BMW R NINE T SCRAMBLER (2016 - on) Review

Highlights

  • BMW Scrambler based on R nine T platform
  • 19-inch front wheel with road-biased handling
  • Exceptional boxer engine

At a glance

Owners' reliability rating: 4.8 out of 5 (4.8/5)
Annual servicing cost: £160
Power: 110 bhp
Seat height: Medium (32.3 in / 820 mm)
Weight: Medium (485 lbs / 220 kg)

Prices

New £10,530
Used £7,400 - £10,500

Overall rating

Next up: Ride & brakes
5 out of 5 (5/5)

Don’t think of the BMW R nineT Scrambler as a fashion bike, think of it as a great looking  lightweight version of the GS that is pleasingly lacking in the fussy electronics that the latest water-cooled model is so adorned with but still delivering a comfortable riding stance and decent tank range.

While ultimately this makes it less practical and a bit more demanding to ride as it lacks some creature comforts such as a proper screen, it also gives the BMW Scrambler a special character and unique appeal all of its own.

There's a thriving online community for the BMW Scrambler at the Nine T Owners' Forum.

Ride quality & brakes

Next up: Engine
4 out of 5 (4/5)

The 19-inch front wheel is basically a fashion accessory, but BMW has ensured that this feature doesn’t detract from the Scrambler’s handling by giving it the same size tyres as the GS.

These fatter tyres are very much road orientated and feel far more natural to riders who have grown up on 17-inch rubber, giving good front end feel. The seat isn’t the most comfortable, but it is ok for most uses.

Engine

Next up: Reliability
4 out of 5 (4/5)

The Scrambler retains all the spirit and character that epitomizes the R nineT Roadster. Not to mention a healthy 108.6bhp with 85.6lb.ft of torque. The air-cooled engine is far removed from its considerably more civilised water-cooled brother and it demonstrates this through a barrage of noise and vibrations that the current GS would certainly consider uncouth but suits the Scramber’s character perfectly.

Reliability & build quality

Next up: Value
4 out of 5 (4/5)

It’s an air-cooled BMW, so the engine is as solid as they come. The overall feel of the bike is one of quality and it is unusual for BMW to cut corners.

Our BMW R nineT Scrambler owners' reviews show positive results, although servicing sounds expensive - a typical BMW trait. 

Value vs rivals

Next up: Equipment
4 out of 5 (4/5)

When launched, at £10,530 the Scrambler was actually a pretty well priced BMW model, especially when you look at the competition. A Triumph Street Twin with a Scrambler inspiration kit cost £9095 while the Ducati Scrambler was £8395 and both have less powerful motors.

Watch: BMW Scrambler vs Ducati Scrambler vs Triumph Scrambler

Equipment

4 out of 5 (4/5)

The Scrambler is designed to be stripped back and therefore you only get ABS as standard equipment and conventional forks instead of inverted items. If you want more bling, spoke wheels, traction control, heated grips and even a rev counter can be added via the parts and accessories catalogue.

In 2016 BMW UK created the Scrambler X, which was simply an accessorised Scrambler. For £11,090 you got spoke wheels, the option of off-road tyres, LED indicators and heated grips, saving about £150 on buying them individually. 

Specs

Engine size 1170cc
Engine type Four-stroke, air/oil-cooled boxer twin
Frame type Tubular steel
Fuel capacity 17 litres
Seat height 820mm
Bike weight 220kg
Front suspension 41mm conventional, non-adjutsable forks
Rear suspension Monoshock, adjustable spring preload and rebound damping
Front brake 2x320mm four-piston conventional Brembo calipers, ABS
Rear brake 265mm disc, two piston. ABS
Front tyre size 120/70 R19
Rear tyre size 170/60 R17

Mpg, costs & insurance

Average fuel consumption 45 mpg
Annual road tax £96
Annual service cost £160
New price £10,530
Used price £7,400 - £10,500
Insurance group -
How much to insure?
Warranty term 2 years unlimited mileage

Top speed & performance

Max power 110 bhp
Max torque 85.6 ft-lb
Top speed 130 mph
1/4 mile acceleration -
Tank range -

Model history & versions

Other versions

The Scrambler is heavily underpinned by the R nineT Roadster, which was previoulsy just known as the R nineT. 

There will also be a Scrambler X in the UK, which will retail at £11,090.

MCN Long term test reports

Mission Impossible: Tom Cruise bike chase around Arc de Triomphe

Mission Impossible: Tom Cruise bike chase around Arc de Triomphe

The latest Mission Impossible Fallout trailer features Tom Cruise riding the wrong way around the famous Arc de Triomphe roundabout pursued by the police on his BMW R nine T Scrambler (which sounds suspiciously like an in-line four). The chase ends with Cruise rolling along the ground after T-boning

Read the latest report

Owners' reviews for the BMW R NINE T SCRAMBLER (2016 - on)

4 owners have reviewed their BMW R NINE T SCRAMBLER (2016 - on) and rated it in a number of areas. Read what they have to say and what they like and dislike about the bike below.

Review your BMW R NINE T SCRAMBLER (2016 - on)

Summary of owners' reviews

Overall rating: 4.8 out of 5 (4.8/5)
Ride quality & brakes: 3.8 out of 5 (3.8/5)
Engine: 5 out of 5 (5/5)
Reliability & build quality: 4.8 out of 5 (4.8/5)
Value vs rivals: 4.8 out of 5 (4.8/5)
Equipment: 4 out of 5 (4/5)
Annual servicing cost: £160
5 out of 5 BMW R9T Scrambler - simply a great bike; and so cool.
20 August 2021 by Tripler

Version: Scrambler X

Year: 2020

The Scrambler does so much more than just look cool. Everything about it exudes character (but without the oil leaks and breakdowns normally associated with anything described as having character) and it is a dream to live with. It's a sweet handling (see below), punchy and engaging ride that keeps on giving in a wide variety of conditions making it a truly smile-inducing and addictive bike.

Ride quality & brakes 4 out of 5

I would like to have given 5 out 5 because I love the Scrambler's handling however the standard steering damper was too tight and is not adjustable. It might just be my style of riding, as I tend to turn in late which needs a loose front end therefore I swapped it for an after-market adjustable unit, which sorted it immediately. Other than that, the handling is very predictable and the brakes are strong and full of feel, even two-up; and the suspension is fine for road (haven't tried it off road) use. Ignore anyone who suggests not buying the BMW standard option off-road tyres; once you get over the slight noise they make they are easily up to even spirited riding and (yes, I know it's superficial) are well worth the look they give the bike. From the outset the lack of a screen wasn't an issue, somehow the air flow around the headlight doesn't seem to get too disturbed so long rides rides were fine but I have added a very small headlight cowl, which does just enough to make the air flow even easier to live with.

Engine 5 out of 5

The power delivery is very addictive and surprisingly punchy even up to licence-killing speeds and beyond (apparently). Fueling is spot on with no snatching at low speeds and it pulls hard wherever in the rev range that you call for it. I do a lot of two-up riding and have never been short of grunt to overtake etc. I had a GS1200 some years ago and so I can say the Scrambler engine feels like the GS without all the weight of the GS holding it back it down; quite lively and free feeling for a big twin. While the exhaust tone is great for a modern standard bike I did break the piggy bank for a Unit Garage pipe with flap removal mod, which transforms the sound into an amazingly deep and rich tone, which is far from offensive.

Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5

The usual BMW standards apply so I don't expect any reliability issues but what really impresses is the quality of finish, which stands up to even close inspection. No issues so far although it's only my first year but it all looks and feels solid.

Value vs rivals 5 out of 5

Too soon to comment on average running costs but no shocks so far.

Equipment 5 out of 5

With a mindset of "it's all about the bike" (which is what you should have) you'll not be disappointed by the lack of anything on this bike; including a rev counter. Enjoy the stripped back vibe and don't worry about what it doesn't have while you enjoy the visceral experience that comes from such an engaging and "simple" bike. If I want toys I'll take my tourer out but on the Scrambler the pleasure comes from the less-is-more feel; but make no mistake, there is nothing cheap about this bike, it is just that the money BMW has put into it has gone into the important rather than the peripheral.

Buying experience: It was a pleasure dealing with Wollaston at Northampton, which has become my go-to dealer despite being much further than my local BMW crowd, who I now avoid at all costs.

4 out of 5 Fun over comfort or a lumberjack's bike
10 November 2020 by Patrick Black

Year: 2019

A brilliantly manufactured man's toy that requires some buttock's resilience, that has a fun-to-ride motor and looks just astonishingly good. In no way this is an ADV bike, even so it's advertised as one. It's just not meant to be.

Ride quality & brakes 4 out of 5

They brakes are superb. Even you have to pull the lever quite a bit to actually iniate breaking, the pistons bite furiously and bring the bike to a stop in no time. And just in case you pulled too enthusiasticly, ABS is present and reliably smoothes away your shortcomings. The comfort's rating is very ambivalent. Yes, the riding position is comfortable overall. Yes, you look very - and I mean very - cool on the bike. Yes, you could even stand up for a little while in case you want to master a fire road or gravel road. But neither the very narrow seat, nor the just-not-meant-to-be rear shock offers the comfort I expect from a bike like this. The buttocks hurt after a while, regardless of the riding style, and most of the less maintenanced roads will leave a memory in your back with every little bump, crack, or pothole being directly transferred through your spine. Even withouth any wind protection whatsoever, there is little to none disturbance by wind on the bike - and that's how a naked bike should be.

Engine 5 out of 5

The engine is a masterpiece. It starts with a subtle jolt to the right when starting the engine. Tork is available in almost every rev-region and boy, it is fun to open that throttle and feal the acceleration combined with a dirty, cheecky braaa-sound from the Acrapovic exhaust. The motor is very versatile, allowing you to cruise along in 5th gear in town with 2000rpm or to tackle twisties in 2nd gear and let your surrounding hear the joy of riding that bike with the 6500rpm grunt. Fuel economy is directly linked to your riding style. I was able to run almost 220 miles on one tank while cruising, and had to fill up after 130 miles after a fun twisty hunt on the other hand. Interestingly, the engine requirs a little bit of motor oil due to the lean to the left when on the side stand. But coming from an ancienct 2 stroke motor, I actually expect a motor to consume some oil.

Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5

Splendid building quality from the paint job to the tiniest screw. Use of solid, high quality materials everywhere, even the plastic mirrors do not look as cheap as the japanese ones. The buttons look, feel and behave like the high quality product they are supposed to be. The handles are very comfortably placed and of good material quality that transforms the premium look into premium feel.

Value vs rivals 4 out of 5

It is a BMW, you know. Hence, cost price and maintenance costs are higher than the competitor's. Even I never lost the gut feeling that my Scrambler might have been overpriced, it is still very - and I might even say unrivalled - value for money.

Equipment 3 out of 5

This bike is meant to be stripped-down. It is meant to be gadget-free as far as possible. And yet, a decent display with some more information to be displayed would have been nice. For instance, the ambient temperature and a fuel gauge would have been nice, these informations lack even with the additional rev-counter installed. The stock tyres, Metzeler Tourance Next, are a clever choice for starters, unfortunately, the ones fitted on my brad new Scrambler were over 5 years old, hence the damping was terrible. As soon as I changed to Conti Trail Attack 3 tyres, the riding comfort doubled. Do not, under any circumstances, order the knobbly Metzteler Karoo 3 tyres. Just don't.

Buying experience: I bought my Scrambler from my local BMW dealer with extended warranty.

5 out of 5 Scrambler Redo
24 July 2018 by Jerry

Version: Scrambler

Year: 2018

Annual servicing cost: £100

As it comes there are a few BMW parts needed to complete the bike. First an OEM rev counter with digital gear indicator is a must as is a handlebar riser kit. Remove the charcoal canister and exhaust butterfly and baffel and you have a proper motorcycle.

Ride quality & brakes 4 out of 5

Compared to my Triumph Scrambler this bike rides like a truck and it will take time to learn into curves even with road tyres. The brakes do have an anti-lock feature but I have had to stop quickly on occasion and if you really get on the brakes it will respond.

Engine 5 out of 5

Way more power than the Triumph 900 and will pull from low RPM. There is a progressive surge as the RPMs build and you have plenty of power.

Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5

Get used to the clunky but beefy transmission. The turn signals self cancel (eventually).

Value vs rivals 5 out of 5

Change the oil yourself but you need a proper oil filter wrench available online. Don't forget Canister "O" ring and sump crush washer. Don't forget to torque filter and sump bolt.

Equipment 4 out of 5

Didn't think I'd need heated grips but they are so nice to have on cold mornings. I also added lowered foot pegs and longer shift and brake foot levers. Avoid the knobbly tyres.

Buying experience: Traded in a very nice Triumph Scrambler with a retro custom paint job and a host of optional equipment and the dealer gave me a fair deal.

5 out of 5 BMW Scrambler X
08 August 2017 by Mark

Version: Scrambler X

Year: 2016

Annual servicing cost: £230

If you are after a twin cylinder naked you won't go far wrong with a BMW scrambler. The engine is probably one of its most remarkable features. I rode the new Triumph Thruxton prior to taking out the BM and the Triumph actually felt a bit flat in comparison. If only BMW could match the quality of the Triumph suspension ....... Overall though definetley one of the most fun bikes I have ever owned or rode.....

Ride quality & brakes 3 out of 5

If the the bike had a decent back shock absorber I would probally give it 5 out of 5. The shock initially feels over hard but that soon disappears after about 1,500 miles of hard riding, but then it seems to become very under damped. Flipping between full peg scraping lean on 60mph - 80mph bends can cause a bit of a wallowing sensation which can upset your line into the next bend. Comfort is surprisingly good, I think it's due to good riding position which distributes the riders weight evenly between the bars and seat, 90 mins saddle time is easily achievable before any aches start to set in.

Engine 5 out of 5

Oh my god, definetley not what I expected ! This isn't no lazy floppy twin cylinder engine. It's a rev happy snarling exhaust popping beast and it encourages you to use those revs, love the engine.

Reliability & build quality 4 out of 5

Let down by a poor finish on the underside of the exhaust (lot of weld spatter), the rest of the machine is pretty much top notch.

Value vs rivals 5 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5

Well it hasn't got much in terms of standard equipment, but everything it has is everything you need.

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