It’s easy to fall in love with the Triumph Street Scrambler
When I think about the scrambler, the first image that comes to my mind is Steve McQueen with a cigarette on his lips. It doesn’t get much cooler than that. How many of you have seen a casual picture of the King of Cool on a Scrambler? Triumph never produced the bike in that way, they used to be Bonnevilles modified for the dirt track. Steve had a strong connection with the British motorcycle brand, he even took part in the International Six Days Enduro in 1964 in East Germany.
Many of you remember Evel Knievel performing his shows on a Harley-Davidson XR-750. But he began his career on a Triumph and the jump the Caesar Palace that makes him famous was performed on a scrambler version based on a Bonneville.
In 2006 Triumph decided to make a factory ready-to-go Scrambler. They were the first and were immediately followed by Ducati, BMW, and Yamaha.
It sounds and it feels how it should
I’m riding it since five minutes on this twisty road and I already love it. It is designed to have fun. I’m sitting upright with a wide high handlebar in front of me like a scrambler should be. There is no rev counter on the Scrambler, the dashboard consists in just one gauge in miles and kilometers. It’s small and elegant with all the information you need.
The engine is the same 900cc parallel twin from the Bonneville though with a max torque delivered under 3000 rpm. The sense of readiness of the engine is amplified by the very precise ride-by-wire and the 55 HP are enough to leave a big smile on my face in every corner. I think we are all getting too numbers obsessed, me included and it’s refreshing to ride a motorcycle on the road and enjoy all of it.
Another detail that I’m really like, is the sound, not the exhaust noise, I’m talking about the engine. It’s the different crank angle of 270° which replace the old 360°. This makes the throttle response smoother when you open the gas in a corner and it sounds fantastic.
I’m riding it on bumpy roads and it’s always comfortable for its higher and softer suspensions but without losing riding precision. The brakes are a good compromise between tarmac and dirt, in terms of stopping power. When I pull the lever it feels softer in the beginning and it’s progressively stronger. This will give you the confidence you need in lower grip conditions.
What I like about this Scrambler are the overall proportions, it’s a good looking bike from every angle and on top of that it has this immortal aura. It makes you feel cool.
I’m trying to find something I don’t like about it. Someone would argue “You can’t have a long ride on a highway on that” but those are statement like “The sky is blue” and “The water is wet”. They find no place in a sensible conversation.
To be honest the high exhaust pipes felt a bit in the way of my right knee at the beginning. But after 5 minutes, I didn’t care nor about the exhaust nor about my knee.
A Final Thought
When motorcycle manufacturers decide to bring back to life an old classic, they have to follow one of two paths. Either going for accuracy alienating a younger audience or going for a new design inspired by the old with the risk of losing the connection to their roots. Triumph walks the line brilliantly.
Originally published at www.gasolirium.com on May 19, 2017.