Pricing for the 2019 Triumph Scrambler 1200 XE has been announced, and it’s not cheap.
With the Bonneville and Tiger both offering 1200cc engines, it was only a matter of time before Triumph stuffed that powerplant into a scrambler. The 1170cc BMW R nineT Scrambler has all the elegance of a bedroom poster pin-up, and the recently released Ducati Scrambler 1100 is every bit as monstrous as its muscular cousins. That’s some steep competition, and with pricing of the 2019 Triumph Scrambler 1200 XE starting at $15,400, it’s clear that the folks at Triumph think the world’s newest scrambler stands out from the crowd.
After hearing the price announcement, we started to wonder what makes this plucky Brit worth $2,400 more than a Ducati Scrambler 1100 and $2,400 more than a BMW R nineT Scrambler. Is it more capable? Does it offer more features? What sets it apart from the street-focused Scrambler 1200 XC, which is $1,400 less expensive?
Time to find out.
Looking like the lovechild of a middleweight BMW and a Bonneville T120, the 2019 Triumph Scrambler 1200 XE is a neo-retro model that wears its off-road heritage on its sleeve. The eye is immediately drawn to the seamless fuel tank and brat-style seat, with high handlebars and a pair of distinctive side exhaust pipes hinting at the Scrambler’s true calling.
Below the beltline, abundant ground clearance confirm that this Triumph is capable of far more than the occasional gravel road hustle. An exhaust heat shield doubles as a number plate, and engine skid plates blend seamlessly under the frame. Tubeless wire wheels and aggressive knobby tires are flanked by massive Brembo brakes, the first sign that the Scrambler 1200 carries some impressive technology under its purposeful exterior.
The Scrambler XE bears a long list of rider-facing tech, including built-in cruise control, phone and audio controls, Google Maps integration, and a GoPro control interface. A multi-function digital gauge incorporates all these features, and a keyless ignition system helps keep the XE’s cockpit exceptionally clean.
All this tech is designed to help you spend less time fumbling with devices and more time focused on the experience at hand. That makes the Scrambler 1200 XE one of the most high-tech bikes on the market today – while outright race machines might best it overall, even flagship adventure bikes tend to fall short of this level of rider integration.
Other notable tech includes heated grips and USB charging as standard; accessories include a TPMS system and a Bluetooth control module to facilitate the aforementioned GoPro link-up.
The 2019 Triumph Scrambler 1200 XE is powered by a 1200cc mill from the Bonneville T120. It’s a liquid-cooled fuel-injected parallel twin with four valves per cylinder, producing 89 horsepower and 81.1 lb.-ft of torque, all delivered to the road by a 6-speed transmission.
Thanks to a custom tune, the Scrambler 1200 family makes 9 more horsepower and 4 more torques than you’ll find in the Bonneville T120. The improvements don’t end there: horsepower now peaks at 7,400 RPM and torque peaks at 3,950 RPM, both up substantially from the T120. That means the Scrambler 1200 should have a fair balance of low-end grunt and top-end speed, all well within what the suspension and brakes can handle.
Suspension duties are handled by 47mm Showa forks out front and twin Öhlins shocks at the rear, all fully adjustable. Both ends offer 250mm of wheel travel, giving the 1200 XE a range of motion within mere inches of production motocross bikes.
Controlling that momentum is the job of dual Brembo M50 four-piston monobloc calipers with 320mm discs at the front and a 255mm Brembo two-piston setup at the rear. The 17-inch rear wheel is over 2 inches wider than the 21-inch front; both wear Pirelli Scorpion tubeless tires from the factory.
Thanks to advancements in materials, the 1200 XE weighs only 456 pounds dry – nearly 40 pounds less than the Bonneville T120. The 4.2-gallon fuel tank should return exceptional range during even the most spirited off-road scrambles.
The Scrambler 1200 employs what’s called an Inertial Management Unit to optimize the bike’s performance in real time. The IMU works with the Cornering ABS and Traction Control systems to continuously optimize the bike’s feel based on slip, lean, and velocity calculations, increasing stability in a variety of conditions.
There are five ride modes:
Off-Road Pro deactivates ABS and TC and refocuses the ECU for intense off-road riding. Custom modes can be set, allowing the rider to make adjustments as they see fit.
Customizing the Scrambler
The 1200 XE is offered in two color combinations: Cobalt Blue and Jet Black, and Fusion White and Brooklands Green. To complement these, Triumph has announced a series of “Inspiration Kits” that outfit the Scrambler with themed groups of factory accessories.
The Escape Inspiration Kit (pictured above on an XC) consists of:
LED fog lights
Rear grab handle / luggage rack
The Extreme Inspiration Kit takes the Scrambler’s style in a different direction. The highlights are:
Aluminum radiator guards
High front fender
Stainless rear hoop
Headlight grill and bezel
These are just some of the 80+ factory accessories in the Triumph catalog that pertain to the Scrambler family, ranging from protection items like alarms and knee pads to a variety of anodized parts, all of which can be mixed and matched endlessly using Triumph’s Online Configurator.
Versus the Scrambler 1200 XC
That brings us to the street-focused version, the 2019 Triumph Scrambler 1200 XC, with an MSRP of $14,000 – $1,400 less than the XE.
It’s one thing for Triumph to slap off-road tires on the Scrambler XC and call it a day, but they haven’t stopped there. The off-road-focused XE has different Showa forks and a swingarm that’s 32mm longer, allowing for an extra 50mm of suspension travel front and rear over the road-focused XC. That makes the XE 1.1 inches taller, putting its seat height of 34.2” safely in adventure bike territory.
The suspension geometry has been tweaked as well: Rake is increased by 1.1 degrees on the XE, adding 1.6” to the wheelbase and 0.33” of trail. These suspension changes add 4 pounds over the XC and lead to the Off-Road Pro riding mode being an XE-only feature.
Handguards are standard on the XE but not on the XC; both models have scrambler pipes, skid plates, and tubeless wire wheels. The 1200 XC comes with Metzeler Tourance tires in contrast to the more aggressive Pirelli Scorpions of the 1200 XE.
The Triumph Scrambler 1200 XC comes in two unique color combinations: Khaki Green and Brooklands Green (pictured above), and Jet Black and Matt Black.
Sizing Up the Competition
The Scrambler XE sounds like a proper off-road machine based on its stats, but how does it compare to the competition? Remember, all this character comes at a price: the 2019 Triumph Scrambler 1200 XE starts at $15,400, just shy of the entry-level Tiger 800 XRX and XRX Low adventure bikes.
To recap, here are the main specs of the Triumph Scrambler 1200 XE:
81.1 lb./ft of torque
456 pounds dry
With that said, how does the 1200 XE compare to its two main Scrambler rivals – each of which costs $2,400 less?
BMW R nineT Scrambler Urban G/S: $12,995
86 lb./ft of torque
The comparable spec BMW R nineT is the Urban G/S. Its 1170cc engine makes 21 more horsepower and 7 more torques, but it weighs 29 pounds more than the Triumph. Nevertheless, the BMW has nearly 5 inches (125mm) less suspension travel at the front and 4.3 inches (110mm) less at the rear.
To most eyes the BMW looks radical by comparison to the more svelte and contemporary Triumph, but the Triumph’s off-road focus is clear when compared to the German on paper.
Ducati Scrambler 1100: $12,995
65 lb./ft of torque
Comparing the street-focused Ducati Scrambler 1100 to the Triumph Scrambler is apples to oranges. The Duck’s Öhlins suspension maxes out nearly 4 inches (100mm) earlier than the Triumph’s, and with its street tires and permanent ABS system the off-road vote clearly goes to the Scrambler XE.
The Ducati might give the Scrambler XC a run for its money, since it weighs 39 pounds less than the Triumph and trails it by only 3 horsepower and 16 torques. With that said, the Ducati is still new to the market – we’re sure to see a more dirt-focused version, perhaps a Desert Sled edition, in the not-too-distant future.
Scramblers aren’t the world’s fastest bikes, and they aren’t trying to be. What makes a scrambler special is the connection you forge with it, the way it inspires the confidence to go anywhere you have the bravery to ride it. That’s the approach Triumph has taken with the 1200 XE – it’s not the fastest, most powerful, or indeed the most affordable bike in its class, but even on paper it’s already proving itself as a rightful heir to the Scrambler name.
Judging by its suspension setup, the Scrambler 1200 XE is more about off-road action than looking cool in front of the bar. Triumph agrees – they’re so confident in the XE’s capabilities that they’ve entered it in the 2019 Baja 1000, a grueling event which is often the bane of even the most thoroughly-prepared custom machines. We suspect Triumph will make a few modifications to the XE to increase its odds; even then, we’re sure to be impressed by almost any result.
Of course, at the end of the day this is all speculation. The real answers will come when the 2019 Triumph Scrambler 1200 XE hits showroom floors in 2019. Check back for our full review around that time.