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Modern Classics at the Alpen Masters 2016: BMW R nineT, Moto Guzzi V9 Roamer, Triumph Thruxton and Yamaha XSR 900.

The Modern Classics at the Alpen Masters 2016: BMW R nineT, Moto Guzzi V9 Roamer, Triumph Thruxton and Yamaha XSR 900.

Looking casual is easy with them, but the Alpen Masters is about more.

The BMW R nineT appeals with its powerful engine and powerful torque.

The Yamaha XSR 900 inspires with playful handling.

The Triumph Thruxton has the best pulling power in the group.

Splendid roaring V2 engine – that’s what the Moto Guzzi V9 Roamer can score.

Weakness before the alpine test: The Guzzi battery was empty, so jump-start help in the hotel garage was announced.

The BMW R nineT narrowly caught on, but thanks to its suitability for everyday use.

Photo driver Sven Loll unloading the Triumph Thruxton.

So that you don’t get too envious: the motorcycles have to be cleaned every evening so that the photographer doesn’t complain the next day and there are nice pictures in the notebook. In the picture: The Africa Twin, which competes in the Adventure category of the Alpen Master 2016.

Steep Dolomite passes with devilishly tight turns and grandiose wide turns …

… and changing the road surface will put the skills of the bikes to the test.

Modern Classics at the Alpen Masters 2016: BMW R nineT, Moto Guzzi V9 Roamer, Triumph Thruxton and Yamaha XSR 900.

Modern Classics at the Alpen Masters 2016: BMW R nineT, Moto Guzzi V9 Roamer, Triumph Thruxton and Yamaha XSR 900.

Modern Classics at the Alpen Masters 2016: BMW R nineT, Moto Guzzi V9 Roamer, Triumph Thruxton and Yamaha XSR 900.

Modern Classics at the Alpen Masters 2016: BMW R nineT, Moto Guzzi V9 Roamer, Triumph Thruxton and Yamaha XSR 900.

Modern Classic Bikes at the 2016 Alpen Masters

R nineT, V9 Roamer, Thruxton and XSR 900 in the test

Glide casually through the Dolomites, come across as cool during the break at the summit, enjoy the beauty of your own machine with every ray of sunshine: All this is possible with these four Modern Classics. More is possible?

Beauty has its price. Admittedly, this is not a new finding, but very aptly for the four motorcycles of the Modern Classics group. In times when customizing is at the top of many wish lists, our test quartet strives for that special optical kick as standard. The BMW R nineT focuses on the engine and chassis, the Moto Guzzi, in a purist manner and with elegant details V9 Roamer relies on cruiser echoes, the Triumph Thruxton is sporty and playful, and the Yamaha XSR 900 looks more classically cool.

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Alpine Masters 2016
Ahoy, Pordoi!

The R nineT can also hold out for at least a while in the back. As far as luggage is concerned, all four manufacturers offer tank bags and / or side bags, but their capacity is limited – thick plastic suitcases would ruin the cool look right away. Finally, when it comes to wind and weather protection, the four motorcycles have nothing to show, they appear as naked as engineers and designers created them.

Moto Guzzi V9 Roamer

So much for what the quartet can’t do in the Alps. But now to the question: What is going on then? Quite a lot, is the answer. But not everything with every bike. Each of the four beauties develops its own character in the Alps. Let’s start with the Moto Guzzi V9 Roamer. The venerable 90-degree V2 is and will remain a first-rate ear-flatterer with its throaty throbbing and the slurping suction noise. However, with a measured 58 hp, it is hopelessly inferior to the rest of the field. Attempts to stick with the BMW R nineT, Triumph Thruxton and Yamaha XSR 900 in the pass carousel between Pordoi and Valparola will inevitably end in frustration. So it’s better to switch to decelerating right away, because then the Roamer turns out to be real sunshine, glides cheerfully through curves and bends and even leaves time to enjoy the dramatic Alpine panorama in all its glory. Despite the passive seating position, due to the high cruiser handlebars that are pulled far back and the footrests that are comparatively far forward, it never feels heavy and is particularly light-footed in the numerous alpine alternating curves.

You shouldn’t expect miracles from it, however, because the chassis is also designed for braked foam: the front wheel is stingy with feedback, the single-disc brake at the front provides the longest braking distance of the group (see measured values) , and the soft coordination of fork and shock absorber prevents precise Line in the curve slalom. In addition, the engine always chokes briefly after shifting and then accelerates hard. Nevertheless, you can live with the small quirks of the Moto Guzzi V9 Roamer. However, only if you like its cruiser character and always want to roll through the Alps in a deeply relaxed manner. Other motorcycles are responsible for sprinting, sprinting and increasing adrenaline levels.

Triumph thruxton

For example the Triumph Thruxton. With her 1200 twin, she creates a draft that has washed itself: in just 3.8 seconds, she can climb from 25 to 75 km / h. That means: a record in your group and the best conditions for a brisk serpentine slalom. She succeeds effortlessly, accelerating out of the hairpin bends is a constant pleasure with her powerful two-cylinder in-line. Despite the narrow clip-on handlebars and the leaning forward sitting posture – we remember: The Thruxton is the sporty classic in this group – it is surprisingly comfortable to sit on. The narrow tank allows a good knee grip, the bench offers reasonable seating comfort.

But the clip-on handlebars stand in the way of exorbitant maneuverability on the mountain. Even if the Triumph Thruxton gives in willingly, which is partly due to its moderate 160 rear tire. She catches slight deductions in steering precision and stability in curves. Above all, the soft chassis, especially the fork, stands in the way of a really good performance, the more expensive model variant Thruxton R with Showa fork and Öhlins spring struts might have done better. The base Thruxton, however, has to be modest with third place despite their entertaining performance because of the strong competition in the group.

Yamaha XSR 900 and BMW R nineT

Which brings us to the two best in class: Yamaha XSR 900 and BMW R nineT, the former brand new and based on the MT-09. The latter has been on the market for a year, but was not used at last year’s Alpen-Masters because of the flood of new boxers at the time. Which is why she is only now allowed to show what she can do in the mountains. There is a difference of almost 6000 euros between the BMW and the Yamaha, which is particularly reflected in the equipment. The BMW is certainly more elegant and attracts admiring glances at every pass height. In contrast, the Yamaha looks rather pale. The R nineT is the big diva, the XSR 900 is the brave mid-range bike. But there are no points here for show effects.

But all the more for the engine and chassis. And in both categories, the Yamaha XSR 900 is wafer-thin ahead of the BMW R nineT. Your potent three-of-a-kind tickle, with exemplary performance always and everywhere, has exactly the right power for alpine shows. In addition, the XSR 900 with its wide handlebars and upright seating position is the easiest to handle through the thicket of bends and can be perfectly controlled thanks to good feedback. This ensures a lot of confidence even on wet, slippery roads.

The BMW R nineT with its strong, air-cooled boxer follows it almost on a par, but with its 26 kilograms more weight it appears a bit more massive in every bend and curve and therefore not quite as relaxed and casual. Even the seating position with a significantly more acute knee angle is not as casual and comfortable as on the Yamaha XSR 900. But the hour of the R nineT finally strikes, namely in the special alpine stages. Here it shines with excellent torque and excellent acceleration. And when it comes to braking downhill, it even puts the best value in the entire Alpine Masters. Only the Africa Twin can hold a candle to it. Finally, the Yamaha messed up the victory with the worse suitability for everyday use: less equipment, less range, less payload, lousy passenger seat.

1st place: BMW R nineT

The BMW R nineT lands in first place.


  • powerful engine with powerful torque
  • Top values ​​for pulling power and acceleration
  • excellent delay
  • most suitable for passengers


  • a lot of play on the handbrake lever
  • plenty of snappy front brake
  • no traction control

2nd place: Yamaha XSR 900

The Yamaha XSR 900 impresses with good feedback.


  • playful handling
  • Sparkling engine with linear power delivery
  • lots of feedback
  • good control, even when wet


  • Pillion seat only a makeshift because of extremely high footrests
  • low payload
  • load little ground clearance

3rd place: Triumph Thruxton

The Triumph Thruxton has the best pulling power in the group.


  • Bearish engine, a lot of pressure in the lower speed range
  • best move in the group
  • surprisingly comfortable despite a sporty seating position


  • Stub handlebars, loss of handiness in the mountains
  • soft fork, little suspension reserves

4th place: Moto Guzzi V9 Roamer

The Moto Guzzi V9 Roamer unfortunately only takes fourth place.


  • splendid roaring V2 engine
  • light-footed in alternating curves
  • low bench
  • low consumption, long range


  • Moderate pull and acceleration in the mountains
  • Side stand keys down early
  • passive sitting position

MOTORCYCLE conclusion

That was close: mainly thanks to its greater suitability for everyday use, the BMW R nineT prevailed, but the Yamaha XSR 900 is only twelve points behind. Both give the adrenaline-pumping solo entertainer in the Alps when you can do without weather protection and large luggage. This also applies to the short-term sports classic Triumph Thruxton, in which the clip-on handlebars in particular prevent better performance. Moto Guzzi cruiser V9 Roamer rolls into last place with a clear performance handicap, but promises relaxed riders relaxed mountain tours.

1st place Modern Classics: BMW R nineT

Alpen Masters ranking

R nineT
Moto Guzzi
V9 Roamer
XSR 900
engine 150 118 70 114 120 Driving behavior 180 127 85 110 128 everyday life 100 64 56 55 49 Comfort 70 24 23 21st 24 Overall rating 500 333 234 300 321 placement 1. 4th. 3. 2.

Technical data BMW and Moto Guzzi

Here you can see an extract of the technical data. If you would like the complete measurement values ​​determined by us, including all consumption, torque and acceleration values, you can buy the article as a PDF for download.

Technical data Triumph and Yamaha

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