Vespa is a gateway drug…

…to harder motorcycles.

The occasional motorcycle still catches my eye, like the Triumph Scrambler I happened upon last night.

Triumph Scrambler

I’d seen that bike before and not thought much of it, because at the time I was looking for something more like the Norton Atlas in this post. But in the outdoorsy context of “Scooter in the Sticks” the thought of a bike capable of a little off-road action with that classic old-school charm is very attractive.

I looked back over Triumph’s website, having been there once before to check out the Bonneville, and discovered the Thruxton, a thoroughly modern remake of the cafe racer.

Triumph Thruxton

All these bikes have pretty meaty engines, 865cc compared to my Vespa’s 150, which would be a lot of fun on the 8 mile trip between here and Sausalito.

But I know that sometime between now and September, FM is supposed to be moving into the city, and the Vespa is going to be even more practical, if not a little overkill for the much shorter commute. This should be good for my health—slower traffic and the option to walk or bike.

But man, looking over all these bikes, I still can’t shake the idea that the Black Bonneville is totally hot:

Triumph Black Bonneville


I have had my eye on the Scrambler for a couple years now. I’m not sure how utilitarian it is for a daily transport vehicle but it sure is pretty!

What’s funny is that looking at all three of Triumph’s “modern classics” together, I can see that they’re all basically the same motorcycle (same frame and engine) with slightly different components (handlebars, tires, brakes, exhaust, etc). The Scrambler probably makes more sense for you out in the “sticks” than me in San Francisco—but makes me yearn for some sticks of my own.


You really are attracted to iron of dubious durability, no?

Ron, umm? I don’t follow… Is that a comment about Triumph’s build quality, or motorcycles in general?


I worked in the service dept. at Ducati/Triumph NY for a year and a half, and I can tell you that the bonnie/thruxton/scramblers are quite reliable overall. We’ve had some minor oil leaks from valve cover gaskets (easy repair, covered under warranty) and that’s about it.

My 2002 Triumph Sprint ST (a much more complicated bike overall) has 36,000 miles on it now and has been as reliable or more reliable than any of the Hondas I’ve owned.

Ed, thanks for the note, good to know if/when I ever upgrade from my Vespa LX150.

Richard W

I couldn’t have written a better headline. I bought a LX150 for around town (my first “motor”cycle). Just over a year later I’m riding a Bonneville SE. I chose the Vespa for the reliability, the look, and the longevity of value. The Triumphs meet that combo and add increased adrenaline.


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