Wild Child

We take Tri­umph’s lat­est cre­ation, the Street Scram­bler, out for a ride around the city to see what it is made of. The Scram­bler mo­tif is in­spired by the swingin’ six­ties, so will it live up to that McQueen era of ef­fort­less cool?


Scram­blers seem to be mak­ing a bit of a come­back. The genre of motorcycle that was birthed in the 1960s and faded away a decade or so later seems to be mak­ing a strong resurgence these days. All the big Euro­pean bike-mak­ers have gone down the scram­bler route of late, and the lat­est to get on this par­tic­u­lar hype train are Tri­umph. For the keen-eyed reader who has his or her pulse on the in­ter­na­tional scene, yes, there used to be a Tri­umph Scram­bler avail­able abroad since 2006, but it didn’t do very well and has since been dis­con­tin­ued, plus it was never sold on In­dian shores. Any­way, it’s here now, and it sure does look the part.

Shiny twin pipes mounted high and run­ning across the length of the bike? Yes, please! And there’s a whole new bike to go with it too. Ac­tu­ally, scratch that; it is a bit of a stretch to call the Street Scram­bler new, be­cause, as is hinted at in its name, it bor­rows heav­ily from the Street Twin. Same en­gine, in a dif­fer­ent state of tune, though, (and, of course, the afore­men­tioned shiny new ex­haust). The tubu­lar frame is re­tained, too, but the Scram­bler gets a 19” front wheel (spokes, not al­loys) in­stead of the 18-incher on the Twin, and the sus­pen­sion setup has been changed as well. The Scram­bler rides on a Kayaba setup front and back. More on that later, though; for now, back to the looks.

That ex­haust is def­i­nitely the stand­out el­e­ment, but there are a few other choice ad­di­tions that set the Street Scram­bler apart from its sib­ling. Other ad­di­tions unique to the Scram­bler are a funky-look­ing alu­minium bracket for the head­lamp, a re­freshed mir­ror de­sign, rub­ber kneepads slapped on to either side of the tank, a bash-plate to pro­tect the bike’s un­der­belly, and an alu­minium rear rack that can be swapped on to the bike in place of the rear seat — a cool fea­ture for the travel-junkie and one that comes as stan­dard too. Those spoke wheels I men­tioned ear­lier (19s up front and 17s at the back) are great look­ers, too, and give the bike a stance that is quite pleas­ing aes­thet­i­cally. All in all, the Street Scram­bler’s old school ethos is one that’s quite pleas­ing on the eye. The lev­els of fit and fin­ish are pleas­ing, too, over­all; how­ever, the rub­ber front­fork cov­ers don’t re­ally cover the fork tubes com­pletely, which is one lit­tle fly in the oint­ment.

Sit­ting on the bike you’re pretty up­right, with the solid, one-piece han­dle­bar and mid-set pegs com­bin­ing to of­fer a sorted rid­ing po­si­tion. That bev­elled seat wrapped in Al­can­tara is quite com­fort­able too. The sin­gle-pod ana­logue meets dig­i­tal con­sole is sim­ple and ef­fec­tive, and shows a whole bunch of per­ti­nent in­for­ma­tion, in­clud­ing a fuel in­di­ca­tor, rev-counter, odome­ter,

gear po­si­tion, and even dis­tance to empty, among other things.

A quick thumb on the starter fires up that 900-cc, liq­uid-cooled, fu­elin­jected, eight-valve par­al­lel-twin that does duty on the Street Twin. How­ever, while peak power is iden­ti­cal at 55 PS, it peaks at 6,000 revs, 100 rpm later than on its sib­ling, and the slightly lower torque fig­ure of 78.84 Nm comes in a lit­tle lower down the rev-range, at 3,050 rpm. Pull on the light, ride-by-wire and torque as­sisted clutch, and shift that smooth five-speed trans­mis­sion into gear to get go­ing, and the Scram­bler belts out some pleas­ing notes from its shot­gun dual-pipes. Look good, sound good, and Tri­umph as­sured us at the bike’s launch that they would also have an “ef­fec­tive heat-man­age­ment sys­tem”. Sadly, in the traf­fic-choked bits of the city, in par­tic­u­lar, the ex­haust did get a lit­tle hot for com­fort.

The burst of ac­cel­er­a­tion you get when get­ting off the line is pleas­ing, though, and over­takes are eas­ily ac­com­plished as the Street Scram­bler just keeps on pulling away. In fact, you don’t even have to shift through the gears too of­ten either, be­cause the Scram­bler has a de­cent torque spread across the gears. You can ac­com­plish triple-dig­its fairly quickly out on the high­way; how­ever, you can ex­ploit all of the Scram­bler’s top-whack per­for­mance be­cause that rid­ing po­si­tion cou­pled with a lack of wind­screen means you’re al­ways bat­tling the el­e­ments. Speak­ing of high­ways, a 12-litre tank means while you won’t be do­ing ex­tended cross­coun­try runs on a sin­gle tank, you should be able to man­age a good dis­tance with­out the need to pull over.

She’s ag­ile, too, eas­ily flick­able and steady as she goes around a cor­ner. Those Met­zeler Tourance tyres grip the tar­mac well even when you push the Scram­bler. There’s no worry about bumps rat­tling your spine either,

As a pack­age, the Street Scram­bler is a pretty good one then — it looks good, rides de­cently, and of­fers a good burst of speed

be­cause the non-ad­justable Kayaba tele­scopic forks and pre-load ad­justable twin shocks both are fairly pli­ant. They also of­fer 120 mm of travel, so bot­tom­ing out isn’t likely and, of course, there’s the added in­sur­ance of the afore­men­tioned bash-plate in case you do. Brak­ing comes from a 310-mm disc up front and 255-mm one in the rear, com­plete with ABS. Stop­ping power on the Scram­bler is com­mend­able, too, with the brakes of­fer­ing a nice chunk of bite and hold­ing their com­po­sure un­der hard brak­ing. The ABS is switch­able, al­low­ing you to have some fun when tak­ing the Scram­bler off road, even though it isn’t a hard core off-roader by any means.

As a pack­age, the Street Scram­bler is a pretty good one then. It looks good, rides de­cently, and of­fers a good burst of speed. It’s ver­sa­tile, too; with­out stand­ing out in any par­tic­u­lar genre, the Scram­bler does a bit of ev­ery­thing. Heck, you even get an un­der-seat USB charg­ing point. The Street Scram­bler is priced at Rs 8.10 lakh (ex-show­room) which is com­pet­i­tive when com­pared to its clos­est ri­val, the Scram­bler Du­cati. A good op­tion then, if you want a daily rider that can don many hats.

Front fork cover doesn’t en­tirely cover the fork tubes Sump guard is use­ful when off road

Twin ex­haust pipes are eye-catch­ing Rub­ber tank grips help in keep­ing the bike steady

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