Bike Review: Bongiwe Didiza ticks the BMW R NineT Pure off her bucket list at the 15th International Female Ride Day

Motorcyclist journalist Bongiwe Didiza took part in the 15th International Female Ride Day astride a bike she had long wanted to ride.

I had marked the 1stof May on my calendar as International Female Ride Day (IFRD), the only day in the year which celebrates women motorcyclists from all walks of life. For me, the 2021 Ride was going to be particularly exciting because the motorbike I would be riding, the BMW R nineT Pure, is one I have been drawn to for quite a while.

First introduced in 2013, the R nineT range has grown to include the R nineT Urban G/S, the R nineT Scrambler, and the R nineT Pure.  Sporting a combination of classic design meets modern technological invention, the R nine T derivatives carry the signature BMW roadster styling cues, reminiscent of early BMW Motorrad days. 

Also fetching their rides at the same time were Zanele McMurray and Crescentia Ndimande

– Bongiwe Didiza, motorcycle journalist, DRIVING IN HEELS

I collected my loan motorbike from BMW Motorrad Fourways, two days prior to the Ride.  I wanted a bit of time to get used to its features ahead of the big day. Looking at it, I was struck by its stylish vintage design, which complement its seemingly playful look. 

At first glance, the air/oil-cooled, 1170Cc boxer engine of the R nineT Pure didn’t look like much, which made it all the more difficult to believe it could produce 81kW of power and 116 Nm of torque.   

Also ferching their rides at the same time were Zanele McMurray who would be riding the BMW R 18, and Crescentia Ndimande who had chosen the the BMW F 900 XR.

Following a brief meeting with the dealer principal – Rodney Serfontein,  and a bike orientation, we took possession of the keys for our respective bikes and rode out of the dealership. 


As usual when I am on a bike, I have a gigantic smile under my helmet but while I was cheerfully enjoying my ride home a warning light came up on the circular instrument cluster.

When I arrived at home, I gave it a quick check, hoping I might spot the problem.  Satisfied that everything looked fine to me, but opting to err on the safe side, I made arrangements to take it back for an assessment the following day.

I had not known that the R nineT Pure did not have a fuel gauge indicator.


Arriving at Motorrad Fourways, Sales Executive Gift Gumbi whisked the motorbike into the workshop but returned almost immediately.  He was in stitches, laughing hysterically and between bursts of fresh laughter he spluttered that the warning light was the fuel light indicator and that the bike was very low on fuel. 



When he had calmed down reasonably enough to hear me, I tried – with little success – to explain why I had misinterpreted the fuel icon.  Of course I know what a low fuel icon light looks like but the R nineT Pure does not have the standard icon we are familiar with in a car.  

Added to that, I had not known that the R nineT Pure did not have a fuel gauge indicator; instead, its warning light is a simple triangular orange light.  

The more I tried to explain my rationale to Gift, the more he laughed and teased me


If there was a fuel guage I would probably have noticed that the fuel was low and may have made a connection between the warning light and the low fuel indicator.  

The more I tried to explain my rationale to Gift, the more he laughed and teased me.  Suffice to say, the experience taught me 2 things; the first being just how basic the R nine T Pure is and the other being that I will probably never live down this ‘oopsie’.

On a positive note, the blunder taught me that the R nineT Pure has a 17-litre tank and consumes 5-litres per 100kms. As I rode home, still chuckling to myself in disbelief, I was immensely grateful that the bike had not completely run out of fuel, leaving me stranded and bewildered at the side of the road.

Arriving at our meeting venue, I couldn’t help but notice how stunning the ladies looked, most of whom wore gear matching their rides.


From then on, I became acutely aware of just how basic the R nineT Pure is and soon realised it does not come standard with my favourtie creature comforts being riding modes, heated grips, and cruise control. That said, heated grips and cruise control are available as optional extras which customers can fit at will. 

Putting the humbling moment firmly behind me, I eagerly awaited IFRD.  Organized by The Lithas , the 2021 Ride comprised of two routes, on an on-road.  Had I not chosen to ride the sexy little roadster, I would have elected to ride on gravel.

The long anticipated day arrived, uncharacteristically accompanied by light winds and drizzle.  Undettered, I  headed out and arrived at Triumph Motocycles, Sandton, our meeting venue.  The ladies looked stunning on their machines, most wearing riding gear that matched their bikes.

Excited to be reunited with female riders I had not seen in a long time due to lockdown regulations, we mingled, enjoyed the delicious welcome refreshments, posed for photos, and signed the event day banner. 

The formalites and safety briefing dispensed with and the weather clearing up, the ladies got into formation and rode to our first stopover – Fire it Up in Randburg, then onto ROC Harley Davidson in Alberton where we were received with excitement, refreshments and gifts.  

Even in the sea of other beautiful motorcycles, I was aware of motorists admiring my R nineT Pure as they drove past us.


The Ride was leisurely and the ladies maintained a steady pace.  I was amazed at how smooth my bike rode even at such low speeds.  It cornered beautifully and maintained its balance. 


Even in the sea of other beautiful motorcycles, I was aware of motorists admiring my R nineT as they drove past us. It had already caused a stir from the start of the day, and at each stopover.  My fellow lady Pure riders truly appreciated it, commenting on its unique and classical good-looks.  A few ladies who own more than one bike expressed a desire to add it to their existing motorbike collection because of its sassy beauty.

The R nineT Pure is a no-frills, “shut-up & ride” sort of bike.


At our final destination, Bikers Warehouse in Randburg, a stunning high tea had been setup for us to mark the close of a safe and successful Ride as well as recognize and celebrate the Biker Queens we all are. 


The R nineT Pure is as its name suggests a no-frills, “shut-up & ride” sort of bike. As basic as it is, it offers absolute riding pleasure and is aimed at anyone on the market looking for an uncomplicated motorbike. 

That said, it is a very capable machine and is suited for leisurely trips to scenic destinations or unhurried rides around suburbia for a coffee meeting with the girls.  It is the type of bike I ride to attend a vintage motorbike show.  Similarly, I would pack it onto a train for use to tour the Garden Route in summer.

The R nineT Pure I was riding is powered by a four-stroke, two-cylinder horizontally opposed boxer engine and is available at BMW Motorrad Fourways at R145 000. It is a 2018 model wrapped in Option 719 colors.  

If however, you are looking to buy a newer R nineT Pure, the 2021 derivatives come with the following standard features:

  • 80kW power, 116Nm of torque
  • Road and Rain riding modes
  • ABS Pro with Dynamic Brake Control (DBC)
  • LED headlight and white LED indicators
  • New suspension strut with travel-dependent damping (WAD)

Priced from R203 400-00

About Bongiwe Didiza

About Bongiwe Didiza Bongiwe Didiza is a motorcyclist with 10 years riding experience on various type of motorcycles; ranging from superbikes and cruisers to dual-purpose and adventure bikes.  She is the first Black female motorcycle journalist registered with the South African Guild of Motoring Journalists. Bongiwe is the  biking contributor for Driving In Heels where her test ride reviews and bike travel articles are published. She currently rides an R 1200 GSA but has owned a Suzuki GSX-R 750 and a BMW F 800 GS in the past.