Whether shopping for a bicycle or motorcycle, today’s marketplace seems all about the gravel. A growing number of riders believe that when the road ends, the ride shouldn’t. And to that end, more manufacturers are attempting to satisfy this need with motorcycles designed to handle the road less traveled, even as those gravel roads becomes more traveled.
Early to the game was Triumph. While offering an all-new Bonneville in 2001, it took the resurrected motorcycle maker less than five years to provide customers a Scrambler version. This, however, was a more street-oriented take on scrambling, just as Honda adding high pipes to a 350 twin in the early ‘70s was Honda’s street-oriented take. Recently, however, Triumph has brought to the table two more aggressive – and thus, more credible – iterations of the Scrambler formula, with added ground clearance, suspension travel and displacement. And as you’d guess, they cost more money.
Both the Scrambler XC and XE are equipped with 1,200 cc twins; offering 80+ lb-ft of torque, this is more than enough to motivate the Bonnie’s 450 pounds. The more civilized XC features 200mm of suspension travel front and rear, along with a single front disc, while the more offroad-specific XE supplies 250mm of suspension travel (again, front and rear), along with dual discs up front. The XC starts at $14K, while the XE is roughly 10% more dear. And as you’d (again) guess, customization is encouraged.