Harkens Right Back To The Scrambler Heyday Of The ’60s

The scrambler market is enjoying something of a boom with everybody and his uncle jumping on the bandwagon in recent years. Unlike many of these Johnny-come-lately manufacturers, Triumph had been quietly producing their modern version of the classic scrambler concept, in the form of the aptly named Triumph Scrambler, since 2006 and continued up until 2017 when air cooling gave way to liquid. This favorite day-tripper by rough-and-tumble folks like Steve McQueen runs a fuel-injected engine in typical Triumph fashion with 865 cc parallel twin.

Continue reading for my review of the Triumph Scrambler.

  • 2016 - 2017 Triumph Scrambler
  • Year:
    2016- 2017
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    Parallel Twin
  • Displacement:
    865 cc
  • Price:
    9400
  • Price:

Design

2016 - 2017 Triumph Scrambler
- image 658153

1964 Triumph "Desert Sled" TR6

The design similarities between this modern Scrambler and its predecessor from 1956 are too strong to ignore.

Also unlike many of the competitors jumping into the fray, Triumph has its own long-running history to draw upon for inspiration and design characteristics. The Scrambler should be viewed as a continuation of the natural evolution of the brand, not as a reactionary offering by an upstart company looking to capitalize on the resurgent classic-bike market. No offense intended to said upstarts, of course. The market pressure and progressive styling they bring to the table ultimately benefits the consumer, and helps to bridge the gap between classic and contemporary designs.

As much fun as it would be to full-on compare the 2017 Scrambler against its predecessor from 1956, the TR6 Trophy “Desert Sled,” I feel like the design similarities are too strong to ignore, and so I want to at least touch on them here. Look at the two side-by-side, and you will see that this acorn didn’t fall far from the tree. The new Scrambler carries the same blackout fork lowers, bellows fork gaiters and semi-knobby tires as the Desert Sled. Besides the loss of the tank rack, the new Scrambler carries a near-identical tank complete with knee-indentations, rubber knee pads, and on the two-tone version, the same swoop-a-doop paintjob that accentuates the knee recesses. Ok sure, the straight-back exhaust pipes and disc brakes give the Scrambler away, but even Ray Charles could see the similarities between the two.

Personally, I really like the exhaust design, it seems to look fast even when sitting still, and for some reason my earworm is playing the theme song from the “Speed Racer” cartoon. The rest of the ride just exudes that whole, decidedly British Triumph vibe, with undeniable genetic links to one of the great, classic scrambler bikes from back in the day.

Chassis

2016 - 2017 Triumph Scrambler
- image 655599
The semi-knobby tread is a good balance between dirt and street capability, but you have to understand that it's a compromise that makes the tire something of a Jack-of-all, master-of-none.

Trumpet was going for a classic look with this ride, so it stands to reason that they would start with a traditional-looking, double-downtube, double-cradle frame made of steel tubing for the bones with a skid plate to protect the engine cases. The tubular steel swingarm makes no effort to reduce unsprung weight at the rear wheel, but instead focuses on strength and classic design. Laced rims are always a nice touch in my opinion, and the spoked, 19-inch front, and 17-inch rear wheels look just right and add a bit of give to the system for added off-road comfort. Semi-knobby tires complete the rolling chassis, and though the tread is a good balance between dirt and street capability, you have to understand that it’s a compromise that makes the tire something of a Jack-of-all, master-of-none.

The factory tapped Kayaba for the suspension components, and slapped some of its stiff, 41 mm, inverted forks on the front, with a pair of its chromed, coil-over shocks in back. While the front forks come with fixed performance parameters, the rear shocks at least come with an adjustable preload function. Wheel travel is typical for the scrambler class at 4.72 inches of travel up front, and 4.17 inches in the rear, sufficient for casual off-road work, but you can go ahead and forget about setting any new high-jump records on it.

At around a quarter-ton wet, the Scrambler isn’t a lot of bike to have to keep under control, so Triumph gets a pass on the lack of dual binders up front. The twin-piston front caliper pinches a 310 mm disc, while another twin-pot caliper binds the 255 mm rear disc. Trumpet doesn’t offer anything in the way of ABS or linked brakes for the Scrambler, an omission I count as a point in its favor.

Frame: Tubular steel cradle
Swingarm: Twin-sided, tubular steel
Rake: 27.8 degrees
Trail: 4.1 inches
Suspension, Front: KYB 41 mm forks, 4.7-inch travel
Syspension, Rear: Kayaba chromed spring twin shocks with adjustable preload, 4.2-inch travel
Brake, Front: Single 310 mm disc, Nissin two-piston floating caliper
Brake, Rear: Single 255 mm disc, Nissin two-piston floating caliper
Wheels, Front/Rear: 36-spoke 19 x 2.5 inches/ 40-spoke 17 x 3.5 inches
Tires, Front/Rear: 100/90-19/ 130/80-17

Drivetrain

2016 - 2017 Triumph Scrambler
- image 655595
Power output is modest, but geared toward the needs of on- and off-road shenanigannery.

Much like the Desert Sled, the Scrambler comes with the typical parallel-twin mill so prevalent among Triumphs through the ages. The factory stuck to its guns on looks and went with air-cooling for the engine rather than clutter the bike up with a water jacket and big radiator – that came in the next incarnation with the Street Scrambler — but hedged its bet by adding another layer of engine protection in the form of an oil cooler between the downtubes. This isn’t the twingle layout from years past, but runs with a 270-degree offset to the crank that gives it an off-balance firing order; a handy thing to have when you head off-road or decide to tackle some hills.

The over-square, short-stroke engine sweeps 68 mm of the 90 mm bore, for a total displacement of 865 cc. Power output is modest, but geared toward the needs of on- and off-road shenanigannery with 59 ponies at 6,800 rpm and 50.15 pound-feet of torque at 4,750 rpm.

One of my favorite details of the engine has to do with the throttle bodies. Trumpet designed the throttle bodies to look like one of the old constant-velocity (CV) carburetors, a step that no doubt cost bundles in research and development, but it really adds to the whole old/new charm.

A sturdy, five-speed gearbox handles the transmixxer duties via wet clutch, and a chain final drive completes the drivetrain. Now, if the Trumpet designers really wanted to get a little crazy, they could have stuck a kickstarter on there and just put it over the top. The advent of fuel injection and super-smart engine controls makes kicking a viable option again, and even if you never need it, it just looks really cool.

Engine: Air-cooled, DOHC, parallel-twin, 270º firing interval
Displacement: 865 cc
Bore: 90 mm
Stroke: 68 mm
Maximum Power: 59 Horsepower at 6,800 rpm
Maximum Torque: 50.15 Pound-Feet at 4,750 rpm
Fuel System: Multipoint sequential electronic fuel injection with SAI
Exhaust: High level stainless steel headers with twin chromed silencers
Final Drive: X-ring chain
Clutch: Wet, multi-plate
Transmission: Five-Speed

Price

2016 - 2017 Triumph Scrambler
- image 655592
The two-tone Diablo Red and Lunar Silver colorway creates the strongest tie to the past of all three palettes with more than a passing resemblance to the Desert Sled's two-tone paint scheme.

Triumph offers the Scrambler in three different sheet-metal colors and three different prices. The Jet Black model will set you back $9,400, while the nearly-black Matte Pacific Blue goes for a cool $9,650. Two-tone, Diablo Red and Lunar Silver makes up the premium paint package, and it creates the strongest tie to the past of all three palettes with more than a passing resemblance to the Desert Sled’s two-tone paint scheme.

Warranty: Two-Year Unlimited Mileage Warranty - 12-Month Unlimited Mileage Warranty on Replacement Parts
Colors: Jet Black, Matt Pacific Blue, Diablo Red Lunar Silver
Price: Jet Black - $9,400, Matt Pacific Blue - $9,650, Diablo Red Lunar Silver - $9,900

Competitor

2016 - 2017 Triumph Scrambler
- image 776317
2015 - 2018 Ducati Scrambler Classic
- image 776244
Both factories took similar routes in the old-is-new category, and the finished products do more than hint at models popular during the scrambler heyday between 1960 and the mid 1970s.

The Scrambler Classic from Ducati combines design elements from Duc’s own history with a progressive mindset for its own blend of old-is-new in the scrambler category. Both factories took similar routes in this respect, and the finished products do more than hint at models popular during the scrambler heyday between 1960 and the mid-’70s. Duc takes a more progressive tack with a boomerang swingarm and single monoshock tucked up under the seat at a jaunty angle, but the dark-brown tanned leather seat looks as classic and old-school as anything else out there.

Engine displacement is comparable with the Duc falling a little shy at 803 cc, a full 62 cc short of the Trumpet. Italian engineering carries the day once all the numbers are in, and in spite of the smaller size, the L-Twin, Desmodromic mill cranks out 75 horsepower to the Triumph’s 59, and torque falls out the same at 50 pound-feet.

You will pay for that extra little bit of Italian-engine yummiegoodness in the end, though. The Duc Classic rolls for $10, 495, over a grand higher than the Trumpet in basic black. In the end, you have to ask yourself if you want to pay for a little more power, whether you prefer a faithful classic or if a modern tribute is enough to slake your historical thirst.

He Said

“When first I laid my eyes upon the Trumpet Scrambler, I thought, “I feel like I already know this bike.” I even dragged my wife, Allyn, over to see if she could help me remember what this bike looked like. When I pulled out the pics of the Desert Sled, the resemblance was uncanny. I have to give Triumph props here; it made a bike that almost had me thinking it could be a straight-up resurrection ride, something I am still waiting for.”

She Said

My wife and fellow writer, Allyn Hinton, says, "This does look like about every old Triumph, but that’s not really a bad thing. It has styling that is really timeless. When I was a teenager, scramblers were on the way out, but like the hula-hoop and platform shoes, it all comes back into favor. The Triumph Scrambler is a fun, smooth ride with a nice upright seating position."

Specifications

Engine & Drivetrain:
Engine: Air-cooled, DOHC, parallel-twin, 270º firing interval
Displacement: 865 cc
Bore: 90 mm
Stroke: 68 mm
Maximum Power: 59 Horsepower at 6,800 rpm
Maximum Torque: 50.15 Pound-Feet at 4,750 rpm
Fuel System: Multipoint sequential electronic fuel injection with SAI
Exhaust: High level stainless steel headers with twin chromed silencers
Final Drive: X-ring chain
Clutch: Wet, multi-plate
Transmission: Five-Speed
Chassis:
Frame: Tubular steel cradle
Swingarm: Twin-sided, tubular steel
Rake: 27.8 degrees
Trail: 4.1 inches
Suspension, Front: KYB 41 mm forks, 4.7-inch travel
Suspension, Rear: Kayaba chromed spring twin shocks with adjustable preload, 4.2-inch travel
Brake, Front: Single 310 mm disc, Nissin two-piston floating caliper
Brake, Rear: Single 255 mm disc, Nissin two-piston floating caliper
Wheel, Front: 36-spoke 19 x 2.5 inches
Wheel, Rear: 40-spoke 17 x 3.5 inches
Tire, Front: 100/90-19
Tire, Rear: 130/80-17
Dimensions and Capacities:
Length: 87.1 inches
Width: 33.9 inches
Height (without mirrors): 47.3 inches
Seat Height: 32.5 inches
Wheelbase: 59 inches
Fuel Capacity: 4.2 Gallons
Curb Weight: 507.1 Pounds
Shipping Weight: 471.8 Pounds
Oil Capacity: 1.2 Gallons
Fuel Economy: City: 46 mpg, Highway: 60 mpg
Details:
Instrument Display and Functions: Analogue speedometer with odometer and trip information
Warranty: Two-Year Unlimited Mileage Warranty - 12-Month Unlimited Mileage Warranty on Replacement Parts
Colors: Jet Black, Matt Pacific Blue, Diablo Red Lunar Silver
Price: Jet Black - $9,400, Matt Pacific Blue - $9,650, Diablo Red Lunar Silver - $9,900

References

Ducati Scrambler Classic

2015 - 2018 Ducati Scrambler Classic
- image 671224

See our review of the Ducati Scrambler Classic->art165652].

Triumph Street Scrambler

2017 - 2018 Triumph Street Scrambler
- image 773769

See our review of the Triumph Street Scrambler.

All images featured on this website are copyrighted to their respective rightful owners. No infringement is intended. Image Source: ducati.com, triumphmotorcycles.com

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