There was a time when bikers had to make one bike to do it all. Specialisation in terms of motorcycle design, back in the ’50s, was mainly confined to the racing world, and usually involved just removing headlights and seats, and anything else extraneous for the purpose to reduce weight.

By the time the ’60s rolled around, and the Rolling Stones held their infamous concert at Altamont, motorcycles were broadly divided into two species – road bikes and scramblers. Typically, scramblers had taller suspension, knobby tyres and high-set exhausts.

Now that retro-styled machines are the ‘in’ thing, throwbacks to the ’60s abound, and BMW Motorrad’s new R nineT Scrambler – the second in its Heritage series – is now among us, bring back memories of Barbour jackets and the International Six Day Trials. We had previously tested the R nineT, and found the last of the air-cooled boxer engines much to our liking.

BMW R nineT Scrambler

Sporting the same air-cooled flat-twin boxer of its road-oriented sibling, the R nineT Scrambler places the engine in a steel tubular space frame integrates the 1,170 cc boxer engine as a load-bearing element and designed for customisation. The engine itself produces 110 hp at 7,750 rpm and delivers a maximum torque of 116 Nm at 6,000 rpm while being Euro 4 compliant, no mean feat for an air-cooled engine.

In keeping with the Scrambler style, the raised exhausts are tucked in close to the body, and exit high and on the left. This helps slim down the silhouette of the R nineT Scrambler, while a large catalytic convertor ensures emissions compliance.

Several changes have been made to the R nineT Scrambler that sets it apart from the standard R nineT. Suspension travel at the front, using 43 mm diameter telescopic forks, is 125 mm compared to 120 mm on the road-retro, while the rear has 140 mm travel on Motorrad’s Paralever, versus 120 mm.

The rear suspension for the Scrambler has stepless adjustment for pre-load using a ‘C’ wrench, as opposed to the hydraulic adjustment on the R nineT, while rebound is adjustable for both Heritage bikes, with the forks being non-adjustable. The Scrambler is also a touch longer in wheelbase, at 1,522 mm against 1,476 mm.

Strangely enough, the R nineT Scrambler comes with cast aluminium alloy wheels as standard, against the more retro-styled spoked wheels on the R nineT which are an option for the Scrambler. The Scrambler carries a 19-inch hoop up front, and a 17-incher at the rear, while the R nineT carries 17-inch wheels at both ends.

Braking is identical for both machines, twin 320 mm discs in front and a single 265 mm disc at the back with radial mounted brake calipers on the forks. BMW Motorrad’s ABS comes as standard, but there are no other riding aids such as traction control or ride modes.


Coming with a more relaxed riding position, the R nineT Scrambler has taller handlebars, and less padding in the seat, with foot-pegs set lower and more to the rear. Bodywork is at a minimum, with the 17-litre sheet-steel fuel tank and the trim cover made of fine aluminium sheet being the main components.

An air intake duct sits on the right side of the fuel, embossed with the R nineT name. The rear sub-frame can be quickly removed, like the standard R nineT, allowing for easy customisation according to rider preference.

The 2016 BMW R nineT Scrambler comes only in Monolith metallic matt. The rest of the Scrambler comes coated in black, in keeping with the bike’s retro ethos. A full range of accessories for the Scrambler is available from the BMW Motorrad catalogue.