Hinckley launches a new entry-level 1200 Scrambler and updates for posh XE version
The Triumph Scrambler 1200 range has carved out a sweet niche since its launch in 2019: a bit retro-y, a bit premium-y and a bit off-road-y. Using a retuned version of the Bonneville 1200 engine in a chassis with some decent dirt skills, it married up neat original Triumph heritage style with solid performance.
Premium parts like Öhlins shocks, a lovely brushed aluminium swingarm, and plenty of electronics made it a bit of a classy connoisseur’s choice, and a left-field, lighter, alternative to the sameness of a mainstream dirt bike like the BMW R1250 GS, or Hinckley’s own Tiger 1200.
And now five years on, we’re getting the first serious overhaul of the range, with a new more accessible X model and a tweaked XE high-spec machine (the E is for ‘Extreme’, apparently).
The X replaces the old XC model, and has been revamped to provide a sharper difference between the top-end XE and the base machine. It’s physically lower, cheaper, and more suited to road use, extending the appeal of the 1200 Scrambler twins downwards to less-experienced, shorter and poorer customers…
It also gives an easier pathway up for those riders that want a little bit more than the 900 twin Scramblers can offer. But it’s not all a downgrade: the new X has a stronger electronic riding aids package than the XC, with an IMU-assisted ABS and traction control setup from Continental.
That aside, the new 1200 X shares a fair bit of its spec with the posher XE model. They both use the same 1,200cc liquid-cooled 8v SOHC parallel twin motor, as seen on the Bonneville and other modern classics, with a Scrambler-specific tune. That means a fairly steady 89bhp@7,000rpm, but peak torque of 110Nm at just 4,250rpm.
So plenty of low-down urge then, and the same power on the X and XE. They also have the same frame, wire-spoked tubeless-compatible wheels, with a proper 21” front rim and a 17” rear, and new Marzocchi forks and rear shocks.
The bikes have different spec suspension though: the X only gets preload adjustment on the rear, while the XE gets full adjustment on the 45mm USD forks and rear shocks, as well as much longer travel: 250mm vs 170mm at each end.
The brakes are also different, with new high-end Brembo Stylema four-piston calipers and 320mm discs on the XE, and twin-piston Nissin sliding calipers with 310mm discs on the X.
Finally, the XE gets a fancier full colour LCD TFT dash, there’s an extra riding mode on the XE and the posh bike also has a 32mm longer swingarm. In terms of spec sheet numbers, the XE is actually a couple of kilos heavier than the X, with a shorter wheelbase and 50mm lower seat height on the X.
The XE also gets more dirt-focused tyres as stock: Metzeler Tourance, with Michelin Anakee Wild approved as a more hardcore fitment. The X has Metzeler Karoo Street rubber, which mix dirt-styled tread with better on-road performance.
The change to Marzocchi suspension from Öhlins shocks on the XE looks like a bit of a downgrade on the face of it. Those yellow springs still hold a lot of cachet, deservedly so. But Triumph engineers insist that the performance is stronger now, thanks in part to the chance to match the shocks with a set of forks from the same firm (the old XE had Showa forks with its Öhlins shocks).
Hinckley has also built up a relationship with Marzocchi after switching to the brand for the latest Tiger 900 platform, so it looks like we should expect more Marzocchi kit on Triumph machinery going forward.
That’s probably useful to the firm in other ways too: no company likes to be relying on one single supplier for vital components, so keeping premium suspension options open makes sense from a strategic point of view (BMW did exactly this when it switched from Brembo to Hayes for brake parts a few years back).
So – an interesting overhaul for one of Triumph’s classiest bikes then. No more power, but uprated Stylema brakes, sharpened style, smarter electronics, tweaked engine tune, and that new suspension on the XE, plus an all-new entry-level 1200 X.
Triumph’s also released a huge list of optional accessories to make the bikes even more hardcore and tour-y, with luggage, screens, heated grips, high mudguards and more.
What it hasn’t changed is the rather small 15 litre stock fuel tank though: despite claims that the good fuel consumption makes this moot, we would always – always – prefer a bigger tank on anything with touring or adventure pretentions. An 18 litre tank should be the minimum here we reckon.
The new Scrambler 1200 X costs £11,895 on the road, and the XE will set you back £13,295 otr. They’ll be in dealers in January: more info at www.triumphmotorcycles.co.uk