Triumph 900 Scrambler
Fun Fonz Wheels
Sunday - Monday - Happy Days,
Tuesday - Wednesday - Happy Days,
Thursday - Friday - Happy Days,
The weekend comes, my cycle hums,
Ready to race to yooouuu...
There's something about the new Triumph 900 Scrambler that just makes you smile. The first time you clap eyes on it you can't help but turn up the collar on your black leather jacket, stick both your thumbs in the air and say; Aaaayyy!
The styling is so quintessentially British that it could only have one badge on the tank, Triumph, and only Triumph could have got away with building a bike like this in 2006. It just screams '60's icon'; even though it bears little resemblance to anything actually produced in the past and the engineering is so obviously 21st century, the styling somehow manages to capture the essence of the era. It harks back to a time when style was just as important as out and out performance and, with a Triumph badge on the tank, a time when you knew you'd be king of the road.
Darren and Jo, those very nice people at A1 Triumph in York, had run-in and prepped the bike ready for a week-long road test just before this year's Farmyard Party and as I arrived to pick up the bike on a sunny Monday afternoon I was surprised to find that it wasn't standing outside on show. "He's just popped to the bank on it." Said Jo. "Any excuse to ride that bike and he's off!" (It's always interesting to see which bike a dealer rides for pleasure). Eventually Darren returned, grinning from ear to ear and handed me the keys. The bike was parked right-side-on to me with the bars turned in and at first, I thought the stand must be in a hole as it appeared to be leaning at a rather precarious angle but not so; the stand is designed not only to hold the bike up, but to present it's 'best side' in the best possible way. When parked, the Scrambler looks as though it's just skidded to a halt, very clever.
At 5'6" in my thickest socks, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that I could sit astride the bike and still have enough floor contact to manoeuvre what is quite a tall motorcycle with confidence. After a quick game of 'find the ignition' (who decided to put it there Triumph?) I prodded the starter button and gave it a big handful of throttle. Wow! What a noise! The bike was fitted with Triumph's own after market silencers but to call them silencers is nonsensical, they are liberators. I've never heard the standard cans and I honestly hope that I never do. If you ride this bike you have to have these pipes fitted because the sound is so sweet, it makes the corners of your mouth slam into your earlobes every time you twist the throttle. Leaving York in the teatime traffic I found myself dipping the clutch and blatting the throttle at every opportunity, just to hear the sound bouncing back from the cars. It's easy to filter on this bike as it's tall, narrow and the noise is so unmistakeably motorbike that it has car drivers checking their side mirrors when you're still two cars back. Out of York and over to Helmsley on the B1363, one of my favourite roads because it meanders over hills and dales and twists through tiny villages of rose covered cottages. On a cruiser in the sunshine it's one of the most laid back trundles in Yorkshire. On the Scrambler, the ride takes on a whole new persona; every twist is an opportunity to slide the back end, every rise and dip becomes a take off and landing ramp, every tall hedgerow a Swiss border crossing. Riding this bike changes your personality, you become a cross between Steve McQueen in the Great Escape, Clint Eastwood in Coogan's Bluff, Marlon Brando in the Wild One, in short, you become a total hooligan. There's bags of torque and each gear change has the bike lurching forward and the front end pawing at the sky and all accompanied by the glorious soundtrack of that thumping 900cc twin motor. Arriving at Helmsley I charged along the Duncombe Park entrance road with the throttle wide open causing sheep and lambs to scatter in all directions and as I pulled up in front of the assembled Farmyard Party crew I skidded the back wheel like a 9 year old boy showing off on his new BMX.
Twenty five miles of sheer riding pleasure had me hooked on Triumph's latest offering. Over the following week several other people rode the Scrambler and every single one of them came back wearing a huge grin. The only person who didn't appear to like the bike was the salesman on the Honda stand opposite where the Scrambler was parked for most of the weekend. People would walk over to the Honda stand, spot the Triumph, break out in a broad grin and wander over for a closer look. I lost count of how many times I started the bike up over the weekend on the pretext of letting Triumph fans hear the exhausts, truth was, I just liked the noise.
On the road, like any un-faired bike with kicked up bars, the Scrambler gets a bit wobbly over 80 mph due to the air spilling out from under your arms. Ducking down it straightens up again and there's still some power left at an indicated 120 mph, it's not comfortable but possible. Of course, you could fit a screen to the Scrambler but then I'd have to shoot you. Luggage wise there's nothing available from Triumph at the mo but the bike I had was fitted with race number plates on either side which looked right and led me to thinking that a couple of BMW style metal panniers with the number plates attached wouldn't look out of place, especially if they were made to look like auxiliary tanks. The paint is stylish and classy and available in red or blue for this year. Triumph do offer 'custom' paint schemes for most of their range and there's always a union jack flag option but on the Scrambler it would look so cheesy you'd have to dress as Austin Powers to get away with it. ("Fancy a ride on my 900 Crumpet baby?"). Apart from the lack of available luggage, I can't think of a single thing I didn't like about the bike. The keyhole's in a daft place, the 'Scrambler' tyres don't work well on grass and the side stand would be a constant worry with camping gear over the back seat but I didn't care enough about any of these things to say that they put me off the bike. I had a thoroughly enjoyable week with the Scrambler and used every excuse under the sun to get my leg over her until I had to take her back.
She's a bike that's fun to be with, she does everything you want, she has double-take looks and she gives you aural pleasure! What more could you want from a holiday fling with an on the road price of £5,699.
Dave 'the Fonz for a week' Elrick