While the Hinckley Triumph twin cylinder engine has now been developed into a 1200cc water-cooled behemoth, the smaller capacity version is still being used to expand the range, as Dave Manning discovers.
Although it isn’t as radical as Hinckley’s big bore retro off-roader, the Scrambler 1200, the Street Scrambler 900 is actually far more accurate in terms of being a modern reflection of the way that Triumph twins were modified for off-road use in the Sixties and earlier.
There’s none of the high-rise suspension with upside-down forks and radial brake calipers, the sky-rise seat height or 12 grand price tag, but all of the looks and enjoyment.
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If you compared it to a Hinckley 650, the Street Scrambler is quite a big bike for a parallel twin – it weighs in at 203kg – although that does mean that there’s room to move around, and is all-day-comfy with regards to the seat, peg and bar position, with one condition – that you stay below about 80mph, as it gets really windy at that kind of speed, despite the dinky little flyscreen above the clocks.
Those clocks could be mounted a little further back towards the top yoke, and the headlight pulled in a little tighter if truth be known, although their position does mean that the clocks are easily readable.
And that rangy riding position and relaxed ergonomics are matched by the mass of engine – the 900cc twin is a big old lump, and while it has fins around the barrels, it is actually water-cooled, with the radiator crammed between the down tubes at the front of the frame.
The power delivery doesn’t really feel like a full-fat 900 though, and needs kicking down a gear to overtake at normal road speeds, if you really want to get a move on. It is a smooth and creamy power delivery, but just not enough of it, and it feels a little soft for a 900, similar in fact to my Suzuki SV650.
But it also has the feeling of being absolutely bullet-proof, a thought that is fortified by the 10,000-mile service intervals.
The 270-degree crank gives a power delivery very similar to a 90-degree V-twin, and whether that is a good or a bad thing depends on your personal preferences.
It’d be interesting to compare it to its larger sibling, the 1200cc Scrambler, which has a grunty 90bhp compared to the Street Scrambler’s 64bhp.
Not that anyone really needs any more power than the SS has, of course, and it’s more potent than any of the 650cc Meriden twins…
Read more and view more images in the June 2019 issue of Old Bike Mart – on sale now!