Triumph’s Scrambler 1200 series is overhauled for 2021, but the changes seem to be more along the lines of evolution, instead of a complete reboot.

Going ahead, we see a similar sub-dividing of the lineup to previous years; there’s a Triumph Scrambler XC (the standard all-round model) the XE (with an emphasis on off-road capability) and the Steve McQueen Edition (celebrating the actor’s historic association with the brand).

Engine updates

All versions of the new bike share the same updated liquid-cooled parallel twin engine. It’s still 1200 cc capacity, basically the same as the Bonneville T120 powerplant, but with a “Scrambler tune” that’s aimed more towards torque and tractability, with less emphasis on top speed. It’s got a 270-degree crank, six-speed gearbox, and eight-valve head.

The biggest changes all seem to be aimed at meeting Euro5 emissions standards. The new engine is more efficient, with low-inertia crank and a high-compression head, and the exhaust system is also updated. Not only does the revised exhaust meet the new emissions standard, the catalytic converter has been moved towards the back of the system, which could mean the rider is less likely to get scorched by the high pipe. Maybe that’s bad news for the passenger, but it’s hard to tell for sure without actually spending some time riding the new bike—at this point, all we know is what Triumph’s issued via press release. No journos have test-ridden the bike.

The updated engine makes 81 pound-feet of torque at 4,500 rpm, and 89 horsepower at 7,250 rpm. That’s basically the same as the previous 2018+ model engine—good news, because engines often lose a bit of their zip, when updated to Euro5. Service intervals are still 10,000 miles/16,000 kilometres for oil changes, 20,000 miles/32,000 kilometres for expensive stuff like valve adjustments.

Triumph doesn’t say much about how it reached the new emissions standard. Typically, the press release notes changes to the intake system, along with the exhaust, but there’s now much about that here. The press release does note that a torque-assist clutch comes standard for all models.

The Triumph Scrambler 1200 XC is the standard version, with less suspension travel and no IMU. Photo: Triumph

Other general details

All versions of the bike also get second-generation TFT instruments, with choice of two design themes, as well as three different display layouts. Riders control the TFT with a five-way joystick and Triumph’s standard backlit switchcubes. All bikes come pre-wired for heated grips (not standard on all models), and all the 1200 Scramblers can fit the My Triumph accessory connectivity system. This system lets the rider answer their mobile phone, access turn-by-turn navigation or even control a GoPro camera through the TFT and hand controls, thanks to the magic of Bluetooth. Handlebars are adjustable, all models have folding foot controls, and Metzler Tourance tires come standard.

All models come with keyless ignition, under-seat USB charger, LED lighting and cruise control as standard. Also, all models come tubeless spoked rims. A 21-inch front hoop is standard, and 17-inch rear. And, Triumph has a set of more than 70 in-house accessory add-ons, including windscreen, luggage, high-mount front fender—all the usual scrambler kit. Triumph says “These have all been designed and tested alongside the bike to the same exacting standards, and allow the rider to personalise their bike with enhanced style and practicality, increased comfort, luggage, protection and security.” Triumph offers an Escape accessories bundle (panniers, handguards, grab rack, LED accessory lights, centrestand, flyscreen), and an Extreme accessories bundle (Arrow exhaust, aluminum rad guard, machined oil filler cap, high fender, black handlebar brace, LED signals, sidestand foot, and other other showy bits).

The XE model has 50 mm more suspension travel than the XC version, an IMU that powers leaning-sensitive traction control and ABS, and several other offroad-friendly features. Photo: Triumph

Model-specific details

Triumph Scrambler 1200 XC

The standard XC scrambler is intended for lighter offroad use (“built for the road and for real off-road riding fun,” says the Triumph presser). The XC model has no IMU, but it comes with Road, Rain, Off-Road, and Sport riding modes. These offer pre-packaged ABS/throttle response/traction control settings. If you wish to tweak those settings yourself, use the Rider-configurable riding mode. Riders can switch traction control off, as well.

The XC has dual Brembo 320 mm front discs, with Monobloc M50 calipers There’s adjustable Showa forks up front, with 200 mm travel; in rear, there’s an adjustable dual-shock setup from Ohlins, with 200 mm travel. Pricing is $14,000 US, $15,200 CAD, with June availability.

Pay extra, and you can dress your bike in a wide range of factory accessories, like these engine crash bars. Photo: Triumph

Triumph Scrambler 1200 XE

The XE is Triumph’s offroad-oriented scrambler, with suspension and electronics upgrades. This bike has an IMU; those accelerometers power leaning-sensitive ABS and traction control systems. Riders can switch off the ABS and traction control systems, or manage them through the riding modes. The XE also comes with Off-Road Pro riding mode.

Along with the updated electronics, the most noticeable update on the XE is the jacked-up suspension. The XE also uses adjustable Showa forks and Ohlins shocks, but with 250 mm of travel, instead of the XC’s 200 mm. Handguards come standard, too, along with adjustable foot controls. Pricing is $15,400 US, $16,300 CAD, with June availability.


Triumph will only make 1,000 Steve McQueen Edition models. Photo: Triumph

Triumph Scrambler Steve McQueen Edition

The Steve McQueen Edition is a limited-production run of 1,000 bikes (each individually numbered). Mechanically, it’s basically the same as an XE, but with Steve McQueen branding on the tank and handlebar clamp, and an exclusive Competition Green paint job, which harks back to the Triumph TR6 the actor rode in The Great Escape. Triumph also gave this special-edition bike a healthy coating of factory accessories. Pricing is $16,400 US, $17,800 CAD, with June availability.

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