The James Bond Triumph Scrambler, and the Spy’s Other Bikes
James Bond’s usually seen behind the wheel of an Aston Martin. However, motorcycles have also featured in the fictional British spy’s adventures. Though the bad guys are usually the riders, Bond himself has taken to 2 wheels on occasion. Most recently, in the upcoming film No Time to Die, aka ‘Bond 25.’ To commemorate it, British motorcycle company Triumph is releasing a limited-edition version of its Scrambler. But how does it compare with James Bond’s other bikes?
Triumph Scrambler 1200 James Bond Edition
The Triumph Scrambler 1200 Bond Edition comes after the company supplied a modified Scrambler 1200 XC and Tiger 900 for the film, Cycle World reports. Below, you can see the Scrambler in action, being ridden by 4-time World Enduro Champion Paul “Fast Eddy” Edmondson.
Mechanically, the Triumph Scrambler 1200 Bond Edition remains unchanged from the standard bike. It has a 1200cc two-cylinder, rated at 89 hp and 81 lb-ft, with a 6-speed transmission. However, the Bond Edition is based on the top-level XE, which has Ohlins remote-reservoir adjustable shocks, Brembo brakes, and adjustable foot controls. It also has 6 adjustable riding modes, a torque-assist clutch, heated grips, cruise and traction control, and ABS.
Instead, most of the mods are visual. It’s painted a unique ‘Sapphire Black’ and comes with an oversized tank badge and brushed-foil knee pad. Large portions of the bike are blacked-out, including the powder-coated swingarm, forks, fenders, and sump guard. It also has gold-accent engine badges, stainless-steel headlight grille, and an Arrow muffler with carbon-fiber caps. The James Bond touches include a ‘007’ exhaust-mounted plaque, embroidered leather seats, a modified TFT display, and numbered plaque riser clamp.
With an $18,500 starting price, the Triumph Scrambler 1200 Bond Edition is $3100 more than the 1200 XE. That’s quite a bit for what’s basically an appearance package. But it will be a truly ‘limited’ bike. Only 250 examples will be built for the whole world, and only 30 are coming to the US.
The Triumph Scrambler, though, isn’t the first off-road-capable bike James Bond’s ridden.
2012’s Skyfall opened with James Bond chasing a bad guy named Patrice through Istanbul’s markets and over rooftops. Both, Bennetts reports, used Honda CRF250Rs. Despite their aged appearance, both bikes were brand-new models. World-record-holder Robbie Maddison served as the main stunt rider, Financial Express reports.
Cycle World reports the 2012 Honda CRF250R was a great motocross. And the latest 2020 model continues that tradition, Dirt Rider reports. Its 249cc single-cylinder engine is a bit down on power compared to its rivals from KTM, Yamaha, and Kawasaki. However, Dirt Bike Magazine reports handling remains excellent. It also comes with adjustable-on-the-fly riding modes.
Unlike the Triumph Scrambler, the Honda CRF250R isn’t street-legal. But, at $7999, it costs less than half as much. For about $3000 more, though, you can get the street-legal version of the bikes Skyfall’s camera operators used: the Honda CRF450X.
James Bond’s disguised Honda Montesa Cota 4RT
James Bond also rode a Honda in another film, 2008’s Quantum of Solace. However, it was camouflaged to look nothing like one. In the film, Bond’s bike looks like a beat-up scrambler, VisorDown reports. However, underneath it’s a Honda Montesa Cota 4RT, which was also used as the basis for a bike in The Bourne Ultimatum.
As it was in 2008, the current Honda Montesa Cota 4RT is a trials bike, Motorcyclist reports. These bikes, Red Bull explains, are kind of like hyper-specialized dirt bikes, only even more stripped-down. For one, there’s no seat—that would be too heavy, and get in the way. Trials bikes scramble over large boulders, through water crossings, and up-and-over similar obstacles.
What this means is that the Montesa Cota, rather than focusing on speed, aims for low weight and greater maneuverability. And it is extremely light, even for a motorcycle. The 4RT260, fully-fueled, weighs 170 pounds. That’s about 10 pounds less than I weigh. Which means its 259cc single-cylinder engine is more than sufficient. Add in 13.2” of ground clearance and Showa suspension, and the $8999 Honda Montesa Cota 4RT makes for an excellent off-roader.
Although BMW is introducing a new cruiser, the R18, to compete with Harley, it’s not the German company’s first cruiser. That would be the 1998 BMW R1200C, Motorcycle Cruiser reports. And consumers were given a sneak peek when it featured in 1997’s Tomorrow Never Dies.
True, few owners would ride their R1200Cs like that. However, Motorcyclist reports that, back in 1998, the BMW R1200C was one of the best-handling cruisers on the market. The later Montauk model, Motorcyclist reports, had mid-mounted controls, for even better handling.
The R1200C also had Brembo brakes, VisorDown reports, and towards the end of its production run, ABS. Its 1170cc two-cylinder, which 61 hp and 72 lb-ft, wasn’t particularly powerful. But its suspension design meant it was comfortable, Carole Nash reports, and it had more ground clearance than many Harleys.
The 1998-2004 BMW R1200C is also one of the most affordable James Bond bikes. While the Montauk models carry a premium, it’s possible to find an R1200C for less than $8000.
The last James Bond motorcycle on our list is somewhat obscure. In 1995’s GoldenEye, Bond commandeers a Cagiva W16 in a sequence set about 9 years before the film’s main events. Technically, the bike is cast somewhat inaccurately. It didn’t go on sale IRL until 1990, for one. Secondly, although Bond steals it from a Russian soldier, there’s no evidence the Russian army used Cagivas. However, even if the W16 itself isn’t well known, Cagiva itself has been very influential in the motorcycling world.
Firstly, Ducati might not exist today without it. Cagiva’s owners purchased Ducati in 1985, Bonhams reports, which eventually led to the iconic 916. Cagiva also purchased MV Agusta, another storied Italian brand that’s still around and kicking today. Cagiva itself doesn’t appear on modern bikes, but when it was still in use, it mostly used powerplants from MV Agusta and Ducati.
The Cagiva W16 600 used in GoldenEye, though, used Cagiva’s own engine. The W16 had a 604cc single-cylinder engine, rated at 34 hp and 37 lb-ft, AutoEvolution reports. It was a fairly competent dual-sport, with disc brakes, engine mudguard, and about 8” of suspension travel.
These bikes aren’t very common, but they don’t appear to be very expensive. A one-owner example sold in a 2007 Bonhams auction for just under $1600. However, they rarely appear for sale in the US. But, if you’re after an obscure James Bond bike, the Cagiva W16 might just be the one to get.
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