BMW R ninet Scrambler
Boxer has plenty of punch
The boxer engine was one of the first to be picked up on by custom builders and it is a great-looking motor when stuck in a café racer or scrambler. But where so many of the boxerpowered specials you see in magazines or on the internet look like liabilities to ride, with their R ninet range BMW have built a group of thoroughly functional, yet still beautiful, motorcycles whose styling doesn’t compromise the ride. And that’s reflected perfectly in the R ninet Scrambler.
With the old air-cooled boxer motor you get that raw feeling that adds such spirit. It vibrates, lurches to the side when you rev it and sounds awesome even on its stock stacked pipes, yet once on the go it is actually pretty refined.
The ride quality is typical BMW and although the seat isn’t the most plush, the handling is impressive and you can hurl it into bends and it sits there in total security. This feeling was enhanced on our test bike by having the most roadtargeted tyres of all the scramblers (you can opt for road or semi-off-road tyres when you buy it), but the boxer’s weight also plays its part. However where on the road this helps, venture off-road and it hinders it a bit.
Taking the Scrambler off-road feels cruel. Like the Triumph this is a bike more styled as a scrambler than built to act like one and getting a 110bhp, 220kg, boxer sideways can be a touch wild. If it gets out of hand that’s a lot of flying metal to attempt to persuade back into line. But why would you take a Scrambler off road? If you want to get dirty buy a GS!
‘Taking the BMW Scrambler off road feels cruel’
On the open road, the boxer motor is brilliant and leaves its rivals out of sight
All three of these machines can turn heads... and corners