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Triumph adds two new bikes in SA - Scrambler 1200 XE and the Speed Twin

2019-04-30 05:30

Dries van der Walt


Image: Supplied / Joe Fleming

Triumph has added two exciting new models to their heritage line-up: the Scrambler 1200 XE and the Speed Twin – and the local media recently got the opportunity to experience the new additions in the Hartbeespoort area in Gauteng.

The star of the show was undoubtedly the Scrambler 1200, which has been eagerly anticipated since it was announced last year. If you’ve ever wondered what would happen if you took a good ol’ 70s scrambler and drop a 1200 motor into it, this bike answers the question: you get a dirt bike on steroids. 

The Scrambler 1200 is just that. It is not an adventure bike in the modern sense of the word – it lacks any form of weather protection and ample fuel range we have come to expect from that category.

What it is, is a very big, very powerful dirt bike that invites you to find the nearest dirt road and slide it around the corners with joyful abandon. And then, when you get tired of that, to head off onto an animal trail and find out what lies beyond the horizon.


                                                                 Image: Supplied / Joe Fleming

It features the Bonneville 1 198 cm³ engine with dedicated Scrambler tuning, giving the bike a generous, flat torque curve that tops out low in the rev range. Well-balanced and not too tall, the bike is quite easy to ride both on and off the road, something I appreciated on the dirt road sections of the launch route as it allowed me to ride dead slow without worrying that it might topple over if I hit an unexpected rut.

The Scrambler 1200 may not be my idea of an adventure tourer, but it doesn’t lack in the bells-and-whistles department. It boasts Triumph’s 2nd-generation full-colour TFT instrument display, an all-LED lighting set-up with the headlight incorporating day-time running lights, as well as keyless ignition, cruise control and a USB charging socket.


                                                                 Image: Supplied / Joe Fleming

If the Scrambler was the hotly-anticipated one of the pair of launch bikes, the new Speed Twin was the pleasant surprise of the day. It seems that while the men in white coats at Triumph had the steroids handy, they decided to inject a healthy dose into the capable but none-too-hasty Street Twin.

The 1200cc Speed Twin combines the modern classic style the Street Twin with the power and torque of the Thruxton R, while improving on the latter’s already good handling. 

With a lineage dating back to 1938, when the Speed twin moniker was used on what was then a cutting-edge 500 cm³ machine, the new Speed Twin has big shoes to fill. It does so with confidence and assurance – Triumph’s Bruce Allen predicted that I would be impressed, and he wasn’t wrong. From the first moment that I opened the throttle, I realised that this was a very special member of the Bonneville family. 


                                                                                          Image: Supplied / Joe Fleming

The heart of the beast is the ubiquitous 1 198 cm³ mill, in this guise tuned to deliver 71.5kW at 6 750 rpm and 112Nm at 4 950 rpm (a 48% increase over the peak torque of the Street Twin). The linear torque curve makes the bike a pleasure to ride – it delivers power with the relentlessness of a steam locomotive, right up to the red line, without an inkling of hesitation.

It’s handling, too, lived up to the promise: I threw it at corners fairly hard, and not once did the Speed Twin threaten to punish my not-so-youthful enthusiasm. The twin Brembo front brakes did an admirable job of scrubbing off excess speed, while the Pirelli Diablo Rosso 3 tyres kept a firm grip on the tar. ABS and traction control further added to my confidence during hard riding.

Like the Scrambler 1200, the Speed Twin offers a host of advanced technology. The three rider modes (Road, Rain, and Sport), LED lighting, a torque-assist clutch, an immobiliser and a USB socket are all included as standard equipment. In typical Triumph tradition, the detailing and finish on the Speed Twin are of exceptional quality. 

Specially-crafted brushed aluminium features include mudguards, throttle body covers, side panel finishers, and heel guards.  The aluminium theme continues with anodised forged aluminium headlight bracket and swingarm.


                                                                                              Image: Supplied / Joe Fleming

Granted, retro bikes are not for everybody, but Triumph’s range have proven to be not just attention-grabbing but also extremely pleasant to ride on an everyday basis. With these two new models, the British manufacturer has widened the scope of their range, offering a Bonneville model for virtually every taste.

Launch prices are R205 000 for the Scrambler 1200 and R179 000 for the Speed Twin.


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