Ride Review: Triumph Street Scrambler

Street Cup, Street Twin and Street Scrambler. This trio of Triumphs all share the new 900cc, water-cooled twin, tuned for mild-horsepower but good low down torque. Curiously the 270 degree crank motor develops its 80 Nm of torque at 3,230 rpm in Street Twin and Cup guise, but at a mere 2,850 rpm in the Scrambler. As the motor specs appear identical, it must be the exhaust on the Scrambler that causes the maximum grunt to be produced 400 odd rpm lower.

The motor is an absolute peach. Uncannily smooth and grunty, the Scrambler lunges off the line and through the gears absolutely effortlessly. The five speed box is an extremely willing accomplice. Buttery smooth and precise on both up and downshifts – it is superb. Clutch action is smooth, seamless and snatch free.

Riding this bike got me doing some serious soul searching. It is simple and refined and effortless to ride. Everything works in perfect harmony. The torquey engine feel, easy stable steering and firm, decently damped suspension and neutral riding position, is just so right! It is everything that I love about bikes. So what is the soul searching I refer to?

Well, here’s the thing. Too many riders measure motorcycles by one yardstick only- speed. If a bike doesn’t hoik the wheel in the air on a whiff of throttle or pin the speedo on 300 kph, it is not worthy of consideration. Fact is, bikes that fit this mould, whilst exciting and adrenaline pumping, are intense and narrow focused. The only time you really enjoy them is when on the limit. Short of that and they are literally a pain in the neck. They are also complex. Engine modes, suspension settings, traction control, engine braking adjustment and who knows what else?

And then we have the Street Scrambler. No playstation here. Simply everything that makes a motorcycle an enduring pleasure. For starters it looks the business! From any angle the proportions are just right.

17inch rear wheel, 19inch front, adorned with a single 310mm front disc chomped on by a 2 piston Nissin caliper. Wheels are chromed spokes laced to black steel rims. A single clock rides above a black headlight mounted on aluminium brackets. The tank is truly a thing of beauty. It totally captures the spirit of the original Bonnie. Fenders are black and bobbed. Flickers are black and tidy and look like classy custom units. The taillight too is small, black and classically shaped. The red and silver paint job on the test bike is stunning. In scrambler fashion, the pipes are upswept, culminating in two reverse cone megaphone silencers stacked on the right side of the bike. Black springs on chromed twin rear shocks complete a perfect picture. To top it all, the seat has a suede finish.

Scrambler owners get a pillion seat as well as a tidy aluminium rack. The pillion foot-pegs are easily removed if you mount the rack. Damn, the guys at Triumph have done a really complete job. The single circular speedo is analogue with a digital readout in a rectangular shape in the clock face. Pushing an “i” button on the left handlebar switch scrolls between odo, 2 x trip meters, current fuel consumption, average consumption, ABS on/off, traction control on/off, clock and very cleverly a digital rev counter. So wonderfully simple. Push the button to scroll, or hold it in to switch a function on or off or reset.

Switch the bike on with the key mounted behind the speedo; pull the clutch and thumb the starter incorporated into the kill switch. The big twin settles into a throaty burbling idle. The seat is low, (120mm of shock travel both ends) so swinging a leg over is a cinch. Settle on the comfy seat. The bars are the perfect width, shape and height. Snick the Trumpet into gear, and off you go. Fueling and response from the ride-by-wire-throttle is perfect. If you think I’m sugar coating this, you are right! In fact, I am pouring the whole bloody tin of syrup over it. For what it is, the bike is flawless.

Speed freaks will call it slow and boring and you know what? I couldn’t give a rats! For me the Triumph Street Scrambler, with its classic good looks, fantastic light and agile ride and wonderful demeanor, oozes soul and class. Nuff said, I have placed my order. Buy yourself one before the Rand tanks, you will not regret it! Keep your crotch rocket by all means, but buy a Scrambler too. I know which one you’ll spend the most time on!

For more information visit: www.triumphmotorcycles.co.za

My name is Dave Cilliers. I consider cars as four wheeled shopping baskets and only worth using as a last resort! For years bikes have been my primary transport. Racing, touring, commuting or just kicking up dust on African tracks, I have owned over 270 motorcycles and ridden millions of kilometres. I am happiest when sharing my passion for motorcycles with like minded people whilst traversing Africa in search of adventure.