It seems that scramblers are now the motorcycle style du jour. Enter BMW with its R nine T Scrambler – a variation of the customizable 1170 cc boxer-driven roadster the company introduced in 2014.
The primary changes BMW did to make the original R nine T look scrambler-like include raising the handlebars, reducing the seat upholstery, and placing the rider footrests lower and farther toward the rear. It also incorporated a raised 2-1 exhaust, added a circular headlight, and covered the seat in what BMW is describing as brown "patinised leather." An analog speedo and beefier tires complete the retro appearance.
Suspension has also been modified to make the bike more off-road capable. A telescopic fork with rubber gaiters provides front travel of 4.9 inches (125 mm) and a Paralever single-sided swing arm as used in the other boxer models along with a central spring strut gives 5.5 inches (140 mm) of travel at the rear. This is compared to 4.7 inches (120 mm) front and back on the original R nine T.
Light alloy cast wheels come standard (19 inches at the front and 17 inches at the rear) with cross-spoke wheels as an option.
Mechanically, the R nine T Scrambler is the same bike as its cousin with 110 hp (81 kW) at 7,750 rpm and maximum torque of 88 ft lb (116 Nm) at 6,000 rpm. Braking is also unchanged with hydraulically-activated 320-mm twin-discs in the front and a 265-mm single disc at the rear. ABS comes standard.
Another element that BMW transferred to the scrambler is the unique ability to remove the rear frame that supports the passenger seat and foot pegs. The idea is to allow the owner some level of customization that doesn't require welding skills and understanding the laws of physics and geometry. Further customization will be available with the typical plethora of BMW parts and accessories.
As a whole, the R nine T Scrambler is a simpler version of its roadster cousin. BMW points out that its entry into scrambler territory goes back to 1951 when the BMW R 68 was introduced at the International Bicycle and Motorcycle Fair (IFMA) in Frankfurt with a raised 2-in-1 exhaust, just like the one used for racing by Georg "Schorsch" Meier. Although, BMW did tease the market with a concept version earlier this year that now looks a lot like the scrambler that will be made available late next year.
BMW enters the market now inhabited by the iconic Triumph Scrambler, Ducati Scrambler, and an assortment of custom bike builders that are turning just about any bike of any size into a scrambler. The company is not listing a price for its scrambler yet, although there's speculation that it will be less expensive than the roughly US$15,000 listed for the R nine T Roadster.