Right up until the last minute, I actually thought I was going to lean toward the tiger, but as I mentioned, in the end it just wasn’t meant to be. That’s not to say I’m disappointed, I knew going in that the Scrambler would do the job, and do it with “soul”, it just meant putting in a little extra work and throwing a little more money at it over time… enter the Scrambler Project.
There’s no denying that a stock Triumph Scrambler is a street bike. Not unlike the other Triumph modern classics and cruisers, it also comes shod with some pretty “budget” suspension. If I plan on turning this street bike into an adventure machine… a suspension upgrade is certainly high on the “to-do” list. For folks that haven’t heard me talk about it before, the folks at Canyon Motorcycles in California have a setup with Works Suspension to give the Scrambler (exclusively) a full 6” travel, front and rear, suspension upgrade. That’s going to be on the order of about $1,250 plus installation, but that’ll make for a good project in January.
Aside from the “big ticket” suspension upgrade, engine protection is an absolute must. Triumph does fortunately make a (relatively) sturdy set of engine guards for the Scram, but based on what I’ve read (there’s a cult following on ADVrider.com), a minor modification may be in order to make them truly hardy enough to stand up to dirt riding. I’ve debated working on my fabrication skills with the help of a knowledgeable friend, but I may leave that for later down the road once I’ve got a few more dirt road miles under my belt (which is about 2 miles as of today…).
Having ridden the Speedmaster for such a long time, let me tell you, the stock headlight sucks… and the Scrambler’s isn’t impressing me thus far. With the goal of “rain or shine” in mind, visibility is also near the top of the list. From what I’ve seen thus far, I have healthy list of Denali products in mind to bolt onto the new Scram. If all goes well, I hope to have a two-wheeled zombie apocalypse assault vehicle; mounted with Denali D4 auxiliary lights and possibly the Dual DR1 headlight replacement kit.
The old-school Triumph Bonneville summer screen was included with the bike when I bought it. That was a nice freebie, but frankly it looked horrid on the Scrambler, and I felt like I was riding behind a barn door! As of now I’m going to hold on to it for a few and decide if I prefer a new flyscreen (buy or build, that is the question…) and sell the summer screen, or keep it for a really, really, long haul. I expect this year’s Dragon Raid will probably help me figure that out.
Luggage is a whole new conversation now; considering my Mad Maxian goals, aesthetics be damned at this point. That high pipe on the right side does add unique challenges, fortunately there are a few, relatively affordable, aftermarket racks available. Per my comments about ADVrider, there are some very impressive luggage solutions that folks have come up with, so it’s really a matter of build, buy, or both at this point. In the long run I think I want to have the option of hard cases (maybe some sweet ammo cans!?!?) and soft luggage. Thus far I’ve seen that the Kreiga Overlander 60 setup is ideal as it lets you mix and match 15 Liter dry bags with RotopaX fuel cans to extend the range (I found out about them in a good adventure story). I have big dreams of taking this bike to Alaska at some point; fuel and storage will be a “must”.
Heated grips are pretty much a given. I had Bike Master heated grips on the Speedmaster which were great until about freezing, at which point they couldn’t quite keep up. I’m hoping what I’ve read about Oxford Heaterz rings true and I can get a wee bit deeper in the cold range. At any rate, installing aftermarket heated grips is pretty easy, so it’s just a matter of putting them in the budget and spending an hour installing them.
Along with heated grips, I also want to address the hand guards issue. A buddy actually lent me his hand guards off his Tiger 1050 for a few; I may draw them up and take a stab at having a custom set 3D printed, but we’ll see how that shakes out. There are actually a lot of affordable retail options out there, including turn signals, so I could potentially see myself getting lazy and going that route, but I expect I won’t get to hungry for that project until after it snows a few times.
I was actually impressed with the reach to the handle bars from day one, mostly that I can comfortably ride standing up (mandatory requirement for the “new” bike). That said, on the freeway the riding position does get a bit tiring, thus I’m going to hunt down a set of 1” bar risers. There are many solutions available commercially, including ROX risers that would permit pivoting the bars back a bit as well. This is a pretty small change, but a necessary part of the project.
My end goal is obviously to build a low budget “Adventure” bike. The Scrambler is also a “classy” platform to build my Mad Max war machine… so there are some small aesthetic and some otherwise pricey items I would also want to bolt on long-term. At some point the rear fender needs to go; props to Rosie’s previous owner, the Lucas tail light replacement with solid indicators was a nice upgrade, but I’m looking to shed weight in the long run. I may also decide replace the stock mirrors with some lower profile bar end mirrors, at least for the summer; however I admit the longer I ride the Scrambler, the more that the taller mirrors are growing on me. Despite putting nearly 50k on the Speedmaster mill, I never fussed with new pipes or other engine upgrades; the Scrambler did fortunately came with Triumph Off-road Pipes (which sound fantastic), and long-term I can definitely see myself removing the air injection, and possibly upgrading to an Arrow exhaust. At minimum, the exhaust needs to find itself “de-chromed”; that’s happening one way or another. In line with making this Scram a dirt worthy steed, the rear brake caliper needs to find its way up on top of the swing arm, instead of hanging down in harm’s way as it is now. On the same note I also want to get some serrated pegs mounted; the rubber clad pegs are comfortable on the freeway, but I’ve already slipped off of them once in the rain. Really long term I’d like to fit some lighter weight alloy rims. Spoked wheels are a plus for the dirt, but having replaced a tube already, I’ve discovered these rims are bloody heavy. A tubeless spoked rim would really be choice!
Triumph Scrambler Project: Stage 1 Upgrades
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