I have a confession to make: I broke the rules. I purposely rode my newest motorcycle in a manner in which it was not originally intended. Yep, I’m a non-conformist rebel.
Some folks in the motorcycle community are so rigid. There are a surprising number of riders who believe you have to have a certain type (or brand) of motorcycle to engage in a specific style of riding. For example, some time back I did something I rarely do; I posted a question in a motorcycle forum. I was asking for advice on a small shield for my Street Triple that might create a smoother air pattern than the one I currently use. Now, mind you, I wasn’t asking about adding a “barn door” sized shield. Nor was I attempting to turn my Triple into a Gold Wing. I was simply looking for a slightly different shaped screen than the one I already have that might deflect air more efficiently. What I got was, “You bought the wrong bike!” Well, I beg to differ. Considering the fact that I’ve owned it for 4 years now and have many thousands of miles on it, and have taken it all over the Central US, I sort of doubt that. My philosophy on bikes is that you can do any type of riding you want to do on whatever bike you choose to ride, some are just more focused than others. A sport bike can tour, it just won’t be as comfortable as a touring bike. A touring bike can handle a gravel road, it’s just a bit more of a handful than a dual sport machine.
That brings me to my latest purchase, the Triumph Scrambler. I’ve been looking at the Scrambler with a lustful eye for a couple years now. I am drawn, in part, to its styling. Nostalgia also plays a role. No, I never owned an old Bonnie or any other Triumph from the 60’s or 70’s. However, my brother did own a Honda Scrambler. I have romanticized the style ever since.
I’ve already got sport riding covered in the form of the Street Triple. My recent purchase of the VStrom 650 (ride report to come soon), covered the long distance travel base. I bought the Scrambler as a local rider and meanderer…my idea of a cruiser. However, my maiden voyage on the bike turned out to be anything but a cruise. With the exception of my test ride, my first real venture on the Scrambler was a 400 mile Interstate journey at speeds of 70-80 mph. Not at all what I had in mind and certainly not what the Scrambler’s designers saw as the purpose of this machine. So, for all those who say you can’t travel on a Triumph Scrambler, I say, “Oh, but you can!”
Here is what I can tell you after taking a long first ride on roads I never intended to travel while aboard this machine: 58 hp is more than enough. I have had bikes with almost 3 times that much horsepower, but I never for one minute found myself saying, “This bike doesn’t have enough power.” It cruised easily at 80 mph. And comfortably. No vibes. Mirrors were crystal clear at all speeds. It never felt pushed. I was riding on the solo seat and it was much more comfortable than I ever thought it would be. It was not an issue.
No heat from the Arrow pipe. The suspension was softer than my Street Triple, but for my 160 lbs, it was not a significant issue. Tires? Well, unfortunately, it has Trail Wings on the rims. I’m not a fan of these tires. My VStrom has them as well, so I look forward to changing both. With that said, I leaned the bike fairly hard on a few occasions and didn’t have any concern.
On the down side, the bike is heavy. Truth be told, you only really notice it when you tip the bike up off the sidestand. Once underway, the weight is not so noticeable. The steering feels heavy at low speed until you get accustomed to it. And the bars are pretty wide. Yes, I know, that’s the idea…it’s a Scrambler. I will probably replace those eventually with narrower bars. Black ones of course. The combination of no wind protection and the wide bars were the only real distraction to the 6 hour road trip. Running at 55 I don’t think it would have been an issue at all, but running near 80 all that time did, admittedly, wear on my neck a little bit…and I’m used to riding “naked.”
In my opinion, the bike is a beauty. I specifically wanted the matte green (because I’m too cheap to buy a new one in matte blue!). It has almost all the accessories I wanted: Arrow pipes, solo seat, Dart shield, engine guards and skid plate. I will probably add handguards and some day, a Claude built sidecar.
I read somewhere recently, in regard to the Scrambler that you can’t go anywhere in a hurry. They didn’t mean the bike wasn’t capable; instead, they were referring to the fact that they could not go anywhere without people stopping them and asking them about their bike. I discovered this to be true already. I was stopped at a gas station on the ride home and two gentlemen approached me. The first guy looked at the bike and said, “They are making a comback aren’t they? Triumph.” I thought, “They’ve been back for a while,” but I just said, “Yes,” He and his friend began to reminisce about the bikes they had in the 70’s. As much as I enjoy talking bikes with other people, I finally had to excuse myself and slip away. Just yesterday I climbed on the bike in a parking lot and pulled out. A young “hipster” looking guy walked past me, turned my way and watched me roll in his direction. As I got closer, he began to talk to me. He practically “forced” me to stop. While I held up traffic he said, “They are making a comback, aren’t they? Triumph.” Seriously, he said it. Twice in two days.
What do I think of the Triumph Scrambler so far? Love it. Great looks, great fun. Nope, I don’t plan on making it my traveler or my sport bike, but if you dare tell me it can’t do either of those things…I’m going to prove you wrong and do both!