Triumph Street Scrambler first ride: "Smoother and more fun"

Published: 17 January 2017

Everyone loves a scrambler. And everyone will love this. Triumph kicked off the retro scrambler platform back in 2006, paving the way for a new popular breed. Today’s trend veers towards fun, simple and accessible instead of performance orientated. And that’s exactly what Triumph has done with their latest offering, which is what makes it so good. 

Triumph’s most accessible bike is the Street Twin, launched a year ago, it’s simple, manageable, fun, packed with mod-cons, and more importantly – meets Euro4 requirements. So it only makes sense for Triumph to ditch the old 865cc motor and start again with the Street Twin as the donor bike. No complaints here. The Street Twin gets a new ‘High Torque’ 900cc, liquid-cooled parallel twin motor, chassis and electronics package including switchable traction control, ABS, ride-by-wire and slip-assist clutch all wrapped up in an ultra-friendly package. 

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But the Street Scrambler sets itself apart from the Street Twin with its scrambler styling, raised and wider handlebar, a more relaxed riding position thanks to a higher and new seat, slightly more forward pegs, a larger 19” spoke front wheel, new mirrors, new longer suspension units front and rear with 120mm travel, posh side mounted exhaust system, uprated Nissin front brake and an interchangeable pillion seat and aluminium rack as standard. 

But the really sweet extras are found in its off-road CV. Only the traction control is switchable on the Street Twin, while the Scrambler also allows you to switch off the ABS to lock up and slide the back end in the dirt. It’s also got a hefty sump guard, rubber pads on the tank, big grippy pegs with removable rubber inserts and a large off-road brake pedal. It comes with Metzeler Tourance tyres as standard, which do a commendable job both on the tarmac and gravel tracks. While it’s no enduro bike and we wouldn’t go jumping any fences Steve McQueen-style anytime soon, it’s still fun and has all the dirt bobbins you’d want.

Triumph’s attention to its off-road treatment, style and the superb finish is much appreciated. So here’s what makes it better than the outgoing model. It’s more compact, less intimidating, more usable and thoroughly modern. Swing a leg over the low seat, fire it into life and the new brushed aluminium exhaust system plays a distinctly British tune. Click the slick gearbox into first, the super-light slip-assist clutch is effortless and the 900cc parallel-twin pulls away smoothly.

Triumph reckon the new motor produces 28% more power and torque between 2750-4750rpm than the outgoing model and it’s certainly smoother and more refined with a broader spread of power. They also say it’s more fuel efficient and service intervals have been bumped up from 6,000 to 10,000 miles. 

Our launch in Seville took us through tight mountain sweepers, long swoopers, a dirt loop and the odd water crossing and the Scrambler behaved brilliantly throughout. Its wide bars made it a hoot to tip into corners and the silky smooth motor and refined throttle make it incredibly easy to manhandle and push harder, and the exquisite exhaust just loves it when you crack the throttle open. 

The longer fork and rear shocks remain poised and focused on every bend and the new Nissin twin-pot caliper and floating disc provide plenty of stopping power. You can wring its neck and it doesn’t get bent out of shape. The Metzeler Tourance tyres do an excellent job of sticking to the tarmac and easily handle gravel tracks too.

Traction control and ABS is quickly turned off by thumbing the ‘Info’ button on the switchgear. Whip out the rubber footpeg inserts and lock your knees onto the rubber fuel tank pads. If you’ve got images of a Dakar bike in retro Scrambler clothes, this isn’t it. But otherwise the Scrambler is fun on light gravel, the suspension does a good enough job of soaking up light bumps, but anything too deep and it’ll bottom out.

But most importantly, it’ll instantly slap a smile on your face and you’ll feel like Steve McQueen scanning the countryside for fences (just don’t try jumping them).  And that’s what this bike is all about. It’s not performance orientated or an enduro bike, but nor does Triumph pretend it to be. Triumph used the successful Street Twin platform to make the Scrambler more accessible than before and easier to ride. And they’ve done exactly that with this superb reincarnation of a classic. Two reasons why the Twin has done so well and why this Scrambler is going to do brilliantly too. 

VERDICT

Not only is the new Street Scrambler smoother, easier to ride and more fun, it’s also a handsome and extremely well packaged machine with sweet finishing touches and clever attention to detail. Its decent electronics package, off-road bobbins and classic style will appeal to those looking to step up and those wanting to swap a larger machine for something cool and easier to ride. Top job, Triumph.

Price: £9,025 (Matt Khaki Green), £8,900 (Jet Black), £9,200 (Korosi Red and Frozen Silver
Engine: 900cc liquid-cooled, 8v, parallel-twin 
Power: 54bhp@5,900rpm
Torque: 59ftlb@3200rpm
Electronics: Switchable traction control and ABS
Frame: Tubular steel cradle
Dry weight: 213kg
Tank: 12 litres
Seat height: 792mm
Available: mid-February

 

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