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BMW RnineT Scrambler

BMW RnineT Scrambler – There’s no doubt about it, scrambled two-pots are flavour of the moment on the buffet of motorcycle mash-ups. Triumph got in early, Ducati reclaimed the name, and now every brand with half a heritage to celebrate is joining a mad scramble for the Deus dollar.

By BMW’s own admission the company missed the boat slightly with the whole heritage model movement. But I guess it can be excused, since it has been busy ensuring the Boxer-twin heritage continues into the 21st century with liquid-cooling and space age electronic whizzbangery. With that deed done, BMW could turn its attention to prolonging the life of the air-cooled Boxer in a heritage range which is very much a styling nod to the past in a modern package, rather than a display of retro-engineering.

As we rolled out of Brisbane, you could’ve told me I was riding the R nineT Roadster, just with knobs on, and I probably would’ve believed it. It’s been that long since I’ve slung a leg over what is one of my favourite fun-time bikes of this century, but what I instantly felt from the Scrambler version was all the same warmth of character and simple unadulterated motorcycling folly which I remember from its café-cruising cousin.

It barks, rumbles, pulses, twists and farts its way into your psyche, cosying up next to homemade chicken soup, log fires, and the smell of your mother’s hair, in the feelgood folder of your mind. Call me a kook, but that’s truly what bikes like the R nineT Scrambler can do, should do, and in this case do do for me – make me feel good about life
for a while, and smile.

At a glance, the transition from Roadster to Scrambler has been a subtle rather than seismic styling exercise. The biggest changes to the bike’s dynamic personality are at the front end, where the conventional telescopic fork is set at a more relaxed angle with greatly increased offset, and the Roadster’s 17-inch wheel is replaced by a more dirt tyre friendly 19-incher. The base model Scrambler has cast wheels, which can be upgraded to tubeless cross-spoked hoops.

Read the full story in the current issue on sale now (Vol 66 No 08)