MCN Fleet: Street Twin goes scrambling

Published: 03 August 2016

With Triumph’s official Scrambler Inspiration kit mounted to our Street Twin (exhaust, bash plate, seat, grips and indicators), and the excellent Continental TKC80 off-road tyres fitted we took the bike on the Austin Vince Twin Shock Trail Finder in the Spanish Pyrenees to test its scrambling capabilities.

A treasure hunt style event the Trail Finder is as much an exercise in map reading as it is off-road riding with hundreds of trails to get lost on. Intended to be stress free and non-competitive the mountain trails are hard packed and rut free making relatively easy riding with the exception of a few loose, rocky climbs and tricky descents.

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Turning off the ABS

The ABS isn’t switchable on the Street so we disconnected the front wheel sensor and zip tied it out of the way. ABS can be slightly terrifying off-road and as the Street (understandably) doesn’t feature a specific off-road mode we chose to disable it. A quick test ride revealed we’d successfully bypassed the ABS but as the traction control uses the same circuit it was cutting the power above walking pace. Luckily the traction control is switchable so with both systems deactivated we were ready to go.

As we’d half expected, the Street Twin’s road oriented riding position isn’t exactly ideal for off-road riding. The low bars put too much weight over the front of the bike and the riding position is too cramped to ride standing up. On steep descents sliding back on the seat and gripping the tank with your knees helps but it’s quickly tiring plus larger rocks bump you out of the saddle. Climbs are much easier, with a light touch on the grips and careful throttle control the fat rear Continental TKC80 tyre clawed its way through the scree finding some impressive grip despite the bikes 60ft/lb of torque wanting to do the opposite.

Ground clearance is limited but the bash plate is very flat so when the bike did ground out we were able to rock and slide the bike over the obstacle. The Street Twin’s very light ‘slip assist’ clutch also enables the clutch lever to be comfortably operated with two fingers, inspiring confidence on the trail.

Despite it’s shortcomings the Street is a hoot down the trails and with the Continental TKC80 tyres fitted it's more than capable of some light green laning. Front tyre clearance is tight so the mudguard would need raising or removing if the conditions get muddy. I’ll definitely be taking the Street off-road again this summer.

 Thanks to Continental Tyres for the outstanding TKC80 Twinduro tyres, Triumph for preparing the Street Twin and Brittany ferries for the crossing.

Getting to the Pyrenees

With Brittany ferry services to Santander and Bilbao on Spain’s northern coast plus five ports in Normandy, there’s plenty of options for getting to Pyrenees.
We sailed from Plymouth to Roscoff (5 hours or overnight) taking two days driving down through France to our base in Oliana. Alternatively sailing from the UK to the Spanish ports takes 24 hours. The trails we rode are 4-5 hours from Bilbao. 2017 sailings are available now, deposit is just £35 per booking.

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