I was thoroughly impressed by Triumph’s first attempt at making a small displacement motorcycle, the Speed 400. It delivered on many fronts and was a fun motorcycle to ride around in the city and on the test track. Triumph had also revealed that the same engine would power a scrambler, the Scrambler 400 X. While the engine worked well in the roadster, I was sceptical as to how well it would perform in a scrambler outfit. So, when I finally got to swing a leg over the Scrambler 400 X, I was not expecting it to impress me as much as the Speed 400. Boy, was I wrong!

Triumph Scrambler 400 X Review: Buy this over the Speed 400? | TOI Auto

Triumph Scrambler 400 X design and styling

When you say the name Triumph, you expect a certain level of finesse and finesse is what you get if you buy the Scrambler 400 X. Just like the Speed 400, the Scrambler has been built with great care and you will find no corner that looks shabbily put together. Our Carnival Red/Phantom Black unit had a shiny fuel tank that instantly caught the eye. The Scrambler gets the same LED headlamp as the Speed but here you have a mesh cover on it. The off-road character is enhanced by the hand guards and crossbar on the handlebar. It also comes with a metal bash plate for protecting the engine underbelly, tank grips and a different design for the left side panel. The one on the right looks like that of the Speed but the one on the left has a large brushed metal plate with Scrambler 400 X etched into it. Overall, while not too dissimilar to the Speed from afar, the Scrambler does still look amazing.

Triumph Scrambler 400 X fuel tank

Triumph Scrambler 400 X ergonomics

Compared to the Speed 400, you sit higher on the Scrambler because of the increased seat height (895 mm). This is great for riders who are 6 feet tall or more. If you thought the Speed 400 is a bit too cramped for your liking, do try the Scrambler as it will not disappoint. The slim waistline of the bike also means that even though you sit higher, planting at least one foot on the ground is easier. You get the same semi-digital instrument cluster as the one on the Speed 400 and it does a good job of conveying the basic information you would want. There are no fancy connected features on offer, but when you are enjoying the ride, your mind hardly minds the omission.

Triumph Scrambler 400 X side

The split seat setup of the Scrambler 400 X provides enough room for a pillion and is a comfortable cushion to spend hours on. There is a split grab rail at the back so that the pillion can hold onto something. While we did not get to test the pillion experience extensively, I believe that it will be a relatively comfortable place compared to most bikes in the segment.

Triumph Scrambler 400 X engine performance

Triumph Scrambler 400 X engine

The engine powering the Scrambler 400 X is the same as the one in the Speed 400. This 398.15 cc, single-cylinder, liquid-cooled motor has abundant torque in the lower revs and is capable of reaching triple-digit speeds without much fuss. Triumph has not made any tuning changes in terms of power delivery but they say that they have tweaked the engine braking to suit off-road riding. First, let me tell you that the bike still has some vibration issues above 5,000 rpm. You feel the vibrations coming from the seat as you climb the revs and then it goes to the footpegs and a bit in the handlebars as well. The vibrations are too bad compared to some other bikes but it surely is one aspect where Triumph can still improve.
Looking past the vibrations, the engine delivers power in a very linear and likeable manner. You get plenty of torque low down and can easily cruise at lower speeds on a higher gear. When you have to get to triple-digit speeds, this bike picks up pace withing seconds of asking. The one difference I noticed is that the Scrambler takes a little more effort to get past 100 kmph compared to its more compact and lighter sibling. The gearbox was a delight to play with and gave me no trouble at any point. I was even able to find neutral every single time without fail!

Triumph Scrambler 400 X ride experience

Triumph Scrambler 400 X off road

The thing I liked the most about the Scrambler 400 X was its suspension setup. Yes, you are getting the same 43 mm USD forks at the front and a monoshock at the back but the suspension travel has been increased to 150 mm. Now, the added travel means the bike can endure a harsher bashing and that is expected from a scrambler. What surprised me was how well the suspension has been tuned at both ends. You get a comfortable ride on rough roads, yet enough feedback that you can accurately judge where you want to place the bike. Most bikes with a comfortable suspension might have a lot of compression and a general lack of feedback from the road surface, not so with the Scrambler 400 X. Combined with the excellent grip from the tyres, I was quickly able to put my trust in this machine and push it without going over the edge. Riding over gravel was child’s play for the Scrambler. Yes, if you want to do some serious off-roading, you might want to replace the tyres with something more purpose-built. The bigger 19-inch tyre does make a noticeable difference when turning the bike but it is not so large that it makes it too cumbersome to ride on smooth roads.

Triumph Scrambler 400 X front tyre

For the Scrambler, Triumph is offering switchable traction control and rear ABS. So, when you hit a trail and want to have more fun, you can switch off these electronic aids. Switching off the rear ABS also helps brake better on loose surfaces. I would say that the action of toggling these features could be a bit smoother still. You do have a bigger front brake, a 320 mm unit, but it does not feel as sharp as the one on Speed 400. This has been done deliberately to give a more gradual braking experience when off-roading. I did like how the brakes responded and they managed to slow down the bike enough and in good time.

Triumph Scrambler 400 X rear tyre

Triumph Scrambler 400 X verdict

I was actually a bit under the weather on the day I rode the Scrambler 400 X. My initial plan was to not push myself too much and make my situation worse. However, the moment I started riding, my heart, body and mind did not want to stop. In my desire to ride just a little more, I found myself more than 30 km up a mountainous road. I had ridden through snaking smooth tarmac, splashed my way through gravel and left my tracks in the dirt. And I think that itself perfectly embodies the spirit of scrambling. This might not be as capable as an ADV on hardcore off-road tracks but it has more than enough kit to aid you in the city and adapt to tricky trails in an instant. I would not say that the Scrambler is outright better than the Speed, rather, these are two products for two different types of customers. So, no matter which you pick, you will not regret your choice. The Scrambler 400 X costs Rs 2,62,996 (ex-showroom) which is roughly Rs 30,000 more than the Speed and it completely justifies its price.

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