Triumph Scrambler 1200 X and XE Review


Our Report

  • Overall
  • Sex Appeal
  • Practicality
  • Performance
  • Value


  • 1200 X is brilliant
  • Great looking
  • XE has genuine off-road ability


  • It’s no featherweight
  • 15-litres won’t take you far
  • Clunky off-road ABS

Triumph Scrambler 1200 Banner

In 2019 Triumph introduced two modern retro scramblers that promised a level of off-road ability previously not seen in the modern-retro or scrambler segment. Both were great bikes, although the specs and pricing were very close, meaning there wasn’t a definitive reason to choose one over the other.

For 2024 Triumph is putting a little more daylight between the two, taking the rebranded base model 1200 X in a much more road-biased direction, while leaving the top-spec 1200 XE as the only choice for people who actually want to ride off-road.

What’s new?

The updates to the X for 2024 are fairly significant and wide-reaching and as mentioned it becomes a much better road bike because of it. It still has Marzocchi suspension at both ends, but this time it is non-adjustable and has 170mm of travel. The suspension also has bespoke settings, with new springs front and rear that are progressive all the way through the stroke. Because of this ground clearance is reduced slightly, although a byproduct of this is a lower seat height (820mm) and centre of gravity. If you are a shorter rider this is very good news. Additionally, the 1200 X now features an IMU for the first time, which means cornering ABS and lean-sensitive traction control is a feature of both Triumph’s Scrambler 1200s.

The XE has gained a much lighter update and it now features Marzocchi suspension front and rear, with 45mm forks and twin shocks replacing the previous set-up which was Showa forks and Ohlins rear shocks. It also comes with Brembo Stylema callipers at the front and retains the Nissin calliper at the rear.

The long-travel suspension of the XE (250mm) and the ground clearance are both the same as the outgoing version of the model. Both ends of the XE are fully adjustable, and the seat height of the XE is still a fairly tall 870mm - with an option to lower to 850mm with an accessory seat.

The XE is also the only variant of the Scrambler 1200 that gains the trick Off-road Pro riding mode. This disengages the traction control and completely switches off the ABS to the front and rear wheels - the 1200 X only allows ABS at the rear to be switched off.

The 1,200cc parallel twin-cylinder engine of both bikes may look the same, and for the most part it is, save for some new larger diameter throttle bodies and a new exhaust header to smooth out the delivery. Overall, peak power remains the same as before at 89bhp, as does the peak torque at 81.1lb-ft.

Triumph Scrambler 1200 Front View

Triumph Scrambler 1200 up close images

Triumph Scrambler 1200 in Orange set against a sunset

How much?

The 2024 Scrambler 1200 X starts at £11,895 (OTR) and it will be available in Carnival Red, Ash Grey, and Sapphire Black. The top-spec XE version of the new Scrambler starts at £13,295 and is available in Phantom Black & Storm Grey, Baja Orange & Phantom Black, and Sapphire Black. Triumph tells us that both versions will be in Triumph dealers in January 2024.

Triumph Scrambler 1200 in black against mountain background

What are they like on the road?

My first taste of the 2024 models came with a road ride on the new 1200 X, and we had around 100km to get to grips with the changes before testing the XE off-road at the Triumph Adventure Experience in Malaga. You don’t even have to be moving to feel some of the updates to the 1200 X, and it immediately feels lower than before, allowing me to flat-foot on the ground with ease. The bars on the X are specific for the model too, and sit slightly lower and further forward than those on the top-spec XE. However the riding position feels nice and relaxed, and the seat-to-peg distance should be ample enough to allow taller riders to avoid feeling cramped. The final point of note before we head off is the new TFT and LCD dash. It’s a slightly lower-spec (and cheaper) option than found on the full TFT found on the XE and is shared with the Trident 660 and the Tiger Sport 660. That said, it’s still easy to read and navigate the menus with, so I have no complaints there.

On the road

Thumbing the bike into Sport mode (which sharpens the throttle map, reduces traction control and sets the ABS to the ‘Road’ setting) and we are quickly off and threading our way through the OAP mecca that is Torremolinos. If I had to sum this town up it would be ‘God's Waiting Room with more mobility scooters’ and I’m fairly happy to see the back of it, as the mountains loom above us.

As the roads improve we begin to press on and it's not very hard to start feeling the changes Triumph has implemented. With its lower, slightly firmer and much more road-focused design, the new X feels very different from the bike I’ve ridden before. It’s still a 21-inch front wheel but it doesn’t really feel like it. The centre of gravity is reduced quite a bit, thanks to that lower stance, and it's made a fairly transformative change to the way the bike turns into a corner. Wet weight remains the same as before (228kg) but the only time you really feel that is when you haul the thing off the side stand, for the most part and when you are on the move, it almost starts to feel nimble!

The engine is and always has been a wickedly addictive thing. All the grunt all the time, and even on stock pipes the exhaust note is reverberating from the drystone walls of the villages we flash through. The throttle connection is pitch-perfect, the clutch feels surprisingly light and the gearbox is direct and accurate. I’m not going to bullshit you and tell you I can feel the new throttle body (that’s a mere 3mm larger than before) because I can’t. But what I can tell you is that I’ve never ridden a bike with this parallel twin engine where it has been shite. And I’m pretty sure I never will. For a hefty 1,200cc parallel twin it’s also surprisingly smooth, with the internal balancers and 270-degree crank meaning the only vibes you’ll feel are from the exhaust system as it thunders away under your right shoulder.

More chassis changes for the 1200 X come in the switch to Nissin two-piston callipers from the higher-spec and more expensive Brembos of before. Now, we all know Nissin stoppers aren’t quite as sexy as Brembos, but I never really felt like I was wanting more power. Sure, the Nissin master cylinder isn’t the trickiest and feels a bit budget, but when the new bike is coming in around £500 less than the outgoing machine, do we really have grounds to grumble?

The whole ABS system on the bike is also linked to the same Continental cornering ABS system as found on the XE - albeit with bespoke settings for the more road-focused machine. In the standard sport mode I never really felt it cutting in, although with the sun shining on us and with perfect roads to ride, I wouldn’t really have expected it to. You can opt to reduce the ABS intervention on the bike by either slipping into the Off-road riding mode (which turns ABS off to the rear wheel only) or by going into the ‘Bike Setup’ part of the TFT dash and manually switching the ABS. You can't, though, turn off the ABS to the front wheel on this model. That kind of lunacy is reserved for its bigger brother.

Triumph Scrambler 1200 in Grey parked on road

Off the road

After around three hours of slithering up into the mountains we land at the Triumph Adventure Experience Spain, an expansive facility with hundreds of kilometres of exclusive trails, dedicated training areas and beautiful views of the Spanish countryside. Here we are set to get our first taste of the more extreme Scrambler 1200 XE, and even before we’ve ridden it, I’m already falling a little bit in love.

For the off-road ride, Triumph has shod the bikes with handbook-approved Michelin Anakee Wild road-legal knobblies, and they look the mutts nuts! It’s amazing how such a seemingly innocuous change to a bike can completely change its demeanour. Other than that, the bikes are stock, with Triumph’s team only adjusting the suspension settings to help the bikes soak up the bumps.

To start with we ride a short off-road loop that kind of feels like I’m being put through my CBT. All in all, I’m not learning much, although the top of one of the hills does allow me to get the 1200 XE airborne, which is quite an eye-opening experience. It’s heavier than the X (230kg wet) and when you have that kind of mass hurtling through the air you’ve got to nail the landing. Bracing for impact isn’t actually required, and despite its bulk the new Marzocchi suspension soaks up the landing very nicely and without a hint of feeling crashy.

Some bikes of this size just clatter all the way through the suspension travel and smash into the bump stops when landing, whereas the Triumph feels nicely composed and allows you get straight back on with the job in hand once you’re back down to earth. Even some ham-fisted and fairly crossed-up landings can do little to upset it, and I’m not sure you could say that about many of the other retro scramblers on the market.

Released from the training arena we head off to the trails and along a track that our guide rider, Bert, describes as a ‘technical enduro trail’. I’m not sure I really want to be riding anything technical on this, and the word ‘enduro’ is making me picture Red Bull Romaniacs-style climbs, broken collar bones and a significant stay in hospital. Thankfully that doesn’t seem to be the case, and for the most part we are greeted by fairly wide and sandy fire trails. Within a few minutes I’m roosting the back end of the bike out of corners and giggling into my helmet like a naughty school kid. You can’t escape the weight of the bike and at over 200kg, it’s no KTM EXC, but it does feel easy to ride. It’s not overly cumbersome, changes direction nicely and thanks to those awesome Michelin Anakee hoops there are no heart-stopping slides from the front end.

The bike I’m on is in the milder Off-road riding mode, meaning I have no traction control and a dedicated off-road ABS setting on the front wheel only. So, I can spin the back out of corners, skid the back into corners but not tuck the front when I’m panic-braking into a down-hill hairpin - or at least that’s the theory. The off-road ABS is miles better on the dirt than the road setting obviously, but the system doesn’t feel as trick as that found on the more dedicated adventure bikes I’ve ridden. It’s a tad on the agricultural side and will allow a half rotation of the wheel before intervening and releasing the brake in a fairly heart-stopping manner. It’s not really bad, but not really good either, it’s just how it is. I am still not flicking the bike into the Off-road Pro riding mode (which removes the ABS to the front wheel completely), so while the ABS isn’t world-beating, it’s still better than the bloke riding the bike!

Triumph Scrambler 1200 off road riding with dust

Which should you buy?

Both of Triumph’s Scrambler 1200s are still great bikes and in a segment that includes machines like the Ducati Desert Scrambler 1100, Fantic Caballero 700 and the BMW R nineT Urban G/S, the Triumph Scrambler 1200s both feel like the only ones you’d actually want to ride off-road. All scramblers look cool, and it's not that hard to make them handle well on the road. Making a bike that can master that and take on the rough stuff, that’s a trickier proposition.

And there is still a slight conundrum around which of the new Scrambler 1200s is the right bike for you. For some, this will simply come down to which one you can physically ride, and with the new (or rebranded) 1200 X feeling more like the Scrambler 900 thanks to its lower seat and more stout stance, it is an altogether more accessible and easy to ride machine. The Scrambler 1200 XE does have the sex factor, and that’s the kind of attraction you can’t ignore. I am (theoretically) buying with my head today, and not my heart, and that means it’s the 1200 X that has really won me over. It’s so much better on the road than before, and as this is a bike that will live 99 per cent of its life on the road, not taking advantage of that capability is criminal. I’m also fairly sure that for the majority of riders, the way it now handles will be far more appreciated than the off-road prowess of the 1200 XE.

Picture Credits - Max Howard and Chippy Wood

Three Triumph Scrambler 1200s parked together on dirt

Triumph Scrambler 1200 Specification

Shared Specs:

  • Type: Water Cooled Parallel twin, 270° firing order, SOHC
  • Capacity: 1200 cc
  • Bore: 97.6 mm
  • Stroke: 80 mm
  • Compression: 11:1
  • Maximum Power: 90 PS / 89 bhp (66.2 kW) @ 7,000 rpm
  • Maximum Torque: 110 Nm (81.1 ft lb) @ 4250 rpm
  • Fuel System: Ride by wire, multipoint sequential electronic fuel injection
  • Exhaust: Single skin, brushed 2-into-1 exhaust system with single high-level silencer.
  • Final Drive: X-ring chain
  • Clutch: Wet, multi-plate assist clutch
  • Gearbox: 6 speed
  • Frame: Tubular steel, with steel cradles
  • Swingarm: Twin-sided, aluminium fabrication
  • Front Wheel: Tubeless 36-spoke 21 x 2.15in, aluminium rims (tyre 90/90-21)
  • Rear Wheel: Tubeless 32-spoke 17 x 4.25in, aluminium rims (tyre 150/70 R17)
  • Rear Brakes: Single 255mm disc, single piston floating Nissin caliper, ABS

Scrambler 1200 Specs by Model:

Scrambler 1200 X Scrambler 1200 XE

Front suspension

Marzocchi Non-adjustable USD forks
170mm wheel travel
Marzocchi Ø45mm 1+1 forks, fully adjustable
250mm wheel travel
Rear suspension Marzocchi twin RSU’s with piggyback reservoir, preload adjustable
170mm wheel travel
Marzocchi twin RSU’s with piggyback reservoir, fully adjustable
250mm wheel travel
Front brakes Twin 310 mm floating discs, Brembo M4.32 4-piston radial monobloc calipers, OC-ABS Twin 320mm discs, Brembo 4 piston M4.30 radial caliper, ABS


TFT/LCD hybrid instruments Full-colour TFT instruments


2273 mm 2330 mm
Width (handlebars) 834 mm 905 mm
Height without mirrors 1185 mm 1250 mm
Seat height 820 mm 870 mm
Wheelbase 1525 mm 1570 mm
Rake 26.2° 26.9°
Trail 125 mm 129.2 mm
Wet weight 228 kg 230 kg
Fuel tank capacity 15 litres 15 litres