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✔ Article reviewed by Ethan Orenstein. Bringing motorcycles back from the dead since 2013. Learn More.

Guide to Scrambler Motorcycles

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A scrambler is another iconic style of motorcycle.

If you find yourself interest in off-road riding and dirtbikes, the scrambler has probably crossed your mind.

Like the cafe racer, the scrambler bike is the result of style dictated by purpose and function.

Keep reading to learn more about scrambler bikes.

What is a Scrambler?

The term scrambler is used to describe an otherwise street bike that’s retro-fitted and repurposed for off-road use.

So, what makes a scrambler a scrambler?

Essentially, if you can make a road bike suited for off-road use, you’ve got yourself a scrambler.

However, there are some common features most scramblers will have. These features have been borrowed by modern scramblers to mostly emulate the aesthetic rather than off-road necessities.

Some common features of the scrambler include:

  • High and compact profile to get through tight spots and handle falling over without breaking things or getting stuck on obstacles.
  • Engine guards.
  • Fork gators.
  • Minimal or smaller dash and lighting components.
  • High, up-swung exhaust pipe.
  • Plastic, motocross fenders.
  • Knobby or off-road tires.
  • Spoked rims.
  • Shorter seats.
  • Extended suspension.
  • Wider, motocross handlebars.

All of the design aspects are meant to get the bike through rough terrain and make sure it can take a beating without breaking.

History of the Scrambler

Scrambler bikes have been around pretty much since the beginnings of motorcycles whenever the rider wanted to take their road bike into the dirt or in rougher terrain.

It’s an older “style” of motorcycle that pre-dated the modern enduros and motocross bikes, which are designed to be much lighter and feature suspension better designed for off-road use.

A scrambler was a term for any road-oriented motorcycle that had been modified for better handling off the pavement.

Modern Scrambler Motorcycles

Like any style that becomes a trend or catches on, the major motorcycle manufacturers typically pick up on it to sell to the masses. The scrambler is no exception.

Modern scramblers borrow some of the styling from original scramblers, but are typically more oriented for on-road use.

Some examples of factory-stock modern scramblers include:

  • BMW Rnine T Scrambler
  • Ducati Scrambler models
  • Moto Guzzi V7 Scrambler
  • Triumph Bonneville Scrambler
  • Yamaha SCR920 Street Scrambler

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Content Editor: Ethan Orenstein

Ethan is not just any motorcycle enthusiast. With a decade of experience riding, maintaining, and restoring a range of motorcycles, Ethan brings a wealth of knowledge to the table. Many of the tips and tricks shared on this site are born from hours spent wrenching on personal bikes. Paired with his experience as a journalist covering DMV & insurance topics, is a must-visit site for any home-mechanic. Every article has been carefully reviewed and edited to ensure accuracy, authenticity, and simplicity - all to help bring your bike back from the dead and onto the road.

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