SINGAPORE - It's cool to be dirty, at least dirty in the exactly fashionable way in this rugged, tactical, tough and patina-obsessed era. That's why scrambler-style bikes are getting more and more popular.
Modern examples include the Triumph T100 Scrambler, and the new Ducati Scrambler - which can be cleverly specced to reflect all theree alterno-styling realms mentioned in one fell swoop - while BMW’s stylish R nine T had a corner on the ‘retro but cool’ end of things.
That it’s sold well even in Singapore was just another sign of its greater success elsewhere, hence the new R Nine T Scrambler model, which makes it Singaporean debut here today, with a machine-only price of $29,000, and a launch price of $33,500 on the road (including COE but without insurance).
Fashion aside, the Scrambler is actually more affordable than the R Nine T upon which it’s based. BMW’s achieved that by using lower costing components, most notably the front forks are now ‘downside up’ regular forks with black rubber gaiters (a retro cool signature for any bike). The front brakes are also non-radial mount four-piston Brembo units.
More interesting ‘off road’ touches include the ‘2 into 1 into 2’ high-mount exhaust (which is designed by Akrapovic, hence the subtle badge), longer suspension travel, a 19-inch front wheel and 17-inch rear wheel. The Scrambler has a more relaxed geometry, which should translate to a less racy experience than the R Nine T roadster as it has a considerably longer wheelbase (1,526mm over 1,476mm) thanks to the longer suspension and larger front tyre.
Also of interest is the brown, hand-stitched leather seat (complete with ‘beat up from the factory’ look) but equally cool is the rear end’s operating concept: The rear sub-frame is designed to be removable so you can instantly convert the Scrambler to a ‘monoposto’, because cool people don’t let anybody ride bitch with them.
Stock exhaust designed by Akrapovic
Options anounced at the launch include spoked wheels ($500) and the tempting satin-finished alumnium fuel tank ($800), although the official BMW catalogue also shows tasty bits like headlight grilles and bashplates. The standard bike has Metzeler Tourance tyres on its five-spoke cast wheels, while the optional spoked wheels bear Metzeler Karoo 3 mixed tyres.
Scrambler showing optional aluminium tank ($800) and dirt-style spoked wheels ($500)
Like the Nine T, the bike’s powered by the air-cooled 110bhp 1,170cc boxer twin and comes with ABS, but unlike international models ASC (traction control) as standard for Singapore.
A view of the stock painted tank, which is still pretty nice
...but the satin-finished Aluminium one is shinier..ooh...
The Scrambler is just the beginning of a whole new range of retro-modern bikes for BMW under the R Nine T model range. At Intermot and EICMA this year, new additions to the range were announced: The R Nine T Racer, which has clip-on handlebars and a bullet-fairing. The R Nine T Pure, which will be the least expensive and most stripped down model of the range, perfect for customisation. The R Nine T Urban G/S takes the Scrambler base and ups it with styling inspired by the legendary R80 G/S that won the Paris-Dakar rally. All of these bikes will be on the cards for a Singapore debut some time in 2017.
Derryn Wong is currently editor-in-chief of CarBuyer and he enjoys probing all aspects of the motoring industry, ranging from bizarre holes in the upholstery to the engineered insanity of the COE system. No, not those kinds of holes.