Home » Triumph Is Going Smaller And Cheaper With The New Speed 400 And Scrambler 400 X And They’re Legitimately Cool

Triumph Is Going Smaller And Cheaper With The New Speed 400 And Scrambler 400 X And They’re Legitimately Cool

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Inexpensive, smaller displacement motorcycles are all the rage right now. Cars might be expensive, but you can walk into your local Royal Enfield dealer, drop less than $6,000, and ride out on a new motorcycle that harkens back to the earlier days of riding. This healthy interest in smaller, more affordable machines has helped power a notable change in the industry as other marques introduce their own variations. After over five years of development, Triumph has finally unveiled its entry into this space. The Triumph Speed 400 and Scrambler 400 X are the marque’s first singles in several decades, and these seriously attractive machines look primed to show up in your driveway.

This year marks the 40th anniversary since British businessman John Bloor purchased Triumph, which at the time was broke, on the ropes, and in receivership. The storied motorcycle brand was outdated and uncompetitive, leading to Bloor investing tens of millions in bringing the brand up to spec. Over time, Triumph began flourishing with more staying power in the market and some fiercely alluring motorcycles. The comically massive, yet powerful Rocket 3 is a product of revamped Triumph, as is the Tiger with its intoxicating triple soundtrack.

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2019 Rocket 3 R Riding 3

Triumph’s portfolio has a little something for everyone from the speed freak to the adventure rider, well, so long as you have some cash in your pockets. Right now, the smallest Triumph is the Trident 660, a 660cc triple-powered roadster with a starting price of $8,595. For the past 40 years, Triumph’s success has come on the backs of duos, trios, and quartets of cylinders, but the brand didn’t have anything under 500cc or even a single cylinder.

That is finally changing as part of Triumph’s grand plan of expansion. Triumph has taken off the wraps from the first phase of its plan, the Triumph Speed 400 And Scrambler 400 X.

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Triumph Speed 400 And Scrambler 400 X 21 (1)

These two bikes, while new, are an expected development. Back in 2017, Triumph and Bajaj Auto of India announced a partnership to develop middleweight motorcycles. The pair noted that this relationship is a “non-equity partnership,” or a deal where the firms work together, but don’t form a joint venture and don’t invest in each other. Both Triumph and Bajaj remain their own companies, but they teamed up to make new products. As Motorcycle.com notes, this is exactly how the BMW G 310 GS and G 310 R came into life with help from TVS Motor, another Indian firm.

Since the announcement of the partnership, the motorcycle world has been abuzz with spy shots, speculation, and updates, with riders holding their breath for the official reveal. Now we can finally see Triumph’s first stage of its master plan, which the brand will follow up with 250cc motocross and enduro models to be revealed later this year and 450cc models to come even later.

The Heart Of Triumph’s Expansion

Triumph Scrambler 400 X Details 1 (1)

 

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Triumph and Bajaj have spent more than five years working on the bikes you see here today and the “TR” single-cylinder platform that powers them. While Bajaj isn’t a household name here in America, the company is a pretty big deal, from Triumph:

A flagship company of the Bajaj Group was incorporated under the Companies Act, 1956, and having its registered office at Mumbai – Pune Road, Akurdi, Pune – 411 035. The Bajaj Group is amongst the top 10 business houses in India. Founded in 1926, at the height of India’s movement for independence from the British, the Group has an illustrious history. The integrity, dedication, resourcefulness and determination to succeed which are characteristics of the Group today, are often traced back to its birth during those days of relentless devotion to a common cause. The Late Shri Jamnalal Bajaj, founder of the Group, was a close confidant and disciple of the Mahatma Gandhi. The Company is the world’s third largest motorcycle manufacturer, India’s second largest manufacturer of motorcycles and world’s largest manufacturer of three-wheelers.

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For Americans, you might know Bajaj best for the Bajaj Chetak (above), a scooter that started life as a license-built Vespa Sprint and was imported into this country. Its nearest competitor was the LML Star, a license-built Vespa PX 150 constructed by Lohia Machinery Limited in India and also sold in America as the Stella by Chicago-based Genuine Scooter Company.

At the heart of these new machines is the TR-Series engine. Named after Triumph’s race-winning singles of the early 20th century, specifically the singles that ran in the Six Day Trial off-road competition, these engines look decidedly retro, but they’re packed with modern engineering.

Speed 400 My24 Carnival Red Rhs

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The TR-Series engines are fuel-injected, liquid-cooled 398.2cc singles claimed to produce 39.5 HP at 8,000 rpm and 27.7 lb-ft torque at 6,500 rpm. Power reaches the rear wheel through a six-speed transmission with a slipper clutch and chain drive. These engines have a dual overhead cam design, four valves, and counterrotating balancer shaft designed to allow higher revs. The TR-Series engines also have a lightweight finger-follower valve train and a crankshaft that’s weighted and balanced for low-speed rideability.

 

As a result of this modern technology, these engines are only slightly larger than the 349cc unit found in my Royal Enfield Classic 350, but crank out about twice the horsepower. My Enfield engine might as well be from an old tractor in comparison to the TR-Series. The TR’s specs put it into some interesting competition. It makes more power than the BMW G 310 R’s 34 HP single while nipping at the heels of the KTM 390 Duke’s 44 HP single. The KTM is notable for being another Bajaj partnership.

Scrambler 400 X My24 Carnival Red Lhs

Technically, smaller Triumphs have been a decade in the making. At the 2013 EICMA Motor Show, Triumph showed off a Daytona 250 sportbike. Spy shots of prototypes of the entry-level bike even circulated around the internet and it was speculated that the Daytona 250, along with a Speed Single, would be unveiled in 2015. That didn’t happen and in 2017, after partnering up with Bajaj, Triumph confirmed the cancellation of the little 250s. With that in mind, the TR-Series can in theory allow Triumph to create a portfolio of entry-level motorcycles.

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The Triumph Speed 400

Triumph Speed 400 Static 1 (1)

The least expensive motorcycle to ride on this fresh platform is the Triumph Speed 400. Designed to slot into the marque’s Modern Classics lineup, the Speed 400 takes inspiration from its larger Speed Twin 900 and Speed Twin 1200 siblings. Here’s a Speed Twin 900 so you can see what I’m talking about:

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The Speed 400 is a standard sporting the aforementioned TR-Series engine and some modern technology, You get standard Bosch dual-channel ABS, ride-by-wire throttle, as well as traction control that can be switched off. The engine feeds from a 3.4-gallon fuel tank, but range hasn’t been published just yet.

For suspension, there’s a 43mm inverted fork up front with 5.5 inches of travel and a remote-reservoir monoshock out back with 5.1 inches of travel. Braking is handled by a 300mm rotor up front clamped down on by a ByBre four-piston, radial-mount caliper. The rear wheel gets a 230mm rotor chomped on by a single-piston floating caliper.

Triumph Speed 400 Dynamic 3

The Speed 400 rides on a 54.2-inch wheelbase and sports a 24.6-degree rake. The seat sits 31.1 inches high, which would normally be somewhat tall for short riders. However, Triumph says it worked to keep the motorcycle as narrow as possible, even going as far as to narrow the clutch assembly so that shorter riders can flat-foot the machine.

Triumph Speed 400 Details 1

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The Speed 400 rides on 17-inch wheels and Triumph says the motorcycle is tuned for a roadster-style experience: “Giving an engaging and intuitive ride along with a comfortable, neutral riding position that inspires confidence for riders of all sizes and skill levels.”

In terms of equipment, Triumph says the Speed 400 has LED lighting all-around, an immobilizer system, and a hybrid analog and digital instrument cluster.

Triumph Speed 400 Details 13

Triumph keeps the rider tech somewhat simple as you get a digital tachometer, a gear indicator, and an indicator for the optional heated grips. You also get a USB-C charging port, but the bike lacks any integration with your devices. You get all of this in a package that weighs just 375 pounds.

The Triumph Scrambler 400 X

Triumph Scrambler 400 X Static 8

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The other new steed in Triumph’s upcoming middleweight lineup is the Scrambler 400 X. This one will also fall into that Modern Classics lineup. Like the Speed 400, the Scrambler 400 X borrows some styling from the larger Scrambler 900 and Scrambler 1200. I’ll toss the Scrambler 900 in here for comparison:

Street Scrambler Green Rhs

The Scrambler 400 X is a smidge less faithful to its siblings as it doesn’t get a high-mounted exhaust, instead getting the same low-slung unit from the Speed 400.

Now, you might assume that the Scrambler 400 X is just the Speed 400 with different styling, but that’s not the case. Yes, they share common parts like that engine and the instrument cluster, but Triumph says both bikes get their own distinct chassis. Both machines get their own new hybrid spine/perimeter frames, which feature a bolt-on rear subframe and a cast aluminum swingarm. In the case of the Scrambler 400 X, the frame is stretched about an inch.

Triumph Scrambler 400 X Static 1

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The Scrambler 400 X gets a longer 55.8-inch wheelbase, a 23.2 degree rake, and a larger 320mm brake rotor up front, it also scores a taller 19-inch front wheel and a wide handlebar. Triumph notes that Scrambler 400 X riders will have a more upright seating position, a 32.9 inch seat height, and your feet will work with a larger cast steel brake pedal, plus high-grip pegs that sit lower than the Speed 400 standard. In comparison, the Speed 400’s pegs are aluminum.

Adding to those changes, the Scrambler 400 X nets 5.9 inches of suspension travel both front and rear. These changes are supposed to make the Scrambler 400 X easier to ride off-road.

Triumph Speed 400 And Scrambler 400 X 15

In terms of protection, the Scrambler 400 X gets hand guards, a headlight grille, an engine bash guard, and a radiator guard. Adding those off-road bits and the stretched frame means a weight gain of 20 pounds to 395 pounds, which isn’t bad. Another bonus that comes with the Scrambler 400 X is the fact that the ABS can be switched off, which you cannot do with the Speed 400.

Built To Get You On A Triumph

Both of these bikes, as well as the motorcycles that will be unveiled later on, are a part of Triumph’s effort to get more riders on the company’s fare. Triumph is targeting young and new riders in the United States and Europe. Offering inexpensive motorcycles has been a winning formula for the likes of Royal Enfield, so it’s no surprise to see Triumph joining the list of manufacturers doing similar. Here in America, these will serve as retro-style alternatives to the BMW G 310 GS and the G 310 R while offering far more capability than Royal Enfield’s 350s.

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Triumph Speed 400 And Scrambler 400 X 4

The Triumph Speed 400 and Scrambler 400 X will also be sold in India and Asia, where the firm will be selling these to experienced riders as daily rider machines.

Triumph says to expect these to hit American shores early next year. They’ll be built in Triumph’s factories in Thailand and Brazil as well as Bajaj’s factories in India. Buyers in the Indian market will get the motorcycles first in August before the bikes make their worldwide debut. At this time, Triumph hasn’t released pricing. Seeing that these are supposed to compete with the likes of BMW, I wouldn’t be surprised to see pricing in the range of $5,000 to $6,000 or so.

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DeWayne
DeWayne
11 months ago

This is an extremely shrewd bike. If they can squeak the cost under $6k so it can compete with something like a 390 Duke I think they’ll sell a ton.

Forget being a starter bike, I’d have one of these just to have it!

Zeppelopod
Zeppelopod
11 months ago

Question for those savvier about motorcycles than I: how on earth do you ride that Scrambler 900 without cooking your thigh into a Honey-Baked Long Pork? Exhausts get hot.

No Kids, Just Bikes
No Kids, Just Bikes
11 months ago
Reply to  Zeppelopod

It’s pretty well insulated. The protrusion is much more of an issue. So much so that I put an under-mount on mine.

Adrian Clarke
Adrian Clarke
11 months ago

Ugh, what’s with the fake fins on the block if they’re water cooled? Not convincing me over a Husqvarna 401 Svartpilen or Yamaha MT-07 which are the two bikes I’m considering.

Matt Sexton
Matt Sexton
11 months ago
Reply to  Adrian Clarke

Those are both really nice choices, I’ve been eyeing the 401 for a while myself.

DeWayne
DeWayne
11 months ago
Reply to  Adrian Clarke

Fins still help on a water cooled engine. It may even allow them to make the casting simpler, i.e. have less cores because the water jackets aren’t as complicated.

~Sincerely, your friendly local ICE engineer

Frackle
Frackle
11 months ago
Reply to  Adrian Clarke

They’re annoying if you think about them, but unlike Triumph’s fake carbs, they at least look sleek. Even knowing they’re fake, I prefer the look over a non-pinstriped water cooled engine.

RootWyrm
RootWyrm
11 months ago

I worry a LOT about the cost, lifespan, and serviceability of these bikes. High tech is high maintenance and high repair cost. This is not the knucklehead you can rejet in your garage, or even diagnose in your garage.

But that said, these are damn good bikes and very thoughtful. If they ride as calm and predictable as they look like they should, they’re basically perfect first bikes. My biggest and constant complaint about ‘starter bikes’ is that they’re just shit. Sorry not sorry, but they absolutely are.
Royal Enfield makes a great bike. But if you start on the (quite excellent) Classic 350, before very long at all, you’re going to want more power. The curve is great, but 20HP and 19ft/lbs quickly stops being enough as your skills as a rider improve. It’s definitely not enough that you’ll feel comfortable on the back roads and highways.

Triumph seems to really get this here; under 400lbs, 400cc, 40HP. Those numbers aren’t particularly impressive, but that’s exactly my point! They’re very reasonable numbers. It’s light enough that a novice rider should be comfortable, but it doesn’t have so much power that it’s going to overwhelm them, and it isn’t so short on power that they’ll feel like they need to upgrade any time soon.
It’s the kind of ‘first bike’ a newbie can buy, and truly enjoy for 5+ years without feeling like they have to upgrade or even like they want to upgrade. But that also makes price key, and Triumph has to put it bluntly, thrown themselves off the boat when it comes to pricing.

Comparing apples to apples, the Royal Enfield INT650 (also a quite good bike) has an MSRP of just $6,149. $6,349 if you want two-tone paint, $6,849 if you want the chrome tank. (But anyone should be thrilled with Ventura Blue or Canyon Red.)
My local dealer is advertising $500 in Triumph Cash on all Trident 660’s. Which only brings the price down to $8,994 before tax. That’s a LOT more than the Royal Enfield, for not a lot more bike.
While rather different, they’re pretty similar bikes. 650-660cc. Fuel-injected. 6 speed gearbox. Upright riding position. Front fork. The Enfield has a better rear. The INT650 has 47HP and 52Nm, the Trident claims 60HP and 64Nm but the reality is it’s probably within 5 of the INT650 on both. Royal Enfield and Triumph are both classic, highly respected UK brands with specific identities that also both lost brand continuity. So the brand premium argument is very hard to make.
Unless Triumph can really get the price down on these, I can’t see them selling in the face of such stiff competition. Sure, Royal Enfield makes cuts to get the cost down, but Triumph will have to do the same. And the price range on motorcycles is MUCH narrower. Even with the superior power, they need to get these sub-$6k to have any hope of competing with the Scram 411, much less the Kawasaki Z400 ($5,399, ABS standard, 399cc, fuel injected, 44HP and 25ft/lbs.)

MH7
MH7
11 months ago
Reply to  RootWyrm

I’ll preface this by saying I’ve seen the enfields and think I’d love one. That said, the trident has 80ish hp, not 60. It also has proper suspension, whereas the enfields use damper rod forks. Triumph fit and finish seems to be a tier or two better based on the (admittedly not very large) number of bikes I’ve seen. At 100 lbs lighter than the interceptor, the lighter weight of the 400 will more than make up for the 7 hp power deficit. I’d say triumph can sell these for a bit more than the RE based on specs alone. The z400 is a heck of a bargain, no way around it. The triumph will rely on style, fit and finish, and hopefully a bit of rowdy engine character to justify the price.

I do agree on power. My DRZ puts out about 35 hp at 300 lbs and is flat out more fun on everything but interstate than my prior vstrom, even with knobbies and crap gearing. Hitting the throttle stop and banging of the rev limiter in town (without killing yourself) is just fun. The peaky nature of the single and strong engine braking just adds character.

Frackle
Frackle
11 months ago
Reply to  MH7

Yeah I have an RE continental and my friend has a trident, and the trident is definitely on another level if you’re looking for performance. Would it be if I used the price difference to install ohlins suspension and bore out my bike? Still yes. But I’m probably gonna do it anyway.

Alex Duval
Alex Duval
11 months ago
Reply to  RootWyrm

Completely disagree about the Trident vs Interceptor. Having extensively ridden an Interceptor, and having owned a Trident 660, these bikes are in different leagues. Even after only a year and half of riding, the Interceptor’s engine, suspension, gearbox, weight, tyre options and brakes already left much to be desired. Despite its charms, it was a bit of a pig. I never really reached the limit of the Trident while I had it.

Last edited 11 months ago by Alex Duval
Zeppelopod
Zeppelopod
11 months ago
Reply to  RootWyrm

Counterpoint: being in the military has really soured me on the “get a bike you’ll grow into” mentality. I’ve seen too many of my fellow doofuses apply that logic and get way too much bike for them rather than progressing through a series of bikes to match their skill level.

That said, I concede I have all of one (1) day of riding experience, so take my words with an ISU-90 of salt.

No Kids, Just Bikes
No Kids, Just Bikes
11 months ago
Reply to  RootWyrm

I’m a motorcycle lifer. If someone has zero experience on a bike 400 pounds IS NOT that light. A rebel 250 is 329 lbs. A DRZ400 is 317. Even a ninja 300 is 362, and 40 lbs makes a difference to someone with zero experience.

The best starter bike is something cheap and light. I don’t think these Triumphs are fit for someone walking into a dealer with no riding experience.

Frackle
Frackle
11 months ago
Reply to  RootWyrm

I think they’ll be plenty competitive around $6k. The RE lineup absolutely rules (I own a continental gt and have no intent of getting a Triumph), but Triumph has a very strong brand in the US and it seems like the 400 engines here will have solid specs. I see this as less Triumph stepping into competition with RE, and more realizing that they’ve been in competition without realizing it. This will snatch up a lot of people who want a Triumph but couldn’t justify getting a speed twin.

Eggsalad
Eggsalad
11 months ago

I can’t cite specific numbers, but various articles I’ve read seem to imply that the numbers of new motorcycle riders keeps going down every year. The entire industry seems kind of desperate to find/entice new riders.
One of the issues seems to be the rising costs of new motorcycles, so we’re seeing more and more small-displacement bikes like this to try to lower the price of entry.
But IMO one of the big reasons that there are fewer new riders is that folks in the right age bracket to take up motorcycling have any familiarity with the manual transmission.
I think that EV motorcycles are the solution to this problem, and the sooner the mainline motorcycle manufacturers switch to EV, the better their chances of survival.

Matt Sexton
Matt Sexton
11 months ago
Reply to  Eggsalad

I have several motorcycles, but most of them I bought many years ago, used, and the exceptions were sort of bequeathed to me. I love motorcycles and wish I had more, but I don’t know if I’m just a cheap bastard or what, but quite often I look at new bikes and think “how is this $xxxx??” Because a motorcycle is pretty much just an engine, two wheels, and a seat. Visually, for the price it looks like there should be more there, or at least cost less for what’s there. Shoot even a Taiwanese 50cc scooter is like $2500.

So I wonder if that thought process hits more casual people that the motorcyle manufacturers are willing to admit. Now I get that stuff is expensive and getting more expensive, but maybe declining motorcyling numbers have more to do with people having a hard time justifying $9000 or whatever it will end up costing, for a “toy” they know they’ll drive a couple days a week on average, or even less if they live in the northern climes.

Last edited 11 months ago by Matt Sexton
RootWyrm
RootWyrm
11 months ago

Given prices for not-starter bikes, it’s not even remotely hard to see why. Nobody can afford new bikes. Bikes are a ‘fun toy’ thing, and a Rocket 3 starts at over $23,000. A Harley Softtail Standard starts – STARTS!! – at $16,000! The cheapest Harley is the Nightster at over $14,000! A Vulcan 900 is $10,000!

Meanwhile, I can go get a 2006 Triumph Speed Triple 1050 with maintenance records and 35,000 miles for just $3800. The dealer wants over $14,000 for a Street Triple 765, $20k+ for a Speed Triple RR.

Eggsalad
Eggsalad
11 months ago

Economics tells me that the prices of used bikes are so low (relative to new bikes) because the market is flooded with used motorcycles. And people only sell used motorcycles for one of 3 reasons:
(a) they bought a new bike – unlikely, because new bike sales are so low.
(b) they bought a better used bike – maybe.
(c) they’ve given up riding – I’ll contend this is the most likely reason

CSRoad
CSRoad
11 months ago

I know when I’m asked about a starter bike I always say to buy something used, not necessarily pristine (they are going to drop it anyway), but well maintained and less than 15 years old, not too tall, not too powerful. A good starter you can always sell to the next person. Another consideration is the cost of insurance especially in some jurisdictions.

I think Honda has things dialed in traditionally with the Rebel 300 and 500. A Rebel 500 or CB500X is not a bad bike for anyone’s basic transportation. There are lots of other manufacturers offerings in the 300 to 500 size class.
Triumph is late to the game and the bike’s will have to age well to get on my beginner list. (-:

Andy Individual
Andy Individual
11 months ago

Also, motorcycles have gotten so much better over the years, so living with a ten year old bike isn’t the hassle it used to be. A beginner can just get on and ride. Especially with the increased adoption of fuel injection and ABS.

For me personally, if you want my attention with a new bike, keep working on the weight reduction. Modern material science is where to invest the R&D. If you’re just going to make street pigs, I’ll buy a used cast iron model. If I buy anything at all…

Matt Sexton
Matt Sexton
11 months ago

You know what’s great about motorcycles? If you’re clever enough you can fit about 8 of them into a typical garage stall.

These are great looking bikes. If I were wealthier, my wife would have even more to roll her eyes at me about.

Last edited 11 months ago by Matt Sexton
Cheap Bastard
Cheap Bastard
11 months ago
Reply to  Matt Sexton

“You know what’s great about motorcycles? If you’re clever enough you can fit about 8 of them into a typical garage stall.”

Even more so with bicycles; those you can hang from the ceiling and still get your car in.

MH7
MH7
11 months ago

The roadster is a proper sexy bike, and not just in a ‘retro’ kind of way. And it’s not like the compromised anything either-power, weight, wheelbase and rake point to a bike that’s just a blast at anything under 75. I’d say it’s nearest competition is the interceptor 650, which has another 7 hp, but the 100 lbs weight savings more than makes up for it. Triumph has been killing it lately.

Brandon Forbes
Brandon Forbes
11 months ago

Interesting. I love Triumphs, had a T100 for a while and of the 3 bikes I’ve owned it was by far my favorite. These are a bit small for me, but it’s nice to see Triumph going cheaper and working to get into some of the other classes, and doing it in style too with a nice, well equipped bike and not some stripped out POS.

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