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What Bike Next? Episode 11

BikeSocial Road Tester. As one half of Front End Chatter, Britain’s longest-running biking podcast, Simon H admits in same way some people have a face for radio, he has a voice for writing.




Hello everyone and welcome to What Bike Next?, the YouTube series in which BikeSocial’s used bike geeks Michael Mann and Simon Hargreaves try to find the perfect next used bike for a BikeSocial Member... and this week it’s BikeSocial Member Phil Harris, looking to upgrade from his Triumph Scrambler 900.

Simon and Michael, along with a Superbike Factory expert Jacob Dyke, will be choosing three surprise bikes from Superbike Factory’s used bike showrooms – bikes we each think will tick all Phil’s What Bike Next boxes. Then, Phil will have the chance to test-ride all three on the What Bike Next Test Route.

Then, after all the riding is done, we find out how close Michael and Simon got to identifying Phil’s perfect next bike – and remember, next time we could be finding a bike for you too!

If you’re savvy enough to be a BikeSocial Member, why not come on the show by emailing with your riding and bike history, what you’re currently riding, and an idea of what bike you fancy next – and you could be chosen for a day test-riding three surprise bikes with Simon and Michael on a future episode of What Bike Next? It’s a cracking day out with free food and bike riding, so get involved.

And, meanwhile, enjoy the show!

What Bike Next? (Ep 11)

BikeSocial Member Phil is looking to move on from his Triumph Scrambler 900.


This week, BikeSocial Member Phil Harris has written in asking for help choosing his What Bike Next? Phil is a 63-year-old council employee from Sheffield.

“My current bike is a 2019 Triumph Scrambler 900,” he says. “And it does most things I require from a bike. My biking background is riding in schoolboy trials, then moving onto road bikes when I was at university.

“I’m looking for a bike that’s as comfortable as the 900 with similar ergonomics, and I’m hoping the lads at What Bike Next can find me a bike as comfortable as the Triumph but has got a bit more zing to it.”


Phil adds a bit more detail to his biking needs: “I’m right in the Peak District,” he says. “In my youth I was messing around on bikes, getting into trouble, and got pushed towards organised trials riding – did for years and loved it.”

So what with Phil’s current Scrambler 900, we’re definitely getting an off-road flavour here for his next bike. “Prior to the Triumph I had a Moto Guzzi, a BMW F700 GS, an 1150 GS,” says Phil.

So what exactly is his problem – why’s he need a new bike?

“The problem is over the years I’ve picked up a bit of arthritis in my knee – ankles and hips are also heading that way. But I can’t get much more than a 90° bend in my right knee. So certain bikes I’ll get on, even just sat in the showroom, and go ‘Ouch!’. They’re uncomfortable. So I need a bike that’s comfy.

“Being tall [Phil is 6ft 1in], seat-to-footrest riding positions are not always ideal for me. So I need a bike with the right seating position.”

So that’s requirement number one. What else?

“The ideally it needs to be fun – so you can be pulling up behind a car a 70mph, see a gap there, and go ‘Bang!’ So it’s got to be at least 650cc. I find my Scrambler 900 is slow on acceleration when overtaking on fast roads. Basically, you’re riding it on the stop. ”

So throttle response and a bit of punch are important.

“To be honest, that’s about it really. Most of my riding is on sunny days around the Peak District, out to the coast – my bike is a stress relief.”

Is there anything you definitely don’t want?

“Don’t want a cruiser; I’ve had them in the past and they’ve scared me – no ground clearance and I don’t like scraping things!”

Any brands or engine configurations you want to avoid?

“No, I’m open to anything! I’ve had twins, singles, triples.”

And what sort of budget has Phil got?

“I’m looking to sell the Scrambler 900 [which is worth around £6000] and have around £4000 to spend on top.”

Right, that’s a comprehensive brief from Phil: £10,000 or so to spend on a roomier, punchier bike that isn’t a cruiser, for Sunday fun. Michael and Simon had better get their shopping heads on...


Simon’s choice: Triumph Scrambler 1200 XE

Triumph Scrambler 1200 XE spec:
Year: 2021
Mileage: 800
Extras: none!
Price: £9991 (£8 under budget)


Simon says:

“So what have I given Phil to play with? The 1200 was launched in 2019 as what you might possibly describe as the world’s first Adventure Scrambler. We’d had Scramblers from other manufacturers – Ducati, BMW, and of course Phil’s own Triumph Scrambler 900 – but the 1200 grew in all dimensions to get closer to the big-bike appeal of full-sized adventure bikes.

The 1200 came in two versions, which sound the same if you say it quickly – nice one Triumph! There was the XC, on standard suspension, and the up-spec XE we have here, on long travel Showa forks and Öhlins shock. The extra suspension travel won’t make a difference to actual leg-room (just the distance from the seat to the ground) – so we could just as easily have given Phil an XC model to test. But I’ve a feeling it might suit Phil’s 6ft 1in frame a bit better.

Both models use an 89bhp water-cooled 270° crank parallel twin – and should give Phil the extra punch he’s looking for – it’s plenty more than the 64bhp he’s got in his Scrambler 900. But, apart from that, Phil seems pretty in deep with the whole off-road, scrambler-style vibe, so the 1200 ticks that box. And the XE is well-spec’d with cruise control, five rider modes, a TFT dash, heated grips, cornering ABS, traction control and keyless ignition.

This particular bike is only 800 miles old, and is up for £9991, which is just inside Phil’s 10 grand-ish budget. I just hope it’s not a bit TOO familiar for him....”

Michael’s choice: Ducati Multistrada 1200 S


Ducati Multistrada 1200 S spec:
Year: 2019
Mileage: 14,868
Extras: full luggage, Givi lockable tank bag, sat nav mount
Price: £9890 (£110 under budget)

Michael says:

“I do love a Multistrada – and, as part of its manufacturer original equipment, it comes with topbox and panniers (which I’ve removed for Phil’s test ride). This is a 2019 model, the last one before the Italian firm increased capacity to 1260cc – but, this is still a gem of a V-twin making 160bhp with a sub-£10-grand price tag – it should be the answer to everything Phil has asked for. There’s plenty of room, it’s comfy over longer journeys, equipped with a luxurious amount of tech and leaves you wondering just how much machine you buy for under ten grand! The variable valve timing essentially gives the bike two engines in one: smooth and quiet at low revs and ultra-manageable at low speeds, yet it blurs the horizon with a booming Ducati feel when you pin it. Phil much be seduced by the taste of this particular saucy red Bolognese dish!”

Mystery bike: BMW R1250 R

As chosen by Superbike Factory’s Jacob Dyke

BMW R1250 R spec:
Year: 2022
Mileage: 3242
Extras: backrest, bag racks
Price: £10,990 (£990 over budget)

Michael says:

“Well, I’m rather jealous of the Mystery Bike choice here – I like the BMW as an option for Phil. I think Jacob’s made a great call with this one. It’s virtually brand new, the R1250 R comes with the same Boxer engine as the sale chart-conquering R1250 GS, with its Shiftcam technology. So below 5000rpm it’s obedient and relatively mild – but roll the throttle back and the roadster offers near-sportsbike performance that defies its flat twin character. And while this 2022 bike might well quench Phil’s thirst for more punch and throttle response, its scale-tipping 239kg might put some riders off – but it’s only 6kg more than Phil’s current bike. But does it have the comfort and leg-room for Phil’s troublesome knee issues, and is it likely to offer the thrills for those Peak District hills? Phil, it’s over to you!”


Phil’s requirements – more legroom and space than his current Scrambler 900, more punch from the motor, but possibly with a similar off-road/retro vibe – means there’s plenty of choice for his £10k budget. Simon goes for the most obvious route – if Phil’s happy with his Scrambler 900, why not just increase the ride height and engine size and performance with a Scrambler 1200? It does exactly what Phil wants! Or is Phil also looking for a justification to try something a bit different?

Michael’s Multistrada 1200 S is certainly different – it’s a step up in performance and size over Phil’s Scrambler 900, with 160bhp and tall-rounder seat height. It’s fully-kitted with factory luggage and in good condition – perfect for Phil having the option to blat about the Peak District on a Sunday, or venture further afield if the mood takes him. And when it comes to having more go for overtaking the inevitable train of caravans and motorhomes in the Peaks on a Sunday, the Multi will have all the stomp Phil could wish for.

Jacob’s choice of the BMW R1250 R is a great call – the bike is nearly new, and is one of the great overlooked BM’s of recent years; the 1250 motor is a proper banger, with more than enough grunt to pedal past traffic at an indecent rate. And it’s well-spec’d too, with BM’s latest suite of electronics and luxury. The rider’s not as exposed as other naked bikes because the 1250 R sits you low in the seat, behind the tank – and that’s where there might be a potential problem for Phil because getting on it won’t be a problem, but distance between seat and pegs might; the 1250 R is a bit compact down below.

So what will be Phil’s What Bike Next? Watch the whole show to find out!

If you’re a Bike Social Member and you want us to choose your What Bike Next?, please get in touch with your contact details at