Edit 11/04/2019 – I originally wrote the seat height as 840mm. While that is true for the XC, the XE has an 870mm seat height. So I’ve changed that section. Thanks to @motusfire for the heads up.
I recently had the opportunity to take the new Triumph Scrambler 1200 XE out for an hour. As much as I wanted to, I wasn’t allowed to do anything too “fun” with the bike, so I’ll have to save that for a trip up to the Triumph Adventure Experience, but here are a few short impressions nonetheless
The seat height is the first thing that will grab you when you get on the new Scrambler 1200. At 870mm, it’s 10mm taller than the Tiger 800 XC range (in the Tiger’s higher seat position), and you can definitely feel it. This is mirrored all over the bike making it feel much bigger than any of the other models in the “Modern Classics” lineup from Triumph. This is a godsend for people like me, topping out at 6’3″.
The Scrambler 1200 is very peculiar when you try to turn the bike. I instinctively went to lean every time I wanted to turn the bike, but was almost always met with resistance from the bike. It demands that you turn with the handlebars instead. I’m not sure if it was the geometry of the bike or the tires, or a combination of the two, but it took a little to get used to. It’s an incredibly stable bike and I imagine that this steering setup helps off-road as you tend to steer much more with the bars than by leaning.
On the road, the motor is exactly what we’ve come to expect from the Triumph parallel-twin engines. Plenty of torque on a nice flat curve so it’s always there. The clocks look nice although I didn’t play around with them too much. As I mentioned before, when I get an opportunity to ride the bike properly off-road, I can play around with the rider modes.
Styling Exercise or True Off-Road Scrambler?
This is a tricky question that I keep going over in my head. The Scrambler 1200 ticks a lot of boxes for the off-road and adventure market The XE in particular has a lot of practical add-ons that really set it up to do so such as the reinforced hand guards and folding gear levers etc. But I can’t see myself spending £12,300 to then go and chuck it down some green lanes. I don’t doubt that it will be able to handle it, but I’d just hate to get that tank scratched, it’s such a beautiful piece of kit.
But I suppose this can be said of other bike categories. People buy Supersports but then only ride them on the road. Maybe it’s not more about “will I do this on this bike?” but more of a “can I do this on this bike should I ever want to?”. This is what I imagine Triumph is tapping into here and perhaps this Adventure Bike industry as a whole.