Time Machine: 2006 Triumph Scrambler 900. (photo borrowed from www.advrider.com)
I decided to peruse the web a bit for info on desert sleds of yore and see what was out there. If you can't ride something you can always look at pictures and dream.
Popular Science, Nov. 1966
McQueen's winner in the comparison? The Rickman Triumph, of course! Steve reckoned the new 2-stroke engine bikes were coming on strong though: "These two-strokes have a lot going for them, but frankly l'm too attached to four-strokes to be completely won over." Later on he'd race and win his share on a 2-stroke Husqvarna but I suspect it was the old thunder of a Triumph twin that he preferred. In his last years when he went wandering about on the highways it was on an old chopped Indian, not a modern bike.
Back to the the new Scrambler. Modernist naysayers aside, just imagine for a moment if it were still 1966 and this new Triumph comes out. The 1966 bike press and enthusiasts would be going absolutely nuts over a 900cc, 54HP street legal scrambler. They surely would be wondering "Does anyone actually NEED a 900cc off road bike?" "A 54 HP dirt bike just for trail riding??" "Crazy!!" "That's the kind of power race bikes make!!" "It has a DISC BRAKE!!" The all conquering Triumph 900 Scrambler would be front page news in every motorcycle publication in the world and only REAL MEN need apply for this beast!
Fast forward to 2006: Now it's just a new/old nostalgia bike, over weight, under-suspended, and underpowered. "Who's the target market?" someone asked in a message I read today. Hmm...
I'll take a red and white one, please. I'm man enough for the beast and a lot of guys my age who weren't Steve McQueen in 1960-whatever (or could even afford a bike like his then) will want one too. Now, where'd I put my old waxed cotten Belstaff jacket? (size 36)