AJS Tempest Scrambler
24th January 2018
125cc | OHC | Kick starter | Electric starter
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Remember how it was when you first got into biking and saw your dream machine dazzling like a jewel in a local shop window? Or maybe it was leaping from the pages of a magazine. Or parked on a street corner, the only thing in the world that was still in focus. Either way, chances are the bike you'd first set your heart on wasn't a heavyweight roadster or a blustering touring machine. At least, bikes such as that were probably your secret underlying choice; safely out of reach, a promise to the distant future. But your immediate goal was quite likely something more realistic and affordable. A BSA C15 maybe. Or an RD250 Yamaha. Or a Honda CB400/4. Or something similar from whatever decade lit your fuse.
Well the above AJS Tempest Scrambler is likely to light a fuse or two for the current generation of young/entry-level bikers looking for that first dream machine, and it's easy to see why.
A decade ago—or even half a decade—most of us in the West didn't have much time for Chinese built bikes. Yes, we could see the appeal in certain market sectors, notably those who desperately needed ultra cheap commuting transport and a compelling finance package and some essential riding gear thrown in. But the fact is, 10 years back the quality and style just wasn't there. Such bikes were largely regardless as ... well, disposable. Early stage junk. Trash on wheels.
And we said it ourselves once or thrice.
Well those days are mostly gone, and Chinese-built bikes have come a long way in a few handfuls of years. Take this new Tempest Scrambler, 2018 model. It's built upon the established AJS Cadwell platform; a bike we reported on back in June 2016. Consequently, you're looking at the same OHC, air-cooled, single cylinder 125cc engine and 5-speed gearbox. Same tubular steel frame. Same electric and kick starting. Same 37mm front fork. Same single (combined) disc brakes front and rear.
But whilst the rear hoop is still a 17-incher, the front wheel is slightly larger at 18-inches. The rims, take note, are aluminium alloy, and naturally you get plenty of knobbly rubber plus number boards front and centre to keep you in a competitive mood out on the streets—or even in the dirt if you don't get too carried away. And the swinging-arm, we understand, is slightly longer, no doubt to give the motorcycle a little more stability in those more challenging situations.
A centre stand and side stand is standard. The exhaust is stainless steel. The all-up weight is said to be 124kg (272lbs). Colours are Blazing Orange, Mojave Yellow or Oasis Blue.
You probably won't be too surprised to hear that these motorcycles are largely aimed at 17 year old learners, which means they're CBT or A1 driving licence friendly. But we can't think of any reason why older, more experienced riders couldn't get some useful mileage out of these. As ever, transport is transport, and these lightweight four-strokes look pretty good, offer very acceptable mpg (upwards of 70 - 80 per gallon) whilst returning a smooth ride thanks to the engine balance shaft.
So okay, you're not likely to flatten your eyeballs on this fuel-injected bike. Maximum power is 7.4kW (10bhp) @ 9,000rpm. So around 60mph is probably the limit. But you can tour the world at speeds considerably lower than that, and there's a lot of fun to be had between zero and the national speed limit. Tip: the speedometer is marked in mph and kph, so concentrate on the latter and it will all seem so much faster. And while we remember, don't misunderstand its size. It might look vaguely like an enlarged monkey bike. But this is a full size motorcycle (albeit a lightweight model) with a wheelbase of 1,370mm (54-inches), and a 780mm (30.7-inches) seat height.
Overall, we like the way this brand is headed. AJS is evidently very sensitive to market needs and desires, and its fielding some convincing products at equally convincing prices. And importantly, the firm responds quickly to messages. It's ambitious, hungry, and it's persistent. And if it matters to you, AJS is helping keep a classic old British motorcycle brand in the forefront of our minds, if not the back.
£2,249 including VAT should get you rolling. We've got no word yet on extras or accessories. But then, this bike looks pretty well equipped straight from the box. In fact, for someone, somewhere, this is the stuff that dreams are made of. And long may that last.
Tel: +44 (0) 1264 365 103
Fax: +44 (0) 1264 729 356
Web site: www.ajsmotorcycles.co.uk
Web shop: www.ajs-shop.co.uk
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