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  • Sachin Sen

Triumph Enters the Battlefield with the Speed 400 & the Scrambler 400 X

Updated: Jul 12, 2023

Triumph Bajaj Speed 400 and Scrambler 400 X
Triumph Speed 400 and Scrambler 400 X

Entering an established, yet an exponentially growing segment, is a tricky thing to do. With so many worthy choices between 250cc and 500cc, any new entrant, regardless of their experience, has a mountain to climb. It’s hard to think of any other segment that demands such a perfect balance of affordability, quality, and performance out of a motorcycle.

And this segment has turned out to be a boon for motorcycle enthusiasts in India. The intensity of our vehicular traffic and overall riding conditions have naturally given birth to motorcycles that are fun, quite literally, everywhere, be it city roads or open highways. They are relatively fuel efficient as well, affordable, and reliable enough to keep performance-seekers-on-budget very, very happy.

On that note, the ability of Indian motorcycle manufacturers to produce bikes at scale has always been known, something that has been realized by international companies in the last 10-12 years. The collaborations that have happened in the last decade or so are all about taking advantage of each other’s strengths. KTM-Bajaj, BMW-TVS, and now, Triumph-Bajaj and Harley Davidson-Hero.

The first two have been very successful, and there’s no reason to believe that the recent two partnerships won’t be. And so, Triumph and Bajaj have launched their first two motorcycles recently in India and abroad.

Triumph Speed 400 and Scrambler 400 X

How do you make a grand entry into a hotly contested segment? One of the ways to do it is to target the upper ceiling, which is what Triumph has done. A 400cc motorcycle is better than a 250cc if performance is important to you. Then, the motorcycle should be able to represent the character of its maker, especially when words like “legacy” are a part of its history.

The Speed 400 and the Scrambler 400 X are precisely those motorcycles. One look at them and you’ll know they come from the Bonneville family. And so far, they seem to reflect the level of fit-n-finish and build quality the Bonnevilles exude, even when some components clearly indicate cost-saving measures.

Triumph Bajaj Speed 400 and Scrambler 400 X
Triumph Speed 400 looking as special as any other Bonneville

Both motorcycles are built on the same engine and chassis platform, although the chassis and suspension are optimised for each motorcycle’s usage. The engine is a single-cylinder, 398cc, liquid-cooled, 4-valve, DOHC unit, which produces 40 PS at 8,000 RPM and 37.5 NM at 6,500 RPM. These figures are close to Duke 390’s and hence, one of the segment’s best. This engine also has the same bore of 89mm as that of the Duke’s, but having a comparatively larger stroke of 64mm, the Triumph’s engine has the capacity benefit at 398cc. Also, with higher CC and slightly less power, the compression ratio is at 12:1. Now we hope that if the fueling, especially at lower RPMs, is faultless, the Speed 400 and the Scrambler 400 X will be absolutely enjoyable to ride at all engine speeds, and in all gears. Because the fueling is one of the things we really like in the BMW G 310 siblings, and something which needs fixing in the Duke 390.

That said, it is a brand new engine developed by Triumph (with technical inputs from Bajaj, whatever that means…). We would like to believe that Bajaj’s involvement in development is in regards to their knowledge of this segment, and thereby, suggesting Triumph on the best engine capacity to go for. One of the best things about this engine is its 16,000 km service interval. That will be the best in the segment and clearly typical Triumph.

The motorcycles are designed to reflect the Bonneville spirit. From the shape of the fuel tank to the overall silhouette, they’re unmistakably Triumph. Not only that, the Speed 400 and the Scrambler 400 X are the first two motorcycles in the Bonneville family to sport a rear monoshock. The intent is clear; to deliver the most playful riding experience more than any other Bonneville out there. And I think that is understandable and natural. These are the smallest Triumphs, designed to be fun in the urban environment, as they rightly should be. It is only obvious that Triumph would design the chassis to suite the purpose.

At the front, there’s a pair of 43mm upside-down big-piston forks finished in excellent gold, adding a touch of class, if I could say so. At the back, there’s a pre-load adjustable monoshock. And this is where the two motorcycles start to differ: suspension, wheels, and brakes. While the suspension components are the same, the wheel travel is 150mm at both ends on the Scrambler 400 X compared to the Speed 400, which has a wheel travel of 140mm at the front and 130mm at the back.

Triumph Bajaj Speed 400 and Scrambler 400 X
Triumph Scrambler 400 X with longer travel suspension, larger front wheel, fron disc brake, and a split seat setup

Also, both the bikes get 17-inch rear wheels while there’s a 19-inch front wheel on the Scrambler and for the Speed, it remains a 17-inch. The Scrambler also gets a larger 320mm front disc compared to the 300mm front disc on the Speed. Both brakes are powered by a 4-piston radial caliper. The rear brake on both the bikes is the same: 230mm disc with a single-piston caliper.

The Scrambler 400 X also seats the rider higher at 835mm compared to the 790mm seat height on the Speed 400. The Scrambler also has a wider handlebar for an overall more commanding riding stance. There are other differences as well; the Scrambler has a longer wheelbase, gets handguards, and a split seat.

Both motorcycles are technically sophisticated too; there's ride by wire, switchable traction control, and ABS which is switchable only on the Scrambler.

The Speed 400 has been launched at an extremely competitive price of INR 2,33,000 ex-showroom Delhi. That said, while the Speed 400 will be available in showrooms from the second-half of July, the Scrambler 400 X will be available in October and its price will be announced later as well.

The Speed 400 and the Scrambler 400 X promise a lot, especially at this price. Just like the smaller BMW G 310 lineup, both the Triumph 400s reflect the quality and the premiumness their respective companies are known for. We are truly excited to ride these two motorcycles and see how they feel. So far, it seems that Triumph, and Bajaj, couldn’t have started in a better way.


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