Triumph’s Scrambler series takes the off-road scrambling heritage from the Hinckley marque and sticks it on the modern Bonneville range – with a torque-rich 900cc twin motor, high-slung exhaust, and a few more off-road based bolt-ons. So, what’s the Triumph Scrambler 900 like to ride, and more importantly, can it do the scrambling?
If you consider the 2023 Speed Twin 900 the ‘baseline’, the Scrambler 900 (formerly known as the Street Scrambler 900) adds to the formula with wider bars, dual-purpose Metzeler Tourance hoops with a larger 19-inch front tyre and wire-spokes, a bash plate, and a dedicated off-road mode which switches off traction control and ABS to the rear.
Triumph has done a superb job with the Scrambler, it retains that classic Triumph delivery of power that comes from the 900cc parallel-twin, with plenty of torque and initial pull at the first twist of the throttle. It has 5 gears with a superb gearbox, the handling is divine, and the ability to explore some lighter off-road sections gives this bike the edge for someone considering a Scrambler over the Speed Twin 900.
Let’s have a look at the 2023 Triumph Scrambler 900!
Triumph Scrambler 900 | Good and Bad
- Scrambling style.
- Torquey motor, perfect for road and off-road.
- Great fun!
- Suspension not quite scrambling spec for me.
- Perhaps a 900 cc XE Scrambler could be due?
- Price is close to a second-hand 1200 cc Scrambler XE.
2023 Triumph Scrambler 900 Price and Availability
As ridden, the 2023 Triumph Scrambler 900 is priced at £10,145 in Carnival Red & Jet Black. It is also available in Matt Khaki Green or Yellow & Grey, both £9,995, and the ‘base price’ Jet Black at £9,795, and a special Chrome Edition at £10,145. All stunning options, and the style is right up there on these.
You also have plenty of (they say 120, but 84 currently listed) accessories to pick and choose from, including a high front mudguard, engine guards, grips, luggage, seats… naturally you can chuck whatever you want on, but it will bolster the price accordingly so be careful.
Now, of course, it’s tricky to compare a new and used bike, but this pricetag borders on a nearly-new Triumph Scrambler 1200 XE, with extra grunt and much more adept at off-roading with uprated suspension with greater travel. A quick search online returns a few options between 1-3 years old for the same or less of a price than one of these 900s brand new. Admittedly, this thought comes with its own can of worms, but it’s worth thinking about – you could get a far more adept Scrambler for your money.
900cc Parallel-Twin | Engine Spec
- 900 cc parallel-twin, liquid-cooled, 8 valve, SOHC, 270-degree crank, 65 PS (64.1 bhp) at 7250 rpm, 80 Nm at 3250 rpm.
Moving to the motor, this scrambler has a slightly different tune to the Speed Twin 900, and is packed with a huge deal of torque – 80 Nm – that feels perfect for our backroads. Top end isn’t quite there, and power tapers off as you reach the redline (which can be displayed through the inlayed LCD display should you wish to see the numbered figure), but realistically it is the Goldilocks level of acceleration and top speed where you feel like you’re getting everything you can from the motor without the burning desire for more. Get the 1200 if you want more than the 64.1 bhp on offer here.
It was updated back in 2019, and then in 2021 with a Euro 5 spec update, and judging from previous reviews which state the motor felt a touch underwhelming, it’s great fun to work with in this 2023 form. It’s A2-restrictable, too.
You have three rider modes here, road, rain, and off-road – which switches off ABS to the rear, and traction control. That off-road mode is pretty much essential for the desired application of this bike, but we’ll dive into the byway characteristics shortly. Road mode is the full power mode, with rain mode dulling the delivery of power to the rear somewhat, and it does a good job of it. Traction control can be switched off by itself if you wish, also.
You have 5 gears at your disposal, much the same as the Speed Twin 900, and though I (of course) forgot this the first few times when I found myself searching for 6th, another gear doesn’t really feel all that necessary. Riding in fifth at 60/70 mph holds the bike at steady revs with no massive vibrations.
Gearing feels long, and a huge shoutout to the gearbox itself – everything clicks together nicely, and even the faintest lift of your foot is met with the ‘box almost guiding you into the next gear, plus a lovely light clutch to work with.
Immensely flickable, gives a scrambler feel every time you ride. The throttle is tuned brilliantly, and quick snaps of the throttle result in nigh-on instant power to the rear wheel without feeling too twitchy. Great for trail applications. That high-slung exhaust creates some lovely pops and bangs to enjoy, also.
Handling | Suspension, Brakes, Chassis
For suspension, you’ll find 41mm forks with cartridge damping and 120 mm travel up front. The rear features twin shocks with adjustable preload and 120mm travel. For the road, the suspension is absolutely adequate and more than capable of dealing with the UK roads, famously quite adventurous at times. For gentle gravel tracks and light green lanes, they match well with the Metzeler Tourance hoops to see you over some rougher ground, the 19-inch front wheel able to comfortably guide the bike and help you scratch that scrambler itch.
It’s only when the terrain gets rougher that the suspension starts to show its limitations, bottoming out in places and juddering over successive hurdles. Though admittedly I can’t imagine anyone will take this in stock form for a weekend of trail riding in Wales, it’ll need some upgrades to get there – but the framework is there, and the byway riding I did on this was ultimately immense fun.
For that reason, I do wonder if Triumph could be (or are) due to consider an XE edition with longer travel uprated suspension, and a taller seat height. It’s an option, and the 900 cc motor would meet the challenge well in my eyes – if not, you’d just have to consider the bigger Scrambler 1200 XE.
But back on the road, the bike handles seriously well and feels incredibly agile on twisty byway jaunts – the frame and suspension aiding the responsive feel of the bike, whilst you point and shoot with the nigh-on instant torque from the twin.
When it comes to stopping, you’re given a single 310mm disc with Brembo 4 piston axial caliper on the front wheel, and a rear 255mm disc with Nissin 2 piston floating caliper at the rear. ABS is present, naturally, as it the aforementioned ability to switch off the rear ABS in off-road mode to skid that back end out. Braking power is solid, and the Brembo caliper up front was a 2019 addition – even though just single-sided, it performs really well.
The chassis is a tubular steel construction with twin cradles, and is mated to a twin-sided steel fabrication swingarm. The seat is a nice and accessible 790mm, and the ride position is upright and commanding, with wide 835 mm bars – and if heading for some off-piste riding, the standing position is decent for a quick squirts in the dirt, though for myself at 6’3” I did feel a tad crouched over the front end which can get a tad tiring on longer byway stretches.
Living With An Urban Scrambler
So, if the Scrambler 900 can do the off-road bits to a degree, where it really excels is what it offers as an urban scrambler. Stylistically and functionally, the bike keeps that appeal for where it’ll spend most of its time – in the urban sprawl.
You’re given a 12-litre tank that is quoted to provide 4.3 litres per 100 km – we found it to be a tad closer to 160 / 180 miles per tank, which is certainly a workable figure but could always be a touch higher. It’s not a particular downside as it depends how you ride, but if riding off-road with periods high in the revs, you may find yourself at the petrol station quite a bit.
Weight ticks in at 223 kg wet, and on the road, it certainly responds well to your inputs. You feel like you can really throw it into a corner, even take the flat-track approach of pushing the bike down beneath you. It really is a rewarding ride.
Whilst the dash is a simplistic analogue speedo with an LCD multi-function display at the bottom, it serves the purpose well whilst keeping true to the heritage style – the LCD itself displays time, rider modes, odometer, trip a and b, and your revs, all switched with a dedicated ‘i’ button on the left switchgear. There’s a dedicated mode button, too – you’ll just need to stop the bike to flick into off-road mode.
Under the seat, you’ll find a USB socket, and it comes with a key fob immobilizer. The seat itself is a comfortable unit, and you could happily ride two-up if need be (though we weren’t able to test that). Worth noting that the high exhaust does have some protective guards to stop you from burning the inside of your leg, though after some longer rides, they do get a bit warm (but not enough to burn a hole in your riding jeans!).
Halogen light with dipped beam is fine during evening rides, though for me was too high – full beam surprised as it illuminated more of the outer edge (lighting up the tops of trees more than the top of the road) rather than both inner and outer circles, with cars flashing me to let me know the dipped beam was pointing a tad too high - of course this can be adjusted.
Triumph Scrambler 900 Verdict
The Triumph Scrambler 900 is an easy bike to love. It’s not a dedicated scrambler that’ll be happier with days spent in the mud than posing around town, but it carries the style and does it all whilst handling beautifully on the road. It can do the scrambling if you need to go off-road for a bit, though. That bit of mud will only accentuate the style – but you may want to dive into the accessories catalogue to bolster the off-road prowess with some protective bars and hand guards.
That’s where a slight drawback comes in, as you’ll be soon spending quite a bit over the £9,795 starting price to get it in the right place. Though, I can’t imagine you’d be too annoyed at spending the cash if your heart is set on this as a 2023 model.
Downsides: tank size could be bigger, it’s £1,000 more expensive than the speed twin 900 but I can’t really tell why (most parts are the same, or swapped out rather than additional), it can get pricey with a fairly lofty starting price – especially considering the Scrambler 1200 is £12,695! Scrambler 1200 also weighs 230 kg with 16 L tank, but this 900 is 223 kg with 12 L tank.
It’ll do the weekend bombing about, commutes, and though not outrageous in power it is plenty to play around with, and ultimately great fun with an off-road twist. It makes you feel a bit like Steve McQueen 0 or, perhaps more accurately, Bud Ekins, on the Triumph Trophy TR6. Commanding riding position for urban riding, standing up feels good, bear trap brake.
The package and suspension will happily allow light trails, but you’ll have to look elsewhere if you want more scrambling than urban riding – it can do it, but you may be best advised to look elsewhere with your money if after a proper scrambling experience.
Not to take anything away from it, however. It’s immensely fun to ride, looks stunning, and is just about different enough to warrant the price as it is. My only real reservation is the potential this platform has for a dedicated Scrambler 900 model that comes out of the factory with top-spec suspension and bits stuck on – like the recently updated Scrambler 1200 XE edition, where this model as ridden could take the place of the base-model X. Though there’s nothing stopping you heading to the accessories catalogue and speccing it up yourself.
Realistically, the Scrambler 900 ticks a box in the versatility category. It has the looks and the torque, and opens up the door for some gentle byway riding, something there is plenty of to explore in the UK. Sure, it won’t quite be the tool of choice for a weekend in the hills, but take it sensibly and you can happily take the muddy trail up the hill, before heading back down to explore the nearby town - which may point more towards the classic café racer crowd happier to explore the urban sprawl than the twisting byways of the UK.
Cheers to Triumph for the loan, head to their website to configure your own - but be warned, your wallet might get substantially lighter.