R Nine T at one

A year has passed since my head was turned by BMW’s anniversary model.
I swore I’d leave it stock. I lied. 

The R Nine T had been a very swift, impromptu purchase. I sold my Bonneville and my beloved 900SS FE within weeks of each other and purchased the beemer without a test ride based purely on looks and the sage words from two friends with whom I used to work with at TWO/Visordown.

Once I picked it up and took it for its inaugural ride I was smitten and swore to myself that I wouldn’t bastardise my new bulky bavarian. It sounded great, looked great, handled brilliantly and was brand spanking new. Weeks passed, custom versions appeared and went, forums were devoured and all of a sudden my head had been turned.

One of the great things about the R Ninet T over many of the other current retro bikes is the readiness to simply unplug the wiring loom in order to upgrade parts. I have never enjoyed playing with electrics on bikes but the tail light system under the seat is simplicity itself. I bought an LED tail light strip from fancybikething.com that cleared up the rear end and exposed the beautiful rear wheel and swing arm.  I had also bought a side arm mount (from the same place) for the plate and that was wired in at the same time with similar ease.

Now this all looked great but the downside to having a side mount and a smaller plate is lean angle. I had started to ground out the plate and it was also beginning to annoy me that every time it was wet I had a line of detritus all over my back, rucksack and helmet from the lack of mudguard.

Enter Rizoma

Shiny aftermarket parts have drawn men in like insects to those electric bug zappers for many a year and more often than not to the detriment of the original machine. Rizoma, however, seem to have created  pieces of automotive jewellery huned from a cnc’ed blocks of aluminium. Their vision of an R Nine T had me drooling and I lusted over the headlight fairing and the sidearm licence plate and fender.

The cockpit screen is a simple piece of aluminium but transforms the look of the bike especially with the clip-ons. It’s a relatively easy add on easily attached via the clamps on the top yoke after that it’s just a matter of tweaking it to sit flush against the dials and the top of the headlight rim.

There are some wind deflection benefits to it but to be honest it’s more a visual add on, albeit with a fairly steep price tag, but that’s the same for much of Rizoma’s catalogue and I think that the screen is one of those pieces of kit that can singularly change an entire look of a bike and for that reason I think it’s worth the £147.

At the back end I’ve got the Rizoma Side Arm number plate holder and fender. Once out of the box I screwed the brushed aluminium fender to the arm mount and added the smaller of the two number plate brackets. The arm is preset at the fender end so there’s no need to tweak that to fit round the tyre. The led is already attached to the bracket and the wire is neatly tucked behind the bracket and leads to the machined arm.

The kit comes with a bracket and spacers that use one of the brake caliper bolts to build a base for the arm. Seat and hump off showing LED loom and terminals for the leads to the plate light. Once they’re attached just feed the wire through the bike and tuck into the brake cable routing on the swing arm.

At first the plate light didn’t work but after a brief sojourn to the rninet forum I discovered that, naturally, everything is reverse in Italy and black goes to red and vice versa. Heat wrap seals it all from water. The side arm has a cover that unscrews and keeps all the wiring away from the wheel. Then it’s just a simple matter of two bolts and there it is, I’d give it 30-60 mins of your time as the loom that comes with the kit needs some cutting.

While my initial concerns about the plate spoiling the look of the naked rear tyre haven’t been eased entirely, the fact that I can go round a corner without worrying about the plate snagging more than makes up for it plus it stops me getting drenched which is the whole point, right?

The finish of the product is, as you’d expect from Rizoma, quite stunning and this comes at a price. Again t’s not the cheapest bit of kit at £320 for the arm and £130 for the fender and many would say that this O.T.T for a few bits of aluminium. It does what it’s supposed to do, looks elegant and doesn’t detract from the uniqueness of the R Nine T. 

All the Rizoma pieces are available at Nippy Normans here and here.

Machine Art X-Head cylinder head guards

Not the sexiest pieces of kit but having been clipped while filtering in traffic and nearly losing the bike to the slowest crash in history I suddenly realised just how exposed the cylinder heads were and straight away wanted them protected.

I’d been offered some when I bought the bike but thought they’d ruin the look but these sculpted ones by Machine Art are subtle, sleek and ever so simple to fit (we’re talking minutes either side).

They have a tough outer nylon shell and an inner elastomeric liner to help absorb any impact force while also being pretty damn thin. They’ve got great reviews from people on the Nippy Normans site and are pretty reasonable at £139 (pair) and given what’s at stake if you do drop your bike it’s a bit of a no brainer.

Get ’em here.

ABM Clip On Adjustable Bars

Having seen the Rizoma bike sporting a set of clip ons I immediately began to hunt around and spent a good while over at the excellent ninetowners.com forum reading and listening to what people had to say about the different set ups available. I eventually grabbed these as I found a place in France that was doing deal on them and they afforded me plenty of tuning options over a sports set up.

The reach is farther then the OE bars due to the drop, even with the adjustable set at the highest you’re still looking at a good 3″ difference. This hasn’t produced much back ache around town and even on day rides it’s been bearable but a long distance one may start to cause a few grievances.

I reckon it would be fine if you could pull them slightly nearer but you’re limited for space on the clutch side with the banjo fitting jutting in to the speedo, it’s fine on the front brake as it’s 90 degrees and goes sideways.

I may get around to changing the lines or playing around with the bars again but they work for now. I’d shop around for a price as I bought mine last year when the pound was stronger against the euro.

I’ve also got rid of the mirrors and used bicycle ones that give a more than good enough view through my arms. I cut off the diagonal bar inserts from the base of a Busch and Muller cycle star with a dremmel and then inserted a rawl plug into the vacant mirror support in the lever and then screwed the mirrors in from the top. The rawl plug expands, prevents any damage to the thread and they work out loads cheaper than a moto add on.

Sound system

I was enjoying the sound of the stock system on the bike and even more when I unscrewed the caps off the back of the box but yet again I wanted more noise and after much shopping around and with a certain style in mind I settled on the SC Project cone pipe.

It sits nicely without blocking too much of the rear wheel which was one of my prerequisites and secondly sounds so much better. I will record something for you all to hear at some point but for now you’ll have to take my word for it. It was a doddle to fit and, for some reason, I’m getting better mileage out of the bike than I did with the stock. The baffle came out straight away but I’ve kept the valve gate in the headers so as not to piss off my neighbours too much.

It pops and crackles quite happily in a deep boxery way and gets appreciation without drawing unwanted attention. I bought direct from SC and again caught the exchange rates at a good time. They still have it reduced on their site from €550 down to €390 but it might be worth waiting for the pound to strengthen before buying.

I’ve also grabbed the Wunderlich exhaust hangar from Nippy Normans for when I remove the pillion rests. Again this is a quick job, 10 mins easily, and requires some star allen keys to remove the frame and add the hangar. The bike looks so good without the extra metal and frees up the whole rear end (looks even better without the plate but I’ve mentioned that before). The hangar is available through Nippy Normans, here, and is £67.

For more ways to empty your wallet with BMW goodies head over to nippynormans.com

Thanks to Dan @ fabulous biker boys

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