Triumph has worked hard on this bike. Staying true to the Bonneville family of bikes, the 1200 continues with the retro styling like the big, round, metal fuel tank and flat seat.
Ever wondered what an Adventure Tourer would look like if you stripped its beak and the plastic surrounds around the tank? You'd probably get something very odd. But give it the right styling and you can make that satellite of a machine look beautiful in its own right.
That's exactly what Triumph seems to have done with the Scrambler 1200. Before we discuss the latest model, here's some background about scramblers, which were not particularly a segment of motorcycles. They became popular back in the 1960s, around the same time as cafe racer bikes. Lower capacity bikes were stripped and modified to make them more offroad capable.
Slightly taller suspension, off-road tyres, high handlebars were installed to give the rider a better riding stance in the dirt. These moded machines were not as good as real dirt bikes but symbolised a kind of go anywhere do anything spirit that most adventure junkies crave.
They were capable both on the street as well as in the dirt. Now, scramblers are iconic of those styling elements and while they are street bikes at heart, they are just as capable offroad with the right set of tyres.
Getting back to the Scrambler 1200, Triumph has definitely worked hard on this bike. Staying true to the Bonneville family of bikes, 1200 continues its retro styling with the big, round, metal fuel tank and a flat seat. Just like the scramblers of old, you get to see the high mounted exhaust system, offroad biased tyres and chopped off the tail.
The bike looks tough, the build quality is brilliant and the lines meet and end where they're supposed to. The headlamp is a retro round unit with a beautiful set of LED DRLs. The seat is flat that sits at a height of 840 mm giving you a towering view of surroundings. Handlebars are flat and wide with the TFT dash sitting right at the centre.
The Scrambler gets a 1200cc liquid-cooled parallel-twin engine that churns out 90 PS of power at 7,400 rpm and 110 Nm of peak torque at as low as 3,950 rpm and is mated to a six-speed transmission via a slip-and-assist clutch giving the lever an extremely light pull.
It sports a tubular steel frame with an aluminium cradle, which is suspended on fully adjustable 45 mm upside down forks by Showa and fully adjustable Ohlins rear twin shock absorbers.
This means the Triumph Scrambler can take you places and really quickly. The bike comes with five riding modes -- rain mode for wet roads, road mode for a slightly relaxed touring mode, sport mode for aggressive throttle response, an off-road mode for the dirt and rider mode to customise the bike's responses according to your whim.
The vehicle's torque peaks way down low on the rev band and I managed to chug along at 20 km/h on second gear without the use of the throttle. Weird thing, but this helps in parking lots. But what the bike also does really well is built upon the rev band. The red line comes easily when pushing hard and you find yourself changing gears like nobody's business.
What surprised me was being able to cut through corners. I figured a big bike like the Scrambler would be a little difficult to lean, but a slight push on the handlebar is enough to get the bike to turn into the corner, even with that big 21-inch front rim. The suspension helps and bumps on the corners don't seem to bother the rider or the line of the bike.
Offroad, the bike handles very well. Of course, you do have to get used to the throttle response before you can tear up the trail, but master that and you can crack open the throttle at just the right time in the mud to go sideways. The high ground clearance and 200 mm travel on the suspension means you can jump and never find the bottom of those shocks or impale the engine on a rock.
Moreover, Triumph has given the Scrambler 1200 a host of electronic aids. Apart from the riding modes, you have traction control and ABS, cruise control and a full-colour dash that gives more information that you can think of necessary.
Coming down to ergos, the bike weighs 205 kg dry. That's almost as weighty as the Triumph Tiger 800, which is kind of shocking. With the tall stance of the bike, the weight will make itself known, but ever so slightly on the move. Take a fall and you are going to need to lift with your legs. (Actually, always do that). The seat is also surprisingly comfy. An 8-hour ride on the saddle was quite comfortable. It does hurt after a while, but not to the point where riding becomes painful.
The tank is cut beautifully and is easy to hold on to with your knees, both while standing up and sitting down. The footpegs are the serrated kind for better grip while standing up. The brake lever, however, while positioned suitably for riding sitting down, could be placed a little higher for when standing up. At the moment it felt too low. The turning radius felt a little odd. The steering lock on its own is ginormous, but the turn itself felt too wide.
The biggest beef, however, is the exhaust. Twin exhausts sitting just shy of your leg becomes a major problem in traffic. On the move, you feel the heat, but not enough to bother you. At a signal, if you're not wearing riding pants, keep your legs raised and away. Same goes for a pillion rider.All-in-all, the Scrambler 1200 XC is big, bulky, and has enough electronics on board to put a middleweight ADV to shame. It offers tremendous touring capabilities along with brilliant offroad advantages. But, it's not great enough for the daily city commute. You'll either get toasted below the belt or spend your time lugging around the massive weight through heavy traffic.Get access to India's fastest growing financial subscriptions service Moneycontrol Pro for as little as Rs 599 for first year. Use the code "GETPRO". Moneycontrol Pro offers you all the information you need for wealth creation including actionable investment ideas, independent research and insights & analysis For more information, check out the Moneycontrol website or mobile app.