WHAT A SCREAM
Scrrrrsh! Footrest-to-tarmac contact makes me jump; it’s only the first corner, and the SCR950’S tyres aren’t even warm. But the Yamaha is already grinding, and betraying its cruiser origins.
The SCR950 comes at the street scrambler scene from a different place compared to Ducati, Triumph and BMW scramblers. They don’t use a cruiser-based chassis and engine; the SCR does. It’s an identical steel tube frame, 41mm forks, short-travel twin rear shocks, single front disc and 942cc, 51bhp air-cooled 60° V-twin as the XV950 bobber, XV950R and XV950 Racer series.
To get scrambler looks, a new rear subframe lifts the SCR’S flat seat to 830mm over the XV’S low 690mm, and new bars and pegs straighten up the SCR’S riding position into a comfy, natural, uncomplicated stance. Wire spokes on ally rims, Bridgestone Trail Wing tyres, a slim 13-litre fuel tank, steel mudguards and number boards on the side panels complete the scrambler image.
But after thumping, clonking and scraping the SCR950 along twisty roads and loose gravel trails, two things are clear: the SCR950 is a basic machine but it’s far from dull.
It’s rare these days for an engine to overwhelm its chassis, let alone one with only 51bhp and with more peak torque (59lbft) than horsepower. But the SCR’S motor is funky, fun, unintimidating and civilised, tramping on smoothly and cleanly from low revs (although there’s no tacho), and laying down a steady stream of acceleration through its belt final drive from first to fifth. This is a perky, thrashable, good-natured motor.
But it pushes the SCR’S chassis to the limit. The single front disc doesn’t have modern bite or power, inducing wide-eyed panic, but the rear is fierce. ABS saves the SCR – it’s unrefined, but prevents disaster when the suspension gives up under braking.
Equipment is sparse – a single dial with digital speed, no tacho, a couple of trip metres and a clock. Build quality is mixed – the fuel tank is seam-free, without an unsightly join on its lower edge, but clutch and brake levers are cheap. But Yamaha have lots of accessories to customise the SCR – an ally bash plate tidies the front of the bike and, if you’re thinking of scrambling, is worth it for protection. The optional off-road serrated footrests are good too – and kinder to shins.
‘This is a perky, thrashable, goodnatured motor and it’s comfy’
It’s a bit too easy to scrape the SCR
The SCR is a neat-looking machine
Minimalist. Maybe a bit too minimalist
Simple stylish works well on the SCR