2017 Triumph street Scrambler: First Ride Review

Think of it as half modern classic and half supermoto

triumph scrambler
2017 Triumph ScramblerTriumph Motorcycles

The scrambler concept goes back generations with the original TR6, probably best known as Steve McQueen's mechanical co-star in the 1963 movie, "The Great Escape." Retro styling sometimes misses the mark, but this new-for-2017 Street Scrambler nails it—lots of thoughtful details, and an authentic stance that faithfully reproduces the look and feel of Bonnevilles from the 1960s.

At first glance the most obvious scrambler bits are the high-mount exhaust (with a cleverly integrated catalytic converter), skid plate, and blocky Metzeler Tourance tube-type tires mounted on spoked wheels. There’s also switchable ABS and traction control. A really comfortable ribbed solo seat, aluminum rear rack (as well as a pillion pad), rubber tank pads, fork gaiters and brushed aluminum hard parts help complete the retro-rugged look. Triumph is taking a page out of the Harley-Davidson book, too, with more than 150 Street Scrambler goodies in the accessory catalog. “Customize” to your heart’s content.

Triumph Scrambler
An aluminum rear rack and a passenger seat pad both come standard. The ribbed, suede-like Alcantara covered seat is nice and comfy. A 31.2-inch seat height and narrow tank junction make it easy for most people to touch with both feet. Sexy twin exhausts sing a throaty tune.Triumph Motorcycles

Proper proportions and stripped-back style give the Street Scrambler a rugged posture. Up front is a large 19-inch front spoked wheel to handle off-road terrain and a 17-inch hoop in the rear. The Matte green paint option shown here is cool, and is the middle price option at $10,950. There’s also Red/silver with hand-painted striping ($11,200) and Jet black as the base model ($10,700).

Triumph Scrambler
Yes, you can pretend the Triumph Street Scrambler is a dirtbike or flat tracker, but be warned that this is a street bike first and, should probably be limited to light dirt duty.Triumph Motorcycles

To give the Scrambler better off-road chops, the chassis is optimized with more forward located (and serrated) footpegs, recalibrated fork internals and longer rear shocks for added ground clearance, compared with the Street Twin. Durable spokes replace the more vulnerable cast wheels of the Street Twin, and a larger 19-inch spoke front hoop is there to help manage rougher terrain. Seat height is 31.2 inches—that’s up from the Street Twin’s 29.5 inches, but 1.3 inches lower than last year’s Scrambler.

The Scrambler gets a single instrument with all kinds of useful data that lives inside the LCD info window. Fuel range, consumption, TC and ABS status, trip meters and an RPM readout are all accessible using the left control pod’s Info button, which is mounted on a strong and handsome tapered handlebar. Accordion gaiters protect the conventional fork tubes, and of course add to the retro aesthetic. A plastic skid plate and mesh radiator screen are there to guard against rocks getting chucked up and ruining your day, and also reminding you that the aftermarket (or Triumph’s own catalog) is full of metal alternatives. Rubber inserts pop out of the footpegs to reveal gator-teeth for extra grip. Suggestive, and handy.

triumph scrambler
The 900cc “high-torque” parallel twin produces a claimed 55 hp and 59 lb.-ft. of torque. The catalytic converter is cleverly hidden behind the black exhaust shroud next to the cylinder. Surprisingly, heat on the right leg is not a problem, at least not during our cool test day. The plastic skid plate won’t stand up to rock bashing and does not extend back far enough to protect the oil filter. The aftermarket is smiling.Triumph Motorcycles

Looks are important and all, but so is function. As with the Street Twin, the Scrambler is light on its feet and delightful to ride. Sharing the Street Twin’s 55 horsepower, 900cc liquid-cooled “high-torque” vertical twin engine, throttle response is snappy but linear. This isn’t a particularly fast bike, but somehow there’s an intoxicating dose of git-up-and-go on tap whenever you want it. For reference, the last generation Scrambler used the 51 hp 865cc air-cooled motor and didn’t have this level of responsiveness. The exhaust note coming from the twin pipes is throatier than the other sibling in the Street Twin family, the Street Cup.

triumph scrambler
2017 Triumph Street ScramblerTriumph Motorcycles

Off-road looks are high on the Street Scrambler’s list, but ironically it was on road where it showed why it will be many people’s new favorite do-almost-anything bike. There is something absolutely endearing about the willing character and seamless performance of this machine. Even though it shares many of the same components as the Street Twin and Street Cup, this Scrambler’s handling is refreshingly light and neutral, plus it feels like there is more immediate off-idle power delivery. The overall fun factor and cornering confidence were terrific. The package just works.

The ride-by-wire throttle and light-effort torque-assist clutch make launches predictable and easy to control while the smooth 5-speed gearbox keeps the motor humming within the sweet part of the rev range. The front brake is the same Nissin two-piston caliper clamping a single solid-mounted 310mm rotor shared with the Street Twin (the Street Cup gets a floating disc). Initial bite and control is fine, but stopping quickly the 454-pound (claimed, dry) Scrambler from speed requires a decent amount of lever pressure.

Triumph scrambler gauge
The single gauge’s LCD window displays odometer, rev counter, gear position, fuel level and consumption, clock, trip meters, and traction control and ABS settings. Power is decent below 3,000rpm, really comes alive around 5,000, and drops off at about 6,500rpm. The Scrambler cruises easily above legal highway speeds with little vibration, but expect a lot of windblast.Triumph Motorcycles

When pavement turns to dirt, the Street Scrambler is not as composed as it is on tarmac. That isn’t to say you can’t venture onto rough roads, but it pays to remember that this is first and foremost a pavement dweller. Both ABS and traction control are switchable when your inner McQueen needs his fix of brake steering and drifting. All of the Scrambler’s components work in unison to create a really fun package. It looks the part of vintage adventurer and is easy to get along with on the road and to a lesser degree, in the dirt.

Engine and Transmission SPECIFICATIONS
Type Liquid cooled, 8 valve, SOHC, 270° crank angle parallel twin
Capacity 900cc
Bore/Stroke 84.6 x 80 mm
Compression Ratio 10.55:1
Maximum Power 55 Hp (40.5kW) @ 6000rpm
Maximum Torque 59 FT-lbs (80Nm) @ 2850rpm
Fuel system Multipoint sequential electronic fuel injection
Exhaust Brushed 2 into 2 exhaust system with twin brushed silencers
Final drive X ring chain
Clutch Torque assist. Wet, multi-plate clutch
Gearbox 5-speed
Frame Tubular steel twin cradle
Swingarm Twin-sided, tubular steel
Front Wheel Spoked Steel Rims. 19 x 2.5in
Rear Wheel Spoked Steel Rims. 17 x 4.25in
Front Tyre 100/90-19 Metzeler Tourance
Rear Tyre 150/70 R17 Metzeler Tourance
Front Suspension KYB 41mm forks. 120mm travel
Rear Suspension KYB twin shocks with adjustable preload. 120mm travel
Front Brake Single 310mm solid disc, 2-piston Nissin floating caliper, ABS
Rear Brake Single 255mm disc, Nissin 2-piston floating caliper, ABS
Instrument Display/Functions Odometer, Rev counter, Gear position indicator, Range to empty, Fuel level, Average and current fuel consumption, Clock, Two trip settings, |Service indicator, Traction control and ABS settings
Dimensions and Weights SPECIFICATIONS
Length 85.7 in (2178 mm)
Width (Handlebars) 32.7 in (831 mm)
Height Without Mirrors 44.1 in (1120 mm)
Seat Height 31.2 in (792 mm)
Wheelbase 56.9 in (1446 mm)
Rake 25.6º
Trail 4.3 in (109 mm)
Dry Weight 454 lbs (206 Kg)
Fuel Tank Capacity 3.2 US Gallon