Goodwood Test: 2021 Triumph Street Scrambler

Custom cool with off-road capability...
22nd July 2021
Laura Thomson



There is a deceptively low railway bridge at the end of my road. It has been there for at least 150 years, but somehow (and I don’t know how) lorry and bus drivers routinely manage to take leave of their senses and drive into it, often resulting in weeks of emergency repairs.

You may be wondering what exactly a railway bridge has to do with Triumph’s 900cc Street Scrambler, but hear me out. You see, when this bridge is closed, residents of my little village are faced with the option of two five-mile detours to reach the main road, both of which include frequently-closed level crossings. It quickly gets onerous.

There is one other option – an overgrown and little used rural lane, peppered with low hanging branches and craters as deep as they are wide. It’s all but forgotten in the grand scheme of life, but when a bridge closure coincided with the Street Scrambler’s arrival, it sprung to the front of my mind and I spent a happy week toing and froing along the lumpy Lumley lane.

And what a wonderful week it was. While this bike purports to be a Scrambler, it will never be one in the truest sense of the word. Powered by the water-cooled 900cc High Torque Bonneville engine, with road-biased gearing, and relatively minimal suspension travel, it will never race the Baja 1000, but for road riders with a gentle spot of green laning on the mind, it’s the perfect compromise.

Launched in 2017 and updated for 2019, the Street Scrambler has been an undeniable hit and with its cool styling and rugged versatility, has been embraced by customers and customisers alike.

We like

  • Cool styling
  • Light off-road capability
  • Premium build quality

We don't like

  • Gutless up high
  • Poor standing off-road position
  • Suspension slightly jolty on poor surfaces



You don’t need me to tell you that Triumph is without a doubt one of the most successful manufacturers in the modern classic market. Every model to emerge from the Hinkley HQ is more appealing than the last – a tasteful combination of leather, chrome and class – just oozing custom appeal.

The marque is synonymous with the Shoreditch cool that many riders covet – bell helmets, screen-printed t-shirts, ripped jeans and Doc Martens. You get the picture. And the Street Scrambler, with its diamond-stitched leather seats, high up exhaust and rugged crash protection, is the two-wheeled embodiment of this trend. It’s cool enough au naturel to not need customising, but for those that must, Triumph offer more than 120 accessories, including the new ‘Urban Tracker’ inspiration kit. Steve McQueen eat your heart out...

Performance and Handling


But McQueen would sooner bottom the suspension out, with the 120mm travel of the KYB forks and twin shocks better suited to the freshly graded lanes of Hampshire than to the whooping dunes of Baja.

The standing off-road position feels awkward and uncomfortable – the wide bars a smidge too low while that cool exhaust pushes your right leg to the edge of the peg. The 19-inch front wheel seems to know what it’s doing, at least, and the Metzeler Tourance tyres are okay on hard-packed dry terrain.

But, it helps to remember that this is no enduro, or even an adventure bike (Triumph’s new enduro/motocross range is pending), and instead offers a gentle green laning capability for those who want to venture off the beaten track. And anything that gets people riding off road is ‘rite in our book.

Back on the blacktop, this suspension (which was upgraded for 2019) began to make sense. While slightly jolty across poor surfaces, it was firm, the cartridge damping capably reacting across a breadth of speeds. The tyres may look the part, however could be upgraded to improve road holding. A four-piston Brembo on a single disc up front works with the two-pot Nissin at the rear, providing ample stopping power. The ABS and traction control aren’t hugely intrusive on road, but thankfully are switchable – in fact, the off-road riding mode deactivates both, while road and rain modes adjust the throttle map and traction control settings.

For 2019, the 900cc engine received a 10PS (7kW) increase taking it to 65PS (48kW), 18 per cent more peak power and a red line 500rpm higher than before, at 7,500rpm. A broad spread of torque is characterised by a peak of 80Nm (59lb ft) delivered at just 3,200rpm. It’s smooth and enthusiastic from the off, however I couldn’t help but find the Street Twin a little gutless as it progressed through the revs, but perhaps I was spoiled from the 1200cc, 97PS Speed Twin, which I had ridden immediately before.



Despite my issues with the standing position, the Street Scrambler is comfortable when seated, with the wide bars and neutral pegs comfortable even on long distances. The seat is a little slidey and, at 790mm, is not as low as its road going sibling (the Street Twin measures 760mm), but equally pales in comparison to the Tiger’s 810mm-plus perch. A torque-assist clutch lightens the lever, which again helps on long distances.

Amusingly, I managed to melt my trousers on the high-slung exhaust, however I would mostly attribute that to user error.

The press loan from Triumph came with a rather hip single-sided soft pannier, which proved useful for a last-minute flower delivery on a relative’s birthday!

Technology and Features


Modern classics aren’t exactly dripping in tech, but Triumph has done a good job of giving the Street Scrambler exactly what it needs – no less, no more. Aside from the onboard rider tech, the bike benefits from a rear LED light, immobiliser and an underseat USB socket. The analogue clock features an inset screen, upon which mode, rpm, mpg and other information is displayed, controlled via simple buttons on the switchgear.



Triumph Scramblers boast an incredible off-road heritage, dating back to the Bonneville T120 TT and TR6 ‘C’ of the early ‘60s. And while the modern iterations are not a patch on the original – the off-road genes having been inherited by the Tiger range – the Scrambler still doesn’t look, or feel, too out of place on a gentle green lane. With a competent road nature, the Street Scrambler offers the best of both worlds.

Since we reviewed this bike, it has been updated to meet Euro5 regulations, but without losing any power. Concurrently, it received a brace of updates, including a new (and hopefully less slidey) seat, aluminium headlight bracket, throttle body finish and heel guards, and not to forget a retro side-mounted number board. There’s even a limited-edition Sandstorm model paying homage to those sixties scramblers.



900cc liquid-cooled parallel twin

Power 65PS (48kW) @ 7,500rpm
Torque 80Nm (59lb ft) @ 3,200 rpm

Five-speed manual, chain driven rear wheel

Kerb weight 203kg
0-62mph -
Top speed 120mph
Fuel economy 63mpg
CO2 emissions -
Price From £9,300

Our score

4 / 5

This score is an average based on aggregated reviews from trusted and verified sources.

  • Motorcycle News
    4 out of 5
  • Auto Express
    4 out of 5