Voxan’s new Scrambler is cute, stylish and a joy to ride.
The French firm build their own motors and bikes with such panache that you’d be forgiven for thinking they come from a little further south… Italy..
The influences for this one come from dirt bikes of the past (hence the name) and I guess sits somewhere between a Ducati Monster and a Suzuki Bandit with off-road tyres.
It’s an odd concept but a very cool looking bike at that. We’re talking the BSA 65 Firebird Scrambler and the Ducati 250, 350 and 450 Scrambler with a very nice 2001 styling job.
Those big twin pipes are insanely cool and there’s standard yet fairly fat forks plus a big chrome headlight and wide bars.
But this bike doesn’t just look good, it’s a real joy to ride. The lumpy 996cc V-twin motor kicks out plenty of power (85bhp) and loads of grunt and it lives for corners.
Voxan build their own engines, no stealing from Suzuki or Ducati here, The fuel-injected 72-degree V-twin is bare and pleasingly simple and the frame tubes double up as the oil tank (its got a dry sump) and cools the bike too. There’s no balancer shaft but the designe of the 73-degree V-twin engine means it’s a vibrating technical compromise between Aprilia’s 60-degree and Ducati’s 90-degree lump.
The frame also contains the air-filter instead of an extra airbox. Very simple, but very cleverly thought out. Voxan’s theory is that less is more and there’s no fancy gimmicks on the bike, just a pure machine.
It’s designed to be that way, simple and fun yet very easy to ride. It’s not going to take on the Paris-Dakar it’s not meant too and is just too low and narrow for that and so skinny.
The first time I sat on the bike outside the hotel I was staying at in Corsica I instantly noticed the fairly low seat height.
To sit on it’s about the same as a Honda Transalp but feels much lighter and narrower. The handlebars are rubber-mounted but the factory are going to change their set-up as they think they don’t give enough feel to the rider. And the seat itself doesn’t have enough padding where you’re cheeks sit so you feel like you’ve been sat on a high-speed wooden bar-stool after a while.
When it’s fired up the noise sounds like a FireStorm and there’s aftermarket cans available. It pulls hard and is in its prime by 5000rpm and revs on fast to 8500rpm where you can feel the power trail off. You can whip it through tight bends and feel the Michelin T66X trail-style tyres moving around as you nail it on the exit.
There’s six speed but to be honest on the road where we tried it I never needed more than second or third. Sixth gear is really an overdrive for sitting back and cruising on longer journeys.
But this isn’t a touring bike, it’s a plaything like a Ducati Monster. You have to spend time getting to know it and get it out on some bends. It turns in quickly and under braking you can feel the tyres’ blocks moving around and once it’s in the corner it’s a bit soft if anything, though fine for this kind of bike.
There’s more on this test in MCN, published on Wednesday, May 30.