Triumph unveils new Scrambler 1200 XE: a genuine off-road adventure scrambler?


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Triumph Scrambler 1200 XE: 21-inch front wheel, 250mm travel suspension, IMU, GoPro integration, Google Maps…

Triumph has really taken this new retro theme and run with it. They are most likely the number one name in retro motorcycles at this moment. This is partly because of their history, with a line-up of iconic models extending back to 1902 that adds some weight behind their current line-up. They started the modern scrambler craze in 2006 when they launched a 900 Scrambler based on their scramblers of the 60s that were ridden by the likes of Steve McQueen. It is also partly because of their truly retro styling, partly because of the way they ride and a good chunk of it is down to the level of quality Triumph is managing to achieve, quality that is easily rivalling and possibly surpassing their German and Japanese rivals.

Triumph has now taken their 900 Scrambler model and given it a bigger brother, fitted with the 1200cc twin based on the one in their T120 Bonneville. There are two models – the 1200 XC and the 1200 XE. The XE model receives more goodies, especially for off-road gains, and this is the only model Triumph will be bringing into South Africa so we will be focusing on that.

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The Triumph Scrambler 1200 XE with the Extreme Inspiration Kit

What is interesting is Triumph’s claim about the new Scrambler 1200: “These beautiful new 1200 scramblers deliver a category redefining level of performance, specification and finish, fused with Triumph’s iconic Scrambler DNA and all the capability of a genuine adventure motorcycle.”

What this means is that the Scrambler 1200 XE is more than a styling exercise, but boasts genuine adventure prowess. While this might have the looks of a simple retro machine, the list of technology on board paints a different picture. The 1200cc, liquid-cooled, parallel-twin pushes 89hp and 110Nm of torque, made all the more vibrant with a 270º crank meaning an irregular firing order. The power output is also 12.5% more than the Bonneville T120 model on which this engine is based. Despite the increased power, the service interval is still 16,000km.

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Beyond the motor, the chassis is where Triumph’s genuine adventure claim starts sounding legitimate. The rear suspension is handled by twin Ohlins shocks, giving the bike a genuine retro scrambler look, but more so these shocks feature the latest in piggy-back reservoirs and the total suspension travel for the XE model, including the Showa front forks, is a massive 250mm. The Ohlins people themselves were impressed:

“The twin spring Öhlins RSU on the new Triumph Scrambler 1200 combines new technology with inspiration from 70’s motocross to deliver high performance and long suspension travel capability. Our testing team were amazed with the performance of the new 1200 Scramblers, and considered them to be actually more capable off-road than many of the adventure bikes they had tested.”

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The frame is a completely new and designed with off-road in mind, the XE has a longer aluminium swingarm and the spoked front wheel is 21 inches. That sounds all off-road, and the only things not on the spec sheet are the weight and the tank capacity. We will see. On a more road-orientated front,  the front callipers are handled by Brembo M50 units, the same as those seen in the Ducati Panigale twin models.

Then we move on to electronics, and despite an old-school look, the XE is littered with modern gadgetry. The round “clock” dash is the latest in Triumph psychedelic colour TFT designs with two themes and the option of adding the rider’s name to the welcome screen. The XE has six riding modes – Road, Rain, Off-Road, Sport and Rider-configurable modes plus the XE has an extra Off-Road Pro mode that turns off the traction control and the ABS while keeping the throttle mapping in Off-Road mode.

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The XE model is also fitted with a Inertia Measurement Unit meaning it has Cornering ABS and Cornering Traction Control that adjusts the level of interference based on the speed, acceleration and lean angle. All the lighting on the Scrambler 1200 is LED including Daylight Running Lights on the headlight.

That’s all the safety out of the way, we now move on to luxury. Of course, no modern marvel is complete without keyless ignition, and the 1200 is no exception. Heated grips, cruise control, a USB charging port and phone connectivity are all standard, plus there are some firsts in the world of motorcycling. And we start with a an integrated GoPro control system, whereby the bike connects to your GoPro via bluetooth and you can control said GoPro through the TFT dash. Also, the 1200 is the first motorcycle to come with an integrated navigation system that connects to via Bluetooth to the Triumph app that uses Google Maps, and gives directions via the TFT dash.


Obviously, there is a range of accessories, including a flyscreen and mounting kit for people worried about long distance wind buffering.

Triumph made the claim that the 1200 Scrambler has all the styling cues of a modern retro machine plus the capabilities of a modern adventure bike, and based on the details they have provided, we have to say that this claim looks plausible.

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The Triumph Scrambler 1200 XE should be available from next year February. Pricing has not yet been finalised, but Triumph SA boss man, Bruce Allen, is in England negotiating as we speak.

Triumph South Africa contacts:
Tel: 011 444 4441


Triumph Scrambler 1200 XE Gallery – click to enlarge: