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W400 or W650 Scrambler with actual offroad ability?

Discussion in 'Bike Reviews, Questions and Suggestions' started by LineNoise, Sep 1, 2010.

  1. Bit of a random one here.

    How realistic would it be to throw some mild knobblies and suspension upgrades, a set of pipes and some bars at a W400 or W650 and come out the other side with a bike actually capable of light offroad touring?

    I realise it wouldn't be ideal but I was talking about the Bonnie Scrambler today and threw a leg over a W400 at lunchtime and the two have merged into a probably quite bad idea.

    Mind you considering the other things I'm considering buying at the moment this is probably at the more intelligent end of the scale :p
  2. If you only mean dirt roads it would be fine stock. Tyres would be good but you might want to check for what compounds you can get in the sizes it takes.

    Plenty of people doing plenty of dirt on the triumph scrambler on the advrider forums so I would say it can be done.
  3. It wouldn't be up to the abilities of a modern off-road bike or dual sport. However, up until the mid/late 1970s, the Brits, at least, were churning out bikes in exactly that mould that, with a bit of effort on the part of the rider could cope OK with moderate off-road use. Go back to the early 60s and that was, basically all there was. Most manufacturers offered dirt versions of their bikes which were, basically, the standard road offering with knobbly tyres, wide bars, a high level pipe and maybe a smaller tank. More serious offroaders might be able to opt for an all alloy engine to save a bit of weight and get better cooling when plonking through mud.

    My father, when he was in the Royal Signals back in the 60s, organised a big Army vs Police competitive trial. The coppers were on basically standard Triumph Speed Twins with the fairings, radio gear and panniers removed. As for the squaddies, Dad literally scoured the world for the army's remaining stock of Matchless G3s, shipping bikes from as far afield as Hong Kong and Malaya to put together a competitive team.

    Have a look at photos of some of the big European trials of the 50s and 60s and I guarantee you will be impressed at what such a bike can be made to do.

    Whether it's the best way to do it is another matter :D.

    I'd say go for it.
  4. Oh it certainly wouldn't be the best way but it'd look pretty while you did it.

    I'm not expecting it to go dune hopping, just dealing with lots of gravel/dirt/mud/clay roads really while remaining reasonably comfortable at speed on the black bits in the middle.
  5. Pretty? Big leather and canvas panniers, caked in mud and with stonechips... it'd look f*****g amazing.

    If you're just hoping to do mud/clay/gravel roads I think a set of dual purpose tyres and you'd be fine. MattB does unsealed roads all the time on his SR500 with no mods other than that and he seems to get along just fine.
  6. Gah! This may have been a bad path to go down. I guess at least it's a whisker more practical than buying the '66 CB450 I've been looking at.

    Been doing some reading over at ADVrider and this looks like a goer. I'd like to do a little more than just tyres though as I've a wee trip north (of the equator) in planning and I think done right this would do it in style.
  7. ...and mattb will jump on any excuse to trot out a pic of his SR doing it! I just do "light" stuff - I like to avoid thick gravel and wet clay - and the bike is easily up to it. So yeah, you'd be fine if you're just talking light stuff. And wot Patb said. Check out the vintage pics on ADVrider - guys in the 50s riding Harleys and Enfields in the mud and snow and loving it (remember that, back then, most roads were dirt, and people still needed to get home on time astride their weighty Sunbeam).

  8. Well just got a chance to pootle around the block on a W650, stock aside from a set of bar end mirrors, a nice little aero screen and a set of Deus pipes. What an absolute cherry. I nearly didn't come back.

    I'd ridden the 400 before but not its big brother and while I had no issues with it I prefered the SR (the alternative I was looking at then). Not so with the 650. I am officially on the prowl for a new...well...another bike. 8-[
  9. There's supposed to be a W800 on the way now too.
  10. Hmmm. Hope they don't change the dimensions. A 650 of that size and weight is proportionately perfect.
  11. But it didn't really sell, despite being well put together. If an 800 badge helps, along with adding some go, then all the better, I guess.
  12. Some more on it


    If they ditch the knee pads and it is similar in weight and stature to the w650 and the price it right then I might be interested.

    I think I would ditch the pee shooters too. One of the things I didn't like about the w650 it that it was too much of a Triumph copy.
  13. I test rode a W650 when they first came out. It wasn't a bad bike, but I found it disappointingly gutless and bland. That was having ridden a few examples of the real thing not so very long before though.

    I agree that the styling is gorgeous, though, and I like the engine design, with its shaft-drive cam. Exactly what the Brits should have done with their parallel twins.

    The fact that prices for good ones seem to hover not far below what new ones used to cost suggests that the fanbase, although small, is very enthusiastic.
  14. Going to go and have a look at a few tomorrow out at International Motorcycle Importers.

    Anyone dealt with them before? They seem to have something of an Eau de Sumoto about them by the website but that may be unfair. Edit: And it is, very unfair.
  15. Have you look at Bonneville prices?
  16. Can't ride a Bonnie. On L's until the 18th (fingers crossed) and then restrictions.
  17. Ahh. Makes more sense.
  18. Yeah. Seems a bit silly really, the Bonnie Scrambler isn't exactly an intimidating machine even at 900cc but thems the rules.

    That said, I like the idea of making it mine and something at least a little different. Not really sure I'd buy the Triumph over the Kawasaki if restrictions weren't a factor.
  19. Im test riding a scambler tomorrow. Looking for something different to my fireblade.
  20. Let me know what you think Bushido. I've done a lap of a carpark on one but owning to my license, or lack there of, gone no further.

    Was pretty nice for those 200 meters or so though. :p