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Review: The new BMW R nineT Scrambler

Review: The new BMW R nineT ScramblerRiding the R nineT Scrambler BMW Motorrad flew us out to their home base to sample it in the Bavarian alps. Our route saw us head from Munich to the sleepy hamlet of Garmisch-Partenkirchen and back, over two unusually rainy days.

Right out the gate the Scrambler has all the rideability of the original R nineT. Sticking with the air-cooled boxer was a brilliant move—the engine has just the right amount of vibration to give it soul, without making it unpleasant. And its torquey nature means that is has no qualms getting up to speed—and staying there.

Review: The new BMW R nineT Scrambler
Thankfully the smooth fuelling and six-speed box keep things manageable. Twin-disc, four-pot stoppers up front—with a brilliant ABS system—keep things sensible. There’s rudimentary traction control too, but the bike’s way more fun to ride with it switched off. (Both the ABS and traction control can be switched on and off on the move.)

We have to pause here to give kudos to Akrapovic: the Scrambler’s twin mufflers are without a doubt the nicest sounding stock cans we’ve ever laid ears on. Euro4 or not, the Scrambler speaks the language of braaap.

Review: The new BMW R nineT Scrambler
Bavaria is not short on mountain passes, and it’s here that the Scrambler’s chassis comes alive. Thanks to the revised head angle, BMW’s move to a 19” front wheel’s done nothing to slow down its steering. If anything, the narrower wheels give it a flickable feel that contrasts with the original R nineT’s planted nature.

The new ergonomics come into play too. Not only does the taller riding position make the bike easier to toss around, but it’s more comfortable over longer distances. The same can’t be said for the seat though—BMW clearly went for style over comfort, and while it’s fine for a while it eventually leaves your butt numb.

Review: The new BMW R nineT Scrambler
Does it scramble? Would we take the R nineT Scrambler off-road? Probably—but only to a point. BMW didn’t add any dirt roads to the test route, so we’re speculating.

But the wheel sizes match those of BMW’s larger GS, so finding appropriate rubber would be easy (Metzeler Karoo 3s are a factory option). And the bike’s a few pounds lighter than a GS—with a whole lot less plastic. So although we wouldn’t attempt to cross Africa—or enter it into an enduro—we’d be more than happy to take it for a blast across our local fire roads.

Review: The new BMW R nineT Scrambler
Customizing the Scrambler You can’t release a modern classic these days and not make it customizable. BMW have done well in prepping the Scrambler for hacking, and also offer a well thought out range of parts.

Factory options include spoked wheels with BMW’s proprietary tubeless system (below), dual-sport tires, LED turn signals and a taller seat. You can also order your Scrambler with an aluminum tank, complete with a brushed and coated finish and visible seam welds. The usual BMW comfort and safety amenities are available too—like heated grips and ASC (Automatic Stability Control), to name a couple.

Review: The new BMW R nineT Scrambler
There’s also a decent catalogue of aftermarket bits: a solo seat (which our test bikes had fitted), headlight grill, sump guard, fly screen and number boards. You can even order a tacho, which comes with a new speedo bracket to place the two side-by-side.

We had a chance to check out some of these parts, and they look both well considered and well made, with a distinct hand-made style. But it’s the Lego-style approach that really makes the Scrambler fun to fiddle with.

Review: The new BMW R nineT Scrambler
The stock taillight and plate assembly is easily removable. And BMW have used the same swingarm as the R nineT; it’s borrowed from the GS, and includes mounting points for the GS’s mud scoop.

The mounting holes for the headlight and speedo are discreet, so removing either part won’t leave any ugly gaps. And the wiring harness is divided into three sections, making it a cinch to wire in new components without messing with the hefty electronics.

Review: The new BMW R nineT Scrambler
Would we buy it? At €13,000 (US$14,400) versus the R nineT’s €14,900 ($15,500), the Scrambler’s still not cheap. But it is cheap-er, without compromising the superlative build quality. And that should be enough to tempt a wider audience than the Roadster.

Sure, a Yamaha XSR900 or new Bonneville T120 can be had for less—but not so much less. Fans of the mighty boxer won’t have to dig too much deeper to park a new Scrambler in their garage. They’ll have to wait until September though, which is when the R nineT Scrambler hits the market.

Review: The new BMW R nineT Scrambler
We’d be lying if we said we weren’t tempted ourselves—but what we’re really looking forward to, is seeing what our favorite custom builders do with it.

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Wes’ gear: BMW System 6 EVO helmet, Aether Apparel Skyline jacket, Velomacchi Speedway pack and gloves, Saint Tough denims, Icon 1000 Prep boots. A huge thank you to Antonia Cecchetti and Ulrike Lange for arranging a foul weather appropriate helmet at the last minute.

Review: The new BMW R nineT Scrambler

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