RETRO SCRAMBLERS – AN INTRODUCTION
In the 60’s Scrambler was the term for a stripped down motorcycle such as the popular Triumph Trophy. Standard road bikes modified to ‘scramble’ across open lands as fast as possible. These original Scramblers died off when they were replaced by the far superior purpose built motocross machines.
Today the term Scrambler refers to a look rather than a purpose, these retro motorcycles capture the nostalgic, raw, sex appeal of their predecessors of yesteryear.
Scramblers are hot since Ducati launched its Scrambler in 2015 so here’s the best of the crop currently available.
THE STORNELLO V7 SCRAMBLER
The Stornello scrambler is back with a bang almost 50 years since it first hit the road. Strictly limited addition according to the official website with each being bike being numbered.
The colour scheme will look familiar to those of us old enough to remember the 125cc Stornello of the 70’s!
THE YAMAHA SCR950 SCRAMBLER
The SCR950 Scrambler is yet another Yamaha offering to the retro bike scene. The big 950 V twin offers vintage scrambler looks with modern engineering, at least that’s what the brochure says.
Hard to argue although this red version is definitely a nod to the Ducati Scrambler.
Part of the Faster Sons Heritage range, the scrambler is due out early next year with prices starting around $8699.
DUCATI SCRAMBLER SLED
The Desert Sled is Ducati’s answer to all those demanding a modern scrambler with something more to offer than just great retro looks.
Yes, the Desert Sled is the first Ducati Scrambler that is built to withstand at least some off road riding.
The’ve redesigned the swinging arm to remove the stress off of the cases when used off road. It’s got new forks and a shock, a reinforced frame, motocross style bars, Rally STR tyres and larger footrests – all designed to let you give it some Dixie across the desert.
Don’t get too excited though, the Desert Sled is no motocrosser but it is at least a great looking Scrambler with some off road capability.
DUCATI SCRAMBLER CAFE RACER
Really not sure about this one – for a start the name doesn’t make sense.
The appeal of a retro motorcycle (for me at least) is the fact that I can relive my youth on the style of bike I rode in my 20’s without the hassle of a renovation project and with the added bonus that it will start when asked to, be fitted with brakes that actually stop you and comes with a whole host of safety features found on today’s motorcycles.
As a young teen I had stripped more than a few donated road bikes past their sell by dates and turned them into scramblers to race around the woods and fields. I also helped a friend convert his standard Bonneville into a Scrambler, built myself a chopper from the leftovers of an old Thunderbird but I can’t recollect anyone ever turning a scrambler into a Cafe Racer.
Definitely one for the Hipsters.
Images from Ducatiscrambler.com
BMW R NINE T SCRAMBLER
Owners of the R Nine T Roadster will tell you it’s practically bullet proof so coming out with a Scrambler version to
cash in on join in with the heritage Scrambler popularity must have been an easy choice for BMW.
While other scrambler manufacturers avoid mentioning “off road” for fear someone might actually give it a go, BMW practically encourage it with plenty of images released of their scrambler being put through its paces on the dirt.
The big 1200cc air cooled engine kicks out a whopping 108bhp so you are unlikely to find it short of power should you tackle some off roading but you might find it a struggle to pick up
when should you come off.
One of the dearest scramblers available but like all Beemers it oozes build quality.
Image from BMW
THE TRIUMPH BONNEVILLE SCRAMBLER
It was American Triumph owners who in the 50’s and 60’s used to strip bare their bikes so they could take them off road – the most famous would have to be Steve McQueen.
Triumph’s answer was to build a factory scrambler and they’ve been producing them in their current format since 2005 – well before the Scrambler look became hip.
Out of all the Scramblers available today the Bonneville version looks the most 1960’s and it doesn’t really have to try. Based on the famous Triumph Trophy off roader from that era, Triumph have been carrying the flag for retro motorcycles without really knowing it!
While the current version has its heritage off road, in its current format the Triumph Bonneville Scrambler is best suited to tarmac.
Image from Triumph
TRIUMPH STREET SCRAMBLER
Triumph’s entry level Street Twin comes with 3 done for you custom kits and one of those lets you do a Scrambler conversion. The Scrambler accessories pack comes with Vance & Hines pipe, a brown ribbed seat and matching grips, small indicators, alternative rear mudguard and a brushed aluminum sump guard.
Spoked wheels fitted with dual purpose tyres, I think as a Scrambler, it looks better (and more capable) than the original Bonneville Scrambler.
Although Benelli is now owned by a Chinese company there’s no escaping the Italian styling of the Leoncino.
Benelli don’t actually use the word ‘Scrambler’ in any of its promotional material but with those tyres, that big front wheel, long suspension and off road style handlebars, the Leoncino definitely falls into the bracket of modern day Scrambler.
The Benelli Scrambler is a twin 4 stroke 500cc water cooled machine kicking out 35bhp – making it an ideal first big bike.
Image from Benelli
WHICH SCRAMBLER IS YOUR FAVOURITE?
So, which of the above Scramblers is your favourite? Maybe you already own one? Let us know in the comments below.