Triumph’s Bonneville-based ‘modern classics’ range has been a hit with riders and builders since its launch in 2001. Initially released as a carbureted 790cc parallel twin, Triumph later upped the capacity to 865cc and switched to fuel injection. Keeping the Bonneville platform as a basis, Triumph then added the Thruxton and the Scrambler to the line.
The Triumph Scrambler is essentially a dressed up Bonneville, designed with 60s desert racing nostalgia in mind. Other than cosmetic changes, such as the high pipes, it has a slighter higher riding position and—most notably—a 270-degree firing interval to give it a unique feel and exhaust note.
Those seemingly minor changes have made the Scrambler an instant classic and a hard bike to customize, mostly because it looks amazing out of the box. Here we’ve rounded up our five favorite Scrambler customs, from builders who have taken an already great bike and made it even better.
Spirit of the Seventies S6 Spirit of the Seventies never fail to impress. To create this back-road blasting street Scrambler they started with a 2006 model, then stripped off all excess weight before adding a host of performance modifications and bespoke parts. The engine was sent to Triumph specialist Bob Farnham for tuning—it’s been bored out to 904cc with a gas flowed and ported head, as well as a balancer shaft and FCR flatside carbs.
Flat track specialists Co-Built fabricated the stainless-steel exhaust system, while Spirit shortened the subframe and added a one-piece electronics tray and rear mudguard combination. A striking silver and black paint scheme compliments S6′s brawny stance perfectly. [More about this bike | Spirit of the Seventies]
Image by Grant Robinson.
Tridays ‘Rumbler’ Tridays is an annual motorcycle event held in the picturesque Austrian town of Neukirchen, where organizer Uli Brée traditionally unveils a one-off custom Triumph. For the 2012 edition he turned to Jochen Schmitz-Linkweiler of LSL, and Jens vom Brauck of JvB-Moto, to build the Rumbler. It was specifically designed to compete in one race: a 400-metre sprint on grass, known as the Tridays Rumble.
LSL were mainly responsible for performance upgrades: Öhlins suspension, Pirelli tires, a Magura Supermoto brake system, and custom triple clamps to tweak the geometry. The headlight, fenders, side panels and seat were all courtesy of JVB-Moto. There’s also a high-performance exhaust from Arrow. [More about this bike | LSL | JvB-Moto]
Mule Motorcycles ‘Catalina Scrambler’ Robert Jordan wanted his 2007 Scrambler to look a little more like his restored 1960s Triumph desert sled, so he called on Richard Pollock at Mule Motorcycles. Richard gave this modern Triumph Scrambler a healthy dose of vintage with alloy fenders, a Bates replica seat, CZ handlebars, and a new, slimmer steel gas tank—fabricated by Racetec in California. He even went as far as to ditch the stock hydraulic disc brakes in favor of drums.
The stainless-steel exhaust system was built by Mark McDade, and includes Snuff-Or-Nots—a popular accessory in the 60s that cut down on noise when the washers inside the pipes are flipped to the closed position. Robert named the bike ‘Catalina Scrambler’ after the famous dirt race held on Santa Catalina Island in the 50s. Rather befitting, don’t you think? [More about this bike | Mule Motorcycles]
Mr Martini Special Edition Scrambler Italian Triumph specialist Nicola Martini, or Mr Martini as he’s known, has built up an impressive Scrambler kit over the years. This particular build is a special edition featuring the best he has to offer.
The ‘Off Road’ model (pictured here) is dripping with retro dirt-bike style, thanks to the enduro-inspired fenders and taillight, high Zard exhaust system and distinctive Mr Martini Scrambler seat. It’s built to ride as well as it looks—with a short gear ratio kit, Öhlins shocks, a cartridge kit in the front forks and Continental off-road rubber.
There’s also an ‘On Road’ version, with lower fenders, an under-slung exhaust system and different shocks. Only 10 of each model are being built, to commemorate Mr Martini’s 20th year of working with Triumph. [Mr Martini]
British Customs ‘The Dirt Bike’ California’s British Customs make some of the best parts available for Triumph’s modern classics. This 2012 Scrambler serves as their test bed—so it’s undergone multiple transformations, even taking 3rd place at the annual Hell on Wheels race in flat tracker guise before being reconfigured into the bike you see here.
It’s a great example of how good a Scrambler can look with minimal styling changes—the matte khaki green paint job is stock, save for the obvious BC logo on the tank, as are the exhaust headers. The silencers and low profile seat are the most noticeable changes—both are new items that will soon be available for purchase. Custom fenders and BC’s own headlight, taillight and turn signals round things off.
The bottom line: if you have a Scrambler of your own, a build like this is well within reach. [British Customs]
Our previous Top 5 covered the BMW R-series.