The wave of retro-modern bikes may have largely crested, with cafe racers giving way to a surge in popularity for adventure bikes, but retro styling still has a hold on the naked standard market. It’s an aesthetic that works so well on many modern bikes—Ducati Scramblers, Triumph Bonnevilles, Yamaha XSRs—but one that the BMW R nineT never quite nailed. Now, with a few teaser photos, it seems BMW has perfected the look for the bike’s second generation.
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BMW released a few photos of the newly-renamed R 12 nineT this morning, and the bike finally has some truly retro character. Where the old bike was started to look dated — remember that it’s been in production for nearly a decade — the new one looks truly timeless, and it all comes down to one line.
Take a look at the outgoing R nineT. See how the back of the tank looks kind of... droopy? There’s a character line that runs down the side of every motorcycle, from classic UJMs out to the most beautiful Ducatis. It’s called a bone line, and the old bike gets it wrong. Let me illustrate the issue for you:
The back of the tank dips too low, seemingly to cover the air intake for that big flat-twin, and fusses up the retro looks. Now, for comparison, look again at the incoming R 12 nineT:
The bone line isn’t perfect, but it’s much cleaner. That gives it the feel of a single, solid metal bar running from front to back — the way motorcycle frames used to be built. With that one little change. BMW has already made the new R 12 nineT look much more like its retro inspiration. Now we just have to wait for the rest of the details, when the bike makes its official debut.