Biker Boy: Scrambling the BMW way
Retro styling, punchy engine and fuss-free riding are the hallmarks of the R nine T Scrambler
Everybody is scrambling these days. The latest marque to join the ranks with its own interpretation of what a scrambler should look like is BMW with the R nine T Scrambler.
At the core is a boxer engine complemented with classic details such as a tan "leather" seat, telescopic forks with rubber garters and a single speedometer, among others.
Front to back, the Scrambler has been given a bare-bones treatment with retro styling being a main consideration.
The riding posture is upright with a slight forward reach to the wide handlebar. Its 820mm seat height is slightly taller than the performance-packed BMW R nine T Roadster.
There is something masculine about straddling this fuel-injected Scrambler.
While there are two versions - one with street tyres and the other with semi-offroad tyres - both Scramblers are essentially the same, except for minor handling traits.
Some may find the cockpit space near the feet a little tight given the boxer engine's protruding cylinders. But you'll get used to it.
POWER AND HANDLING
With about 110hp and 116Nm of torque, the air-cooled Scrambler is ideal for punchy street riding.
Power builds from down the rev range to slingshot you out of traffic stops with that unique low-booming drone from the dual titanium Akrapovic end cans.
Front to back, the Scrambler has been given a barebones treatment with retro styling being a main consideration.
At lower speeds, you may be conscious of the six-speed BMW's 220kg fully fuelled weight. For first timers, you might also notice the 1,170cc Scrambler's shaft-driven habit of "straightening up" at the blip of the throttle. You'll quickly learn to be smooth with the throttle, particularly when exiting turns.
While the bike flows into bends like any modern naked bike, rushing into them is clearly not the point.
The Scrambler appeals to bikers who value presence and fuss-free riding without the need to worry about electronic selections - you still get anti-lock brakes (ABS) and traction control.
During traffic stops, I find myself mesmerised by the beautiful hand-welded seams on the optional fuel tank (the standard tank comes in matte grey).
True to BMW's promise of offering a comfortable ride, this Scrambler is no different with plush suspension fore and aft. A discreetly positioned steering damper behind the forks gives added insurance to tame the jiggles.
But you would wish for more cushioning on its flat stylish seat. And without a windscreen, high-speed riding can be a natural speed limiter.
The Scrambler bears allegiance to motorcycles of the past with its ease of operation.
There is a small digital window on its speedometer that displays other vital gauge readings. Blinking lights on the speedometer tell you if you've activated the ABS or traction control during start-up.
If you've missed the boat on keeping a classic, get the Scrambler. It has a tried-and-tested boxer engine and looks that will not disappoint riders who appreciate neo-classic styling.
MAKE & MODEL: BMW Motorrad R nine T Scrambler
TRANSMISSION: 6-speed shaft-drive
MACHINE PRICE: $29,000
For more information, call BMW Motorrad Singapore at 6319-0510.