Triumph Scrambler 400 X first ride review | Is this ‘the’ scrambler to scramble with?
The Bajaj-Triumph partnership has major significance in the Indian automotive scene. It forges an alliance which plays to the strengths of two major players in the two-wheeler industry and the ones to benefit most from this partnership are the consumers. With this partnership, Bajaj aims to democratise premium bikes for the masses and give everyone a chance to own a Triumph. The Speed 400 really surprised us back when we rode it a few months back. High levels of fit and finish, a modern engine and chassis setup and gorgeous styling at a really affordable price. Now, we finally got a chance to swing a leg over the Triumph Scrambler 400 X, the more off-road focussed sibling of the Speed 400. Does this offer the same value for money, premium bike experience as the Speed 400 and should you choose this over its rivals like the Royal Enfield Himalayan Scram 411 or the Yezdi Scrambler? One way to find out!
Triumph Scrambler 400 X design
The Triumph Scrambler 400 X uses the same basic design parts as the Speed 400. Meaning, the same headlight, tail light, instrument cluster and the same fuel tank. Even the engine is the same as the Speed 400 with no visual differences. But at the same time, the changes in the chassis setup makes for a fresh looking bike, one that doesn’t make it look simply like a Speed 400 on stilts. The Scrambler 400 X comes with elements like the headlamp guard, the hand guards and the engine sump guard all as standard fitment and adding to the scrambler vibe of the motorcycles is a competition number plate on the left side that harks back to the origins of the scrambler concept. The Scrambler 400 X is available in three colours — Matt Khaki Green, Carnival Red and Phantom Black. My favourite of the three has to be the matte green colourway for the way it accents the colours of the cycle parts.
The Scrambler 400 X uses a split seat setup unlike the Speed 400’s single piece setup which feels a lot more comfortable now, especially for long distance application. As is the case with the Speed 400, the sheer attention to detail and fit and finish of this motorcycle is that of a much more expensive motorcycle and I certainly hope that it ages the same way.
Triumph Scrambler 400 X chassis, ride and handling
Barring the design, it is in this department where the Scrambler 400 X gets the brunt of the changes over the Speed 400. The frame is essentially the same with the hybrid perimeter frame and bolt on subframe setup, but that’s where the major similarities end. The suspension has been tweaked to offer more travel and in turn more off-road ability than the Speed 400. Suspension travel stands at 150mm at both ends which is up by 10mm on the front and 20m at the rear. The headstock of the Scrambler 400 X is now longer than earlier with a sharper rake and a longer trail. This has been done to accommodate the larger 19-inch front wheel without sacrificing the agility too much. Even the ground clearance is up to 195mm up from 158mm, so you don’t really need to worry about bottoming out the bike, even on the taller or deeper speed breakers and potholes. With that comes an increase in the saddle height as well. At 835mm this is a tall bike for Indian standards but it is not so tall that it will put off riders. The inseam is pretty narrow and that will allow riders to get their feet down pretty comfortably. Even the rider's triangle is different now, with a more upright riding stance courtesy of more centre mounted pegs, and a taller, wider handlebar. Even larger riders won’t have a problem finding space on this motorcycle.
The ride quality of the Scrambler 400 X is exceptional. It is well judged and goes over most undulations without really breaking a sweat. It does this without feeling too soft or squishy, which means that it does still inspire a lot of confidence even when you tackle a set of corners. For obvious reasons, this is not going to be nearly as sharp a handler as the Speed or other naked bikes but it is far from lazy either. The 19-inch front does require a bit of effort to turn in but the Scrambler is still fairly sharp and is a lot of fun in the corners. The bike turns in well, stays stable through the corner while holding the line without any drama. The entire chassis and engine package of this bike like the Speed 400 is one that is easy, forgiving and non-demanding, making it easy even for relatively newer riders to get on and not get too intimidated. The new 19-inch front and 17-inch rear wheel setup are shod in MRF Nylogrip Zapper Kurve tyres which, in my time riding the Scrambler proved to be quite capable. They held grip well in the corners and under braking and even off-road, in gravel and similar terrain they will be more than enough.
The bike tips the scales at 185kg, making it 9kg heavier than the Speed 400. The extra weight comes from the new wheels, the guards that come as standard fitment and the handlebar which is now a steel unit rather than the aluminium one that does duties on the speed. The weight is manageable and a non-issue for the most part. The only time I feel it’ll be an issue is for shorter riders trying to make u-turns.
Speaking of riding off-road, the Scrambler 400 X’ ergonomic setup is very well suited to standing and riding. Get the bike off the tarmac and it feels confidence inspiring. The weight is manageable and the tractable nature of the engine means that you only need to focus on the riding. That being said, this is not a hardcore off-roader and Triumph doesn’t advertise it to be one either. My impressions are that it should be able to handle a level 1-2 trail without too much difficulty. Anything more and you’d be better off with a more purpose built machine.
Braking hardware also differs slightly from the Speed 400 with a larger 320mm disc at the front and the ability to switch off ABS at the rear wheel. This comes especially handy when riding off-road. The brakes offer adequate stopping power but one gripe I have with this setup is that there is a fair bit of fade that is felt at the lever even in just a few hours of riding. This is something that should be rectified soon.
Triumph Scrambler 400 X engine and performance
The Scrambler uses the same engine as found on the Speed 400 i.e, the TR series engine that has been designed with Bajaj. The 398cc, liquid-cooled, DOHC, four valve, single-cylinder engine is good for 39.5bhp at 8000rpm and 37.5Nm at 6500rpm. Triumph claims that 80 percent of peak torque is available from as low as 3000rpm up to 9000rpm. Riding the bike, this is very apparent. The bike feels torquey and really potent in the mid-range and low-end with a fair bit of grunt left for the top-end as well. The only mechanical change made to the engine for the Scambler is on the final drive. The front sprocket is a 14 tooth unit as against the 15 tooth unit found on the Speed 400. The rear remains the same 43 tooth unit. I can only confirm after riding both bikes back to back but the Scrambler 400 X feels marginally more tractable. Performance feels brisk but manageable and the ride by wire throttle system makes throttle modulation a breeze. The bike still has a few vibes that creep in around 6000rpm that become more prominent around 8000rpm. But touring in sixth gear at 100kmph will not be an issue at all. The Scrambler 400 X also benefits from an ‘off-road’ mode which shuts off traction control and switches off ABS at the rear wheel.
Triumph Scrambler 400 X verdict
Priced at ₹2.63 lakh ex-showroom, Triumph has priced the Scrambler 400 X at exactly what we thought it would. And at that price, the Scrambler 400 X is a great value for money package. The bike is equipped with a modern engine, a very capable chassis, a very usable electronics package, just the right amount of features and very premium fit and finish levels. When you factor in the price, all of it just seems that much better. The bike does exactly what it is advertised to do and then some. To sum it up, it feels like the perfect bike to tackle our deteriorating Indian road network with. In terms of its rivals, you have the Yezdi Scrambler and the Royal Enfield Scram 411. I personally would pick the Triumph over the two but a proper comparison test is definitely justified. But if you were on the fence about this bike, be rest assured, this is a very capable machine, one that definitely deserves your attention.
Watch our full video review here: