New Triumph Scrambler spied

Street Twin spawns a cool new retro machine for 2017

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This is the world’s first glimpse of the all-new Triumph Scrambler, spotted last week undergoing road development work in the UK.

Long before the recent craze for retro scramblers emerged, the Bonnie-based Triumph Scrambler set the template many others have now followed. Its omission from the already-announced classic Triumph family was glaringly obvious, but now we know for sure the firm are working on its replacement.

The new model, seen here in prototype form for the first time, will replace the outgoing Scrambler in 2017 when the old air-cooled version is forced out of production by tightening emissions rules and the need for mandatory ABS.

It’s clear that this prototype is based on the firm’s new 900cc Street Twin rather than the more powerful 1200cc unit used in the T120 Bonneville and Thruxton, and lacks the dual throttle bodies of the bigger motor, instead using the same single throttle body as the Street Twin. Using less costly elements from the Street Twin makes sense if Triumph are to take on the Ducati Scrambler, which sells on style and fun rather than performance.

The clearest departures from the stock Street Twin, at least on this prototype, are the wheels and exhaust. Although Triumph will already sell you a ‘Scrambler Inspiration Kit’ for the Street Twin, including a Vance and Hines high-level exhaust, it’s quite different from the one seen here. The Inspiration Kit’s pipe is a non-road-legal one that eliminates the catalytic converter and much of the silencing of the stock exhaust, and as such it’s an option some buyers won’t want to fit.

The Inspiration Kit also lacks the wire wheels and knobbly tyres needed to really complete the scrambler style, and this machine has both.

The new exhaust seen here is a hand-made prototype. Some of the welding is less than beautiful and there’s been no effort to give it any sort of protective production finish; it’s likely to be a rusty mess in no time. But it does have a catalytic converter mounted under the front section of heat shield, below the rider’s right knee.

The cat is one of the sticking points for the new Scrambler’s development. Triumph’s engineers came up with an ingenious method for hiding the emissions controls on the new water-cooled Street Twin and Bonneville, diverting the exhausts to a hidden catalytic converter under the front of the engine while giving the illusion of pipes that run straight to the end cans at the back. That solution couldn’t be applied to the Scrambler, hence the Inspiration Kit’s non-road-legal pipe.

The fix here isn’t quite as clever as the hidden cat on the Bonneville but it’s neat nonetheless and means the converter doesn’t spoil the bike’s lines. By keeping the header pipes as short as possible the catalyst should reach operating temperature quickly, and positioning it in front of the rider’s leg instead of alongside it should help cut down on the heat problems. The resultant gap where the catalyser would normally reside is masked by a neat little faux sump guard.

Further back, the twin silencers should have no problem keeping the engine’s noise to an acceptable level. Don’t worry about the ugly extensions to the very ends of the exhaust; they’re simply used on prototypes to make it easy for extractor fan systems to be attached when they’re undergoing dyno tests indoors.

The wire wheels and knobbly tyres show that this prototype is testing handling as well as the exhaust system, but we believe the final version of the Scrambler will have further changes to its appearance. In particular the seat and rear mudguard are likely to change. This bike appears to use the stock Street Twin fender allied to a Bonneville T120 seat, but both are likely to be replaced by Scrambler-specific designs when the bike reaches production. The headlight – here taken straight from the Street Twin – could also be swapped for production, probably for a smaller one that would better suit the retro scrambler look.

1200 version likely

While this bike is using the 900cc ‘High Torque’ twin from the Street Twin, both the High Torque 1200 from the T120 and the High Power 1200 from the Thruxton would slot straight into the same space if Triumph decide there’s a market for a more expensive, higher-performance Scrambler.

The firm are certain to be keeping an eye on the sales of BMW’s new 1170cc R NineT Scrambler – due to arrive in July – to judge whether it needs to make something the same size. However, given the relative simplicity of creating such a bike, even if sales are modest it could still be a profitable addition.

Ben Purvis

By Ben Purvis