Streets Ahead
Classic Bike|March 2017

Triumph started the whole street scrambler thing in 1949. We try out the latest incarnation and the classic original.

Alan Cathcart

Triumph re-ignited the fashion for street scramblers in the modern era with the T100-powered 865cc Scrambler of 2006. More recently, we’ve seen similar machines from Ducati, BMW and Moto Guzzi, but with their new-for-2017 900cc Street Scrambler, Triumph have taken the genre to another level.

The new model is based on the 900cc Street Twin introduced a year ago – the first step in the company’s comprehensive overhaul of its Bonneville twin-cylinder range. While designed and developed in the UK at Triumph’s Hinckley base, it will be manufactured at the company’s three factories in Thailand.

Costing £8900 upwards in the UK (including 20% VAT), depending which of the three available colours is chosen, the new Triumph is more expensive than the entry-level Ducati Scrambler Classic by £368, but less costly than Ducati’s more rugged new £9395 Desert Sled or the much more powerful BMW RnineT Scrambler with its £10,550 starting price.

By the time you read this, the new Street Scrambler should be in Triumph showrooms, from which they will hope to shift them as effectively as they have done with the outgoing 865cc model. In doing so, its engineering team headed by Stuart Wood has taken the Street Twin, introduced a year ago, and retuned its watercooled parallel-twin five-speed 900cc motor for a greater spread of torque, and revamped the chassis for notional dual-purpose use. But with just 120mm of travel at either end from its Kayaba/KYB suspension, and not a huge amount of ground clearance allied to a strictly cosmetic plastic sump guard, the new model is essentially a road bike. In a nod to rough-stuff readiness, the bike is shod with off-road-friendly Metzeler Tourance tyres which proved much less noisy or vibrationary than the previous model’s chunky Bridgestones when riding the bike in town or slow traffic.

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