About three years ago BMW’s R NINET made a surprisingly strong impact in the motorcycle market. Now the Bavarians created an even more attractive retro ride, the magnificent Scrambler. I want one. Now.
After the totally unexpected sales figures of the R NINET, BMW created another version of their first ever retro bike: the gorgeous Scrambler. I think it will be an even bigger success. It looks way cooler and the sitting position is perfect now. The regular R NINET is the second best-selling BMW model after the GS. The old air-cooled boxer engine was regarded as obsolete and almost discontinued. Almost. Now this very engine beats with a vengeance in BMW’s heritage bikes. With almost 1200cc, a hearty 81kW and juicy 116Nm enthusiasts say, that this is the most desirable and sophisticated boxer ever.
The sitting position is changing the bike. Lower foot rests, higher, wider handlebars and a lower front fork with a large 19inch wheel. Combined with the meaty sound of the brawny boxer engine, resulting in superior strong-arm tactics.
The scrambler is easy to drive and handle, ideal for twisty country and mountain roads. I am throwing it first around Chapman’s Peak Drive and later along the R44 between Gordon’s Bay and Rooiels. Those roads seemed to be made for this bike. It’s BMW’s first soft enduro. What SUV crossovers are for the car world, the Scrambler is for bikes. The retro classic is the second member in BMW’s heritage world.
Starting the engine, a crisp, sonorous tone emits from the raised double-exhaust, which is typical for the Scrambler image. The new bike ties in with 1950s/1960s, pre-Enduro times, when regular street bikes were fitted with wider handlebars, knobbly tyres and raised exhausts to go off the beaten track.
BMW hit the prevailing taste about three years ago and made such an impact in the market. They were spot on with the back to basics nostalgia. The R NINET immediately became the focal point of the retro scene. Bearded open-face helmet and worn leather jacket bearers and wearers, who would have gone for a custom bike, choose the new Beemer instead. It is adored in the custom and hipster scene, because it picks up the puristic design, reflected in the company’s heritage. About 25 000 were sold so far. It is more than a bike, it is a lifestyle object, that I would park in my house.
The eagerly awaited ride will continue BMW’s heritage bike success story. It is a casual ride for easy-going people. Actually a complete new bike. Only drive, front light and wiring harness are borrowed from the sister model. The Scrambler has a new frame, new suspension, new seat and new instruments. In fact there are more new than interchangeable parts. The round instrument can be equipped with an optional electronic rev counter that shows an analog display.
An acoustics racket originates from the Akrapovic exhaust. What sounds like an effective laxative brand, looks really attractive and is responsible for the pleasant audio. While driving off, the sound resembles that of a Great White shark farting under water just before breaching. The new Scrambler is not a clean-shaven cuddly bike, but a 220kg character ride. The most bearded Bavarian bike at present. The boxer lives.
BMW R nine T Scrambler
Engine 1.2-l. air-cooled boxer
Power 81kW and 116Nm
Top Speed beyond 200 km/h
0-100km/h 3.6 seconds
Price R193 990