First Ride

Triumph Triumph Scrambler 1200 XE & XC (2019) - First impressions

Triumph Scrambler 1200 XE & XC (2019) - First impressions

We give our first thoughts after a day riding off-roading on Triumph’s modern classic Scrambler

TRIUMPH’S SCRAMBLER 1200 is one of the bikes I’ve been itching to ride since the Hinckley factory first starting with the teaser photos a couple of months back. I’d ridden the Street Scrambler off-road and loved it but always found the short-stroke suspension and slightly insipid motor held the bike back.

For the new bike we have the 1200cc unit from the Bobber, Bobber Black and Thruxton models, albeit heavily revised internally with a bespoke tune for this bike. It puts out a claimed 90ps (88 bhp) at 7,400rpm, and a grunty 100Nm (81ftlb) at 3,950rpm. It’s no secret that this engine is a peach, full of character and with bags of shove in all the right places. It also has more than enough power to get you into and out of trouble, it’s thrilling but not over the top, perfect for a rider moving up from the Street Scrambler or a more experienced pilot.

There are two bikes we’ve ridden today, the XC and XE. The XE is the more focused off-road machine with 250mm of suspension travel front and rear, and a 579mm long swingarm. The XC is slightly less hardcore with a still capable 200mm of travel front and rear and a slightly shorter swingarm, 547mm. The XE also has a slightly steeper headstock angle, making it slightly livelier at the front end but allowing a more experienced rider to work the edge of the tyre a bit more in the corners.

Both bikes get the same Brembo M50, Monobloc calipers and 320mm discs up front, with a two-piston Brembo caliper and 255mm disc at the back. Both bikes feature a cornering ABS system (courtesy of an IMU) that actually allows the rider to trail brake with confidence on slippery terrain, right up to the corner apex. It’s not something I’m used to doing and took a fair bit of getting to grips with – it took me until about lunchtime to stop wincing inside my helmet when I did it. The XE also gets a riding mode called Off-Road Pro that disables the ABS totally front and rear - you can still do this on the XC but have to do it by modifying the User mode manually.

Traction Controlled!

One of the highlights of hooning this bike around today was the perfectly sorted and very effective traction control (TC) system, for a rider like myself with a limited amount of off-road experience it was great. Allowing the back to slide the under power out of slow and fast corners, but gathering the bike up before the fun gets too expensive!

Off-Road Pro mode in the XE allows the TC to be disabled altogether but for me, at the level and speed I was riding at, a small amount of intervention was welcome and still allowed me to feel the back sliding around.

A quick verdict…

Today has been a hoot, riding, racing, skidding and sliding my way around the Portuguese countryside. The Scrambler is about everything I’d ever need in an off-road bike, more forgiving than a Tiger 800 and more exciting than the Street Scrambler. And it’s not just me… The launch was attended by some extremely capable off-road riders who’d all concluded that this bike is fantastic after about 300 yards of riding on the dirt.

I’ll be publishing a full review in the next day or so – stay tuned.