The 2016 model recipe for many bikes, it seems, is shaping up to be both formulaic and simple: Start with a modern motorcycle, make sure it has adequate power and braking, and then stuff the whole works into a decent chassis dressed in sheet metal that cops the good looks of a bike from yesteryear.
We’ve seen that approach from Triumph, Moto Guzzi, and Ducati, and now it's BMW's turn. They’ve released the Scrambler, an R nineT trim package.
The R nineT platform effectively receives new clothes with the advent of the Scrambler. The Scrambler model aptly receives a set of high Akra exhaust pipes, and a set of number plates. Those who really want the retro look to be complete will be pleased to see a conventional, right-side-up fork. The brown leather seat also adds a dash of style to an otherwise conservative motorcycle.
Some optional goodies give the Scrambler a more off-road look: edge-spoked wire wheels, knobbier tires, and a small skid plate. Wait, look! There's a cutesy little headlight guard, too. We are perilously close to seeing factory-installed electrical tape "X"s coming on factory machinery. Great job, hipsters. You won.
If you recall, the original R nineT was supposed to be the easy DIY bike for home customizers. BMW even said so on their website: “...the nineT is only available in pure Black with high-level equipment. This is intentional.“ I guess that they’re coming to the same conclusion Henry Ford did years ago, because it looks like the color palette has opened up a bit. Silver has been added to the paint choices.
“...it gives you a lot of room for customization and can be given a completely new character thanks to the wide range of accessories available.” Apparently, a number of folks were either lacking in imagination or tooling, because it appears as though BMW has decided to sell the R nineT with some of those accessories installed. I don’t blame them. The DIY crowd will never pay the way the DIFM crowd will.
It’s a safe, smart play. Heck, this bike should be easy to build into something resembling a full-blown custom. The best part, to me, is that this bike does not have a surfboard attached. Bike EXIF and Pipeburn should have a whole generation’s worth of fodder with the R nineT.