2017 Triumph Street Scrambler: First Impressions

triumph-street-scrambler-motoadvr1

After the Bonneville Reborn release last year, Scrambler faithful like myself were concerned that Triumph had intentions to cut the Scrambler from the Bonneville lineup. Fortunately, following the release of the new Bonneville Bobber, Triumph released the new Street Scrambler and decided to pair it with the Bobber for the Brutal Beauty Tour. Last week, the “tour” was stopping in Cincinnati and like last year, there was no way I was going to miss it.

 

At a Glance

triumph-street-scrambler-motoadvr-4As advertised, Triumph’s new Street Scrambler is fitted with the liquid cooled, “High Torque” (why is that a catch phrase?), eight valve, single overhead cam, 900cc mill and five speed gear box, also found on the Street Twin. The new Scrambler will also get the torque assist clutch, along with switchable ABS (Scrambler exclusive among the Bonneville line), throttle-by-wire, and switchable traction control. The Scrambler returns with obligatory “high pipes”, along with 19 inch front, and 17 inch rear spoked hoops, shod with 100/90-19 57H front, 150/70R17 69V Rear Metzeler Tourance Tires. While that’s not a change to the front, the new 150 rear tire will offer Street Scrambler owners a wider range of dual sport tire options compared to the legacy 865 Scrambler.

 

Unknowns

triumph-street-scrambler-motoadvr2As of this writing, Triumph has yet to release the official spec sheet, but I imagine I can offer a few guesses based on the new T100 and Street Twin specifications. Triumph’s website claims the 900cc engine makes 55 HP and 59 Ft.-lbs. of torque at 5,900 and 3,230 RPMs respectively. While I have not yet had the pleasure of experiencing this re-baked mill first hand, reviews thus far are quite positive. It has yet to be made clear if the Street Scrambler will receive any additional tuning against its other 900cc stable mates, but based on previously mentioned reviews I’d be somewhat surprised.

triumph-street-scrambler-engine-motoadvrWithout a stat sheet, I cannot confirm the tank capacity of the Street Scrambler, but I expect it will fall on or between the T100’s 3.8 gallon, and Street Twin’s 3.2 gallon tank. From photos, the new Scrambler tank appears to be the same overall shape of the Street Twin tank, so I would assume the latter. Reviews have suggested that the new Street Twin is capable of getting around 58 MPG, so I would expect the overall range of the Street Scrambler to be comparable if not slightly better than the outgoing generation.

triumph-street-scrambler-rear-shocks-motoadvrOfficial pricing has yet to be released, but I fear that we’re likely to see the MSRP around $10,300 to match the new T100; which is a pretty big step from $8,995 for the Street Twin. Again, Triumph has failed to publish any specifics, but visually I still cannot ascertain if there are any significant upgrades in the suspension department. The legacy 865 Bonneville lineup had some subtle differences between the Thruxton, T100, and Scrambler models; aside from the fork adjusters on the Thruxton, those differences were virtually undetectable to the naked eye. Both the Street Twin and the T100 have roughly 120 mm of front and rear suspension travel, so I expect that we will find similar numbers on this new Scrambler.

New Changes

triumph-street-scrambler-motoadvr3Throwing a leg over the bike, it was immediately evident that the seat height is lower. While I can easily flat foot my ’13 Scrambler, it is a bit of a stretch to push backwards on any uneven terrain; at 5’10, this new Street Scrambler includes flat footing and significant amount of bend at the knee. The local Triumph rep told me that the new Street Scrambler seat height is three inches lower than the previous Scrambler (32.5”). The Street Twin spec sheet claims the seat height is 29.5” inches, so I assume the Rep’s claim could be legitimate. The new seat design also feels “plush” compared to the old ironing board, and is unquestionably more aesthetically pleasing. The new seat also comes standard with a more modern luggage rack with attachable pillion seat (which I didn’t actually see).

triumph-street-scrambler-foot-pegs-motoadvrThe new Street Scrambler is actually fitted with serrated rider foot pegs (including removable rubber cushion) and serrated rear brake lever. That’s a nice addition considering I’m about to shell out $150 on a set of serrated pegs to replace the factory rubber mounted pegs on my 865 Scram. Triumph advertised that they have shifted the peg position for a more “commanding” riding position. I agree that they have been moved; just sitting on the bike the rider pegs don’t seem to be in the way, which is sometimes an issue on the 865cc predecessor. Unfortunately, without actually riding the new Street Scrambler, I cannot ascertain if the pegs are in the same neutral position of the rider triangle as the legacy model.

triumph-street-scrambler-right-grip-motoadvrPlacing my hands on the bars I noticed that Triumph has redesigned the controls to a single button push-to-start and “kill” switch, much like the FZ-07 I rode last spring. I traditionally only use the “kill” switch in an emergency, so cleaning up the controls with a single button is a welcome addition. The new front brake fluid reservoir is somewhat more inconspicuous. While I could care less about the looks of the old “pee cup” found on the previous model, apparently that’s a big deal to some owners as the aftermarket if flooded with “billet” reservoirs.

triumph-street-scrambler-speedo-motoadvrOverall the controls and speedo appear to be of higher quality than the last generation. Certainly the new user interface is more advanced beyond the simple speedo, clock, and odometer found on its predecessor. I unfortunately didn’t actually get to see this user interface as the Triumph Rep was unable to get the key and start the bike, but based on photos of the Street Twin, I think this is a given. Completely re-styled, Tank “knee” pads are again fitted to the Scrambler tank as standard, along with brushed Triumph “badges” etched in the tank. The T100 and Street Scrambler appear to have matching gas caps; while I didn’t actually check function on the Scrambler, I can confirm that it does indeed lock on the T100.

 

triumph-street-scrambler-rear-pegs-motoadvrThe rear passenger pegs (and hangers) are in fact removable. Initially I didn’t notice this in person (despite the Triumph rep saying so), but I can now see in the photos, there are indeed bolts holding the brackets to the frame. Both fenders have also been trimmed down from the more classically styled 865 Bonnevilles. The lights and indicators also appear to have received at least a small alteration. Virtually anything was an improvement over the former 5-inch Scrambler headlight, but the new Street Scrambler is also fitted with an LED taillight. triumph-street-scrambler-headlight-and-indicatorsThe new indicators hug the bike a little tighter and can hopefully sustain a better beating as the “Scrambler” title would imply. Like the 2016 predecessor, the Street Scrambler is also fitted with a 520 chain, versus the heavier 525 chain that was stock on previous models (My Speedmaster and ’13 Scram included).

 
While editing photos it occurred to me that the rear brake fluid reservoir seems to be stashed away somewhere, which is a plus; hoping that it doesn’t find itself broken in an off-road slide somewhere. While that may make for a bit more of a maintenance headache, I did discover that that the new Bonneville side covers are grommet mounted, versus the old post-thumb-screw system from the previous generation.

 

Falling Short

triumph-street-scrambler-tail-motoadvrPer my comments above, I’m happy to see the rear fender trimmed down, however now there’s that whole FZ-07 reminiscent license plate boat anchor hanging off of it. Again, this isn’t a deal breaker for me, but I’m curious how that will fair out on the road; will the indicators bounce all over? Again, the rectifier is still hanging under the headlight. While it is stuffed up under the bowl a bit more, this will probably be another eye sore for many prospective buyers (I suspect British Customs is designing a new bracket as we speak…).

triumph-street-scrambler-skid-plate-motoadvrOn Triumph’s website I stumbled across the words “all-terrain styled bash plate”; emphasis on the word “style”, because it’s plastic. I get it, with the catalytic converter hidden in the new high pipes, that giant “hole” under the engine had to be cleaned up with something, but if you’re going to brag about the Street Scrambler being “even more capable” they could have at least mounted something aluminum. Speaking of “Bash”,triumph-street-scrambler-rear-brakes-motoadvr the rear brake caliper is, yet again, mounted below the swing arm. That’s a serious sticking point for true “Scramblers” venturing into the dirt. Hopefully Triumph will at least have the respect to sell a factory aftermarket alternative. Fortunately, it looks like there are already aftermarket solutions for the Street Twin, and the swing arm at least appears the same.

triumph-street-scrambler-lower-engine-left-motoadvrObviously serrated foot pegs with matching brake lever are a welcome addition, but why no folding shift lever? A folding shift lever is like a $25 expense, seriously? Again, we’ll see if Triumph offers a factory upgrade like the one available for the Tiger 800. Visually, from everything I can tell, the suspension doesn’t appear to have any significant changes over the Street Twin. Triumph does boast about the replacement Fox Racing rear shocks with adjustable pre-load and dampening settings, but no mention of front suspension upgrades. I assume Triumph just assumes new buyers will just throw in a set of progressive springs and call it a day.

 

Competition

yamaha-scr950-scrambler-motoadvrAs other moto-media folk have mentioned, “Scrambler” is all the rage now, with BMW, Yamaha, and Motto Guzzi following Ducati to the party. I expect that road-faring riders will find the BMW 1200 Scrambler a bit more to their liking, assuming they have the coin to get one. I would imagine that Moto Guzzi and Yamaha are competing on price and styling for the most part, but I assume that with throttle-by-wire, the Trumpet brings a lot more to the table than the aging Yam 950, and aside from shaft drive, the same goes for the Guzzi.MotoADVR_DucatiScrambler62again Ducati on the other hand is the opposite end of the spectrum in my mind. While the new Ducati Scrambler is unquestionably a better street bike in the “fun” department (lighter, more HP, etc.), it does tend to be rated below the preceding Scrambler in comfort and dirt worthiness. Enter the new Ducati Desert Sled; with eight inches of suspension travel, Ducati has made a true effort to push into the off-road “Adventure” sector with their new Scrambler variation. I suspect this new Duc will likely edge out over the more traditional Trumpet as far as adventure is concerned, but we’ll see if that fat rear tire hamstrings the Desert Sled or not.

MotoADVR_TriumphStreetTwinHighPipeIt should also be mentioned that the Street Scrambler is also competing against its Street Twin brethren. Obviously I leaned toward the legacy Scrambler for the 270° crank engine, and modest suspension difference against the T100. However, now that the new 900 engines are all 270° crank, unless Triumph pushes serious suspension upgrades or engine tuning, a Vance & Hines high pipe with a set of knobbies and you’re pretty much all set for a “street” scrambler; you wouldn’t even have to fuss with tubes. Obviously the price point hasn’t been released yet, but depending on where it falls, the “extras” with the Street Scrambler may or may not outweigh the price of a few aftermarket bits for the Street Twin. I suspect that same situation explains the rarity of the legacy Scrambler against the T100 models.

Impressions from a legacy Scrambler Owner

Needless to say I’m heavily entrenched in the Triumph camp, but I admit I have a lot of mixed emotions about this new Scrambler. A lot of that certainly comes from disappointment; last year, Triumph pulled the cover off the R-spec Thruxton that was undeniably the café “racer” twin that many Triumph owners have been begging for. Without question, the variations of the T120 and Street Twin didn’t disappoint either. Foolishly, myself, and many of the Scrambler faithful hoped that the British mother ship would deliver a Scrambler “XC” in the form that we’ve been begging for. Obviously, it didn’t materialize, despite the Instagram teaser.

triumph-street-scrambler-front-brakes-motoadvrThat said, serrated pegs, traction control, switchable ABS, rider modes, factory heated grips (optional), and rear shock upgrades are all nice upgrades to an otherwise “niche” model. Service intervals moving from 6,000 to 10,000 miles is also a big win for someone who really piles on the miles each year. While I was hoping to see a factory “tubeless” rim option, I am happy to see true ADV friendly dual sport tire options. I will also say that I feel the Metzeler Tourance is a much better choice for longevity over the former Bridgestone Battlewings; albeit a wash from an off-road traction perspective.

triumph-street-scrambler-luggage-rack-motoadvr2The new seat, and lower seat height, are also welcome changes. The included, more modern, luggage rack appears to be more versatile for “adventure” gear in my opinion, compared to the old-school tubular rack I currently have fitted. I do however feel that the reach to the bars while standing is not as comfortable as the previous model in stock form. I have a feeling that is a result of the new seat ergos and associated rider triangle changes, but certainly that can be fixed just the same. Stalk mirrors have also returned for 2017, which, like the “pee cup”, is another sore subject with many Bonneville owners. I personally don’t mind the stalk mirrors (less effort to look “down”); naturally I can’t speak for the function of the new model as the mirrors were removed for the event.

triumph-street-scrambler-exhaust-motoadvrI will say that the new pipes are love-hate with me. I much prefer the new brushed stainless over the copious chrome on Rosie, but there’s still something amiss with this new exhaust. I admit, they did a much better job hiding the catalytic converter than I expected from the press release photos, but something about it still looks “off”. Another guy at the reveal party suggested that perhaps all of the covers should match. I do suspect that brushing on more black paint wouldn’t upset me in any way. I will say that the new pipes do hug the frame a lot closer, and are much less obtrusive from the saddle compared to the legacy model.

triumph-street-scrambler-left-peg-motoadvrLooking at the other Bonnevilles at the event, I also noticed on both the 900 and 1200 cc engines that the clutch actuation lever is actually on the bottom left side of the engine case, instead of the top where it was located on the 865 twin. We’ve obviously seen Ernie Vigil and Nick Apex thrash a set of custom Street Twins in the dirt (Scramble Me: Nature’s Rumble), so I assume it can handle the punishment, but like the rear brake caliper, this is one more concern I now have about the Street Scrambler’s “dirt worthiness”.

triumph-street-scrambler-badge-motoadvrUltimately, while the new Street Scrambler is more “street” than I was hoping for, it’s still a capable platform for the light off-roading I’m currently doing, if not more so. I am very happy to see the technology updates, and aside from a brash mix of stainless and black paint on exhaust shields, I think they hit the styling on the nose, especially the green paint and brushed Triumph badge. In the end I have no doubt that the aftermarket will help us mod this Scrambler into its namesake.

 

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9 Responses to 2017 Triumph Street Scrambler: First Impressions

  1. sullybiker says:

    As advertised, Triumph’s new Street Scrambler is fitted with the liquid cooled, “High Torque” (why is that a catch phrase?),

    I think it’s a marketing strategy to head off the perception that the engine doesn’t make too many horses for its displacement. Those that know don’t really care, but it’s something a great deal of reviewers seem to bring up frequently.

    Liked by 1 person

    • MotoADVR says:

      Agreed, it’s just an annoying “catch phrase” in my opinion. I’m obviously not a marketing strategist, but it seems really lame from my perspective. It’s not really “High Torque” nor is it not really “High Horsepower”…

      Like

  2. steve ford says:

    Beautiful bike ! A friend of a friend bought a Bonneville a couple years back and after a few thousand miles it was smoking badly so he brought it to the dealer and after a month or more of screwing around trying to diagnose it, they finally put an entire new motor in it under warranty. Perhaps this bad situation was an anomaly but based on what I know about British cars I stay away from anything The Brits have engineered. But I do love that traditional British green racing color !

    Liked by 1 person

    • MotoADVR says:

      I ran the Speedmaster for 45k, no issues; so far the Scram also runs like a top. I have heard a few horror stories like the one you described, but from what I can tell, those are pretty isolated. Ultimately, I believe the 865 twin to be ultra-reliable, assuming you stick to the prescribed maintenance schedule in the manual. Certainly there are lemons out there, but for the most part I think todays motorcycles are quite reliable across the board, especially compared to bikes from the 70’s and 80’s. There are still jokes about Triumphs and Harleys leaking all over the streets, but honestly I don’t know anyone with either marque that experiences motorcycle troubles that aren’t self-inflicted. Speaking of which, I assume that Husky runs good?

      Like

      • steve ford says:

        The Husky is pretty amazing. It’s really just a re-branded KTM, but I like the color scheme more than orange and black. I’ve owned a lot of dirt bikes and this one is like a dream come true. Speaking of prescribed maintenance , I’m going to be getting really familiar with this bike. The maintenance schedule is based on competitive use (which is not something I’m inclined to do) so it’s intervals are every 15 hours !! At first this really made me reluctant to buy the bike, but I have 25 years under my belt working on motorcycles and was an automotive machinist during college so mechanical things are never much trouble for me. Finally I concluded that it’s a DIRT BIKE and professional race mechanics can tear down one of these bikes and reassemble it in a matter of hours. The tool kit that was supplied is literally 8 tools, and the bike is engineered for simple, regular maintenance . This is so far different from the BMW I had which had 8 different types of fasteners and required me to carry 20+ pounds of tools when I ventured into the unknown. Glad to hear the Triumph is serving you well !

        Liked by 1 person

      • MotoADVR says:

        Aside from DOHC, the Scrambler is a stone ax. The engine is reliable and overall the entire bike is very simple. It’s not the fastest, lightest, or best in anyway, but it’s easy to maintain and cheap to operate. Obviously I like piling on miles so that’s the tool I need right now. I’m also excited for Husqvarna, I’m hoping under KTM they can spread wings and finally get back to their “legendary” namesake. I’m very excited to see their new roadbikes on the road soon, knowing KTM’s reputation, I could myself taking one home at some point.

        Like

  3. Pingback: Road Tests & Reviews of the Triumph Street Scrambler | Jack Lilley Ltd

  4. Pingback: The New Triumph Street Scrambler Road Test Reviews | Jack Lilley Ltd

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