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The Triumph-Bajaj alliance had the Indian motorcycling fraternity anticipating for a while. With the launch of the Speed 400, this alliance bore fruit. It was a smash hit and for all the good reasons. The Speed 400 was everything that Triumph and Bajaj are known for; stellar performance and bang for the buck that very few motorcycles can achieve. The Speed 400 more than lived up to our expectations and yet, there was still more to look forward to. And it is finally here- the Scrambler 400 X.
We flew to Pune to get a taste of what the Scrambler 400 X brings to the table and we can tell that it is a lot. The Indian market has seen an increase in the demand for motorcycles that can do more than just tread tarmac. As a result, a lot of manufacturers have been trying to tap into this demand. But the Scrambler 400 X adds a modern-classic twist to the recipe and that makes it stand out. Upon landing in Pune, we went to Kolad, 115 km away from Pune and the perfect place to put this motorcycle through its paces.
The Tornado Pro 4 Jacket from Rynox is our quintessential partner, crafted to be as much home in the city as on an adventure.
With their sleek, practical and functional design, the Airtex Pants from Rynox are perfect for use around the year.
Starting with the looks, the Scrambler 400 X has a distinct personality despite sharing the platform with the Speed 400. While both the motorcycles have the modern-classic taste to them, the Scrambler 400 X is visibly the more rugged motorcycle. Despite being shorter than the Speed 400, it seems bigger than the Speed 400. The Scrambler 400 X is higher and has higher handlebars. Along with these, the upswept exhaust, headlight grille & sump guards, and the dual-purpose tyres differentiate it enough from its road-biased twin.
Overall, the Scrambler 400 X is a handsome motorcycle and will grab more eyeballs on the road compared to the relatively plain Speed 400. The Scrambler 400 X is available in three colourways; Matt Khaki Green/Fusion White, Carnival Red/Phantom Black, and Phantom Black/Silver Ice. We like the Matt Khaki one and that was the one that was the one we chose. Now, let us get the engine going and see how it goes.
Before that though, we need to address the ergonomics. The Scrambler 400 X is a very different animal when compared to the Speed 400. The Speed 400 was slung low and had very accommodating ergonomics. The Scrambler 400 X is just as accommodating… after you perch it successfully. At 835mm, the seat height is bound to give trouble to a lot of riders at a standstill and during low-speed manoeuvres. The tank though is fairly narrow towards where it meets the seat so that helps matters a bit.
Also, 185 kg (kerb) is a decent bit of weight but most of it sits low so ergonomically, it does not present any immediate challenges. So while it seems very intimidating on paper, it is a lot less in the real world. The weight should have had some bearing on the agility but that is hardly the case because of the sharper rake and wider handlebars. More on that later though. To sum it up, it is a little demanding because of the seat height but more than manageable once you get a hang of it.
After we got the hang of it, it was time to ride. In terms of engine performance, the Scrambler 400 X is almost identical to its roadgoing twin. 398cc, 40 horses, and 37.5 Nm of torques mated to a 6-speed transmission with a slip and assist clutch. On the move, it is smooth, grunty and predictable. The added weight over the Speed 400 has virtually no impact on the performance. Tested side by side, there may be a minor difference in acceleration and even if it is there, we are sure it would be miniscule enough to be ignored.
The transmission and gearing are also spot-on. We did not encounter a lot of traffic during our ride but we can tell that this motorcycle will do just fine in the city as well thanks to the dollops of torque. On open roads, it is a breeze. The gear shifts are slick and the clutch is fairly light but then again, rarely do you feel the need to shift continuously. We also encountered some twisties en route to Kumbhe waterfall and there too, the engine and transmission worked immaculately.
This brings us to the handling bit. The Scrambler 400 X seems a little more agile than the Speed 400 despite the extra heft. We believe that geometry has a part to play here. The Scrambler 400 X has a sharper rake, a shorter wheelbase, and a wider handlebar. In side-to-side transitions, it feels easier to deal with and hence the perceived extra agility. Despite the higher perch and dual-purpose tyres, the Scrambler 400 X feels poised and predictable in the corners.
Meant to inspire adventure and protect the rider on one, the Axor X-Cross is as comfortable as it is safe and secure. The classy look is an add-on that we don’t mind either!
Also, the suspension has more travel than the Speed 400. The Scrambler 400 X gets 150mm of travel on both ends. It feels even more pliant than the Speed 400 which is saying something because that one was a joy to ride because of how it dealt with bad roads. The Scrambler 400 X feels even better. Another difference is that the Scrambler 400 X gets a bigger disc up front which does not make a whole lot of difference in day-to-day usage but one can tell the difference in terms of the urgency with which the motorcycle decelerates. This change was probably triggered by the added heft to give it a similar braking performance to the Speed 400.
Now comes the scrambling bit. See, the Scrambler 400 X is not a hardcore off-roading motorcycle and yet, it does just fine even when the roads are less than ideal… or less than present in the case of off-roading. It deals with all that very deftly. Whether you are just saddling or trying to slide around, the Scrambler 400 X inspires a lot of confidence. The 19″ front wheel gets a lot of credit for this because of the added forces it generates that help keep the front end in line even on bumpy and uneven surfaces.
The switchable ABS on the rear is a godsend when traction is short in supply, which is often the case when you are out hunting trails. The traction control is switchable but you also have to remember to switch it off. If you leave it on and it cuts the power, you may find yourself stranded. You have a sump guard but then again, with 195mm ground clearance, you do not see it working often. The dual-purpose (sort of) tyres do a decent enough job both on the tarmac and off it… if you manage your expectations that is.
Overall, the Scrambler 400 X is quite similar to the Speed 400 and therefore, just as impressive. But it is also distinct enough to have its own following compared to the Speed 400 which has a different base of buyers. We just wish that it was a little lighter and perched a little low. It would have made life much easier for shorter riders. However, the added ground clearance makes up for it. At INR 2.63 lacs, it is INR 30,000 more than the Speed 400. It is fairly justified too. It looks premium and fulfils its intended purpose with aplomb.
The Urban Pro 2 gloves from Rynox with their retro looks fit the retro looks of the Scrambler 400 X ‘like a glove‘.