The bike feels lighter than the quoted 489lbs (222 kg) fully fuelled and this combined with the lively motor makes it an awesome bend swinger. The engine in this chassis simply comes alive. I like the solid bank of torque in the bottom to mid, but this last of the air/oil-cooled R-engines also has a honking top end that wasn’t there on the earlier R1200 motors (it having a similar DOHC four-valve top end to that of the HP2 Sport of 2008) so it has a fully developed power curve and wherever you ride it in the rev range it’s good, very good.
The chassis delights; I’d been riding the R 1200 GS in the days ahead of this ride and while that’s one terrific bike you’re never going to scratch around on the tarmac with it in quite in the same way as you can a roadster. And this is the nineT’s forte. The whole chassis set-up simply works. The forks keep the front end true, the Paralever rear is nicely firm, the space frame means nothing flexes in the wrong direction. It’s taught, and while the bike is low, ground clearance isn’t an issue. And if you’re getting in too hot the brakes are ace, and failing that just lay it over, chances are it’s going to cling to the road – it may have old world charms but the capability is present day sports bike.
The nineT is a great scratcher then, but it’s also a bit cruiser, a small bit GS. So it’s a great platform from which to enjoy the scenery. Around the coastal roads I’m taking it in turns to ride fast then look slow. The road around the south peninsula covers around 100km until you meet Cape Point where the Indian and Atlantic Oceans meet. From here the road heads northwest past Scarborough towards one of Cape Town’s world-renowned surfing spots, Long Beach. The last stretch of road from Long Beach back to the waterfront in the Cape Town CBD winds itself along the Atlantic coast and one of the world’s most spectacular roads, Chapman’s Peak Drive and then along Victoria Avenue past Llandudno (one for the Welshies, there) as its drops into Camps Bay around the headland and through Sea Point before our journey comes to an end. It’s certainly one bucket list-riding destination. For the nineT, this is the perfect road.