First thoughts: Yamaha SCR950

Initial musings about Yamaha's latest 'sport heritage' model

Yamaha SCR950

VISORDOWN Editor Steve Farrell has just finished riding Yamaha's new SCR950 at the launch in Sardinia.

Here are his first thoughts:

'The SCR950 is the new scrambler version of Yamaha's XV950R. It's got the same steel frame and 942cc air-cooled V-twin engine, making a claimed 55.3hp and 53.6lbft, but it's been modified to go 'a bit off-road' (Yamaha's words in the presentation).

'It's got a new sub-frame, raising the seat by 140mm to 838mm. It's got wide bars, knobbly Bridgestone Trail Wing tyres on with wire-spoked wheels, with a 19-inch front, and a slightly more upswept exhaust.

'It's got new styling, a seamless 13.2-litre tank and a new price of £8,499, compared to the XV's £8,199.

'I wasn't expecting off-roading on this launch but we did some this morning, on gentle gravel trails with a few deep holes and even a stream-crossing, and the SCR did perfectly well.

'It's no off-road bike. It doesn't have the suspension travel, so it clatters through deep holes.

'It feels a bit heavy - although the centre of gravity feels low, making it seem more manageable.

'I expect ground clearance would become a problem on more challenging terrain and the pegs feel a bit wide apart - because remember this is an adapted cruiser.

'But otherwise it felt quite natural to ride it standing up on dirt. The tank is narrow, so there's space to move the bike about between the knees, and the bars are high and close to you enough to easily reach with a straight back.

'On road it's a very different machine to, say, the Ducati Scrambler.

'The Yamaha's cruiser character is still present thanks to that torque-biased engine.

'There's no point revving it too much, with peak power at 5,500rpm, and no rev-counter to tell you when you've found it.

'But the low-down torque is entertaining enough, taking lazy third-gear corners on twisty roads.

'There's good enough ground clearance. The pegs go down soon enough if you push it, but it's all the more fun when they do.

'I'll follow this up with a full review soon. Right now I've got to go back out on the roads of Sardinia, this time on the new XSR900 Abarth.'