Last week saw the Global press launch of the R nineT Scrambler which was held in Germany.
The latest derivative of the R nineT Roadster, this new model features a more upright riding position than its more street focused brother and the ride is slightly softer thanks to its plush and longer travel suspension plus increased wheelbase.
Four of the UK’s press arrived at Munich airport, before heading south to a converted garden centre near Taufkirchen, bedecked in artefacts from the 1960’s bike scene to enhance the hipster flavour of this special event. After signing on and receiving the new model’s press kit (journalists get all the bike info and pre-launch pictures on a USB stick), they had a 30 minute presentation from Scrambler project leaders. 40 journalists from six countries attended the German language explanations, highlighting the features and benefits of this new BMW model. Of course our guys got a direct translation of the detail, all delivered through headsets. After receiving the road book and some other hints and tips (like driving on the right for the UK attendees), the group donned wet weather riding gear and headed out into the rain – this was 14th July after all!
|Wheels and Waves - Concept Path 22 R nineT|
All of the bikes where equipped with the essential optional accessories – traction control (ASC), heated grips and the frankly brilliant, Navigator V sat nav system. The entire group set off together but because the route was pre-programmed into the sat nav, the peloton soon dissipated into splinter groups, strangely segmented by country and/or riding pace.
Riding due south for 90 minutes, the UK group followed the route and arrived slightly damp at the lunch stop which doubled as the day’s photo opportunity, essential to get that important cover shot – it was not to be... Production departments really don’t like either shots of black bikes (they don’t show up) or bikes in the rain.
One of the issues of riding in a group, at a pace, on strange roads and in the rain, is that there is a Lemming effect – if the lead rider comes across a hazard, then the rest do too and in fairly short order! This is what happened when the group came across a wooden bridge (NO grip) just after a gentle/fast right hand corner. Apparently there was a road sign!! The experience of the group prevailed but the little incident was talked about that night at dinner at length!
That night was spent in Garmisch-Partenkirchen (Motorrad Days venue from the week before) just north of Innsbruck, where the journalists enjoyed a night of BMW Motorrad hospitality on top of a mountain, treated to an R&B ’50s band – very hipster.
The rain had eased the next day and the UK group headed out on the bikes to their assigned photo stop which by some hand of fate, was the only bit of dry road in mainland Europe (ironically the UK was blessed with great weather). The journos were happy! After getting some great shots in the can, using the BMW supplied snappers, the group then set off into the Bavarian countryside (it had started raining again) and rode 100kms of country/mountain roads to get to the coffee stop. The bikes were fitted with the optional Metzeler Tourance Next tyres which offer exceptional feel and grip in the challenging conditions helping the riders form a good impression enabling them to write a meaningful feature on the bike, and when the dry lines appeared, and they did, the tyres worked well then too.
Revived and a lot less damp, and after warming up on strong coffee and Bavarian cake, the group headed back onto the road with sat navs set north to Taufkirchen for the final riding stint. On arrival they were fed (again) and there was the opportunity to get the extra nuggets of information from the project leader, engine and chassis specialists. As far as the publications are concerned, getting a unique nugget of information for their own readers is key to differentiating themselves from other titles.
Then off to the airport and home to the UK – the fruits of their labours were hitting the internet prior to landing such is the immediacy of news delivery these days. The print results of the test take a bit longer to deliver but suffice to say, they all had a good time, loved the bike and after all, it’s a job and someone has got to do it!!
Here's what MCN’s Jon Urry thought on the launch and the bike itself:
‘After two days of riding in the solid rain around the German/Austrian alps and having to suffer the humiliation and merciless ribbing from everyone due to the luminosity of my waterproofs, by the time we returned the R nineT Scrambler I should have been thoroughly depressed. But I wasn't. In truth, despite a slightly soggy crotch, I'd have happily ridden many more miles on the Scrambler as not only were the roads fantastic and scenery stunning, the bike itself was a joy to ride. Although I'd have preferred to do it without the rain. Or my colleagues and their sarcastic comments...’
– Jon Urry (MCN)