Some of the biggest news in the motorcycle industry this week was the unveiling of 2 all-new models in the Triumph Modern Classics range. The new Speed 400 and Scrambler 400 X add a whole new entry-level offering to the modern classic range. Taking styling cues from their larger 900 and 1200 siblings they promise the same level of premium quality, timeless style and impressive performance we’ve come to expect from the Hinckley factory.
“Designed from the ground-up with a brand-new single-engine platform at their heart, these new models are designed to deliver a fun, agile and confidence-inspiring ride for riders of all ages and experience levels.” – Triumph Motorcycles
Triumph enters a new market
The decision to develop a motorcycle with a smaller capacity, single-cylinder engine could work wonders for Triumph’s 2024 sales figures. According to the company’s researchers, the 400 models will attract new and entry-level road-going motorcycle buyers who make up 30% of the industry’s sales each year. The appeal of these models’ classic appearance and the allure of the Triumph brand is sure to guarantee success but the price will need to be competitive to see just how well they sell.
All-new TR Series Engine
Unlike the twin-cylinder engines of the 900 and 1200 models, the 400s are built around a new TR Series single-cylinder powerplant. This is big news since Triumph hasn’t had a sub-500cc engine in their range for more than 30 years. The TR naming convention is a salute to the single-cylinder Triumph Trophy which was made famous by its achievements in the infamous Six Day Trial offroad races…but that’s where the similarities end.
Like the rest of the current modern classic lineup this new engine is liquid-cooled. It uses a 4-valve DOHC configuration with a single cylinder and a capacity of 398.15cc. For its size, the new engine offers range-topping performance with Triumph stating its output as 39.5 bhp and 37.5 Nm which is only about 8hp shy of Kawsaki’s W800. Power is delivered to the rear end via a 6-speed gearbox and service intervals are set at an impressive 16,000kms or 12-month intervals.
With the TR Series motor Triumph has again created an engine that artfully replicates the look of a classic. With shaved cooling fins on the cylinder head, a well-hidden, compact radiator, and classic Triumph-look engine cases. Unsurprisingly, it’s the perfect starting point for a modern classic.
Triumph 400 series standard features
Both of the new Triumph 400 models feature the latest safety technology in the form of ABS and switchable traction control. Fueling is managed by Bosch electronic injection and the throttle is ride-by-wire. The suspension comes in the form of gold ‘big piston’ 43mm upside-down forks and an RSU gas monoshock with pre-load adjustment although the Scrambler offers 20mm of additional wheel travel. The classically styled fuel tank holds 13 litres and both models offer fuel consumption of around 63mpg. The cockpit consists of a single analogue speedo with an integrated LCD that displays current gear, revs, remaining fuel and trip information.
Since these models have both been designed from the ground up, they feature an all-new chassis’. Triumph is referring to the design as their ‘Hybrid Frame’. The chassis is built using a mix of spine and perimeter frame design using tubular steel. Interestingly they opted to make the subframe bolt-on which is sure to capture the attention of the custom builders and aftermarket parts producers and the swingarms are lightweight cast aluminium. For improved handling on loose surfaces, the Scramblers wheelbase is around 40mm longer than the Speed. Both bikes tip the scales at under 180kg.
Triumph Speed 400 and Scrambler 400 X design
Both of these new models get their styling from the larger equivalent models in the Triumph modern classics range. So the Speed 400 follows suit with the Speed Twins and the Scrambler 400 X follows on from the Scramblers.
The Triumph Speed 400 is a roadster so the riding position is neutral. Thanks to its overall smaller dimension and stepped saddle, it has a 790mm seat height which makes it ideal for shorter riders. The bike rolls on 17-inch 10-spoke alloy wheels wrapped in Metzeler Metzeler Sportec M9RR rubber and is equipped to accommodate a pillion. The exhaust uses twin-skin stainless headers, a well-concealed “bread box” cat under the belly of the engine and a slightly upswept modern muffler. Although attractive the muffler is what lets this model down. We’d like to see a much more classic-looking pipe like the one on the 1200, but I’m sure there will be a slip-on on offer when these hit the market. However, the Speed 400 comes with stylish bar end mirrors which we very much approve of.
The Triumph Scrambler 400 X bares a closer resemblance to the Scrambler 900 than the Scrambler 1200. This is mainly due to its smaller proportions and shorter front end.
Aside from some slight variations in geometry, wheel size (19 F/17 R) and switchable ABS for off-road riding, the biggest differences between the Scrambler 400 X and the Speed 400 are in its equipment. At the pointy end, the Scrambler 400 X gets different handlebars with twin yoke clamps and a bolt-on brace. The headlight sits behind a laser-cut alloy stone guard and there are brush guards covering each grip. The footpegs are wide and the levers cast steel with a bear trap-style grip. Both the sump and radiator are protected by guards. And the seat is a 2 piece design which allows the removal of the rear section to fit a luggage rack.
The Scrambler 400 X wheels are also unique featuring a different spoke pattern and wrapped in chunky Metzeler Karoo Street tyres. Again I’d have loved a different exhaust for the Scrambler 400 X, particularly a high pipe like the one on the larger models, but if Triumph doesn’t offer one someone else soon will.
Triumph 400 models release date & pricing
Triumph has slated the release date for the Scrambler 400 X and Speed 400 as Jan 2024. When the bikes go on sale Triumph will also release 25 aftermarket accessories for each model to allow customers to have them modified by dealerships before they take delivery. So far no pricing has been revealed but the Brits say they will be competitive. My guess is you’ll pay a slight premium for these bikes, but knowing Triumph the extra investment will be worth every penny.