Main Motorcycle: 2015 BMW R1200GS-LC
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Applegate, Oregon
Other Motorcycle: 2010 R1200GS
I have lusted over a Scrambler since it was introduced in 2006. I loved it both conceptually and esthetically. But for whatever reason I never bought one. In 2009 I was in the market for a new bike and I got a screaming deal on a new Bonneville SE. I had ridden all the classics many times but the quick handling of the SE with its 17" wheels sold me. I custom painted it and added all the trick aftermarket goodies to make it my style and have enjoyed the 12,000 miles I've put on it.
BUT !!! I still kept looking at the Scrambler. Then Peter Egan from Cycle World wrote an article about first buying a Bonneville and then adding a Scrambler. He loved both but found the Scrambler to be more fun and could get it dirty without stress whereas the Bonnie, he was paranoid just strapping on a tank bag for fear of scratching the beautiful factory paint. End result, he kept the Scrambler and sold the Bonnie. That stirred my interest in the Scrambler again.
I have since moved from Colorado to Oregon and a few weeks ago I bit the bullet and bought a low mileage 2009 Scrambler with the Arrow exhaust and many other goodies on it. So now I have both and like Peter, I enjoy not being so paranoid about getting the Scrambler dirty or scratched. I just ride it and enjoy it.
The comparisons of the two models have been written many times and they are very accurate. Different riding positions, more leg room, more torque down low, the thumpety thump of the 270 crank and the option to do mild off road exploring etc etc.
The truth is you can do just about any type of riding on either model but certain aspects of riding can be done better on one over the other. I can ride down the fire roads on the Bonnie and I can blast down the freeway on the Scrambler. It comes down to your style of riding. If your goal is to cruise at 80+ mph most of the time and occasionally want to explore that dirt road you just rode by, then keep your Bonnie and put some Distanzia's on it. If you're itchin' to get off the beaten path as often as possible but still want to be able to do some occasional canyon carving then the Scrambler is the better choice. I'm fortunate to have the luxury of both. The jury is still out as to which I would keep if I could only have one. By next summer I'll have a better handle on which I ride more often. Right now I'm REALLY enjoying the Scrammie and my pretty Bonnie is tucked away in the garage looking very jealous.
BTW Peter Egan just wrote that he missed his Bonnie and bought another one, so he has both again. Go figure. We are a fickle bunch.