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Triumph Street Scrambler | Bike Tests | Latest Tests | Top Sellers in Australia

Just like McQueen, this new Triumph Street Scrambler has the style and the skills

Triumph Street Scrambler – Steve McQueen, Hollywood and Triumph came together in 1963 to thrill the world in one of the most riveting movies of the era, The Great Escape. I’ve watched it countless times and never get tired of seeing that pivotal scene where McQueen pulls off the barbed-wire fence jump on a modified Triumph TR6 and looks set to escape … but doesn’t quite make it.

The movie inspired many people to get onto two wheels, and it continues to inspire. In fact, it’s one of the origins of the scrambler frenzy that still grips the world to this day.

Almost 55 years later, Triumph is still making a scrambler-style bike, and to good effect. The Street Scrambler is all-new for 2017, with a 900cc water-cooled HT donk replacing the older 865cc engine.

There’s a load of technical reasons why the new bike is better than the outgoing model, and looking at them side by side it’s easy to see that there’s not one shared part.

It was a bold move to overhaul the bike because the old scrambler is one of Triumph’s most successful models, with more than 50,000 sold worldwide. If you’re going to change a winning formula, you’d better get it right.

But Triumph Australia was so confident in the new Street Scrambler’s prowess that not only did they have a squadron of them on hand to thrash around Noosa, but they found a ‘new’ older 865cc version so we could do some back-to-back tests.

Having ridden many of Triumph’s new twin-cylinder equipment, I couldn’t wait to throw my leg over the latest edition.

This is a seriously beautiful machine, but as with the other models in the Triumph retro line-up, it’s no Hollywood show pony.

The finish is on par with the best and having that older model on hand really made the new bike shine. Extra effort was put in by the designers and bean-counters to not skimp but be intuitive about their spending decisions.

Finish and aesthetics are important, but how does it go?

First, a warning: Don’t ride the new Street Scrambler if you have the older model and want to keep it. It’s that simple. Though the old bike is great, the 2017 models are sublime. It’s now a contender for top honours in its sector, and might just attract buyers not even considering the scrambler style.

The uprated KYB suspension and new chassis soak up bumps and make it easy to ride. The grip from the new Metzeler Tourance tyres complements the handling prowess, letting you lean in more than before to make that apex on the tar, while providing knobby-like levels of feel off road.

The injected 900cc High Torque motor is a gem. It’s smooth and sweet and, although it doesn’t have the punch of the 1200cc mill that powers the Bonneville, it’s got enough for me.

There’s a similar power delivery to the Street Cup tested earlier this year (Vol 66 No 14), which isn’t surprising because the powerplant is almost the same.

The twin high-level pipes have moved to the right-side of the bike but still look dead cool after all these years

The Street Scrambler is primarily a road bike with a relatively low ride height and cosmetic plastic sump guard

I found the Street Cup easy to ride and a lot of fun in the real world, and the same can be said for the Street Scrambler. The new ride-by-wire system is a massive part of the equation, helping to connect all the above components to create a bike that’s fun on one side and yet very practical on the other.

Now with a brace of switchable riding aids (Traction Control and ABS) and even better fuel economy, the Scrambler is more versatile and safer than ever.

I wouldn’t hesitate to have one as my daily ride with its upright seating position making it easy to keep an eye on your surroundings. It also comes with a rack and a detachable pillion seat as standard equipment. What more could you want? 

  • Modern tech, classic feel
  • Sure-footed handling
  • Surprisingly good off road
  • 1200cc version would have more punch
  • You can’t buy McQueen’s charisma