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words - Matt Brogan
photos - Josh Thomas
It won’t beat your eggs, but the Scrambler does a fine job of slicing and dicing your favourite roads with an abundance of retro good looks and plenty of attitude

The Bonnie-based Triumph Scrambler has been with us since 2006, its offroad styling – penned by influential British designer, John Mockett – an obvious nod to Triumph’s TR6C Trophy Special, a model that shared its beginnings with the original T120 Bonneville.

Its retro good looks, chromed and stacked pipes and pseudo-military matte khaki paint turn many a head, passers-by commenting that it looks to be in “good nick” for its age. The simple speedo, miner’s-cap headlamp and chunky ‘Desert Sled’-style tyres add to that nostalgic appeal, although the latter ultimately do little for its rideability, at least on the tarmac. 

Not that you’re going to care, because knee-down action and white-knuckle racing is not what the Scrambler is about. Sure, you’re going to miss the creature comforts and ergonomic concessions that come with a ‘new’ bike, but the grin beneath your visor ultimately tells the story. 

That said, the Scrambler can hold its own. It’ll keep pace with most Tupperware-riding weekend warriors, its conservative steering geometry, upright right position and ‘bouncy’ high-profile tyres allowing the bike to sweep along Australia’s typically pockmarked bends with ease -- even if the relatively low ’pegs somewhat limit any truly spirited sporting thrills. 

The 865cc parallel-twin spits out 43kW/69Nm, with plenty of low-down grunt right where you want it. The engine has benefitted from electronic fuel injection since 2009, the injectors cleverly hidden within the fake carburettor bodies to maintain the old-school illusion. The feathery sputter from the pea-shooter pipes provides a stirring aural backdrop as you shift your way through the gearbox’s five well-spaced ratios. The Scrambler accelerates to highway speeds with ease, while at the same time leaving enough in reserve for modest overtaking manoeuvres. 

A nimble handler, the Scrambler tends to bestow the rider with more confidence than is ultimately deserved, and although heavy for its size (at 230kg wet), it’s also forgiving, due in large part to its upright ride position and wide and flat, leverage-affording bars. Firmly sprung, especially at the front, and devoid of any wind protection, the Scrambler can be something of a trial for your arms and shoulders on extended jaunts, but then our 800km weekend ride was a fair old test, and probably a little beyond the model’s regular usage as far as most owners would be concerned. However, with the added amusement of a few fire trails and paddocks thrown into the mix, the Scrambler proved as capable as it was enjoyable.

If we had to note a couple of downsides, the obvious exposure to headwind aside, it’s that the sidestand is a touch too short, meaning it’s a pretty hefty thing to haul up off its sidestand, and the exhaust plumbing – as cool as it looks – means that gripping the tank feels lopsided and, on one side at least, slightly warm. Further, the flat seat means that while the Scrambler won’t beat your eggs, it might mash your goolies – especially on longer runs. 

Otherwise all the switchgear and controls are familiar and easy to operate. The mirrors provide good rearward vision, and the 825mm seat height should prove manageable for most. 

While the Bonnie and Thruxton share the Scrambler’s sentimental style, for my money this is the pick of Triumph’s modern retro bunch. A myriad of add-on and aftermarket parts are also available to customise the model to an owner’s individual taste. After all, Triumph’s Scrambler is all about adopting an attitude – and that's something of which this bike plenty.

SPECS: TRIUMPH SCRAMBLER

ENGINE
Type: Air-cooled, DOHC, 270-degree, parallel-twin
Bore x stroke: 90mm x 68mm
Displacement: 865cc
Compression ratio: 9.2:1
Fuel system: Electronic fuel injection

TRANSMISSION
Type: Five-speed, constant-mesh
Final drive: X-ring chain

CHASSIS AND RUNNING GEAR
Frame type: Twin-sided tubular steel cradle
Front suspension: 41mm Kayaba fork, non-adjustable
Rear suspension: Kayaba twin shocks, preload adjustable
Front brake: 310mm disc with twin-piston Nissin caliper
Rear brake: 255mm disc with twin-piston Nissin caliper

DIMENSIONS AND CAPACITIES
Dry weight: 205kg
Seat height: 825mm
Fuel capacity: 16L

PERFORMANCE
Max power: 43kW at 6800rpm
Max torque: 68Nm at 4750rpm

OTHER STUFF
Price: $11,990
Test bike supplied by: Triumph Australia (www.triumphmotorcycles.com.au)
Warranty: 24 months, unlimited kilometres

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Published : Friday, 4 May 2012
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