rebound damping. Rear suspension travel is identical to the front on both models.

For stopping the ride, the motorcycles feature dual 310mm discs with dual radial-mounted four-piston calipers up front and a single 265mm disc with a floating two-piston caliper in the rear. Both come with BMW’s ABS Pro.

Analog and Digital Instrumentation

For fans of traditional instrumentation, the R 12 models are available with analog instruments. The R 12 nineT comes with a speedometer and tachometer, while on the R 12, the tacho is an optional add-on. Even with the traditional round gauges, the bikes sport USB-C and 12V power connectors.

The Digital Display option swaps the analog instruments for a 3.5-inch micro-TFT display for a touch of modernity on the bikes. The display can be set to the Pure Ride mode, which displays minimal information (speed, ride mode, gear) to keep your attention on the road.

There’s no standard mobile connectivity on the bikes, but the optional Connected Ride Control package adds a Bluetooth interface that lets the bikes connect to a smartphone with BMW’s app. This allows displaying vehicle data, navigation, and more on your phone.

Keyless ignition is a standard feature on the bikes, as in BMW’s Intelligent Emergency Call system. Lighting is LED all around, and on the U.S. models, the rear and brake lights are integrated into the rear turn signals.

Style In Droves

The design language of both bikes harkens back to BMW motorcycles from the 1970s.  The R 12 nineT is a bit sportier, while the R 12 offers a relaxed riding position with its wider handlebar and lower seat. Seat heights for the bikes are 31.3 inches for the R 12 nineT and 29.7 inches for the R 12

The standard paint scheme for both bikes is the menacing Blackstorm Metallic. In addition, the R 12 nineT is available in San Remo Green Metallic and Brushed Aluminum/Night Black, while the R 12 comes in Aventurine Red Metallic and Avus Silver Metallic.

On top of the optional equipment mentioned earlier, BMW offers a slew of customization options for the bikes. Among the customization options are Hill Assist Pro, heated grips, alternative seats, tire pressure monitoring, windscreens, and plenty of bling to make the bikes as pretty as you’d like.

The R 12 nineT retails from $16,295 and the R 12 from $12,345.