By John Burns
Is Retro still booming? It was when BMW built its first R nineT in 2013, a bike that was so successful they’ve built like five more versions in the ensuing years. In fact, there are so many nineT’s it’s hard to keep them straight. We put the R nineT Pure in last place in 2017, when we shot it out against the now-defunct Honda CB1100EX and Triumph Bonneville T120 Black here. But in 2014, we rated the standard R nineT first, in a comparison involving the also-defunct CB1100 regular and Moto Guzzi Griso 8V.
BMW will still sell you an R nineT Pure stripper for $9,995, but that’s not really what you want. The regular R nineT we’ve got here starts at $15,495 for 2020, and the Option 719 Black Storm Vintage Metallic paint on this one tacks on another $950. On the website, BMW sneaks in another $350 for the “Aluminum Sanded Weld fuel tank,” even though that’s what the bike comes with. Pretty soon you’re looking at $17,290. Gulp.
And Triumph started building Speed Twins in 1938, with a slight respite in production beginning in 1966 that lasted until 2019. To the BMW’s 1170cc air-/oil-cooled Boxer twin, the Triumph counters with an updated and lightened version of the Hi-Power 1200cc 270-degree crank parallel-Twin that was available previously only in the Thruxton. The original Speed Twin was the bike that saved Triumph from the dustbin of history, all the books agree, and you know the new Triumph was saving that name for something special. Brasfield came back from the launch last year so impressed he bought a KTM Duke …read more