Although not quite as good off-road as dual sports, scramblers’ lighter weight and smaller size make them nimbler than adventure bikes. And some, particularly the Triumph Scrambler, can genuinely venture beyond the pavement. For Triumph, the Scrambler is part of neo-classic bike lineup which includes the Thruxton café racer and Bonneville standard. However, there’s another company with a similar approach: Royal Enfield. And after releasing its own Bonneville and Thruxton competitors, there are now rumors that Royal Enfield is making a scrambler.
Royal Enfield scrambler rumors
Similar to Harley-Davidson’s planned bikes, Motorcycle News reports that Royal Enfield is working on “up to 14 new bikes.” Considering how the current COVID-19 pandemic is affecting other motorcycle companies, such news may seem odd. However, Royal Enfield’s CEO is confident the company can successfully make it through.
One of these planned bikes, RideApart reports, appears to be a scrambler bike. As of this writing, there’s no physical proof that such a bike is in the works. Unlike Harley’s flat-tracker, there are no investor documents or patents. However, various sources in India are confident that a Royal Enfield scrambler will break cover at some point in the near future.
It is worth pointing out that MCN specifically mused on a potential Royal Enfield flat-tracker. Although the two aren’t identical, a flat-tracker like the Indian FTR 1200 does share some elements with a scrambler.
Though, if Royal Enfield is developing a scrambler, it won’t struggle for outside inspiration.
Custom Royal Enfield scramblers
Several independent shops have already modified Royal Enfield bikes into scramblers.
Thailand-based K-Speed Customs, for example, was directly influenced by the Triumph Scrambler with its Interceptor 650 build, RideApart reports. And the build itself was fairly straightforward. K-Speed gave the Interceptor off-road tires, new gauges, new exhaust pipes, a restyled seat, and LED lighting. Neither the 47-hp 648cc twin-cylinder engine or 6-speed transmission was modified.
Various shops have also turned Royal Enfield’s single-cylinder bikes into scramblers. For example, BAAK Motocyclettes in Lyons, France used the Classic 500 as a base for its build, Silodrome reports. Here, the process was more extensive. BAAK made custom aluminum fenders, fuel tank, and handlebars, and converted the engine to carburetion. New wheels and tires were installed, as well as Hagons shocks, BAAK’s own leather seat, a custom exhaust, and aluminum sump guard.
Illinois-based Analog Motorcycles has customized several Royal Enfields. One was based on the 500cc Continental GT café racer. The shop modified the bike’s frame, lifted it 2”, and installed Race Tech suspension. The fuel injection was replaced with a carburetor, and the engine got new cams, valve springs, and exhaust pipes. The handlebars are now aluminum, and it rides on Continental off-road tires.
Production bike vs. scrambler competition
As of this writing, it’s not known what kind of engine Royal Enfield would use for its hypothetical scrambler. While the Interceptor and Continental GT 650 both use a 650cc two-cylinder, the Himalayan uses a 411cc single-cylinder.
However, based on my own impressions of the brand’s two- and single-cylinder engines, the 650cc one seems more likely. It’s significantly smoother and more powerful, which are key to the company’s push into markets like the US. In fact, RideApart reports one of the rumored 14 bikes is a Himalayan 650.
The smallest Triumph Scrambler is the Street Scrambler. It uses a 900cc two-cylinder, which makes 65 hp and 59 lb-ft. That’s more than Royal Enfield’s 650cc. However, the latter’s bike would likely be noticeably lighter. The 55-hp 900cc Bonneville T100, for example, weighs 25 pounds more than the Interceptor. And it has a 5-speed transmission, while the Interceptor has a 6-speed. In addition, the Interceptor starts at just under $5.8k, while the T100 starts at $10,450.
It’s a similar comparison with the Ducati Scrambler lineup. The cheapest model, the Sixty2, is still about $2200 more than the Interceptor 650. Though, admittedly, its 399cc L-twin is only 4 horsepower down from Royal Enfield’s two-cylinder.
The $11,995 Ducati Scrambler Desert Sled, meanwhile, is rather expensive. However, its 73-hp 803cc L-twin is more powerful. And the bike itself is only about 10 pounds heavier than the Interceptor 650.
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