Tough Enough For The Baja 1000 Endurance Race

Triumph brings classic scrambler looks and modern performance together with its new-for-MY2019 Scrambler 1200 XE. The “XE” carries itself with plenty of the old-school standard DNA on display and an off-road bias that leaves no doubt as to how it’s meant to be used. Proper “any-road” hoops deliver the goods on just about any surface, but it’s the top-shelf safety electronics that really sell this Bonneville-powered ride. Triumph promises a machine with a true dual-identity, so today I want to test that claim and see how it stacks up against one or two prominent competitors.

Continue reading for my review of the Triumph Scrambler 1200 XE.

2019 Triumph Scrambler 1200 XE Design

2019 Triumph Scrambler 1200 XE
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Triumph uses the XE as its weapon of choice for its historic return to the Baja 1000 endurance race, so this is a bona fide racebike.

This is one acorn that didn’t fall far from the tree; the classic references start off right out of the gate with aluminum rims and steel laces that never went out of vogue with true off-roadie types. A cut-down front fender lends it a race-custom air, and it’s far from the last feature to do so. Blackout treatment at the rim, fender support, tripletree and headlight can reinforces that custom panache to become the common thread that ties the whole design together no matter which of the two paint packages you choose.

The overall design may date back to the ’50s, but the instrumentation is decidedly modern. It uses a multi-function, digital TFT display for all the pertinent metrics with a bevy of indicator lights to handle the more mundane functions plus the electronic yummy-goodness that is the traction control, rider modes and ABS features. Heated handgrips come stock, and they’re paired with stock handguards.

A 4.2-gallon, teardrop fuel tank dominates the flyline ahead of an old-school bench seat, and it rocks proper knee-pockets forming a narrow waist with indents up front that relieve the upper triple-clamp and allow for a wide range of travel at the steering head. This is done to allow for better slow-speed maneuvers of the sort that’ll come in handy when negotiating untamed terrain.

Frame-mount, fold-up passenger footpegs join an old-school J.C. handle that runs around the back of the p-pad area and sports segregated hard points for a couple o’ bungee cords, or perhaps a net, for a little cargo capacity instead.

Like the front, the rear fender is cut quite short with just enough room to plunk down an LED taillight, but the rear winkers and license plate ride on a short mudguard extension to complete the gear in the rear. Though the exhaust is still a case of function-over-form, there’s no denying the aesthetic value of those dual shotgun exhaust pipes that ride high on the right side. Yeah, it’s a shameless racing reference, but why not? Trumpet uses the XE as its weapon of choice for its historic return to the Baja 1000 endurance race, so this is a bona fide racebike.

The factory also makes it easy for you to record your “perfectly legal” adventures with an integrated GoPro feature that uses Bluetooth connectivity to establish a network for the camera. That same wireless connection pulls your iOS or Android phone into the network so you can field calls under way and pipe in your favorite tunes. You can also pre-plan your trips with navigation, complete with points-of-interest all set up ahead of time and imported from the Triumph app.

2019 Triumph Scrambler 1200 XE Chassis

2019 Triumph Scrambler 1200 XE
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Wheel travel is the big tell on this machine, because nobody but rough-terrain riders are going to find themselves in need of that kind of suspension stroke.

Laced wheels round out the rolling chassis with tubeless Metzeler Tourance hoops that bear generous street flats with a deep crosshatch tread pattern for grip on soft surfaces. In an effort to keep weight down, the tubular-steel frame has an aluminum cradle section with a two-side aluminum swingarm that articulates the rear wheel and contributes to a low unsprung weight at the rear wheel. All the weight-saving measures pay off in the end with a 456-pound dry weight.

Inverted, 47 mm Showa forks float the front end on a generous 9.8-inches of travel and the full trinity of adjustments. The rear end rides on a pair of piggyback, coil-over Öhlins shocks that also sport the trifecta of adjustments with the same long travel as the front for all-around off-road yummy-goodness. This is the big tell on this machine, because nobody but rough-terrain riders are going to find themselves in need of that kind of suspension stroke.

The factory makes sure you can dial in the rider’s triangle right where you need/want it with adjustable foot controls to tweak the lower point of the triangle along with reversible handlebar risers and adjustable bar to modify the upper point.

Tire size is asymmetrical with a 90/90-21 ahead of a 150/50-17, and that bolsters the custom angle yet more. You could consider the XE to be a mid-size ride and not be far from the mark. Curb weight is something just under a quarter-ton, but the factory doubled down on the stopping power up front with four-piston, M50 Brembo monobloc anchors to bite the dual 320 mm discs, also from Brembo. Same with the 255 mm disc and twin-piston caliper out back, plus, both ends benefit from ABS coverage.

An Inertial Measurement Unit feeds data about vehicle attitude and the forces affecting the bike at any given time, and that allows the ABS to calculate the available traction and modulate the strength of the intervention accordingly. This lets you safely use your brakes to the max, even in the corners. As for the cornering itself, a 26.9-degree rake and 5.09-inch trail point to a relatively eager ride in the bends with a 61.8-inch wheelbase for mid-level tracking in a crosswind or when punching through the bow wave of a big rig.

Frame: Tubular steel with aluminum cradle
Swingarm: Twin-sided, aluminum
Front Suspension/Travel: Showa 47 mm fully adjustable upside down forks, 9.8 in (250 mm)
Rear Suspension/Wheel Travel: Fully adjustable Ohlins twin shocks with piggy back reservoir/ 9.8 in (250 mm)
Rake: 26.9 º
Trail: 5.09 in (129.2 mm)
Front Brakes: Twin 320 mm Brembo discs, Brembo M50 4-piston radial monobloc calipers, ABS
Rear Brakes: Single 255 mm disc, Brembo 2-piston floating caliper, ABS
Front Wheel: Tubeless 36-spoke 21 x 2.15 in, aluminum rims
Rear Wheel: Tubeless 32-spoke 17 x 4.25 in, aluminum rims
Front Tire: 90/90-21
Rear Tire: 150/50 R17

2019 Triumph Scrambler 1200 XE Drivetrain

2019 Triumph Scrambler 1200 XE
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The power figures indicate a thrilling ride, no matter which surface you prefer.

The safety electronics continue into the drivetrain with six rider modes: five preset at the factory for Road/Rain/Sport/Off-road/Off-road Pro, plus a sixth power-delivery profile that is user-adjustable so you can develop your own unique engine personality. On top of that, there’s a traction control feature that draws on the IMU to deliver lean-sensitive interventions to improve the cornering stability. That’s a triple-whammy of safety fandanglery, and it makes the XE exceptionally user friendly.

Power comes from a liquid-cooled parallel-twin engine that retains the look of the old air-cooled Twingles but instead relies on a tastefully proportioned radiator mounted high on the downtubes to manage the waste heat. A 270-degree crank offset gives it an attractive lope at idle, plus the uneven power-pulses are ideal for off-road work since the extra delay every other stroke gives the tire more time to gain purchase (there’s a reason why Harleys, [Indians-<rub662] and Triumphs dominated the old hill-climbing races).

The eight-valve head uses a single over-head cam to time the poppets, and that keeps the top-end relatively uncomplicated. Bore and stroke measure out at 97.6 mm and 80 mm respectively, with an 11-to-1 compression ratio that’ll call for nothing less than supreme, high-octane push-o-line. Power flows through a slip-and-assist clutch that prevents excessive backtorque from endangering the integrity of the rear contact patch, and it feeds through the six-speed gearbox before it heads to the rear wheel via chain drive.

What does that get you? Well, the dyno says it turns out a total of 89-horsepower at 7,400 rpm, but full torque maxes out relatively low with 81.1 pound-feet at 3,950 rpm; excellent power considering how it’s meant to be used, and pretty efficient to boot with Euro 4 emissions compliance and a claimed 58 mpg fuel rating.

Engine: Liquid-cooled, 8 valve, SOHC, 270° crank angle parallel-twin
Displacement: 1200 cc
Bore x Stroke: 97.6 mm x 80 mm
Compression: 11.0:1
Max Power EC: 89 hp (66.2 kW) @ 7,400 rpm
Max Torque EC: 81.1 lb-ft (110 Nm) @ 3,950 rpm
System: Multipoint sequential electronic fuel injection
Exhaust: Brushed 2 into 2 exhaust system with brushed high level silencers
Final Drive: X ring chain
Clutch: Wet, multi-plate assist clutch
Gearbox: 6-speed

2019 Triumph Scrambler 1200 XE Pricing

2019 Triumph Scrambler 1200 XE
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MSRP is TBA, but look for it to come in around $11k.

Not yet announced as of this writing, but estimated to be somewhere around the $11,000 mark. It comes in a Cobalt Blue tank finish with a Jet Black stripe or a Brooklands Green stripe over Fusion White.

Instrument Display and Functions: TFT multi­functional instrument pack with digital speedometer, trip computer, digital tachometer, gear position indicator, fuel gauge, service indicator, ambient temperature, clock and Rider Modes (Rain/Road/Sport/Off­road/Off-road Pro/Rider-Customizable)
Color: Cobalt Blue/Jet Black, Fusion White/Brooklands Green
Price: TBA

2019 Triumph Scrambler 1200 XE Competitors

2019 Triumph Scrambler 1200 XE
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2018 Ducati Scrambler 1100
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The Duc is definitely targeted at a younger buyer base than the Brit, and it comes off looking a bit more like a big-boy toy than a serious dual-surface machine.

It’s hard to think of scramblers without thinking about Ducati’s range, and it seems to me that the Scrambler 1100 makes a dandy competitor here, certainly a better one than say, I don’t know, anything from H-D or Indian. The “1100” follows a similar design with a heavily bobbed front fender that rides between tough-looking, inverted front forks.

A stressed-engine frame leaves the Duc with a more modern look, but unfortunately, little in the way of charm. I do like the gull-wing swingarm and asymmetrical rear suspension, but it only comes with adjustable preload and rebound damping against the full trinity with the Trumpet. Since the front forks are fully adjustable, they’re a wash. The rear fender is chopped to the extreme, and it relies on the license plate to form part of the spray control to an even greater degree than the XE, but just barely.

No doubt about it, the Duc is definitely targeted at a younger buyer base than the Brit, and it comes off looking a bit more like a big-boy toy than a serious dual-surface machine. Overall, I’m more of a fan of the old-school British looks, but I realize looks are subjective. The important question is; what do you think about the looks? I think it’s pretty cool that both bikes have cornering-type ABS, and am surprised at how ubiquitous second-generation systems have become.

The 1,079 cc Desmodromic L-twin powerplant delivers the goods with 86-ponies and 65-pounds o’ grunt against 89/81, and it sends said power through a slipper-clutch and six-speed transmission for the same level of protection as the XE. Ducati chucks on its own riding modes and traction control to make the 1100 every bit as advanced as the XE.

Last year, the 1100 rolled for $12,995, and it’ll probably be about the same when the North American prices are announced. Furthermore, I expect the stickers to be roughly in the same neighborhood with the Italian looking slightly prouder at the checkout.

He Said

“It’s one thing to give a bike a racing panache, but it’s something else entirely to bestow it with actual ability. The new Scrambler 1200 XE delivers the goods with modern performance and safety that bundle so very nicely with the classic standard look. Vanity aside, the power figures indicate a thrilling ride, no matter which surface you prefer.”

She Said

My wife and fellow motorcycle writer, Allyn Hinton, says, “This bike is built for serious business. The big piston Showa forks up front, twin Öhlins in the rear, long suspension travel, and fully adjustable suspension really lets you do proper jumps and throw this baby around in the dirt like you always wanted to but couldn’t. This is no poser bike. It looks like a serious machine, and it is a serious machine.”

2019 Triumph Scrambler 1200 XE Specifications

Engine & Drivetrain:
Engine: Liquid-cooled, 8 valve, SOHC, 270° crank angle parallel-twin
Displacement: 1200 cc
Bore x Stroke: 97.6 mm x 80 mm
Compression: 11.0:1
Max Power EC: 89 hp (66.2 kW) @ 7,400 rpm
Max Torque EC: 81.1 lb-ft (110 Nm) @ 3,950 rpm
System: Multipoint sequential electronic fuel injection
Exhaust: Brushed 2 into 2 exhaust system with brushed high level silencers
Final Drive: X ring chain
Clutch: Wet, multi-plate assist clutch
Gearbox: 6-speed
Chassis:
Frame: Tubular steel with aluminum cradle
Swingarm: Twin-sided, aluminum
Front Suspension/Travel: Showa 47 mm fully adjustable upside down forks, 9.8 in (250 mm)
Rear Suspension/Wheel Travel: Fully adjustable Öhlins twin shocks with piggy back reservoir/ 9.8 in (250 mm)
Rake: 26.9 º
Trail: 5.09 in (129.2 mm)
Front Brakes: Twin 320 mm Brembo discs, Brembo M50 4-piston radial monobloc calipers, ABS
Rear Brakes: Single 255 mm disc, Brembo 2-piston floating caliper, ABS
Front Wheel: Tubeless 36-spoke 21 x 2.15 in, aluminum rims
Rear Wheel: Tubeless 32-spoke 17 x 4.25 in, aluminum rims
Front Tire: 90/90-21
Rear Tire: 150/50 R17
Dimensions & Capacities:
Width Handlebars: 35.6 in (905 mm)
Height Without Mirror: 49.2 in (1,250 mm)
Seat Height: 34.2 in (870 mm)
Wheelbase: 61.8 in (1,570 mm)
Dry Weight: 456 lbs (207 kg)
Tank Capacity: 4.2 US gal (16 l)
Fuel Consumption: 58 mpg (4.9 l/100 km)
Details:
Instrument Display and Functions: TFT multi­functional instrument pack with digital speedometer, trip computer, digital tachometer, gear position indicator, fuel gauge, service indicator, ambient temperature, clock and Rider Modes (Rain/Road/Sport/Off­road/Off-road Pro/Rider-Customizable)
Color: Cobalt Blue/Jet Black, Fusion White/Brooklands Green
Price: TBA

Further Reading

Ducati Scrambler 1100

2018 Ducati Scrambler 1100
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Read our review of the Ducati Scrambler 1100.

Triumph Scrambler 1200 XC

2019 Triumph Scrambler 1200 XC
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See our review of the Triumph Scrambler 1200 XC.

Triumph

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Read more Triumph news.

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

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