Road Ready Scrambler
Two years ago Triumph took another long look in its corporate rearview mirror in launching its revamped modern Street Scrambler tribute to one of the most successful models in its 1960s classic-era lineup; the go-anywhere Trophy street enduro. Amidst all the furore when Ducati launched its Scrambler sub-brand back in 2014, many overlooked that it was actually Triumph which invented the street scrambler category back in 1949 with the TR5 Trophy. This was named after the three Speed Twin-based bikes that the British company built for the 1948 ISDT in Italy to win three gold medals and the Manufacturers team trophy in that gruelling event. The street legal replica which followed powered Triumph’s expansion in the USA, where street scramblers became a big deal in the Sixties with Triumphs the class kingpins, dominating desert racing and enduro events for the next two decades.
Now in company with the Street Twin roadster with which it shares the same engine package, the Triumph Street Scrambler has been similarly updated for 2019. This means it shares the same engine improvements and enhanced electronic rider aid features as the Street Twin, but in addition to the twin Road and Rain riding modes, there’s a third Off-road setting which turns off the ABS and traction control completely (which can then be re-enabled on the move by holding the mode button in for one second), while delivering full power, but with a more progressive throttle response.
Brakes and suspension remain unchanged, but other differences include the fitting of wire wheels shod with Metzeler Tourance dual-purpose rubber, including a 19-inch front with 100/90-19 tyre. And while dry weight is the same as the Street Twin at 198kg, the steering geometry of the tubular steel frame is more relaxed, with a 25.6º rake for the same 41mm non-adjustable Kayaba fork, and 109mm of trail. The wheelbase is also much longer, at 1445mm, which combined with the 19-inch front wheel means the bike does understeer if you try to ride to like a café racer to keep up with someone on the real thing, such as a Street Twin.
There’s three new colour options for the 2019 Street Scrambler, with Fusion White as the base model costing £9300 in the UK, Cranberry Red at £9450, and a Khaki Green and Matt Aluminium two-tone paint scheme at £9650. Deliveries will commence in late January in the UK.
Swapping back and forth between the Scrambler and the Street Twin revealed that they have identical engine performance, but that the putative off-roader has a softer power delivery thanks to altered mapping, and doubtless too the different side-mounted exhaust running down the right side of the bike, which looks cool but does get in
the way when you’re standing up on the so-called Bear Claw footrests for some light off-road work along gravel trails or hardpacked dirt. The handlebar is unchanged from the Street Twin, and it’s really too low for serious off-road work, but with just 120mm of suspension travel front and rear like the Street Twin, this entirely lives up to what it says on the label – as in, it’s a STREET Scrambler! As such, it’s a cool-looking bike that owners will be glad to profile on, with a spacious and relaxed riding position thanks to the higher seat and lower footrests. Call it Triumph’s equivalent to a maxi-scooter, and you’ll be right.
The Street Scrambler is a model where convenience and cool is arguably more important to likely customers than actual performance. The zestful appeal of the original McQueen-era TR6C dirt sled, as manifested in The Great Escape, has been replaced here by laid-back look-at-me boulevard brio more redolent of the Triumph Tiger 100 used by Warren Beatty’s hairdresser character to zap around LA from one female conquest customer to another a decade later, in the lifestyle movie Shampoo. If they made the movie in 2019, his character would be riding a Street Scrambler, so chic-looking and convenient for city use as a commuter, barhopper or delivery bike, with sufficient rather than sporty performance, but so-cool as well as so-retro looks.
The Street Scrambler’s true natural habitat isn’t anywhere off-road, but rather city streets, especially traffic-clogged roads where you can use its easy clutch action, responsive but controllable throttle, light and immediate steering with that wide handlebar and the skinny 19-inch front tyre, to plot an ideal course through rush-hour traffic with the help of the relatively tall seat. Its height is perfectly judged to be just low enough to sling a leg over easily at rest, but just high enough to see over car roofs and plan where you’re going once you’re aboard. Triumph will sell thousands more of this up-rated version!
Expect plenty of accessories to tempt your wallet, too…
Twin twins, although they’re not identical and ride rather differently