“BMW Motorrad” written on the door of your office gives you importance. People will assume that you are reliable, always on time and that you wear Mickey Mouse socks under a black suit. But when you take these words and put them on the handlebar of a motorcycle they become flat and boring. Having a grandpa named Günther is fine but give that name to a child in 2017 and you’ll feed bullies at school. Context matters. When you’re riding BMW’s R nineT Scrambler you have those words in front of you all the time and it is annoying.
Then there is the dash, as exciting as Monday morning in the office. But if you take a step back you can enjoy one of the coolest BMWs ever made. It looks solid but not heavy. They made a cafe racer with a big engine without falling into the muscle bike category and I appreciate that. Proportions and lines are in balance and make you actually want one. For example the attention to the detail, which lets you enjoy the look from every direction.
Old engine, new bike
The engine is the same flat-twin from the previous GS generation. It develops 110hp which is a lot for a scrambler. It’s like the principle that a bumblebee doesn’t work go off-road or something similar… It is strong, reliable, and it pulls like a bull in any gear without attacking you. The lack of electronic controls and the vibration of this boxer build a connection between the rider and the machine. But it doesn’t make you feel unsafe. Sure, you get ABS but that’s it. A hair dryer might have more functions.
The moment I started the engine I expected a German, sensible, electronic-controlled ride. In short: a digital experience. Basically, me talking to a computer translating all my twisting, pulling and pushing to the engine into a series of 0s and 1s. I was wrong. First of all, there are no ride modes and it doesn’t even have a Ride-by-Wire. No, the nineT Scrambler is pure joy of riding. It’s an engine with two wheels and a seat. And I like it. It feels mechanical and solid, a sensation I’ve been missing on the last generation of motorcycles. This is rare. You don’t find it very often and this makes it special.
Style is everything
The shape of the tank follows the lines of the seat in one of the best combinations of the BMW models. The color combination of two different aluminum shades and brown leather is simply sublime. It can be elegant and casual as a tweed jacket. Even though you have to be over thirty for a tweed jacket but not for the nineT Scrambler.
Some people might say that so much power and weight make a scrambler useless. I agree with them but I still want one and this is where the nineT wins my heart. BMW made a bike that doesn’t adapt to your riding style, you have to adapt and this gives it character. Germans are well-known for being good at things you can quantify like building a reliable bike, a bridge, or an actual sentence in German. These are things that you can measure, test, and adjust. But growing a soul out of a machine has nothing to do with measurements. It’s more about opening your heart and taking some risks. A bit like falling in love.