Voxan Scrambler

Text: Beatrix Keckeis • Photography: Beatrix Keckeis

On the heels of the Roadster and the Café Racer, Voxan, the French motorcycle newcomer, presents the Scrambler - available in Europe this summer, and in the States from 2002 on.

Long long gone are the days of the classic Scramblers. From the roaring twenties up to the wild and woolly sixties these motorcycles, an early variety of dual-purpose bikes, were built from lightweight Triumphs, Nortons and BSAs especially for the American market. Though rare in Europe, they are highly prized and well remembered, with their characteristically raised exhaust pipes off to one side, their "cross-country" tires, and - in some cases - increased ground clearance for off-road tracks. Many enthusiasts recall Steve McQueen riding a Triumph Scrambler in the film "On Any Sunday." But not only did the British include a Scrambler model in their program. One of the most famous was, and still is, the one-cylinder 350cc and 450cc Ducati. Also the Japanese, especially Honda, presented their interpreta­tions of the Scrambler theme. Last, although certainly not least, we have to mention the first modern "classic" in this range: The Yamaha XT 500 appeared in the mid-eighties. Introduced to the market as an enduro-bike, she featured all the components of the classic Scrambler.

French Brew
But enough of the past. A new Scrambler is born! It's a classic but "all-new" configuration designed and produced by Voxan, a very fresh French motorcycle firm. This company has garnered much renown for its first two models, the Roadster and the Café Racer, and up until the year 2000 they ran exclusively in their homeland, France. Now they've found their way to central Europe - Austria, Germany, Switzerland, Italy and the Benelux states. Soon they will be distributed in England. Next year the Voxans, all the current models including the Scrambler, are going to appear in America. We feel fortunate to have procured the first ride on a prototype amid the incredibly beautiful scenery of Corsica.

Engine & Transmission
The V-2 engine is a new, entirely French-made development in which the famous Formula 1 Renault racing-engine specialist Sodemo worked in tandem with Voxan. Performance in the Roadster and the Café Racer is already known. For the Scrambler, the engine has undergone modifications: horsepower has been reduced from 100 to 86, adaptations rendered to the electronic injection and the camshafts too, as well as the transmission ratio for better responsiveness (a necessity for light off-road passages; hard crossing isn't the terrain for her, not with a ground clearance of 170 mm/6.97 in.!). The Scrambler responds very promptly to any movement of the throttle from low-range revs at 2000 rpm to its peak, at 7500 rpm. The claimed horsepower of 86 is felt in every movement. But no one has much to show off about only with horsepower, unless it's paired with the right quota of torque. In summary: You're always over the limits on public roads if you don't handle the Scrambler's throttle with care and an eye on the tachometer.

Chassis & Brakes
Characteristic of all Voxan models is the frame with two big steel tubes at the top, combined with a cast-alloy steering head and swingarm-pivot section (bolt together). It's an efficient and very versatile construction, partially bearing the engine. Voxan designed a new, comfortable seat to carry the Scrambler driver and passenger. Large, high handlebars make her fit for long rides on curving, twisting roads. Steering is fine and easy, just like dancing. On tricky sinuous roads, you high-powered super-sport bikers will have to work hard to keep up.

"Ready and steady" is the phrase that best describes the brakes. They don't show any tendencies to fade. The only thing to be aware of when braking hard is the comfortable setting of suspensions, which forces the fork to dive in deeply at times. For the rest, the chassis, responding clearly and assuredly, is a reliable companion on any ground.

Accessories & Adjustments
The design of the Voxan is very unique; nonetheless, the typical features of the classic Scramblers are incorporated: raised exhaust pipes and a species of off-road tires. Quality and finish of our prototypical Scrambler is nearly as refined as the Café Racer. The exhaust pipes, made of brushed stainless steel covered with alloy heat shields, are - to wax poetic for a moment - examples of "surpassing beauty" and that goes for the tank as well. A lightweight bike well suited for long and short trips, the Voxan Scrambler also shows off to great effect in front of coffee shops and pubs. The seating position allows the tall and the vertically challenged to get comfortable and familiar with the bike very quickly; it also guarantees a snazzy appearance anywhere. Its elevated seat height is no problem for 5'5' riders due to its well balanced mass and low center of gravity. Passengers won't grouse about a too exposed seating position or aching hips and knees, thanks to the unfolded and upright seating position. Concerning the suspension unit, some adjustments are possible, but not in the wide range you usually find on super sport bikes. Then again, the Scrambler is not made for racetracks.

Test Summary
After testing the Scrambler on various roads - broad and narrow, asphalt and gravel, straight and twisty, dry and wet, some with excellent grip, others slippery - she really proves to be (almost) a dual-purpose bike. And she sounds wonderful, emitting a burble similar to the Ducatis. The relaxed handling in any traffic and weather conditions makes her a good companion for everyday short-distance roams, and long-range traveling as well. In those regards, a wide range of equipment, including windshields and luggage racks, increases her virtues. But wherever future Scrambler owners drive her, they'll know they own an exclusive bike loaded with character and individual style. The only real choice to make is color. Do you want the black or the orange one?

TECHNICAL SPECS: Voxan Scrambler

Retail price N/A in U.S. yet (DM 19,990 in Germany/$ 8,690)
Warranty Two years, unlimited miles (in Germany)
Maintentance schedule 1,000/10,000/every 10,000 km (in Germany)
Importer/distributor In negotiation

ENGINE
Type 2-cylinder V, 4-stroke
Cooling Water-cooled
Valve arrangement 4 valves per cyl., dohc, cams chain driven, shim under bucket adjustment
Bore & Stroke 98 x 66 mm
Displacement 996 cc
Compression ratio 10.5:1
Carburetion Electronic fuel injection

TRANSMISSION
Gearbox 6-speed
Clutch Multi-plate wet clutch, hydraulically operated
Final drive Chain drive

CHASSIS
Frame Frame w/steel tubes and cast-alloy steering head/swingarm pivot (bolt together)
Wheelbase 1,490 mm (58.7 in.)
Rake 64.5 degree
Trail 102 mm (4.0 in.)
Front suspension Inverted
Cartridge fork
Stanchion diameter 43 mm
Adjustments -
Travel 155 mm
Rear suspension Alloy swingarm w/single shock
Adjustments Spring preload, rebound damping
Travel 160 mm

WHEELS & TIRES
Type Spoke wheels w/aluminum rims
Front 2.50 x 19
Rear 4.25 x 17
Front Tire 100/90-19
Rear Tire 150/70-17

BRAKES
Front brake 2 discs, floating double-piston calipers
Diameter 296 mm (11.7 in.)
Rear brake 1 disc, floating double-piston caliper
Diameter 245 mm (9.6 in.)
Combining -

WEIGHT & FUEL CAPACITY
Dry-Weight 190 kg (422 lb.)
Fuel capacity 14.5 l (3.8 gal.)

PERFORMANCE
(European measurements)
Claimed Horsepower (crank) 86 hp at 7,500 rpm
Torque 11.1 mkp (82 ftlbs.) at 6,500 rpm
Top speed not declared, about 195 km/h (122 mph)
Acceleration N/A
Fuel consumption 5.5 l/100 km (43.2 mpg)
Fuel range 264 km (165 miles)

EQUIPMENT
Dashboard w/speedometer, tacho­meter, odometer, trip-odometer, digital display for clock, oil temperature etc., indicator light for fuel reserve, key switch in the center of the dashboard, adjust­able hand levers for clutch and front brake, helmet lock, engine cover, side stand.

RoadRUNNER Test Diagram
Engine 4/5
Chassis 4/5
Brakes 4/5
Comfort 4/5
Luggage w/accessories 4/5
Equipment 4/5
Design 5/5
Bike for the buck 4/5