Triumph Scrambler 400 X review, first ride - Diamond in the rough
When it comes to the small-medium capacity space, we've seen what the Triumph-Bajaj Alliance has brought to the table earlier this year in the form of the Speed 400. A really nice roadster motorcycle in its own right because it showed us it really sticks to the ethos of what the Triumph brand stands for in terms of build quality, in terms of ride and handling, performance and the overall dynamics of the package including features. But now we're out with the second variation of the same motorcycle, this is the Scrambler 400 X, as you can see it looks like a true-blue scrambler in every sense and it keeps to the design philosophies of the bigger 900cc and 1200cc Scramblers from Triumph. Now this bike packs the same engine as the Speed 400, of course the dynamics of this motorcycle have altered a bit, and it costs Rs 30,000 more than the Speed 400. So what exactly does this bike have to offer? Without wasting any more time, let's get right to it.
Quite like the Speed 400 we rode earlier this year, the Scrambler 400 X too has all the nice quality bits that you would expect of a bike with Triumph badging, just like the costlier, bigger displacement models. In comparison to the Speed 400, the Scrambler 400 gets a bigger 19-inch front wheel, block pattern MRF tyres, a new wide handlebar, knuckle guards, a headlight guard, tank grips, a split seat different quarter panels, and an up swept double barrel exhaust.
You get a more off-road friendly 43mm USD Big Piston fork up front and a rear monoshock, both of which offer 150mm of travel. Braking duties are handled by a bigger 320mm fixed single disc with a four-piston radial calliper at the front and a 230mm fixed single disc with a Bybre single-piston floating calliper at the rear.
The semi-digital display is carried over from the Speed 400, and the only added feature that the Scrambler 400 X gets is the switchable ABS which is essential for off-road riding and that which the Speed misses out on. Functionally, the Scram 400 gets essentially that which you would require out on the road and off it, and the way it's put together, it all feels top quality and very well worth the asking price, even without Bluetooth connectivity. The Scram 400 looks and feels substantially bigger than the Speed 400 and with its steeper rake, increased trail and wit more ground clearance on offer, it is a lot more purposeful at that too.
The Scrambler 400 X is powered by the same 398cc liquid-cooled single-cylinder from the Speed 400, which pumps out 40PS and 37.5Nm of max power and torque. The engine is just as free-revving and composed at all speeds but the 9kg increase in weight increase over the Speed on account of the bigger wheel up front, the tyres, the chassis, the tubular steel handlebar all mean that it isn't as quick off the line as the Speed and lacks the same surge of urgency as soon as you whack the throttle open. But that's not to say that it falls short in the power delivery department, because this one will keep you thoroughly entertained just as well. Just that it won't be as lively as the Speed is out on the road, but is a lot easier to handle once those well-paved surfaces vanish.
There's a good amount of torque available from as low as 3,000rpm so I often found myself in a higher gear than I'd usually be in off road and not notice till I gave the gear position indicator a glance. It feels like you can cruise at 100kmph at 6,000 in top cog without a fuss all day and you could also drop down to a speed of 30kmph in 5th and not have to touch the clutch lever. So the engine remains highly tractable. Overall refinement level is commendable, with just a buzz settling into the bars and the pegs over 7,000rpm. The slipper clutch assures that your gear changes are jerk-free and the six-speed gearbox from the Speed 400 makes an appearance here too, but the pair run different sprocket ratios. The Scram runs with a 43/14 rear/front sprocket setup, which is one less tooth up front than the Speed.
Now a big plus point over the Speed 400 with this Scrambler 400 X has to be the increased ground clearance and the seat height which has gone up to 835mm (from the Speed 400's 790mm). Swinging a leg over this motorcycle for someone of by stature isn't a hassle, and with my 5'9 frame I can easily manage to get both my feet planted on the ground comfortably. The bike feels nice and light to manage between your legs whether you're sitting or standing on the go, especially on these light dirt trails like this and what aids that is the new handlebar, because this isn't like the one on the Speed 400 which is made from aluminum. The handlebar on the Scrambler 400 X is a steel tubular bar which makes it more durable, rigid and helps with stability as well.
The suspension setup on the Scrambler 400 is awesome off-road, and the bike was a load of fun around the twisty ghat sections, keeping all the sharpness of bumps at bay, which means it'll be great for a city like Mumbai too.
The handlebar is nice and wide, which gives you a good amount of room to adjust and leverage your body position according to the terrain you're facing and it's designed to allow you to stand up and ride with utmost ease. The hybrid-perimeter steel chassis with its bolt-on sub-frame is just so brilliant and forgiving, it allows the motorcycle to be so compliant with whatever you ask of it, with the least amount of effort, all while that lovely tractable motor back you up with power all the way. It's something that will inspire confidence in both experts and novice riders and that's the beauty of it. There is honestly nothing that I would want to change with this motorcycle apart from the tyres because the bike deserves better than what the stock MRFs have to offer off-road. Alright, I might be nitpicking but I'd also swap the formats of the analogue speedo and the digital tachometer. I think it'd be a lot easier to read that way. Like with the Speed 400, there also is however, one design aspect of the Scrambler 400 X that I found a bit odd.
Although the Scrambler 400 X comes with a nice bash plate underneath, one area of concern for me has to be the coolant reservoir which is located just behind it. So, if you hit a hard trail, jump the bike, land hard on a big rock and for some reason you happen to damage the bash plate, that reservoir is going to be in jeopardy.
For Rs 2.63 lakh what does the Triumph Scrambler 400 X bring to the table? In terms of its competition, it is more expensive than something like the Scram and the Adventure 411 from RE, but it still is cheaper than something like the KTM Adventure 390, even the base model. It still makes a very compelling case for itself in terms of an overall package because it offers you what you would want from a motorcycle of this sort both on- and off-road with the switchable traction control, ABS, the slipper clutch, ride-by-wire throttle, and it really rocks the boat in the 400cc scrambler segment as it stands.
Of course the Triumph Scrambler 400 X isn't a hardcore off-roader, and I have my doubts about it being a good distance tourer as well, but l will reserve that judgement for a later day. Now what it actually is, is a fairly simple motorcycle whose specifications are geared towards catering to enthusiastic and adventurous riding styles in true Scrambler fashion. And if that's what you're looking in a motorcycle that offers great value-for-money, this is one quality machine that certainly won't disappoint.
Words Christopher Chaves
Photography Anis Shaikh
Starts Rs 6,95,000
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