2019 BMW R nineT /5 Celebrates A 50-Year Anniversary

Latest Heritage edition pays tribute to a BMW milestone.

2019 BMW R nineT /5
The 2019 BMW R nineT /5 has retro looks with modern technology, paying homage to the 50th anniversary of the Spandau factory near Berlin.BMW Motorrad

Fifty years ago BMW Motorrad inaugurated the new production plant in Spandau, Germany, on the outskirts of Berlin, at a time not yet back to its natural role of the capital city. It was a vibrant act of national pride. And it was there BMW started production of a new generation of its fabled boxer twin engine and of new motorcycle models: the R50/5, R60/5, R75/5—all replacing the previous legendary generation that reached its highest peak of performance and refinement with the R69S.

The new boxer twins marked a radical technical evolution featuring a forged crankshaft on plain bearings that was at least 300 percent more rigid than the interference fit unit on roller bearings it replaced. In addition, the camshaft went from the top to the bottom of the crankcase for far superior efficiency of lubrication to the valves, pushrods, and rockers. For a much higher level of practicality, the /5 series boxer twins also received an electric starter and CV carburetors, except the R50/5.

2019 R nineT /5
BMW’s /5 series marked a revolution for its boxer powerplant, now the 2019 R nineT /5 throws back to those times with retro touches.BMW Motorrad

Equally, the new models ran on state-of-the-art chassis, the first step of an evolution that gradually led to the present ShiftCam-equipped R 1250 models. To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Spandau factory, BMW Motorrad created the 2019 R nineT /5—a limited-edition model that brings back the feelings BMW enthusiasts associated to the sight of the first R75/5. It is not a blunt replica but sports its own very strong R nineT personality dressed in a nostalgic color scheme and completed by rich finishing down to the last detail.

This emotional creation based on today’s BMW Motorrad state-of-the-art technology, starting from the 1,170cc, air-/oil-cooled edition of the boxer twin featuring a unique arrangement of the four valves per cylinder distribution train in order to associate a DOHC layout to the need of keeping the classic arrangement of rear-facing inlet runners and forward-facing exhaust manifold. This requested that each camshaft features a most unique combination of two cam lobes, one actuating one inlet valve and one actuating one exhaust valve. The cam lobes are slightly conical and the valves have a mildly radial geometrical arrangement.

This unit represents the highest level of sophistication reached by the classic air-/oil-cooled boxer twin prior of the coming of the selectively liquid-cooled, downdraft induction, DOHC version that lately evolved to the present 1,250cc displacement. It generates a rather substantial power of 110 hp at 7,750 rpm with 85.5 pound-feet of peak torque at 6,000 rpm. Numbers that in the days of the R75/5 nobody ever dared dreaming of, let alone from a BMW boxer twin.

R nineT /5
Powering the R nineT /5 is the same air-/oil-cooled boxer found in other iterations of the R nineT.BMW Motorrad

The R nineT /5 chassis adopts the R nineT Urban GS 43mm fork complete with rubber gaiters. The rear suspension is entrusted to the highly functional Paralever unit. Wire wheels are mandatory here, but they come in 3.50-17 and 5.50-17 measurements, shod with 120/70ZR-17 front and 180/55ZR-17 rear radials, as today’s 110 hp riding demands.

Equally the braking system is more than adequate to the performance potential generated by this edition of the boxer twin. Brembo disc brakes—twin 320mm rotors and four-piston calipers up front and a 265mm rotor and two-piston caliper in the rear—are assisted by the latest ABS control system.

Could this be the best-looking BMW Heritage Series bike so far?BMW Motorrad

The R nineT /5 finishing would never be perfectly in line with the historic tradition of the /5 models without pinstriping, tank rubber side knee pads, a round-shaped headlight, and central, round, analog-looking instrumentation. The BMW R nineT /5 is compact and light like the R75/5 was and may just be the most fascinating of the BMW Heritage Series models to date.