Return of the Cafe Racers - Adding Lightness – Luis Moto BMW R NineT

Adding Lightness – Luis Moto BMW R NineT

BMW’s R NineT was designed with ease of customisation in mind. What they probably didn’t expect was how far custom workshops were going to take it. In its standard form, the BMW R9T offers a great all-round package with premium components and very respectable performance, but any seasoned builder will tell you there’s always room for improvement. This classic race-inspired R9T is the work of Luis Bertelli, owner-operator of the Italian workshop, Luismoto. Named after the historic hill climb races of Tuscany the “Saline” R9T is an exercise in adding lightness. Tipping the scales at a substantial 50kg lighter than its former self the build was as focused on performance as recreating a classic look.


The majority of the weight dropped from the Saline R9T can be attributed to the use of aluminium. Saline’s new tail, front fairing, fender and top clamp were all been fabricated from the lightweight alloy. To mount the new bodywork to the R9T’s chassis Luis trimmed and reshaped the subframe along with fabricating mounts for his custom front fairing. Then in a bid to drop even more weight, Luis replaced the rear-sets and clip on handlebars with alloy items and even swapped out the factory wheels for lightweight alternatives from Alpina.

For improvements in handling the now black anodised forks have been upgraded using Progressive springs and thicker oil. Wrapped around each of the fork legs are discreet LED indicator strips and a single dual function LED strip sits above the bike’s number plate to light up the rear end. For the design of Saline’s unique front fairing, Luis took inspiration from BMWs iconic front grille design. To add functionality to his design each of the pill shaped openings was used to house a single headlamp with one performing as a running light and the other the high beam. Inside the fairing, instrumentation is limited to a single Motogadget Motoscope gauge and a backlit Luismoto emblem sits proudly behind the perspex screen.

Those familiar with the R9T layout will note the lack of the ‘snorkel’ on the side of this bike. Luis has removed the factory airbox, replaced it with pod filters and fabricated a filler panel shaped to match the lines of the fuel tank. The bike’s battery was then relocated to beneath the tank to open up some space behind the bulky boxer engine. For performance gains, Luis also fabricated a compact stainless 2-into-1 exhaust system before remapping the engine to handle the changes in air flow

The only item of original bodywork that remains on Saline is the alloy fuel tank, but even it didn’t go untouched. Rather than a modern looking filler cap, Luis adapted a Monza-style filler and created his own BMW badges. To ensure all of his new bodywork ties in with the original tank, elements of its design were carried across into the rear cowl and side panel for a seamless, factory appearance.

Luismoto has once again shown us that the R9T is much more flexible than BMW’s catalogue of “custom parts”. All it took was a little bit of Italian flair.

Photography by Laudonia Giancarlo

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