Triumph Scrambler 400 X long-term test | Is the new baby Triumph powerful enough for a bigger rider?

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“I think I’m a bit heavy for it.” This was my response when a colleague suggested that the Triumph Scrambler 400 X looked right up my street, and I was only half joking. At and 17st (ish) and 6ft (also ish) I assumed the 40bhp and diminutive frame would leave it wheezing away underneath me like one of those poor donkeys on the TV appeals.

And would I be content with such modest power figures? Between the new Scrambler and last year’s long-term test bike, a BMW M1000R, I’d have lost the equivalent of a Yamaha MT-10 in poke.

But after a little over 500 miles and a month of whizzing around imagining that I look like Steve McQueen or the next James Bond (not a donkey abuser), I’m happy to report that I’m having the time of my life and I don’t know what I was so worried about! From the moment I first pressed the starter button and heard the throaty, single-cylinder engine fire into life, I was smitten.

MCN fleet Triumph Scrambler 400 X coffee stop

In fact, my admiration started before that first fire-up. A quick poke around the bike’s nooks and crannies confirmed what everyone had been telling me about the fit and finish. How Triumph have built this bike to such a low price AND managed such attention to detail and panache is beyond me.

Sure, building it in India helps, but millions of bikes are built in emerging economies these days, and this is truly a step up in quality to my eyes. Only time will tell if the perception matches reality.

Teething issues

Cards on the table, this isn’t the first Triumph Scrambler 400 X delivered to MCN for the test fleet. The first was snaffled by the road test team before I’d even laid my eyes on it and then went back to Hinckley with a weeping fork seal and a shining immobiliser warning light.

MCN fleet Triumph Scrambler 400 X tested for MCN by Ben Clarke

What’s that kit?

Now, these are minor issues and nothing that’s worried me particularly, but they have served as a reminder that this is a completely new platform for Triumph and there is potential for some reliability gremlins. 

It’s all relative 

So, what of my performance anxiety (the bike’s, I mean)? Well, it’s not what you would call a fast bike, but it’s by no means slow either. It’s more than capable of keeping up with the traffic and, if you kick the gearbox down a few cogs, you can overtake lorries and other slow-moving traffic without issue. You can easily cruise at motorway speed without any buzzing or vibrations or go slightly faster with them.

And actually, pinning the throttle wide for extended periods, planning my overtakes and generally gadding about without worrying about the number on the speedo, has proved a real tonic.