I used to be the kind who read manuals cover to cover. But with “simple” motorcycles like the BMW R nineT I didn’t think it was necessary.

It wasn’t, but I also have learned something recently — every time I read a manual for a bike, I learn about tons of features that nobody told me about! So here are some unusual things I learned from the BMW R nineT manual.

You can download rider manuals from BMW here.

So here they are — five things I learned from reading the BMW R nineT’s manual from cover to cover.

Dana's BMW R nineT - Manual tips
My 2017 BMW R nineT

Are you obsessed with motorcycles?

Well, I am. That’s why I created this site — as an outlet. I love learning and sharing what others might find useful. If you like what you read here, and you’re a fraction as obsessed as I am, you might like to know when I’ve published more. (Check the latest for an idea of what you’ll see.)

Use a T30 Security Torx Key to Open the Rear Seat

This wasn’t in the R nineT manual per se, but some details about it (e.g. how to open the rear seat) were in there, confirming I wasn’t doing it the wrong way.

My R nineT came with a key to open the rear seat (i.e. even though it was used, the PO hadn’t lost it). But I couldn’t get the thing open no matter how I tried.

In the end, I had to go to a hardware store to get the right key. The one you need is a T30 Security Torx key, also known as a Tamperproof Torx key. They’re cheap, and often a whole set of them is quite cheap too. (This set is a good one on Amazon that goes up to 50mm — the largest you’ll need on the R nineT.)

If you lose your key to open the rear seat, you need the T30 from the set. You can carry just that around if you need.

Security Torx

Some words of caution:

  • Make sure you get “Security Torx” or “Tamperproof Torx”. It has a hole in the middle.
  • Don’t get one of those “all-in-one” tools. They frequently don’t have enough torque to work on other bits of the bike.
  • Don’t get just “bits” to fix to a wrench, as that may be too much to carry around.

Some people also like to replace the bolt with one that’s adjustable by hand, gluing a knob onto the end of a bolt.

Courtesy 1 Minute Headlight and Parking lights

I had forgotten about the parking lights feature on my BMW S 1000 R — something I also wrote about in my guide to that manual! Similar advice is in the BMW R nineT manual.

The most useful feature is the “headlight courtesy delay”. It’s for lighting up the pathway or garage for a minute after you park on a dark night.

Right after switching off the ignition, you pull in the high-beam flasher, and hold it on until the lights turn on.

They’ll illuminate for one minute, and then turn off by themselves… if you trust them.

There’s also a parking light feature which I find less useful. Right after switching off, you push the turn signal switch in and hold it on until the parking lights come on. When you have to turn them off, you had to switch the ignition on and off (that’s why I don’t like it as much).

Use the ABS button to disable ASC

On the BMW R nineT, if you have ASC (Automatic Stability Control, which is BMW-Speak for traction control), you can disable it with the ABS button. There’s no separate ASC button.

How do you know if you have ASC? The little triangle light will be flashing when you start the bike along with the ABS button.

Disable traction control on your BMW R nineT by holding down the ABS button. The ASC indicator will light up permanently. Let go of the button; it’ll stay lit up, indicating that ASC is de-activated, as a warning.

ABS still works while you’ve de-activated ASC.

In fact, I don’t have ASC. I learned about this feature from reading the BMW R nineT manual. I think I feel better not having it, as I find it intrusive on other bikes, like my Honda VFR800.

Use Premium Fuel in your BMW R nineT

I don’t think of the BMW R nineT as a high-performance machine. And I tend to think that we consumers don’t know enough about high-grade fuels, and just buy the most expensive things for “our baby”.

But you have to use premium fuel in your R nineT per the BMW R nineT manual. It has a high compression ratio of 12.0:1 — very high for an air/oil-cooled motor!

The R nineT manual recommends

  • Premium unleaded fuel that’s max 5% ethanol, 91 AKI or 98 ROZ / RON
  • Or alternatively, Premium unleaded that’s up to 15% ethanol and 89 AKI (95 ROZ/RON)

Different countries/regions have different fuel standards. But generally this standard means “either the most expensive one, or the second most expensive one”.

The Actual Redline

BMW R nineT Tachometer and Speedometer
What’s the redline?

I had always felt like the engine kind of petered out around 8000 rpm, which I found surprising as the tachometer goes up to 10000 rpm. I usually shift around 8K if I’m riding enthusiastically.

Well, according to the BMW R nineT manual, there’s an engine speed limiter at 8500 rpm, so that last red bar is just for show. I’ve seen this on some bikes before, but wasn’t sure if it were the case on the R nineT.


I didn’t find that much weird stuff in the R nineT manual. Part of this is just because it’s such a simple bike — what you see is basically what you get.

But I was still pleased by what I found.

Another whole section will come up on how to adjust the suspension settings in the BMW R nineT — I didn’t get this adjustable suspension for nothing…

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