It’s a cruiser that can ride off-road? Yes, we know that’s not the usual way of going about making a scrambler style motorcycle, but bear with us. The new Yamaha SCR950 works. It’s the kind of bike that brings a smile to your face on a sunny day, and should you require a quick blast up a trail on your Sunday morning cruise, it can do that too.
Using the Yamaha XVS950 as a starting point, with its 54.3bhp V-twin motor, the bike then gets a new set of motocross style handlebars, 10mm taller rear shocks with piggyback reservoirs, a smaller seat, LED rear lights, off-road style footrests in a slightly moved back position to the standard XVS950, and a beautifully crafted steel fuel tank.
Okay, so the main market for this bike isn’t going to be in the UK, it will be a decent seller in America where cruiser scramblers and hooligan racers are taking off in an underground way. But over here it makes a bit of sense too.
Cruisers are notorious for having poor ground clearance in corners. And let’s be honest, this isn’t exactly going to be ripping it up round corners. Get just a few degrees of lean in and the footrests touch down and scrape alarmingly. But, at the rear, those rear shocks, which are 10mm higher than those fitted to the XVS950 cruiser, lift it up a touch. That means more ground clearance for the pot hole strewn roads in the UK, and better damping than most cruisers have.
At 252kg, it’s a heavy old lump is the SCR950, but it looks good sat on Bridgestone semi-knobbly tyres and that jacked up rear suspension. The aforementioned handlebars are straight off an enduro bike in terms of style, and that blacked-out digital clock and small round headlight gives a simple, purposeful look to the front of the bike.
The whole ride is a mellow affair. That throbbing eight-valve motor chugs along pleasantly, while you sit back and man the ship, setting course for the next corner. It’s never going to be quick, or exciting, but it makes the right kind of noise, feels right and more than anything it’s fun. And that is exactly what Yamaha set out to do with the SCR950.
Off-road the bike can cope with easy trails, though you’d be best avoiding muddy British byways in winter months, but it could cope with the occasional easy green lane when it’s dry.
Overall the SCR950 brings an alternative angle to the world of scramblers and offers a viable and different alternative to the Ducati Scrambler, Triumph Street Scrambler and BMW RnineT Scrambler. With its blacked out engine, a Yamaha off-road heritage that dates back to even before trail bikes like the legendary XT500 existed, the SCR950 has a whole lot more credibility than most Japanese cruisers, for instance. It’s aimed at a younger audience than most tassle-wearing cruiser riders. This bike is way more a £400 Roland Sands jacket and a cool pair of jeans. It’s a cool-looking bike, that’s never in a rush, but delivers a riding experience in its own unique way. And you have to applaud the SCR950 for that.
SCR950 Technical Specifications: