At the start of this year I had the opportunity to ride the latest edition to BMW’s “retro” stable, the R-nineT Scrambler.
Now back in the day (way before I was born) the adventurous adrenaline seeking folk converted their street bikes to scramblers by throwing on some knobbly rubber and tweaking the suspension and handle bars to suit dirt riding. And this is exactly what those white coats at BMW did. They took the new R-nineT and fitted taller suspension (125mm travel front & rear), modified the handle bars, threw on some Metzeler Karoo 3 rubber (naturally there are other minor changes as well)and whala…the BMW Scrambler was born.
This is a “bare bones”, basic machine, but as we’ve got to know from BMW “bare bones” in their terms simply means less electronics. With this air/oil cooled 1200cc motorcycle you will get heated grips, ABS, trip meter, clock and Akrapovic exhaust as standard. So let’s talk power. In essence this bike makes use of the same DOHC 1170cc (aka 1200) boxer motor that did service in the previous range of GS, RT and R models, which kicks out 110hp (115Nmat 7750rpm in a bike that weights 220kg fully fuelled. This of course means that the scramble accelerates like something that’s been chased by all sorts of angry monsters. With those Karoo 3’s singing on the road and clinging for dear life this insanely cool bike (in my opinion) will get you to 220km/h (according to the speedometer).
It is important to keep in mind that although this bike looks as if it can chew up any off-road trail, it is merely a modified road bike not purpose built to follow in the tracks of something like a GS. This bike sounds fantastically brutal and comes standard with guaranteed fun and coolness. With all the fun we had I got close to 290km of range from its 17 litre fuel tank. The seating position on the scrambler is comfortable, but I suspect that unless you are a diehard all weather biker the retro thinly cushioned leather seat will start to eat into your rear after 150-250 kilometres. This bike is not built with practicality and comfort in mind, it was built with fun and coolness in mind. The handling is confidence inspiring and the 1200 scrambler is reassuringly easy to handle in traffic. The Brembo brakes provide hands full of ABS assisted safe braking. This motorcycle is exceptionally customisable with accessories like a headlight grill, engine bash plate and many other accessories available from Roland Sands Design (RSD), Touratech and Wunderlich. And when it gets to where the rubber meets the road and you are scared of some brown moments with those Karoo 3’s in the rain….fear not. Michelin Anakee 3 and Continental Trail Attack 2 rubber can be fitted to those retro spoked rims
Locally there are two derivatives of the scrambler available with the difference being the absence of LED indicators, Traction Control (ASC) and a retro tank and an approximate R20 000 drop in price. Pricing is around R196 000 and R178 000 respectively.
To be frank…BUY IT!!! On condition that it is not your only motorcycle and you are ready for fun. The scrambler is a versatile machine with enjoyable performance ideal for those daily commutes with its elevated seating position. So go on….grab a hand full of throttle and smile.
|Engine||1170cc air/oil cooled DOHC horizontally opposed two cylinder|
|Max Power||82kW/110hp @ 7750rpm|
|Max Torque||115Nm @ 6000rpm|
|Front Suspension||Right-way-up 43mm Showa forks with 125mm travel|
|Rear suspension||Sachs shock with 125mm travel|
|Front Brakes||Dual 320mm discs with 4 piston callipers|
|Rear Brakes||Single 265mm disc with 2 piston calliper|
|Wheel size Front||120/70 R19|
|Wheel size Rear||170/60 R17|
|Wet weight (fully fuelled & oiled)||220kg|
|Service Intervals||10 000km or as indicated by an authorised BMW dealer|