In case you haven’t caught on, the hipster/classic bike movement is in full effect, and Yamaha’s Sport Heritage lineup might be the answer to those who want to be a part of the craze but still desire what today’s technologies have to offer. The SCR950 is Yamaha’s newest addition to the lineup and is nothing short of what it’s designed to be: an affordable, fun-to-ride urban commuter and occasional back-road explorer with vintage scrambler styling.
The 942cc V-twin engine with ceramic-composite plated cylinders, low-friction rocker arms, and twin-bore fuel injection is pulled directly from Yamaha’s Bolt C-Spec cruiser, as are the main chassis components like the bike’s suspension and double-cradle steel frame. But where the SCR holds true to its scrambler persona is in its styling cues: steel fenders, side number plates, and off-road handlebar and seat as well as classic Yamaha liveries. Spoked aluminum wheels, a new steel subframe, and an upswept exhaust also help the SCR transition from cruiser to scrambler.
This might not sound like the type of motorcycle you usually read about in Sport Rider, and quite honestly it’s not. It doesn’t have the gizmos and gadgets you’ve been reading about lately, nor does it have sheer literbike horsepower. But is that really a bad thing? Not at all!
Letting the SCR’s V-twin mellow powerplant loose in the mountains surrounding San Diego was the best part of riding the new scrambler. It might not be what we call a superbike engine, but make no mistake: The SCR has no problem getting you where you need to go in a hurry. And if cruising is your thing, there’s no issue sitting back and enjoying the open road.
The chassis was also a highlight of the ride, especially when the roads got twisty. The balance of the ride was quite a surprise, specifically regarding stability during transitions and at maximum lean. Overall ride quality, however, suffered because of the suspension fitted to the motorcycle—a 4.7-inch-travel, 41mm nonadjustable fork up front, and a 2.8-inch-travel shock with adjustable preload out back—just didn’t do the trick for large-bump compliance.
The SCR is outfitted with a single twin-piston caliper that clamps a 298mm wave rotor for most of its stopping needs. For what the motorcycle is designed for, the braking system is more than adequate, but slightly more power and feel through the lever wouldn’t hurt.
In true scrambler fashion, the SCR saw the Southern California dirt and loved every second of it. The mellow power delivery was ideal for fire roads, and even as we just criticized the brake’s stopping power, it shined on the dirt, as it wasn’t overly aggressive. The suspension still suffered and made line choice important to keep from bottoming out over ruts or bumps. Additional rear travel would be more than welcome as a cure for this issue.
When it was all said and done, the Yamaha SCR950 is impressive because of its simplicity and fun factor. Sure, there are small grumblings about a few of the bike’s components, but for $8,699, we couldn’t imagine having more fun on a bike of this class.
|2017 Yamaha SCR950|
|Type||Air-cooled SOHC V-twin|
|Bore x stroke||85.0 x 83.0mm|
|Front tire||100/90-19 Bridgestone Trail Wing 152|
|Rear tire||140/80R-17 Bridgestone Trail Wing 152|
|Rake/trail||28.4º/5.1 in. (130mm)|
|Wheelbase||62.0 in. (1575mm)|
|Seat height||32.7 in. (831mm)|
|Fuel capacity||3.2 gal. (12L)|
|Claimed wet weight||547 lb. (248kg)|