2023 Triumph Scrambler 900 Review [9 Fast Facts]

2023 Triumph Scrambler 900 Review: Retro Rural Motorcycle

The return of the scrambler genre to motorcycling has been a curious one. Scramblers started legitimately enough. In the 1960s, before proper dual-sport bikes existed, manufacturers offered modified versions of their street motorcycles, making them more suitable for off-road use. An upswept exhaust was the most visible change, and it was a practical one, no question. You might even get a wider, taller handlebar with a crossbar, and maybe a different set of tires. Otherwise, it was still a street bike—just like the 2023 Triumph Scrambler 900. Of course, that makes the 900 a perfectly legit scrambler for the modern era.

  1. Right up front, you should know that the 2023 Triumph Scrambler 900 is a renamed version of the Street Scrambler. A couple of cosmetic changes are all you get with this “new” model. I hadn’t ridden the bike since 2019, when I explored Lisbon’s streets and the Portuguese backcountry. So, the new name was justification enough for me to get some time on the motorcycle on my home turf–and pavement.

  1. At its heart, the Scrambler 900 is a stylish urban motorcycle. Providing the rider with the aura of a retro off-road competitor, the Scrambler 900 is the kind of motorcycle you love to pull up to a coffee shop or watering hole and park. It never fails to get appreciative looks, and that’s a great feeling—pride of ownership, right there.

  1. This is an easy motorcycle to shepherd around town. There are plenty of aspects that make the Scrambler 900 so fantastic in the city. The 19-inch front wheel has a couple of advantages in town—it rolls over imperfections better than a 17, and the 100mm width adds agility. The Metzeler Tourance tires are street-focused. The seating position is purely upright—perfect for comfort and providing a good view of your surroundings. Wide handlebars make the Triumph easy to manhandle, though it compromises filtering at stops on streets with narrower lanes. The suspension is pure-street, so you don’t get any bonus travel for dealing with potholes or dips.

  1. The power delivery of the 270-degree, 899cc parallel-twin powerplant is wonderfully sweet. Its maximum 59 ft-lbs of torque comes on at just 3250 rpm, yet allows for plenty of overrev—the 64-horsepower peak is attained at 7250 rpm. Those numbers speak to the ultra-wide and unintimidating powerband of the Triumph Bonneville 900 HT engine. The motor’s willingness to rev makes it quite suitable for action on urban freeways. If you’re worried about the five-speed transmission, don’t be. Thanks to the broad powerband, five speeds are enough—you might even find yourself inadvertently cruising on the freeway in 4th gear, as we did several times. A quick look at the gear indicator on the small LCD panel on the clock will remind you to upshift. Oh, and there’s no tach, but there is an analog-style speedometer.

  1. You might notice the heft of the Triumph Scrambler 900 as you work your way through traffic. At 492 pounds wet with the relatively petite 3.2-gallon fuel tank topped off, the Triumph is the same weight as the 1170cc BMW R nineT Scrambler and 75 pounds more than the less-expensive 803cc Ducati Scrambler Icon. A diet for its Scrambler should be on Triumph’s to-do list—both weight and MSRP.

  1. At slower speeds, that fashionable exhaust system is a liability. With the catalyzer in the exhaust header, things get toasty fast for the lower half of your right leg. If you’re the kind of rider who prefers shorts or Levi’s, be prepared to invest in a proper pair of technical motorcycle jeans to prevent burns—which you should do, anyway. “Undocumented” solutions, depending on your location, include gutting the catalytic converter or going with a cat-free exhaust system. We trust you’ll do the right thing if you find the heat the cat throws out problematic. Also, you may not like the intrusion of the up-pipes on the ergonomics, as it makes it impossible to hug the beautiful tank with your knees.

  1. The 2023 Triumph Scrambler 900 is a fun canyon runner. Due to the intrusion of the scrambler pipes on the ergonomics, you won’t want to pick any fights in the twisties. However, for enjoyable rides through the curving sections of roads, the Scrambler 900 has plenty to offer. The handling is predictably neutral, the seating position natural, the throbbing motor comes into its own, and it’s all about having a good time. The brakes, suspension, and tires are all up to the job of canyon carving at a sensible pace.

  1. Should you find a dirt road you want to explore, go for it. Hey, it’s a scrambler, so you can take it places you would not want to go on a pure street machine, thanks to the Scrambler’s ground clearance and wide handlebar. Your off-pavement aspirations will be limited by the tires more than anything. Although standing up is part of off-roading, the Scrambler 900’s up-pipes discourage that technique because they bow your right leg out and make it hard to keep your foot on the right peg. Sit down, plonk along, and you can enjoy the Scrambler 900 as you amble down a dirt road looking like Dr. Tony Newman just dropped out of The Time Tunnel from 1968, fresh from a battle with J.N. Roberts in a hare and hound race through the Mojave Desert.

  1. With riders like Steve McQueen in its heritage, the 2023 Triumph Scrambler 900 is the real deal. McQueen rode a Triumph TR6 Trophy SC in the 1964 International Six Day Trial, and the lineage from that motorcycle to the Scrambler 900 is undeniable, if not unbroken. That era was the last hurrah for the Triumph twins as competitive off-road racers, as two-strokes arrived to rule the roost. However, that doesn’t stop the new Scrambler 900 from letting you enjoy the reflected glory as you cruise through town and on backroads in style.

Photography by Kelly Callan 

RIDING STYLE 

2023 Triumph Scrambler 900 Specs

ENGINE

  • Type: Vertical twin w/ 270-degree crank
  • Bore x stroke: 84.6 x 80.0mm
  • Displacement: 899cc
  • Compression ratio: 11.0:1
  • Maximum power: 64 horsepower @ 7250 rpm
  • Maximum torque: 59 ft-lbs @ 3250 rpm
  • Valvetrain: SOHC, 4 vpc
  • Cooling: Liquid
  • Exhaust: Brushed 2-into-2 w/ twin brushed stainless steel silencers
  • Transmission: 5-speed
  • Clutch: Wet multiplate w/ assist and slip functions
  • Final drive: O-ring chain

CHASSIS

  • Frame: Tubular-steel twin-cradle
  • Front suspension; travel: Non-adjustable 41mm KYB cartridge forks; 4.7 inches
  • Rear suspension; travel: Spring-preload adjustable KYB shocks; 4.7 inches
  • Wheels: Wire-spoke steel
  • Front wheel: 19 x 2.50
  • Rear wheel: 17 x 4.25
  • Tires: Metzeler Tourance
  • Front tire: 100/90 x 19
  • Rear tire: 150/70 x 17
  • Front brake: 310mm floating disc w/ Brembo 4-piston caliper
  • Rear brake: 255mm disc w/ Nissin 2-piston floating caliper
  • ABS: Standard

DIMENSIONS and CAPACITIES

  • Wheelbase: 56.8 inches
  • Rake: 25.6 degrees
  • Trail: 4.3 inches
  • Seat Height: 31.1 inches
  • Tank capacity: 3.2 gallons
  • Estimate fuel consumption: 55 mpg
  • Curb weight: 492 pounds
  • Colors: Jet Black; Carnival Red & Jet Black; Matte Khaki

2023 Triumph Scrambler 900 Price: from $11,295 MSRP

2023 Triumph Scrambler 900 Review Photo Gallery