What is a Scrambler Motorcycle?



Scrambler motorbikes are currently very popular in the custom bike scene. Recently, more companies are releasing new models to keep up with the demand.

But how did this style come about and why is the scrambler different from other bikes? 

This article will discuss everything that you need to know about scrambler bikes, from their history all the way to some of the modern scrambler bikes on the market today. 

What is a Scrambler?

Off road motorcycling

Scramblers are motorcycles that are modified to do off- and on-road riding. Due to their rugged frame, they can tackle challenging terrain with ease.

These bikes stand out because their back wheels are smaller than their front wheels. They also have a higher riding height than the average bike, are lightweight compared to most off-roaders, and have a more simplistic style to maximize off-road performance.

History of the Scrambler

The Scrambler is a motorcycle that was first introduced as a prototype in 1962. In the 1960s, it was considered a cheap alternative to the expensive sport of trail riding. However, the word “scrambler” was originally used in the 1920s to describe bikes with offroading potential. But the term only gained popularity in the 50s and 60s when it was also used to describe street bikes.

In 1968, The Scrambler became a hit among those who wanted to emulate the cafe racer’s design and preferred a stripped-down version of a traditional motorcycle. The knobby tires were also added to help riders navigate tough terrain.

Thanks to its popularity in Europe and America, it wasn’t long before the scrambler turned into a classic.

What Makes a Scrambler Different

Scrambler bikes are not known for their aesthetics or abundance of features. Instead, they eliminate all that to provide more speed and agility.

It even offers a much higher riding height compared to other bikes. Similarly, the exhaust pipes are elevated to allow easy clearance from obstacles. The shocks are also designed to withstand harsh rocky conditions and absorb any bumps. 

All other features of the scrambler bikes are noticeably smaller than regular motorcycles. Lighter tanks, lamps, and seats make these bikes more appealing and practical while also cutting back on weight & fuel consumption.

Essential Ingredients

Scrambler on a beach

These motorcycles are known for their vintage style, stripped-down design, and functional features. Although modern manufacturing techniques allow for a wide variety of customization and style options, here are all the essential components that make up a scrambler bike:

  • Dual rear shocks
  • A single cylinder air-cooled engine 
  • A smaller fuel tank and headlight
  • Small padded seat
  • Spoked wheels with knobby tires
  • Small gauges
  • Taller exhaust pipe 

Scrambler Models Today

The scrambler motorcycle scene has exploded in popularity as new manufacturers enter the market. Here are some of our favorite models: 

Herald Scrambler 125

herald scrambler 125
  • 125cc engine
  • Wire spoked wheels
  • Twin shocks in the rear suspension
  • 5-speed gearbox

The 2018 Scrambler from Herald is made in China but sold internationally. It weighs 275 lbs, has a low-in-mounted exhaust, LED lighting, and two clocks.

It is great value for money in terms of performance and affordability. The Herald Scrambler 125 is also very well built and finished, embodying the classic scrambler look.

Performance-wise, this bike is suitable for most situations.

Check it out on Herald

Ducati Desert Sled Scrambler

Ducati Desert Sled
  • 803cc air-cooled twin-cylinder engine
  • 73hp at 8250 RPM
  • 46mm Fork front suspension
  • Hydraulic clutch control

Ducati first introduced their scrambler as a motorcycle with a 125-450 cc single-engine, and the company produced them from 1962 through 1974. Over time, Ducati wanted to reach a younger demographic by reviving the Scrambler name for their new lineup of modern retro bikes. Nowadays, Ducati offers an array of different models in the Scrambler lineup. 

But the model that holds true to the concept of the “scrambler” is the Ducati Scrambler Desert Sled. This bike is among the few contemporary scrambler models capable of actually going off-road. With its extra suspension travel, spoked wheels with knobby tires, and skid plate, it can handle almost anything and still be easy to maneuver, even in the dirt.

Check it out on Ducati

Triumph Scrambler 1200 XE

Triumph Scrambler
  • 1200cc liquid cooled 8 valve engine
  • 89hp at 7400 RPM
  • 6-speed gear box
  • Sequential electronic fuel injection

Over 10 years ago, Triumph started a popular trend in motorcycles. They released their first scrambler bike, which was durable, aggressive-looking, and highly efficient.

Fast forward to today, and their scramblers are still in demand. The latest additions to the lineup are the 1200 XC and XE. Both models have the essence and visual aesthetics of the McQueen era. 

With quality suspension and an extended wheelbase, this scrambler can handle both on-road and off-road with ease. 

Check it out on Triumph