In 2015, Ducati re-introduced its Scrambler to a new generation and kicked off the neo-scrambler craze. By EICMA 2015, BMW announced that it too was hopping on the scrambler train with a new R NineT variant. Over the years, that rising retro tide has ebbed and flowed, but scramblers have shifted with the times.
While many of the first modern scramblers adapted classic '60s design for the roadway, the latest models couple style with substance. From tear-drop gas tanks to long travel suspension, from bench seats to Brembo brakes, the segment offers more variety than ever. Now, the fashionable and the fast can take to the category. Here are all the scrambler options at their disposal.
Triumph Scrambler 900
Those searching for Steve McQueen-cool need look no further than Triumph’s Scrambler 900 family. Flaunting the quintessential scrambler silhouette, this modern-classic rendition amps up the nostalgia with high-mounted pipes and wire-spoke wheels. Underneath that vintage appearance lurks a modern 900cc parallel twin. Liquid-cooling, 8 valves, and a 270-degree crank help the trusty twin generate a respectable 64 horsepower and 61.2 lb-ft of torque.
For 2022, Hinckley diversifies the line with the Scrambler 900 and the Street Scrambler Sandstorm Edition. While the base model favors the asphalt jungle, the up-spec variant takes to the trail with a high-mounted front mudguard, aluminum sump guard, headlight grill, tail tidy, and tank pads. The standard Street Scrambler commands a $11,295 price tag while the Sandstorm Edition ups the MSRP to $11,950.
Ducati Scrambler Icon
Since its 2015 launch, the Ducati Scrambler Icon has struck a natural balance between old and new, between form and function. The Borgo Panigale designers captured the essence of Ducati’s original Scrambler while pairing those good looks with the firm’s tried-and-true 803cc, Desmodromic L-Twin. Sure, the middleweight whips up 73 ponies and 48.8 lb-ft of torque, but a trellis frame, 41mm front end, and cast wheels rein in all that giddy up.
Possibly Ducati’s most approachable model, the Scrambler also welcomes a wide range of riders with its 417-pound curb weight, 31.4-inch seat height, and comfort-oriented ergonomics. A 24-degree rake and 56.9-inch wheelbase keeps the Icon nimble in the city, while Pirelli MT 60 RS tires provide suitable traction off-road. Starting at $10,195, the Ducati Scrambler Icon has become a perennial favorite.
BMW R NineT Scrambler
BMW’s R NineT has taken many forms but the Scrambler remains a staple in the range—and for a good reason. The air/oil-cooled, 1,170cc boxer cranks out 85 lb-ft of torque and 109 horsepower. A triple-disc braking system wrangles all that power and the final shaft drive simplifies maintenance.
However, the R NineT Scrambler has practically no off-road ambitions. With cast wheels, road-oriented tires, and 4.9 inches/5.5 inches of travel, the Beemer wouldn’t last long on the trail. Still, the R NineT pulls off the scrambler look with a beautiful bench seat, trimmed rear mudguard, and high-mounted exhaust end cans. The Scrambler also sticks to the middle ground with a $12,995 price tag.
Royal Enfield Scram 411
As the newcomer to the genre, Royal Enfield’s Scram 411 has some ground to make up. That doesn’t mean it’s starting from scratch, though. Based on Royal Enfield’s popular Himalayan adventure bike, the Scram 411 adjusts the platform for more street duty. The Himalayan’s air-cooled, SOHC, 411cc single remains unchanged, claiming 24.3 horsepower and 23.6 lb-ft of torque. However, key chassis and design revisions distinguish the dual-sport.
The Scram 411’s 41mm fork yields 7.5 inches of travel at the front while the linkage-equipped rear monoshock offers 7 inches of stroke. A 19-inch front and 17-inch rear wheel also cater to more time on the tarmac. Thanks to that urban attitude, the Scram swaps the Himalayan’s windscreen for a headlight nacelle and tacks on tank shrouds. Easily the lowest powered and lowest priced model in the bunch, the Scram 411 retails for $5,099.
Triumph Scrambler 1200
Triumph proved that modern scramblers weren’t just design exercises when it unleashed the Scrambler 1200 family in 2019. Hinckley’s 1200cc parallel twin headlined the XC and XE variants with 89 horsepower (at 7,250 rpm) and 81 lb-ft of torque (at 4,500 rpm), but the supporting cast made all the difference off-road.
Both trims sport a tubular steel frame and Showa/Ohlins suspenders, but the XC features 7.9 inches of travel (at both ends) while the XE raises the bar to 9.8 inches. The top-shelf XE also benefits from a ride-by-wire throttle, which unlocks an Off-Road Pro ride mode, cornering ABS, and lean-sensitive traction control. Due to those differences, the Scrambler 1200 XC comes in at $14,445, while the XE trim elevates the MSRP to $15,845.
Ducati Desert Sled
Living up to its name, the Desert Sled spices up Ducati's Scrambler recipe. The same air-cooled, 803cc, L-twin still powers the trail-biased variant, but a set of long-travel suspension, off-road-friendly wheels, and knobby tires ready the Desert Sled for dirt supremacy.
A fully-adjustable 46mm USD fork and a preload- and rebound-adjustable KYB shock offer 7.9 inches of travel. The aluminum, spoked, 19-inch front and 17-inch rear hoops ease the transition from tarmac to trail while the Pirelli Scorpion Rally STR rubber tear up the terrain. Wet weight may rise to 460 pounds and the perch may elevate to 33.9 inches, but the Desert Sled provides a much more adventurous package all for $12,595.