Triumph Scrambler vs BMW GS1200 - a GT Riders' Bike Test


Mar 5, 2006
Scrambler vs BMW GS

It all began, like so many unintentional & ill-thought out plans do
- in the early hours and in a bar.

Two of the most skilled riders here in Northern Thailand were up for putting these two beasts through their paces for promo shots for the upcoming Bangkok MotorShow.


Mark Rossi [aka Happy Feet] for those who haven't had the pleasure, is an Australian Motocross champ who has his own race team & school.
Along with a Supermotard touring company here in Northern Thailand.


teaching my son some rudimentary skills

David Curtis the quiet spoken Kiwi [aka The Snail] who for those not in the know, is the best bike mechanic and one of the best superbike riders in the country.
Nearly 20 years ago he rode from London to Singapore in only 3 months – “I was kinda in a rush" – on his R100GS.


This need for great distances and speed recently had him popping down to Singapore from Chiang Mai -2645 kms- on his Ducati 998, in less than 24 hours to see his Gal.


In the warm and fuzzy light of day, I wondered what I had let my bikes in for…

The shoot began inauspiciously with attempts at getting some "air"
on a small bridge on a dirt road round the back of the X-Centre.

David looking sheepish -for a Kiwi- having bellied the GS into the dirt
and ripping the sump guard off.

So we went to tarmac road and began again...

Mark was getting the feel of the Scram - a little heavier than his Suzis.

a little higher

David wasn't taking it easy, despite the lack of a bashplate...

Mark & David

We decided to head off-road
Well the boys did, I had to follow in one of Ian's buggies with Ian at the wheel.

negotiating past some of Ian's ATV buggies

with the 16T front sprocket on Mark was finding the Scrambler ever-ready to wheelie.

Oh dear this beginning to look like serious off-terrain road
where even the buggies won't venture...

Mark letting one rip down a jungle trail

followed by a slide

and another...

"This is a hoot - I hope he doesn't expect us to clean & fix them..."

Oh no...

The Fonze decides on his line

slides in

splashes out

He's lovin' it
and get's Triumph Tiger riding Ian's [another Kiwi] help with

improvised reverse gear to go again

more to follow...


Oct 15, 2006
Khuang Nai

Looks like lot of fun, thanx for sharing,, BUT what was the result for the 1st part, if more is to be come..?


Mar 5, 2006

and again

David not to be out done

The light was going but David got one last run through in

before heading back

a bit of a race back - Mark & the Scram were really eating this up

emerging into emerald green paddy

bamboo & banana

back on hard top

first bit of traffic since the buggies

"Hey Rhodie! I've got an idea - follow me."


Mark had been having a blast on the Scrambler & wanted to really try out the bike on terrain he knew best.
Before I realised what he was planning, both he & David had turned off back on to dirt and disappeared into a cloud of dust.

Mark surveying his MotoCross track.

He grounded out on the whoopies, but swung back on to a section with a jump that would give some air...

You may notice in the background David on the GS gingerly negotiating the track.
The Beamer's OE rear shock was shot, awaiting new YSS springs that were being sent out from Europe.

initially he was taking it easy

before pushing a little harder each time.

Again & again he attacked the jump, revving the engine like a 250

The Scrambler was beginning to respond to its beasting

Before finally getting some "real air"

The landing was hard and we decided to call it a day.

But both Mark & David had enjoyed it so much
that we decided to reconvene the next morning
and attempt a few more 'skills' on hardtop.

The Scrams first attempt at getting air that morning
had been off-road coming off a bridge, where David had come a cropper.

Mark felt he could & would do better on the morrow...

to be continued…


Dec 6, 2005
I had seen that last photo as you avatar and thought it was a scene from the great escape...

actually, giving your scrambler to Happy Feet to use as a motorcross bike, and getting it back in one piece may have been the great escape...

I am not sure who is braver, Mark for trying to do that sort of thing on a scrambler, or you for standing by and watching... were you doing that thing where you cover your eyes with your hands and look between the fingers??? I would have been...


Wow! Super-cool pics guys. Only one small critisizm - why do you plan all these fun things when I am cooped up in the shop and cannot come and spectate? ;)

Rhodie - I admire your courage in letting two of Thailand's top thrashers out on both your pride and joys simultaneously!




Mar 5, 2006
The next day and another good breakfast at the X-Centre.
If they opened anywhere near the Kafe they would certainly give them a run for their money!
Anyone else notice the decline in the Kafe?

But back to biking and back to the bridge we were riding yesterday.

Getting Air

Mark, as usual is having a blast and rips down the road off a small bridge.

Again & again the Scram roars down the road the Thunderbike pipes giving a pleasing sound

David gets some speed up

But the shot BMW rear suspension is not giving him the confidence to really go for it


Using the bank of the bridge, Mark has the Scram popping wheelies easily

This is just too much fun...

David pulls the GS up with ease

But the back end is far from firm and the GS squirms

Back Scrambling in the Dirt

Mark wanted to end the day in the dirt he loved.

He had roared up a 5 metre berm or bank landing with a heart-stopping crunchhhh.
Which had me too shocked to photograph - and I wasn't going to ask him to repeat it!

Throwing the bike around a patch of dirt ground

Around any natural obstacle

In Mark;s professional hands the Scrambler appeared as though it was a dirt bike less than half its weight.

Kicking out a Rooster’s Tail

David didn't want to subject the GS to anymore punishment and jumped on the Scram as well.

And he was soon leaving a dust-storm in his wake.

Ian who was looking on was so impressed and in his enthusiasm even considered a Scrambler - albeit for a nano second!

Mark & David had a blast throwing these bikes around.
Both were surprised by the abilities & agility of the Scrambler
so much so that Mark said he would even consider adding one to his stable of beloved DRZs.
Both have promised after action reports which I'll post soon...


Staff member
Jan 16, 2003
Chiang Khong
Ha-ha. Great photos & looks like I missed something.
The Scrambler in Happy Feet's hands certainly looks like a great bike to have, something I'd never considered before.
But it just goes to show you - it's all up to the rider.

A question I get asked many times about which bike is best for North Thailand. Well it's the one you enjoy riding most.
Then you get the other regular question "is the bike good enough." Well yes, the bike is always good enough, it's usually the rider who will let you down & not be good enough for the bike on the terrain he’s riding.
If anyone wants some serious off-road rider training, then drop old Happy Feet a line, or even try one of his super-motard tours. See


Mar 5, 2006
Mark is a really great teacher having seen him with Richard.

You may get more out of it if you already have a rudimentary dirt skills.
Having observed him on his recce rides preparing for his Supermotard Tours, I can heartily recommend them for his professional approach & preparation.

If you are looking for adventure, a challenge, and above all ballsy fun, then you will find no one better to tour the North with.

Ian Bungy

Sep 19, 2006
It was Certainly Fun to See the Bikes Ridden the way they were. I couldn't do that on my Own Bike let alone on someone else's i had Never Ridden Before :shock: Specially considering Both these Bikes are in Show Condition and Booked to Appear the Next Week at the Motorshow!!! So Falling Off wasn't an Option!!! Great Stuff and Yes the Scrambler seemed the easier of the two for playing around and would be a More Fun Bike around this area But you couldn't Go Past the BMW if you want to do some Touring eating up the Miles at Speed in Comfort. Apples for Apples :wink: Fun couple of Days which i was lucky to Share so thanks to the Three of You!


Sep 17, 2006
Utter madness!

I shall consider offroad training once I've got bored (or fallen off) going round in circles at Bira.



Mar 5, 2006
Cheers Dave
V good meeting you recently in the S'vit off-road sois recently.
Head north as soon as you can.

BTW A very big THANK YOU to Ian & Long @ the X Centre who made the shoot possible with support vehicles and great tucker!
Sorry I won't be up in time, but Good Luck with the Great Erection.
Fingers crossed it's not too slippery for you.