Form and Function: The 2024 Bike EXIF Guide to Scrambler Motorcycles

The Bike EXIF guide to scrambler motorcycles in 2024
Trends come and go, but tradition is everlasting, and you’d be surprised just how long scrambler motorcycles have been around. The term harkens back to the earliest days of motorcycle racing when competition was an A-to-B affair, and there were too few paved roads to limit competition to tarmac only—a scramble, as they’d come to be called. As such, racers crudely modified their machines to work on a mix of surfaces, adding more aggressive rubber, maximizing suspension travel and hiking up fenders to clear mud.

The manufacturers eventually realized the marketability of a multi-purpose machine, and even after competition evolved, demand persisted for bikes that could (more or less) do it all. The popularity of the scrambler has ebbed and flowed through the years, but it’s safe to say demand is as strong as ever for these bikes.

Fantic Caballero Scrambler 700
Whether you truly intend to hit the sand and fire lanes, or do it solely for the aesthetic, the spectrum of scrambler motorcycles is vast in price and performance. Here’s a selection to sink your teeth into.

2024 Triumph Scrambler 1200 XE

2024 Triumph Scrambler 1200 XE

At a glance 1,200 cc, parallel-twin engine—270° crank, 89 hp, 110 Nm, 21″ F / 17″ R wheels, 45 mm inverted forks, coilover rear shock—250 mm.

The top dogs of Triumph’s Scrambler offerings, the 1200 X and XE models are formidable entries in the class. Beyond being a perfectly streetable machine all week long, the Scrambler 1200 XE offers legitimate off-road capability and techy features that rival modern adventure bikes.

2024 Triumph Scrambler 1200 XE
Billed as the ultimate scrambler, the 1200 XE is based on all the same goodies as the rest of the lineup, from the tubular steel chassis to the 1,200 cc, SOHC parallel-twin. Triumph’s mill has also recently been revamped for Euro 5 compliance, without noticeably affecting peak power at 89 hp at 7,400 rpm.

While both models boast full-adjustable Öhlins piggyback rear shocks, the XE model receives a longer aluminum swingarm with increased travel at 9.84” [250 mm]. The Showa inverted 47 mm front fork is a beefier unit on the XE, also boasting nearly 10” of travel. As far as suspension goes, the Scrambler 1200 XE is pretty much in a league of its own, and it’s also darn light for its class at just 452 pounds dry.

2024 Triumph Scrambler 1200 XE
Complete with a 21-inch front wheel, tubeless off-roady rubber, handguards, a skid plate and a radiator guard, the 1200 XE is as capable in the dirt as a scrambler gets, but don’t think for a second that it’s forgotten its street manners. In addition to dual Brembo discs up front and standard ABS, the Scrambler 1200 is equipped with a trick multi-function display that keeps all parameters in check, and offers multiple riding modes from road and sport, to rain and off-road. [Triumph]

Fantic Caballero Rally 500

2024 Fantic Caballero Rally 500

At a glance 449 cc single-cylinder engine, 40 hp, 43 Nm, 19″ F / 17″ R spoked wheels, 41 mm inverted forks, coilover rear shock—150 mm stroke.

Scramblers shouldn’t be mistaken for dirt bikes, but the Fantic Caballero 500 Rally might be an exception—and we’re here for it. The Caballero combines timeless scrambler looks with legit dirt bike running gear, stretching the scrambler market to new heights. If the dirt is your preferred playground, this one’s for you.

Fantic Caballero 500 Rally
Unlike most other scramblers, the Fantic Caballero starts with a dedicated off-road platform, consisting of a chromoly steel tube chassis, inverted 43 mm forks and an aluminum rear swingarm. Suspension is adjustable on both ends and provides 8” [200 mm] of travel, which is competitive even in the performance dual-sport scene. Peak power is rated at 40 hp, courtesy of a liquid-cooled 449 cc four-valve engine sourced from Zongshen, and the transmission is a standard six-speed.

Fantic Caballero Rally 500
To tweak the dirt platform for scrambler use, Fantic fits the Caballero with a vintage 3.2-gallon tank and a slim scrambler saddle, and you still get passenger pegs as well. High fenders are mounted front and rear, and the Caballero is fit with an engine skid plate, a radiator guard and headlight protection. The twin-tip exhaust is manufactured by Arrow in Italy, and while it may be a tad exposed up front, the wow factor definitely makes up for it.

Fantic’s Caballero 500 Rally is a retro-cool option that’s in a league of its own. It doesn’t come cheap though, and last we checked, it doesn’t come to the States at all. [Fantic]

2024 Ducati Scrambler Icon

2024 Ducati Scrambler Icon

At a glance 803 cc, air-cooled Desmodromic L-twin, 73 hp, 65.2 Nm, 18″ alloy wheels, 41 mm inverted forks, coilover rear shock—150 mm stroke.

Ducati’s Scrambler line, a brand within the brand, has been pared back recently, but there are still a few Scramblers in the stable we’d happily own. The model range starts with the standard 803 cc Icon model, and while it’s not as showy as some of the other variants, the Ducati Scrambler Icon still has all the right stuff for a thrilling ride—and it couldn’t be easier to customize.

2024 Ducati Scrambler Icon
The basic Scrambler is fresh off of a major overhaul for 2023, with a revised chassis, swingarm and wheels in the name of making it lighter and more refined. Electronics took a massive leap forward as well, with Bosch cornering ABS, lean-sensitive traction control, a new 4.3-inch TFT dash and Road and Sport riding modes.

2024 Ducati Scrambler Icon
The heart of the Scrambler is Ducati’s desmodromic 803 cc L-twin, providing 73 hp and 48 lb-ft. And while it’s no powerhouse in the scrambler market, the air-cooled twin feels grunty and matches the Icon’s easy-going attitude. With the clutch reworked for an easier pull and fresh Euro 5 compliance, expect the 803 L-twin to remain the entry point into the Ducati scene.

The Scrambler Icon faces stiff competition from the likes of Moto Guzzi’s V7 and Triumph’s Scrambler 900, but between the three, the Ducati enjoys an advantage in horsepower and a unique image. And if stock doesn’t do it for you, the Scrambler Icon has a huge selection of off-the-shelf parts to make it your own, and its simple air-cooled platform is a blank slate for modification. [Ducati]

BMW R NineT Scrambler

2023 BMW R nineT Scrambler

At a glance 1,170 cc, air/oil-cooled boxer twin, 109 hp, 115 Nm, 19″ F / 17″ R alloy wheels, 43 mm telescopic forks, adjustable coilover rear shock—140 mm stroke.

Sometimes less is more, and in the case of BMW’s R nineT, the platform continues to be a simple and versatile avenue into the boxer scene. Combining the R nineT’s core mechanicals with rugged, go-anywhere charm, the BMW R nineT Scrambler is an affordable and venturesome entry into the premium marque. And even though BMW has upgraded the R nineT platform with the new R 12 and R 12 nineT, the Scrambler hasn’t been dropped from their line-up (yet).

BMW R NineT Scrambler
BMW’s tried and true 1,170 cc boxer is the heart of the R nineT Scrambler and sets it apart from the field. It’s a familiar and simple air/oil-cooled mill that produces 109 hp at 7,250 rpm, and BMW states that the newer Euro 5-compliant heads supply increased mid-range power. Flat out in sixth gear, BMW claims the Scrambler will exceed 124 mph.

While much is carried over from the standard R nineT, the Scrambler does receive a few changes down low, starting with the front fork. Gone is the R nineT’s inverted front end, and a standard telescoping 43 mm fork stands in its place with an extra 0.2” of travel. Out back, BMW cranked an extra 0.8” of travel out of the double-adjustable monoshock and single-sided swing arm. With the increased travel, the Scrambler makes the switch to a more dirt-friendly 19-inch front wheel, and seat height is up a half inch at 32.3.”

BMW R NineT Scrambler
Finished off with a flat scrambler saddle and a high, twin-tip Akrapovič exhaust, the BMW R nineT Scrambler looks the part. But if you’re serious about getting out in the dirt, BMW’s $75 dirt tire option is a no-brainer, and we’d love to see some optional skid plates and protection added. The R nineT Scrambler is also a bit heavy at 492 pounds, but presumably, most of it’s down low with the boxer. [BMW Motorrad]

2024 Indian FTR Rally

2023 Indian FTR Rally

At a glance 1,203 cc, 60° V-twin engine, 120 hp, 118 Nm, 19″ F / 18″ R alloy wheels, 43 mm inverted forks, coilover rear shock—150 mm stroke.

Based on an elegant steel trellis frame and a thundering 120 hp V-twin, Indian’s FTR is a super versatile platform that’s competitive in the twisties and beyond. While the FTR Sport and R Carbon models prioritize street performance, the FTR Rally offers something different for adventurous souls, with knobby tires and a bit of retro flair.

2024 Indian FTR Rally
The bulk of the FTR Rally’s mechanicals are unchanged from the standard model, and given its heavy dirt-track inspiration, most of it translates well to scrambler duty. The engine is the standard 1,203 cc liquid-cooled V-twin, good for 120 hp through a six-speed with a slipper clutch. Brembo brakes with ABS, cruise control and user interface are also carryovers from the standard FTR.

The FTR Rally starts earning its scrambler credit where it counts though, and that’s where the rubber meets the road (or lack thereof). Where the FTR is fit with 17F/17R wheel combo, the Rally has been upgraded to a more dirt-friendly 19F/18R setup, which helps improve ground clearance by a little over a half inch. For more sure footing on loose surfaces, the FTR Rally is equipped with Pirelli Scorpion Rally STR rubber as well.

Indian FTR Rally
Where some of the other FTR models are fit with fully-adjustable Öhlins or ZF Sachs, the Rally has non-adjustable suspension front and rear, but travel has been substantially increased—at 5.9” [149.7 mm] over the FTR’s 4.7.” To further separate it from the lineup, the FTR Rally also receives Pro Taper handlebars, which are 2” taller, and better suited for off-road conditions.

With key upgrades down low, retro-cool matte looks and a timeless tan scrambler saddle, the Indian FTR Rally takes the FTR platform to new heights. It has an adventurous attitude, but it could certainly stand to lose a little weight at 520 pounds, and we’d appreciate a beefy skid plate as well. [Indian]

Brixton Crossfire 500 XC

2024 Brixton Crossfire 500 XC

At a glance 486 cc parallel-twin engine, 48 hp, 43 Nm, 19″ F / 17″ R spoked wheels, inverted forks—150 mm stroke, coilover rear shock—130 mm stroke.

A bold mix of new and old, the Brixton Crossfire 500 XC echoes everything we love in a modern scrambler. The majority of its mechanicals come from the street-going Crossfire 500 model, including the chassis, adjustable KYB suspension at both ends and the 486 cc twin engine — rated at 48 hp. Accordingly, it tips the scales at around 430 pounds, but it’s in the details that the 500 XC’s rugged nature starts to shine.

Brixton Crossfire 500 XC
Aggressive Pirelli Scorpion rubber gets things off on the right track, and the 19F/17R externally spoked wheels are particularly eye-catching. An array of armor has been added to the bike in key areas, including an engine skid plate, radiator guards, crash bars and headlight protection. The exhaust system is entirely stainless, but does seem a bit vulnerable on the bottom side.

Brixton Crossfire 500 XC
Ergonomics are classic scrambler, with a slim full-length seat and mid-height bars, and a large 3.6-gallon tank permits longer off-road excursions. Lighting is nicely executed, pairing a classic-looking round LED up front, with small indicators and a tucked tail light, and the number plates are a fun touch.

With a reported top speed of over 100 mph, Bosch ABS and adjustable KYB suspension, the Brixton is an excellent mix of off-road performance and road-going manners. [Brixton]

2024 Honda SCL500

2024 Honda SCL500

At a glance 471 cc parallel-twin engine, 43 hp, 41 Nm, 19″ F / 17″ R wheels, 41 mm telescopic forks, dual rear shocks—145 mm stroke.

Honda didn’t invent the scrambler, but it’s tough to think of a company that’s built more over the years. Based on the familiar Rebel 500 platform, the Honda SCL500 is the latest chapter in the company’s scrambler history and is now available stateside.

Honda SCL500
The modern Honda Rebel is immediately recognizable for its ultra-low seat height and tall tank, placing it firmly in bobber territory. It took a completely redesigned rear subframe to raise the seat and reposition the twin rear shocks, and the SCL500 tops it off with a slim full-length seat. The pegs are moved rearward, and the tank shape has been altered as well.

To boost ground clearance, Honda ditched the Rebel’s 16″ wheels for a 19″ front and 17″ rear. No Scrambler is complete without a high-mounted pipe, and the SCL500’s 2-into-1 exhaust adds huge visual impact—even if it does eat up some ground clearance.

Honda SCL500
Since the Honda SCL500 is only equipped with a radiator guard, it’s less off-roady than other offerings, but gains points in Honda’s venerable build quality. The 471 cc DOHC twin is as reliable as it gets, and makes 43 hp through a six-speed transmission. [Honda]

2024 Husqvarna Svartpilen 401

2024 Husqvarna Svartpilen 401

At a glance 399 cc single-cylinder engine, 44 hp, 39 Nm, 17″ spoked wheels, 43 mm inverted forks, coilover rear shock—150 mm stroke.

Since its inception back in 2018, Husqvarna’s Svartpilen 401 has been a favorite of ours for its quirky and rugged take on the KTM Duke platform. Doubling down on its spirited entry-level offerings, Husqvarna has completely reworked the 2024 Svartpilen and Vitapilen 401 models to increase competitiveness in the A2 license scene.

2024 Husqvarna Svartpilen 401
Derived from the road-going Husqvarna Vitpilen, the Svartpilen adds Pirelli Scorpion Rally STR rubber and taller bars to this proven street platform. Quality WP Apex suspension is used on both ends (even if ground clearance is a slim 5.9 inches [149.7 mm]), and Husqvarna reworked the rear with the coilover offset to the right. A unique color scheme and a rack on the fuel tank further separate it from the Vitpilen.

In addition to a completely reworked trellis frame, the Svart’s rev-happy single-cylinder engine has grown from 373 to 399 cc for 2024. While the extra 26 cc is only good for one extra pony, it has brought the 401 mill into Euro5+ compliance. Husqvarna also reworked the Svart’s bodywork and ergonomics, bringing the seat height to a more accessible 32.3.”

2024 Husqvarna Svartpilen 401
Technology and standard equipment is an area where the new 401s really excel, as a slip-assist clutch, Bosch cornering ABS, full LED lighting and adjustable suspension on both ends come standard. The 5-inch TFT display is loaded with tech, including all the navigation, mobile connectivity and instrumentation you’d expect from a much more expensive motorcycle.

It’s clear Husqvarna has softened the Svartpilen 401 up some, and the bike has lost a bit of its edgy and chunky look that set it apart from its rivals. That being said, there’s still a whole lot to like here for under $6,000. [Husqvarna, Barbanti A., Marco Campelli]

Triumph Scrambler 900

2024 Triumph Scrambler 900

At a glance 900 cc, parallel-twin engine—270° crank, 64 hp, 80 Nm, 19″ F / 17″ R spoked wheels, 41 mm telescopic forks, twin rear shocks—120 mm stroke.

The Speed Twin 900 occupies a sweet spot in Triumph’s lineup for scores of street riders, but if your ambitions include the occasional off-road excursion, the Scrambler 900 is the mount for you.

Like many of its peers, the Scrambler 900 borrows all its core components from its road-going cousin, including the 900 cc parallel-twin engine, five-speed transmission and 41 mm telescoping fork. The Scrambler does look and feel like a different bike, however, with the addition of a larger 19” front wheel, dual-purpose Metzeler rubber and a skid plate.

Triumph Scrambler 900
The high-mounted scrambler exhaust and number plate are particularly pleasing additions to the model as well, and the whole bike looks a bit more soulful and adventurous than the Speed Twin. Even if its off-road accolades are limited to light-duty bumps and gravel, the Scrambler 900 definitely makes the grade as a worthy urban scrambler, and Triumph’s available accessories provide the opportunity to kit the bike out as a rugged custom right from the factory. [Triumph]

Moto Morini Seiemmezzo SCR

2024 Moto Morini Seiemmezzo SCR

At a glance 649 cc, parallel-twin engine, 61 hp, 54 Nm, 18″ F / 17″ R spoked wheels, 43 mm inverted forks, coilover rear shock—120 mm stroke.

Translated six and a half from Italian, the Seiemmezzo is a 649 cc bike platform from the revived Moto Morini brand. In addition to the street-oriented STR model, the company has also unveiled the Seiemmezzo SCR scrambler, boasting 61 hp and nearly 40 lb-ft of torque.

The Moto Morini Seiemmezzo platform is based on a steel trellis frame, with Kayaba adjustable front and rear suspension and a top-tier Brembo/Bosch braking system. Fed by Bosch EFI, the DOHC, liquid-cooled 650 comes from CFMoto and makes big power for its class.

Moto Morini SCR Scrambler
Not lacking in standard tech, the Seiemmezzo comes with LED lighting and a 5-inch TFT display with built-in Bluetooth coms and mobile connectivity. The Seiemmezzo SCR differentiates itself from the road-going STR model with a tall tuck-and-roll seat, wire wheels, Pirelli MT60RS rubber and high-mounted fenders.

With a recent entry into the U.S., Moto Morini bikes are available in the states and countries neighboring their Italian headquarters. An Asian dealer network is also said to be in the works. [Moto Morini]

Moto Guzzi V7 Special

2024 Moto Guzzi V7

At a glance air-cooled 853 cc, transverse 90° V-twin, 65 hp, 73 Nm, 18″ F / 17″ R spoked wheels, 40 mm telescopic forks, dual rear shocks.

There’s no written rule that scramblers have to be retro, but when you’re Moto Guzzi, there’s a whole lot of transverse V-twin history to ride on. Armed with a more powerful 850 cc engine and loads of authentic Guzzi flavor, the current V7 does so in spectacular fashion.

Moto Guzzi V7 Special
The Achilles heel of the old V7 was the somewhat sedate performance of the 744 cc mill, but in 2021 Guzzi reinvigorated the model with a 65 hp version of the 853 cc powerplant from the V85 TT. Along with the 25% boost in power, the V7’s chassis was strengthened, ergonomics adjusted and longer Kayaba twin shocks were added out back.

The V7 is available in four different configurations, with the V7 Special being our pick of the litter with its chrome pipes, passenger grab bar and retro graphics. While none of the V7s are explicitly marketed as scramblers, swapping out the Dunlop Arrowmax street tires for Pirelli Scorpion rubber would put the V7 on par with several others on the list. [Moto Guzzi]

Triumph Scrambler 400 X first look

2024 Triumph Scrambler 400 X

At a glance 398 cc, single-cylinder engine, 39.5 hp, 37.5 Nm, 19″ F / 17″ R alloy wheels, 43 mm inverted forks, external reservoir rear shock—150 mm stroke.

Triumph has teamed up with the gigantic Indian manufacturer Bajaj to release two new entry-level machines for 2024, dubbed the Triumph Scrambler 400 X and Speed 400. Borrowing styling cues from the Speed Twin and Scrambler 900 and 1200 models, the new 400 cc range is a play by Triumph to offer a lower point of entry into the brand.

Both bikes share a common chassis, a ground-up design for Triumph with a bolt-on rear subframe and a cast aluminum swingarm. Maximizing the dirtworthiness of the platform, the Scrambler 400 X is fit with a larger 19-inch front wheel and increased suspension travel—5.9″ [150 mm] front and rear. As accessible as it gets, seat height is low at 32.8” and the bike weighs 395 pounds.

Triumph Scrambler 400 X first look
The engine’s an all-new 398 cc single-cylinder mill, sporting fuel injection and liquid cooling. It has a four-valve, DOHC head, a weighted and balanced crankshaft and a finger-follower valvetrain with DLC coatings to help reduce friction. The engine is rated at 39.5 hp, and a six-speed transmission makes the most of it.

In addition to the twin-tipped exhaust, the Scrambler X receives wider handlebars, handguards, a headlight grille and grippy footpegs that are repositioned for an optimal standing position. Interestingly, it’s also fit with a larger 320 mm front brake disc over the Speed 400. [Triumph]

Fantic Caballero Scrambler 700

2024 Fantic Caballero Scrambler 700

At a glance 689 cc, parallel-twin engine, 74 hp, 70 Nm, 19″ F / 17″ R spoked wheels, 45 mm inverted forks, coilover rear shock—150 mm stroke.

The soulful and rugged offerings from Italian Fantic are a regular sight in our guides (despite the lack of availability for our eager staff stateside), and the company has taken the fight to the big-cc retro scene with the new Caballero Scrambler 700 model. Unveiled in 2023, Fantic’s big scrambler boasts top-quality components and a proven 689 cc Yamaha CP2 mill.

While the Caballero 500’s aptitudes lean towards the dirt, the 700 Scrambler model provides a sensible mix of dirtworthiness and pavement prowess befitting a larger machine. The steel chassis is somewhat of a trellis design with the engine as a stressed member, and Marzocchi suspension delivers 5.9″ [150 mm] of travel on both ends.

Fantic Caballero Scrambler 700
Courtesy of a partnership with Yamaha, the Scrambler 700’s CP2 parallel-twin powerplant is a known quantity—proven in the MT-07, XSR700, Ténéré 700 and numerous others. By fitting their own airbox, exhaust and fuel mapping, Fantic was able to squeak an extra 2 hp and 2 lb-ft out of the engine over the MT-07, with final output coming in at 74 hp and 51.5 lb-ft.

While the Scrambler 700 probably lacks the ground clearance for serious off-roading, the Pirelli Scorpion STR rubber, upright ergonomics and switchable traction control provide sufficient performance for gravel fire-lane riding. For daily driver duty, the Scrambler is fit with competitive road-going features, like cornering ABS, full LED lighting, a 3.5-inch TFT with Bluetooth connectivity and a massive 330 mm front disc with a Brembo four-piston radial caliper. [Fantic]

Fantic Caballero Scrambler 700

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