2024 Triumph Scrambler 1200 Review – First Ride
Minor revisions for the XE with a big step forward in approachability for the X
Triumph is, arguably, the manufacturer who brought scrambler styling back into the limelight nearly 20 years ago now. For many of those years, it was just that, a styling exercise to capitalize on the classic cool that scramblers imbue. It wasn’t until the end of 2018 that Triumph stepped up its scrambler game in a way that truly harkened back to what the desert sleds of yore were used for – scramblin’ off the beaten path. The Scrambler 1200 XE & XC proved to be ADV-capable, classically styled machines that not only filled a niche that hadn’t yet been addressed, but bridged a gap between its modern classics and the burgeoning adventure motorcycle realm.
2024 Triumph Scrambler 1200 XE and X
Triumph’s Scrambler 1200 line continues to be the real deal with the XE capable of true off-road adventure and the X more approachable than ever.
Scrambler 1200 XE – Editor Score: 91.25%
- The new Marzocchi suspenders seem to be a worthy swap
- Triumph’s Twin offers an excellent spread o’ torque
- Nicely appointed spec and top level finishes
- It would be nice to have the option of fitting Anakee Wilds off the dealership floor
- The seat height may be a bit much for some
- While it maintains its composure well, we’re still talking about riding a pretty, 500-pound motorcycle off-road
Scrambler 1200 X – Editor Score: 87.0%
- The price and seat height make the X an option for more riders
- Despite having a “dedicated specification” it doesn’t sully the riding experience
- Lower CoG helps handling
- If you plan on pushing the pace off-piste, the frame rails and plastic skid plate will become acquainted to the ground
- Front wheel ABS intervention in Off-road mode is a fair bit more than we’d like
- No Off-road Pro mode available, even as an optional accessory
With what Triumph says was a 60/40 split in terms of sales between the XE and XC, Hinckley surveyed its customers and found that both Scrambler 1200s were a bit too focused on punching outside their class. In our experience, which has spanned shootouts, tire tests, and tours, we’d have to agree. The two Scrambler 1200s that hit the scene for the 2019 model year weren’t terribly far apart in terms of their size, performance, and approachability. That’s why we’re now getting a slightly revised XE model, still built to handle the rigors of off-road, and alongside it we have the X, a Scrambler 1200 with a lower seat height, less suspension travel, and a lower price point, all meant to knock down barriers to entry for the big Scram.
Minor revisions throughout
While shared components between the two Scramblers have seen some changes, the experience is similar to previous years. The smooth, torquey 1200cc Parallel-Twin, with its “Scrambler tune” and 270-degree crank, continues to put down well-metered linear power in its low to mid-range, though a 5 mm larger throttle body and reworked exhaust header are said to further aid in this. A new catalytic converter has also been developed to keep heat from roasting the rider’s inner thigh. Most of our time spent with the 2024 models was in cooler, wet weather, but when it dried out and we got to play around in some tighter sandy canyons, I didn’t notice an egregious amount of heat coming from the exhaust system.
The frame is also largely unchanged, with the only major difference between the two models being removable passenger foot pegs on the XE versus the X’s welded mounts. The new fuel tank is slightly smaller on both machines at four gallons. Both the X and XE come with a tubeless 21/17-inch wheel combo wrapped in Metzeler Tourance rubber, though we had the handbook-approved Michelin Anakee Wild fitted for our time with these new machines.
Scrambler 1200 XE
The story of the XE is, again, largely the same, but that doesn’t mean a few major component swaps haven’t happened. The XE continues to be the offering for folks who really want to push their modern classic off-road. We’re still working with 9.8 inches of suspension travel, though Marzocchi now supplies the fully-adjustable 45 mm fork and dual shocks. During our limited time with the 2024 Scrambler XE, the suspension helped the bike be every bit as capable as we remember with the Showa/Öhlins setup. More time would be needed and/or a back-to-back comparo to really tell the differences, but while playing around in sand and rocks in the California desert at a spirited pace, the new suspenders soaked up everything we threw at it and I didn’t feel the need to alter the suspension from it’s “middle of the road” settings.
Another new component that is possibly equal parts marketing as it is performance these days, are the Brembo Stylema calipers. Motorcycling is rarely a rational exploit and when I ask myself, “Does the Scrambler 1200 XE need Stylemas?” The rational answer is, probably not. Did I mind the stopping power of the radially-mounted setup as we launched ourselves from apex to apex at full throttle once we had dry tarmac? Not one bit. Off-road, they absolutely could be overkill for those ham-fisted of us, but feel at lever lets the rider shed speed with accuracy. Helping to keep things even keel are three ABS modes: Road, which incorporates IMU-based cornering ABS; Off-road, which cuts ABS at the rear and lessens intervention in the front; and, specific to the XE, Off, which isn’t actually entirely off, but with no rear ABS and very little at the front.
Compared to the X, the XE’s swingarm is 1.25 inches longer and anodized for a more durable finish, you get an adjustable brake pedal that can help when swapping between using off-road boots versus street riding shoes, and the handlebar is 2.5 inches wider. As mentioned before, having the Off-road Pro riding mode further hints at the XE’s off-road intent by disabling traction control, reining in front wheel ABS, disabling the rear, and switching to an “Off-road” throttle map.
A pleasant surprise, MSRP has gone down by $900 from 2023 to $15,300. You also have a choice of black, or you can pay $500 more for Phantom Black/Storm Grey (slightly less black), and Baja Orange/Phantom Black (black and orange). Savings likely came from the use of Marzocchi suspension across the entire Triumph lineup in addition to a number of other factors like the new master cylinder and ditching the key fob.
Scrambler 1200 X
Not meant to be associated with Elon’s “new” social media company, the new Scrambler 1200 X further differentiates itself from the XE and the XC to come before it. Thankfully, there isn’t much of a performance gap until you start pushing the pace off-road. The idea behind the X is approachability. One of the ways Triumph has delivered on that is with a two inch lower seat height than the XE at 32.3 inches (can be as low as 31.3 with the accessory low seat). Much of this was achieved with shorter suspension travel, at just over 6.7 inches, a nearly three-inch difference, versus the XE. The X’s suspension is less complex in offering only preload adjustment at the shocks.
Another step toward making the bike attainable was building it at a price point $1,700 lower than that of the XE (and $1,150 less than the 2023 XC model). For $13,600 you get a bike that performs surprisingly close on the street to its long-legged sibling, though the dirt competence is hardly comparable. Triumph have of course saved itself some quid with the (mostly) non-adjustable suspension, but also in the braking system with the dual axially mounted Nissin front calipers, and in the UI/UX with a lower spec TFT/LCD instrument combo and switchgears. Triumph calls it “a dedicated specification.” Whatever you want to call it, it hardly detracts from the riding experience.
The riding experience on the street, and even in some off-road settings is on par or a small step above the XE. On the street, the lower, more narrow bars don’t turn you into as much of a sail at higher speeds, and the lower seat height is always appreciated when you’re inseam-challenged. With the same state of engine tune, the 1200 High Power Bonneville engine provides broad usable power that’s spread graciously across the rev-range, petering out as you begin to crest the 7,500 rpm redline. Triumph have mastered the throttle mapping on both bikes to allow the rider to meter the throttle with precision.
Despite the lower spec braking setup, I didn’t find the X to be that far off from the XE. Is the feel, and stopping power better on the XE? Yes, it’s better in every way, but the X is totally capable of getting you slowed without incident too. I also appreciated how well the front end held up under hard braking. Off-road, the suspension was fine on smoother roads or at lower speed and the lower center of gravity aided in turning, but it didn’t take long to start grading the trails with the lower frame rails and plastic mudguard as the pace and terrain got more interesting. For most interested in the X, you probably don’t have anything to worry about.
For an off-road focused rider like me, the next caveat after the suspension comes with one less ride mode. The thing is, that one ride mode makes a big difference for those looking to explore. The sixth ride mode, Off-road Pro, can only be had on the XE. On the X, you’ll have to get used to using Off-road which dials back TC and ABS intervention (and cornering features for both). While you can turn TC off entirely via the menu, the front ABS intervention cannot be dialed back which ended up being a nuisance we had to ride around during sandy descents (i.e. Holdin’ ’er wide open and lean back!). Early in our off-road ride when we were just drifting around sandy backroads, I had no problem with the X’s performance, it was when we started carrying speed over rough terrain that the X’s lower spec suspenders gave up the ghost and the XE’s continued to shine.
The X is available in Sapphire Black for $13,600, but if you prefer the Ash Grey or Carnival Red, you’ll have to cough up another $500. Both models should be rolling onto dealership floors by the time this makes it to print.
I’m not surprised by the findings of Triumph’s market research and feel that separating the two Scramblers to be more focused while breaking down some barriers to entry is a justified approach. The two machines continue to give retro scrambler vibes with fit and finish that Triumph has become known for and they continue to be able to actually perform should you wonder what’s down that dirt road – one will just get you further than the other.
2024 Triumph Scrambler 1200 X
2024 Triumph Scrambler 1200 XE
Water Cooled Parallel-twin, 270° firing order, SOHC
Bore x Stroke
97.6 mm x 80.0 mm
89 hp at 7,000 rpm (claimed)
81.1 lb-ft. @ 4250 rpm (claimed)
Ride by wire, multipoint sequential electronic fuel injection
Single skin, brushed 2-into-1 exhaust system with single high-level silencer.
Wet, multi-plate assist clutch
Tubular steel, with steel cradles
Twin-sided, aluminum fabrication
Tubeless 36-spoke 21 x 2.15in, aluminum rims
Tubeless 32-spoke 17 x 4.25in, aluminum rims
Marzocchi Non-adjustable USD forks 6.7” (170mm) wheel travel
Marzocchi Ø45mm 1+1 forks, fully adjustable 9.8” (250mm) wheel travel
Marzocchi twin RSU’s with piggyback reservoir, preload adjustable 6.7” (170mm) wheel travel
Marzocchi twin RSU’s with piggyback reservoir, fully adjustable 9.8: (250mm) wheel travel
Twin 310 mm floating discs, Brembo M4.32 4-piston radial monobloc calipers, OC-ABS
Twin 320mm discs, Brembo 4 piston M4.30 radial caliper, ABS
Single 255mm disc, single piston floating Nissin caliper, ABS
TFT/LCD hybrid instruments
Full-color TFT instruments
89.5” (2273 mm)
91.7” (2330 mm)
32.8” (834 mm)
35.6” (905 mm)
Height without mirrors
46.6” (1185 mm)
49.2” (1250 mm)
32.3: (820 mm) [31.29” (795mm) with accessory low seat]
34.3” (870 mm)
60” (1525 mm)
61.8” (1570 mm)
4.9” (125 mm)
5” (129.2 mm)
502.65 lb (claimed)
507.06 lb (claimed)
Fuel tank capacity
3.96 gallons (15 liters)
3.96 gallons (15 liters)
10,000 miles (16,000 km), or 12 Months, whichever comes first
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Ryan’s time in the motorcycle industry has revolved around sales and marketing prior to landing a gig at Motorcycle.com. An avid motorcyclist, interested in all shapes, sizes, and colors of motorized two-wheeled vehicles, Ryan brings a young, passionate enthusiasm to the digital pages of MO.
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