The Triumph Scrambler 1200 XC may be just another Scrambler in Triumph's modern classic line-up - a bigger, more powerful, 1200 cc engine, the typical side-mounted Scrambler-style exhaust, and with all the electronic gadgetry modern motorcycles come with. But does it have what it takes to go the distance, and go over anything, any kind of terrain and obstacles you throw at it? That's what we tried to find out on the India press ride of the new Scrambler 1200 XC, the only variant of the Scrambler 1200 on sale in India. We rode out on the highway, on some twisty mountain roads, dodgy gravel trails and crossed several rocky mountain streams to see what exactly the Scrambler 1200 XC offers.
The Real Deal - that's what the marketing folks at Triumph Motorcycles call the new Scrambler 1200. And it's not just marketing-speak - within the first few hours of riding the Scrambler 1200 XC, it was an immediate revelation that this is no ordinary Scrambler only the cool, hipster crowd can pose with on the Sunday morning breakfast ride. I have to admit though, that with no wind protection, no real luggage carrying capability, and with the Bonneville 1200 cc engine, I didn't have high expectations from the Scrambler 1200 XC's off-road, and adventure capability. But after a day's ride over trails and terrain suitable for hard-core, dirt-focussed bikes, the Scrambler 1200 XC left me impressed, and seeking some more saddle time. So, let's get down to what it's all about then.
Design and Features
The Triumph Scrambler 1200 XC has this minimalistic Triumph Bonneville design - understated, yet with purposeful looks murmuring promises of taking you to places very few motorcycles can hope to come out unscathed. So, if you're the kind of person looking for bling, and to show off your hipster personality, I suggest you look elsewhere and don't waste your time. But, if you're the kind of person looking for a companion for your two-wheeled adventure, you may find the minimalistic design and purpose-built components of the Scrambler 1200 XC appealing. But then, it's another thing to look the part, and quite another to actually walk the talk. In a way, the Scrambler 1200 XC combines the best of both worlds - the design of a modern classic, with the hardware of an adventure tourer.
The 21-inch spoked front wheel is not just for posing, and it's shod with dual purpose tubeless rubber, and suspended from a 45 mm upside down fork. The twin 320 mm front discs are gripped by top-notch Brembo M50 calipers high-end sportbikes come equipped with. At the rear too, there are butch Ohlins piggy-back shocks, and there's 200 mm of suspension travel, both front and rear, to take on all kinds of terrain.
The LED headlight with the LED DRL strip adds a dash of premium-ness to the otherwise staid looks of the Scrambler, and the full-colour, TFT instrument panel throws up a long list of data. The five-way joystick control on the left handlebar is easy to use and intuitive, and the 'home' button on the right allows easy access to change the themes on the panel as well as other display settings. And yes, there's plenty of electronics too, with a choice of five riding modes - Road, Rain, Sport, Off-Road and a fully-customisable Rider mode.
Our test ride route took us off the Himalayan Expressway into a tight single-lane backroad, where the surface soon disappeared. The Off-Road map should be good enough for most riders, with limited traction control, and ABS intervention. But I got a little adventurous, and customised the Rider mode, with traction control off and the throttle map set to Sport. The 1200 cc, parallel-twin engine has been tuned to put out 89 bhp of maximum power at 7,400 rpm, but it's the 110 Nm of torque at 3,950 rpm, which does all the talking when you're tackling loose surface.
The wave of torque comes in with a bang, especially in the Sport map, and the rear kicks out with just a little throttle input. At one point, over a gravel section, the Scrambler I was riding slid out a full 45 degrees, giving me a "Oh My God!" moment, but somehow, I managed to rein it in. Not the ideal start to an off-road ride when the drop on the side of the trail is a few hundred metres down!
Scare over, it was time to get back to the saner Off-Road mode. And it offers a decent safety net, allowing some wheel spin but keeping the bike in check if things start to get out of hand. Rocky river- beds, mountain streams and the loose stuff were all despatched without a whimper. Yes, this is the "Real Deal" and perhaps no other Scrambler available on sale right now can boast of the off-road credentials of the Triumph Scrambler 1200 XC. It can do everything any adventure bike can boast of, and with 205 kg dry weight, it weighs as much as a Triumph Tiger 800 XCx, but it feels nimbler and easier to handle, probably due to the lighter front end.
On tarmac too, the Triumph Scrambler 1200 XC has impressive road manners. On a twisty mountain road, it offers superb grip and tackles corners with impressive agility, despite the big 21-inch front wheel. It may not be as agile as, say the Triumph Speed Twin, but you will run out of peg clearance, before you even think about the bike losing composure. The 270-degree firing order, parallel-twin lets out a very likeable burble from the side-mounted exhaust, and all that torque coming in at low revs means you can just roll on the throttle and there's pulling power at all gears. Yes, if you're the kind of person who likes high-revving engines, the Scrambler 1200 XC may not give you the thrills. But make no mistake, that 1200 cc parallel-twin has enough performance and grunt to make it an enjoyable and entertaining ride.
In fact, I was left looking for negatives to talk about, but yes, there are a few. For starters, there's no wind protection whatsoever, so if you're looking to cover hundreds of kilometres in a day, the Scrambler 1200 XC may not offer the comfort of an adventure bike. Plus, there's limited luggage-carrying capability, so you will have to pack light to go on your two-wheeled adventure. And in case, you have plans of getting your significant other to tag along as pillion, be advised that it may be a good idea to take breaks more frequently than you'd want to.
But where the Scrambler 1200 XC will be a little difficult to live with is, if you don't intend to do what it's designed to do. So, if you're primarily going to use it for commuting, the heat from the exhaust can get a tad uncomfortable; even with full riding gear. So, bumper to bumper traffic isn't what this bike is designed to do, particularly in the Indian summer. But, it would be a colossal waste of a very capable Scrambler to be riding it primarily in traffic and in the urban environment. It will be heartbreaking to see the new Triumph Scrambler 1200 XC primarily on breakfast rides, unless your breakfast ride involves a certain off-road trail in the suburbs.
The new Triumph Scrambler 1200 XC lives up to the Scrambler name with its true off-road, go-anywhere capability - period! At ₹ 10.73 lakh (ex-showroom), the Triumph Scrambler 1200 XC offers almost all the capability of a big adventure bike. If a full-sized adventure bike is too big for you, by all means take a good look at the Scrambler 1200 XC, and it offers the same capability, although with some limitations in carrying luggage and pillion-comfort. But for everything else, the Triumph Scrambler 1200 XC has dollops of capability, both on tarmac, and off it. And despite its few shortcomings, it's one capable Scrambler which can run shoulder to shoulder with any adventure bike, on any kind of terrain. That's more than one reason to give it a go, and maybe even include it in your garage.
(Photography: Azam Siddiqui)
|Engine Capacity||1200 cc|
|Engine Type||Liquid-cooled, 8-valve, SOHC, 270-degree crank parallel twin|
|Maximum Power||89 bhp @ 7,400 rpm|
|Peak Torque||110 Nm @ 3,950 rpm|
|Frame||Tubular steel with aluminium cradle|
|Front Tyre||90/90-21 Tubeless|
|Rear Tyre||150/70-17 Tubeless|
|Front Suspension||45 mm fully adjustable Showa upside down fork|
|Rear Suspension||Fully adjustable Ohlins twin shocks with piggyback reservoirs|
|Front Suspension Travel||200 mm|
|Rear Suspension Travel||200 mm|
|Front Brakes||Twin 320 mm discs, Brembo M50 four-piston calipers ABS|
|Rear Brakes||Single 255 mm disc, Brembo two-piston caliper, ABS|
|Dry Weight||205 kg|
|Seat Height||840 mm|
|Fuel Tank Capacity||16 litres|
|Claimed Fuel Efficiency||20.4 kmpl|