THE PROOF IS IN THE PUDDING
The Scrambler is such a visual feast that to ride it, to sully it with road grime, let alone dirt, seems simply sacrilege. This bike will create devoted owners, they’ll want to ride it, but they’ll spend hours cleaning it afterwards, bringing a sparkle back to every spoke, checking every square millimeter of the engine paint for chips. You make sure you’re wearing clean jeans before you sit on the Scrambler. God, it’s beautiful.
Ridden back-to-back with its R nineT roadster sibling, it’s so obviously its own bike. You immediately feel the extra length and the steering geometry makes for a more planted, slower-steering feel and set of responses. It’s not super-tanker slow by any means, but the roadster is far snappier. But this is what we need, the roadster would be hell on a gravel road, too nervous, whereas this Scrambler feels dialed-in for such work.
The motor is as exquisite as the styling. I rode with this engine in an R1200GS Rallye in the 2012 GS Trophy (in South America) and fell in love with it then, the old oil and air-cooled 1170cc four-valve twin is so incredibly optimized, so torquey, so smooth and at 110bhp you need no more. The new Waterboxer may be punchier, quite a bit more powerful and of course super-trick, but for character this older motor aces it, it literally speaks to your heart (jeez, I’ve come over pretty romantic and all…).
As a point of interest, the R nineT roadster we had along on the ride was made to Euro 3 spec, while the Scrambler is Euro 4, and while they felt ever so slightly different, there wasn’t an easily-definable difference. The motor hasn’t been strangled, it’s just as it was, only now there’s this odd canister hanging down behind the motor, the carbon canister, that we understand catches the fuel vapours from the tank (heck, emissions regs are getting super-tight, eh?).