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Model Specific Differences When Customising Your R9T (Part. 1)

Model Specific Differences When Customising Your R9T (Part. 1)

AKA; avoid giving yourself a facepalm when that box arrives!

The BMW R nineT created by BMW Motorrad in 2014. This retro styled Roadster is viewed by many as a "blank canvas for customising", BMW Motorrad themselves, encourage professional and shed builders alike to show-off their uniqness and personality through their builds. However, there are a few bumps and rabbit holes to watch out for on your journey of individuality with your air cooled boxer.

As you would have read in our previous blog 'BMW R nine T - A Brief Model History', there is now a family of R nineT’s to take to the park, and although they look similar, just wearing different clothes, there are some HUGE differences that will catch you out if you incorrectly assume (yes, I’ve got my hand up - been there, done it!). 

Basics (for reference): Model numbers
  • R nineT - K21 (Roadster)
  • R nineT 17 (< very important bit) - K21 (“17 Roadster)
  • R nineT Pure - K22
  • R nineT Racer - K32
  • R nineT Scrambler - K23
  • R nineT Urban GS - K33


Let’s start with the part that any petrolhead goes straight for, two and four wheels alike; the EXHAUST.

Exhaust manifold/headers

These are the big shiny (usually) pipes coming out of the front of the engine and swooping back under the bike, they can be referred to as both the header pipes and exhaust manifold depending on who you talk to. These will work across the 9T family, regardless of your model, if you fancy a change and want to swap the bits over. The exhaust headers should be the first thing you get the coffee on for. If you're looking at the end can too then hold fire, I'll get to that in a mo. Headers, in the form of a decat system, are the best way to free up some breath and extract some of the suffocated torque inside that thumping twin. Not only will you feel better throttle response, a sharper pick up and a bit more grunt out the corners, you’ll also be treated to a satisfactory change in engine note (even with a standard end can). Our go-to favourites are:

Unit Garage De-Cat Exhaust Manifold

Remus Stainless Steel De-Cat Exhaust Manifold

Both offer fantastic build quality, both a pleasure to fit and both will not disappoint, guaranteed smile (have you made that coffee yet!?).


Exhaust Flap Delete Mod

As you’ve now gone down the route of replacing the headers, you are also going to want to save a bit of weight and ugliness and fit the next two parts that are shared across the family: Flap Eliminator and Servo Buddy. 

Yes, that ugly cylindrical unit with wires coming out of it, between the manifold/headers and the end can, yep, you got it, that can go. Those cables go into a servo motor, that can go with it, we have a fix for both: 

See all Exhaust Valve Eliminator Pipes

Find the Servo Buddy here

You'll need the Servo Buddy to stop any fault codes coming up on the dash. And don’t sweat it, this is only here for a bit of noise reduction and if you’ve already done the hard work to replace the headers this is no problem for you to fit at home.


End Can / Muffler / Silencer 

As promised, the bit everyone gets excited about. Now, this can be your first port of call if you wish, but we thought it would be important to highlight the difference a set of headers can make before moving onto the eye candy. There is an enormous selection of end cans available for the R9T and they all fit onto the manifold/exhaust flap in the same way, however, not all end cans will then fit every R9T model! This is one of those scenarios where you will be disappointed and waiting for the postman again, instead of riding, if you get all excited and don’t get it right first time. 

For example; if you upgrade to a newer bike, the Roadster K21 2014-16 will swap straight over with it’s K21 2017 younger brother, whether it’s a low or high can, it will swap without any issue. However, if are going K22 Pure to a K23 Scrambler, “not a problem I have a high end can and so does the scrambler”, WRONG! The mount points for the high level exhausts are welded in different places; K22 Pure: just below the passenger foot rest, K23 Scrambler: just below the passenger seat, big difference, so make sure you get the right end can and/or the correct mounts. This is the same case with the K33 Urban GS. The Urban GS is considered to be exactly the same as the Scrambler model, due to it's front end, but it actually has the same rear frame and part number as it’s K22 Pure brother.

Drop us an email and we can advise to make sure you get the right exhaust and mounting match up. There are lots of options here: 

Exhaust Silencers for the BMW R9T at Pier City Custom


Rear lights / Number plate hanger

So, you’ve been staring at the rear end of your bike and the sweet look it's been given with your new, slick end can set up. However, the diving board that’s protruding from the back of the bike, for the rear light and number plate, is souring your coffee (which is now cold btw, plus I'm still waiting for mine), so let’s go through what’s on offer. 

This is one subject where you are going to be pretty safe as the common mounting points for most aftermarket products are under the rear seat/seat hump area or down on the final drive. These are shared mounting points across the 9T family that are unchanged throughout. There’s only one thing that can spoil the party; CAN BUS. All modern BMW bikes use the CAN BUS system, “What’s CAN BUS?”, that’s a whole other conversation which we can go into in another blog, but it means you will need to be wary when adding indicators etc. Ensure you always fit the resistors that come recommended and included with any kit as they will stop any double flashing or error codes being detected by the dash. If you are currently running bulb indicators but you want to switch to brighter LED ones then you'll definitely need to consider running a resistor when fitting. My recommendtion here is to look at the Rizoma options as they often include the resistor as part of the package.

Indicators and tail tidies are a quick way to really change the dynamic of your bike and sharpen up that rear end. We recommend looking at the Evotech tail tidy if you simply want to lose some of the length of the original number plate/rear light mount. It uses all of the original electrical equipment so it's safe for the first time tinkerer. Switching to an LED light bar is a very cool way to switch up your look, bear in mind that you may want to consider a new low-mounted licence plate holder if you want to go for the minimal look. A further alternative is a multi function rear indicator like the Rizoma Club S. These functions as an indicator, tail light and brake light. Don’t forget, your R nine T can also benefit from this upgrade by getting a matching pair of indicators for the front.

Find a whole host of indicator and tail tidy options here.



So, you’ve nailed the rear end look now, but there is still something not quite right, the seatNow, this is an area you could get caught out, depending on what you want to do. 

If you are looking at the standard seat and just want to swap it out for a recovered quilted/pleated - brown/tan leather version, to add a littleje ne sais quoi” , then you are fine, it really is a case of “seat off, seat on, go!”. 

However, if you are looking for a more drastic change, just be aware that this could now be model dependent. The reasoning behind this warning is due to the change in the configuration of the rear subframe at the 2016-17 crossover, when the current R nineT family was released, the Euro 4 Spec. 

The rear subframe on the 2014- 16 K21 Roadster, unlike the K21 R nineT 17 and all 2017 onwards of the R nineT family, has a removable rear section at the very back of the main rear frame, held on by 4 x M8 T40 bolts (not the passenger footpeg subframe). A few aftermarket rear tail end conversions utilise this removal section for mounting points for their kits. Great right?  Simple, yes? Yes, but only if you have the earlier Euro 3 / 2014 - 16 K21 Roadster. Basically what we're saying is to always double check the kit, or even drop us a line if you are unsure, as we have been caught out before and we want to help you avoid issues that we have had previously.

One final consideration on the seat is that the Roadster and Pure standard seat comes in two parts. If you're planning on removing the pillion subframe but wish to keep the original look then you may need to add a custom bracket for the rear seat to secure to (the original securing point will be lost when the pillion frame is removed).


There we go, part one done. Next to the front of the bike in part two here...


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