2017 Yamaha SCR950 Scrambler Test
Associate Editor Nic de Sena spent the day up in picturesque Julian, Calif., aboard the 2017 Yamaha SCR950. No scrambler ride would be complete without some off-roading and, Nic was able to put the nimble SCR950 through its paces on the pavement and dirt. Watch for a full review soon, but until then, here are the first-ride Fast Facts.
1. Sport Heritage is more than just a Yamaha marketing slogan. It might be all the rage these days, but Yamaha pioneered what custom builders are lusting after as of late. The 2017 Yamaha SCR950 was created to pay homage to the bikes that directly influenced it. Yamaha went to great lengths in order to relay a feeling of authenticity in the build; the SCR950 could have easily been the next hit “barn-find.”
2. “Yeah, but it’s just a cruiser.” I, too, have the Internet and I’ve heard your cries. On one hand, I can understand them—no, the SCR950 is not a fresh, from the ground up bike. It’s a continuation of the Bolt C-Spec cruiser.
The Bolt got a makeover—one that mirrored the market’s thoughts and wishes, quite honestly. Yamaha saw the response the Bolt received, and responded, delivering their take on the scrambler platform. So is it a cruiser in scrambler clothing? In many ways, yes. Is that necessarily a bad thing? The verdict is still out on that. Did I have a massive amount of fun? Indeed.
3. The SCR950 has power that you can use. The air-cooled 942cc air-cooled SOHC V-twin sourced from the Bolt is a spunky little number, but its greatest characteristic is how manageable it is. The power delivery is smooth and predictable, making it a keen choice for inexperienced riders. Torque is found nearly off the line and while veteran riders might want a little bit more top-end, there is something that needs to be said about an engine that allows you to make use of every cubic-centimeter, and better yet, it’s happy to do it.
4. Handling is Sport Heritage stable. The SCR950 and the Bolt C-spec share quite a few components, and one of the positive carry-overs is the chassis. The solid-mount, dual-cradle steel chassis is a big win for the SCR950; whether it’s on tight canyon twisties or the local fire roads, the SCR950 is rock-solid. Pick your line, and it’ll guide you through with no issues, though the pegs might touch down. Despite a cruiser-like 62-inch wheelbase and 547-pound claimed wet weight, this scrambler is quite agile.
5. The 2017 Yamaha SCR950 can take a hit (mostly). For someone of my height and build, I found the scrambler’s modest suspension to be adequate both on- and off-road, to a point. On road, the non-adjustable, telescopic forks, and spring-preload adjustable piggyback shocks do incredibly well.
In my case, they soaked up inconsistencies on the road without a second thought. When it came to off-road use, they showed expected signs of inadequacy. With a few accoutrements, such as a skid plate and ADV Bridgestone Trail Wing tires to handle the rigors of the great outdoors, the SCR950 is an absolute blast on easy dirt roads. Twist the throttle and let the back end drift to your heart’s content.
6. Stopping power is there. I’ll admit, I was skeptical of the single 298mm wave rotor found on each wheel, but after putting them to the test, I was quite impressed. Under hard braking, the single front disc and four-piston plain-wrap caliper do an admirable job of getting the SCR slowed down from freeways speeds.
More importantly for less than experienced riders, the brakes are quite forgiving. Though the SCR950 lacks ABS, it takes a decent amount of force to lock the front wheel up when the traction is good. The rear brake could use a bit more feel on-road as tactile response seems to be lost in translation. However, when off-road, the rear brake works wonderfully, although for my own tastes, I’d lower the foot-pedal a bit.
7. The SCR950 does vibrate. Once this engine gets into the upper rev range, it tends to get a bit buzzy.
8. It’s comfortable with a caveat. With an upright riding position, my 5’ 9’’ frame meshes wonderfully with the Yamaha SCR950. Bar height is at a neutral level and mid-controls help keep stress off my lower back. So what’s the catch? A pesky air cleaner that doesn’t allow you to grip the tank.
Now, we always take the good with the bad and I must say, it made a great anchor when leaning off for left hand corners. With a 32.7-inch seat height, you’ll find the SCR950 more spacious than a cruiser, but due to the quite-firm seat, after a few hours, I found myself shifting and my rear was in need of a break.
9. The Verdict. In my mind, a scrambler has to be a quick-on-its-feet, snappy motorcycle, great for getting around town, hitting longer trips and even engaging in some hooligan activities off-road; the SCR950 is without a doubt, an authentic representation of what a scrambler should be. At the same time, the SCR950 makes itself accessible to everyone—man, woman, experienced, inexperienced, child, dog, cat, it doesn’t matter. The 2017 Yamaha SCR950 hits all of those marks.
Photography by Brian J. Nelson
- Helmet: Nexx X.G100 Bolt
- Jacket: RSD Zuma
- Gloves: IXS Talura II
- Pants: Saint Unbreakable
- Boots: Motobailey LaRyder
2017 Yamaha SCR950 Specs
- Motor: SOHC 4 vpc V-twin
- Bore x stroke: 85 x 83mm
- Displacement: 942cc (58 ci)
- Compression ratio: 9.0:1
- Cooling: Air
- Fuel delivery: Fuel injection
- Ignition: Transistor Controlled Ignition
- Transmission: 5-speed, multiplate wet clutch
- Final drive: Belt
- Front suspension: Telescopic forks; 4.7 inches of travel
- Rear suspension: Dual piggyback shocks; 2.8 inches of travel
- Front and rear brakes: 298mm wave-type disc
- Front tire: 100/90-19; Bridgestone Trail Wing
- Rear tire: 150/80-16; Bridgestone Trail Wing
DIMENSIONS and CAPACITIES
- L x W x H: 88.6 x 35.2 x 45.9 inches
- Seat height: 32.7 inches
- Rake: 28.4 degrees
- Wheelbase: 62.0 inches
- Ground clearance: 5.1 inches
- Fuel capacity: 3.2 gallons
- EPA estimated fuel economy: 51 mpg
- Wet weight: 547 pounds
- Warranty: 1 Year (Limited Factory Warranty)
- Colors: Charcoal Silver; Rapid Red
2017 Yamaha SCR950 Price:
- $8690 MSRP
2017 Yamaha SCR950 Gallery