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Triumph Scrambler 900 - Mad Scramble
There's one marque that's really always been leading the charge in this respect – and that's Triumph.
But Harley aside, who I guess you could argue has made retro machines its very lifeblood, there's one marque that's really always been leading the charge in this respect – and that's Triumph.
Triumph released the Thunderbird back in 1995, but it was after the Bonneville debuted at the start of 2001 that the marque soon realised it was on to something big. Several incarnations followed, including the T100, then the café racer style Thruxton and then a whole host of cruisers, and then at the start of 2006 came the Scrambler.
In essence, it's styled after the dirt bikes made famous by the likes of American actor Steve McQueen. Bearing in mind that there really wasn't such a massive gulf between dirt bikes and road bikes back then, it's not so hard to see why the Scrambler is – in today's terms – much more road oriented than off-road oriented. After sampling one myself, I'd say it's a blast on either, although you're heading outside the bike's design parameters if you take it on anything rougher than a smooth dirt road.
Basically a Bonneville frame and a Bonneville engine, the Scrambler might be faithfully styled after bikes of 40 years ago, but the fun it delivers is truly modern-day. Its wide bars, low seat and upright ride position immediately place you in control, while its engine is chock-full of low-down and mid-range grunt. It'll still pull willingly to its 7500rpm redline, but there's just no need to take it there.
In fact in top of its five-speed gearbox at 100km/h you'll only be pulling a lowly 3500rpm – and even from here there's still a good amount of stomp left for highway overtakes.
Its handling thoroughly benefits from today's technology too. The single-disc front and rear brakes are more than adequate for this package, while its basic suspension – non-adjustable front forks and twin pre-load adjustable rear shocks – though plush, will still carry through a corner at a pace and lean angle you never would have thought possible.
It's a bare-bones thing, as you'd expect, but then this bike is all about style. High-swept pipes, carb-mounted choke, fork gators, knee pads – it could have stepped straight out of a ླྀs hill climb – or a 'scramble' for that matter, as motocross was once referred to in its early days (hence – cue lightbulb overhead – the Scrambler's name).
I didn't think the Scrambler would push my buttons before I rode it, but instead it smacked them with a sledge hammer. Triumph has blended retro style with modern performance seamlessly here – if you already like the look of it, you're going to love riding it.
Triumph Scrambler 900
Engine: 865cc, air-cooled, four-stroke, DOHC, eight-valve, 270-degree parallel-twin
Bore and stroke: 90 x 68mm
Fuel system: twin Keihin carburettors
Power: 56bhp @ 7000rpm
Torque: 69Nm @ 4500rpm
Frame: tubular steel cradle
Front brake: single 310mm disc with twin-piston caliper
Rear brake: single 255mm disc with twin-piston caliper
Front suspension: 41mm forks, non-adjustable
Rear suspension: twin shocks, adjustable for preload
Wheels: spoked alloy
Tyres: Bridgestone Trail Wing; 100/90-19 front, 130/80-17 rear
Seat height: 825mm
Claimed dry weight: 205kg
Fuel tank: 16.6L
Price: $13,990 plus ORC
Colours: Tornado Red/White, Caspian Blue/White or Roulette Green/Aluminium Silver
Warranty: 24 months/unlimited kilometres
Contact: (03) 9381 9760
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