Our Top Performance Mods For The BMW R nineT
We’re frequently asked ‘what are the best mods for the BMW R9T?’ and it’s a nearly impossible question to answer, each rider wants a different result from their bike. However, we believe that most mods can fall into a couple of categories; performance upgrades and aesthetic changes.
In this blog we thought we would highlight a few of our preferred performance mods. This list is by no means exhaustive but it features some feedback and information on parts that we have tried and tested by riding or fitting them ourselves. It also explains a few of those phrases you may have heard people talking about but didn't really get the full meaning of.
Many carbon wheels, including our favourites; BlackStone Tek (BST), are up to 30% lighter than a good amount of modern race wheels, they offer an even more significant weight loss versus than the standard R9T production wheels. Carbon wheels offer a substantial reduction in gyroscopic effect which means your motorcycle can accelerate, corner and brake faster. In particular, the reduced gyroscopic effect allows for much faster directional changes, which makes the motorcycle far more sensitive to the rider's demands. You often hear the phrase ‘unsprung weight’ when relating to performance. This is weight that can't be used or manipulated by suspension tuning, and any reductions that can be made to this weight will off a much nicer ride - carbon wheels are a perfect example of an area where you can reduce the unsprung weight of the bike.
Healtech Quickshifter control modules allow you to easily fit a quickshift gear change unit to your BMW R nineT. Quickshifter units allow clutchless, full throttle shifts for minimum time loss during a gear change. The Healtech unit cuts the ignition, unloads the gearbox, making it possible for you to switch one gear up without closing the throttle. This may save you tenths on the track or just give you a smoother ride out on a Sunday morning. Either way, we think every little helps the enjoyment of riding the BMW R nineT. Rather cleverly, you can also disable this function at the push of a button on your phone using their App.
Tuning / Fuelling
Who doesn't love the idea of more power and better fuel economy? Rapid Bike plug and play fuelling modules which make adjustments to the engine management system producing more power and better fuel economy without intervention of the bike's ECU. It's a win/win situation. Rapid Bike fuelling modules work by managing the BMW R9T's injectors and lambda sensors in order to achieve a new, more efficient fuelling map. This allows the bike to work around the stock ECU settings, which are very restrictive due to EU emission laws, and causes a dramatic improvement in engine performance and fuel efficiency. Of course, another option is to talk to your local Dyno centre and talk to them about a Power Commander unit which will have a similar effect - we just like the DIY nature of the RapidBike as a personal preference.
Full exhaust system
An engine is a big air pump, let's keep it simple. If you can make the pathway for the air in and out as easy as possible with the adequate amount of fuel, you will extract the most from the engine. Equally lengthened downpipes will massively aid with the low end torque produced by the engine by aiding the scavenging effect and sucking the exhaust gases out and air fuel mixture into the cylinder. There is debate about whether going for a new manifold with a balance pipe or one without will be 'better' for you - to be honest it depends on what your primary use for the bike will be,either way we think a new set of pipes coupled with a fuelling module is a great touch and adds a nicer sound to any R nineT.
When removing the original BMW headers and replacing for a performance set of downpipes, you'll also be removing the Catalytic Converter which is going to save you a great deal of weight and allow the engine to breathe more freely.
When paired with a PCC Air Box removal kit and RapidBike EVO fuel module, this is the perfect marriage to get the torque and horsepower that is hidden inside this engine. Due to the Boxer K2x engine being air cooled, we would highly recommend a fuelling module to make sure the engine doesn't run over lean when used with a full system and PCC ABR kit.
Some riders aren’t too keen on playing with the electronics of the bike and we get that, sometimes the manufacturer’s Warranty period is a greater concern to the owner. That doesn’t mean that other mods can’t be made - a key performance mod can be to shift the weight of the larger OEM parts to something much lighter, introducing brand such as Ilmberger Carbon.
Ilmberger specialise in producing beautifully finished Carbon parts in Germany. Their carbon accessories are made completely out of pre-preg carbon fibre which is super light and super strong, they then use a clear plastic coating which gives a great finish, and also protects the carbon fibre from scratching and from sunlight. We also stock many other brands, such as the fantastic Luis Moto, and parts that produce full or partial carbon gear.
Relatively speaking, carbon parts may seem to offer smaller gains for a larger cost but everything counts where performance is concerned.
PCC Air Box Removal Kit
Whilst our battery box kit is not specifically designed as a performance product, one advantage that it does give is weight loss. The OEM air box and battery holder unit is big, bulky and the bike can run perfectly well without it. Removing the airbox will allow much more air to pass into the throttle bodies causing the bike to run slightly lean, not an issue if it is fitted for aesthetic reasons but to add some more power we would also look at a couple of additional tweaks. If you're looking to add more grunt, we recommend using a RapidBike unit in conjunction with the PCC Kit (see above for details). We would also use larger filters to assist performance when using our kit with a RapidBike unit as they allow more air to pass into the bodies. An even better result would be achieved when adding a RapidBike EVO and a full exhaust system (see above for details), budget depending, of course.
As a side not on this kit, if you're looking for performance gains then we can only recommend going with the DNA filters with this kit - what a product these are!
Whilst the BMW suspension is far from the worst out of the box, it is often noted how solid it is. We have generally found that most people who have fitted Wilbers or Ohlins kit to their bike have never looked back - a quick Google will show you a phenomenal amount of positive reviews. Smoothing out the road and allowing you to make changes for the conditions of your ride will give you better feedback which in turn will breed confidence. Many swear by the 30mm Ohlins NIX kit, a cartridge that drops into the original BMW roadster fork and is adjustable at the top of the legs. The compression damping and the adjustment on the left leg and rebound damping and the adjustment on the right leg - it’s a real clever bit of kit.
Edit - having now fitted and used these significantly more, we'd be inclined to agree. On a 40 mile run out the other night, not once did I think about the rigidity of the ride, which in itself is quite telling.
Slipper clutches are designed to lessen the negative side effects of engine braking when riding. Heavy downshifts can cause the rear wheel to lock up due to the torque of the engine braking versus the friction between the rear tyre on the tarmac, the slippers on the clutch unit smooths the feel of the bike upon entry to a corner. We fitted a slipper clutch for a customer recently and he was keen to get in touch once he’d had the chance to ride the bike a few times.
“Wow! Just had a slipper clutch fitted to my R9T by PCC – it transforms the bike and if I could only make one mod this would be it. As well as all the hooning about stuff – It makes the bike a lot more fun to just tool around on. I went for a quick spin to warm up the oil in the final drive as it was about time it was changed – I found myself looking for any opportunity to ride longer”.
It was an upgrade that not only surprised the customer, but surprised us and is something we had been searching for, for a few years now, and it didn't disappoint. It totally transforms the bike and irons out all of those negatives a boxer engine has when downshifting. When fitted with a upgraded rear shock and the shock adjusted accordingly for the slipper as we did for this customer, the first ride will proved to be a treat, we love this upgrade.
As we mentioned earlier, this isn't a fully comprehensive list of everything that you can do to play with your BMW R9T and often different brands and products can have slightly varied end results. However, we hope that it has helped give you a few ideas or thoughts about modding your R nine T and the direction you might take.