I realize that I’m a genius, but I’ll admit even I’m surprised at how quickly this one came about. Spy shots revealed Wednesday by Britain’s MCN newspaper suggest Triumph has taken my advice and is developing a true off-road-capable machine driven by one of its parallel twin engines.
READ MORE: Let’s Tell Triumph What to Do
This news comes less than 24 hours after I made exactly that kind of suggestion here on TMO.
“If Triumph really feels the adventure craze has legs… it should go all-in with a true world-crossing version of the Tiger 800,” I wrote. “Go crazy and don’t even use an inline triple for this particular model – rely instead on the grunt of one of the parallel twin engines used in the Bonneville line-up.”
Although, I think it’s safe to say that with the parallel twin it’s unlikely the bike will get the Tiger moniker. Indeed, from the pictures published in MCN (which are exclusive to that publication, hence the reason I’m not using them), this machine will almost certainly be brought in as a member of the Bonneville family.
Quite possibly, this is the new Bonneville Scrambler – not to be confused with the Street Scrambler, which was introduced last year as part of the more affordable 900cc “Street” element of the Bonneville line-up. Other bikes in that line-up are the Street Twin, Street Cup, and Bonneville T100.
I’ve ridden the Street Scrambler and found it to be a hoot. Like the other bikes in its range, power figures aren’t impressive on paper but it struck me as having more than enough grunt for off-road duty, should an owner want to invest in the necessary suspension and tire upgrades. (In standard form, the Street Scrambler should, as the name suggests, stay on the street.)
POWERED BY THIS ENGINE: 2017 Triumph Bonneville Bobber – First Ride
MCN’s Jordan Gibbons, however, believes this spied Scrambler will have “heaps more power” than the Street Scrambler and be driven by the 1200cc liquid-cooled, eight-valve, single overhead cam parallel twin engine found in the Bonneville T120, Thruxton, Speedmaster, and Bonneville Bobber. Gibbons is certainly a better rider than I am, so perhaps he really can identify engine size by sight, but even if he’s just guessing he’s probably not wrong.
(Side note: MCN swoons for Triumph even more than I do, so I’ll bet ya a tenner the publication has already reserved this bike’s top-ten slot on a future Best of the Year list.)
What can be determined just by looking, however, is that this bike is far better suited to dirt and mud than the existing Street Scrambler, the previous generation Scrambler, or possibly even the existing Tiger 800 (ooooh, controversial). Stout Showa forks, Öhlins piggyback shocks, metal-reinforced handguards, a robust bash plate, and a sturdy swingarm that looks to be lifted from the Tiger 800 all speak to a machine designed to be taken far beyond where the pavement ends.
“We think a realistic estimate is an unveil in November this year at EICMA,” Gibbons writes. “Followed by a production release in 2019.”
Personally, I think that guess is off. This bike is dripping with test mule features, such as bits from the parts bin that have been sloppily bolted on, wires everywhere, and random tires that don’t exist on any current models. Indeed, I’d place my bets on this thing surfacing a full year after Gibbons’ prediction: revealed at EICMA 2019 and hitting dealers in 2020 – you know, right when Euro 5 regulations kick in and everyone will have to be delivering new bikes anyway.
Because this Scrambler has such a test mule quality, it’s hard to guess which elements will carry forward to the production model, but it appears the pipes are high on the right side – in true Scrambler fashion – and the bike is equipped with an on-trend smallish headlight.
PROBABLY BETTER OFF ROAD THAN THIS: 2018 Triumph Tiger 1200 – Ride Review
I’ll continue to keep my ear to the ground for any news but, as I say, it will probably be a while until before this thing makes it to the showroom floor. Are you willing to wait?