Yamaha SCR950 (2017-2021): Review & Buying Guide

 

Not all ideas are good ones and when you are caught up in the middle of a trend, the temptation is always to blindly follow the fashion setters. Which is exactly the trap Yamaha fell into with the quite frankly a bit too weird and well wide of the mark SCR950. Launched in 2017, the SCR took the firm’s good but not hugely popular (in the UK) XV950 cruiser as a base and then added spoke wheels, taller bars and slightly uprated suspension to create a ‘scrambler’ style of bike. The problem with the SCR is that it is basically just a cruiser with a new set of clothes on and that means very little off-road potential and a heavy wet weight. Never a big seller in the UK, the SCR has a certain appeal and if you want a bike with the relaxed attitude of a cruiser but don’t like the ‘feet forward’ style of riding position, the SCR with its upright stance and semi-off-road look is pleasingly different. Not only that, due to its unpopularity there are some cracking deals to be had on virtually new bikes.

 

Yamaha SCR950 (2017 – 2021) Price

The SCR950 commanded a price tag of £8499 in 2017, which was less than the far more off-road capable Ducati Desert Sled at £9395 and about the same as Triumph’s £8900 Street Scrambler, which was also quite road-focused with only a nod towards genuine off-road ability. Nowadays there are surprisingly large numbers of very low mileage SCR models for sale in the used market and that means deals can most certainly be had. Dealers are asking for around the £5500 mark for virtually brand new bikes with generally less than 1000 miles on their clocks, which hints that they are ex-demos that they are desperately trying to shift. Wave some cash under a salesman’s nose and you will certainly be able to pick one up for under £5000. A few are advertised for up to £6500 but this is very optimistic and the bike in question will often have a few tempting extras such as an Akrapovic exhaust or set of soft luggage. Our advice? Aim to spend £5500 and get a low-mileage one with extras in the colour scheme you like and don’t worry too much about the year as it was never changed or updated.

 

Power and torque

The SCR uses exactly the same air-cooled 60-degree V-twin as the XV950 models and that is no bad thing at all. Not a massively fast or quick revving motor, it suits life in the slow lane and is very mellow. Happy chugging along at a gentle pace, it produces its maximum torque at just 3000rpm and peak power at 5500rpm, which tells you all you need to know about its attitude. For gentle plodding around it is ideal and you don’t miss the fact it lacks a sixth gear as you are highly unlike to want to go over 70mph anyway. Cruiser engines tend to be more about feel and character than outright performance and the SCR’s lump has a pleasing bit of character vibration, wonderfully fluid throttle connection and excellent reliability record, making it ideally suited to its role in life. As long as that role isn’t going fast on or off-road...

 

Engine, gearbox and exhaust

The air-cooled motor is very under-stressed and major faults and issues are basically unheard of, so you can buy with total confidence. As so many SCR models are hardly used, there is almost no chance of it nearing any major service interval (4000-mile intervals, valve clearance check at 16,000 miles) so all you need to worry about is if the oil and filter has been changed recently, which is a bill of about £150 so again is no real drama. The gearbox, although fairly clunky, is solid and the exhaust is well built. A lot of bikes come with Yamaha’s approved Akrapovic road-legal slip-on fitted, which is worth looking out for as it is super-cool, 1.5kg lighter than the OE can and a bit fruitier sounding. There is no need to get the bike re-mapped. When buying used always give the belt a good inspection as the enemy of a belt drive are stones, which can get caught between the belt and sprockets, causing damage to the belt itself. As belts are one-piece items (unlike chains with split-links) that means removing the swingarm to fit a new one, which can be expensive. The belt should last well over 30,000 miles but does require its tension checked regularly (every 2500 miles is recommended) using a special tool.

 

 

Yamaha SCR950 (2017 – 2021) Economy

Due to its low-revving nature and chilled-out attitude, the SCR delivers decent fuel economy figures. Yamaha claimed figures of around 50mpg and owners seem to agree with high 40s mpg numbers regularly recorded. Thanks to its 13.2-litre tank, that should see around 140 miles covered before you need to start worrying about having to push 252kg of SCR to the next fuel stop...

 

Handling, suspension, chassis and weight

To be brutally honest, handling isn’t one of the SCR’s strong points – especially if you are talking off-road. Despite its suspension gaining a bit more length than the XV models boast, it is still woefully lacking in travel and any off-road riding results in the belly pan getting bashed. It can sort of handle light gravel paths and its chunky Bridgestone Trail Wing tyres are ok in this terrain but realistically that’s its limit. On the road the story is also pretty grim and if you try and up the pace to even a moderate rate ground clearance is a real issue with the pegs digging in quite early. Not only that, it carries the same geometry as the cruiser so its rate of turn-in is, shall we say ponderous? Treat the SCR like a cruiser and it is ok, treat it like a sportier road scrambler model and you will be disappointed. When buying used always look for evidence of how the previous owner rode such as scraped pegs etc, ex-demo bikes often get abused by shop staff. Ride the SCR gently, however, and it is ok and you almost excuse the fact it is seriously heavy at 252kg when you are just gently wafting along. Well, until you go for the brakes...

 

Yamaha SCR950 (2017 – 2021) Brakes

Poor is the best way to describe the SCR’s single front stopper. With just one disc (which is a cool wave design it has to be said) and a single two-piston sliding caliper the combination of a lot of weight, a raked-out front end and chunky tyres means it falls well short of what is reasonable to expect in terms of stopping power. The ABS system is also pretty basic and underperforming, which is a shame. Like most cruisers you really need to use both brakes to stop the SCR and if you rely on just the front you will have a few heart-stopping moments if you need to come to a halt quickly.

 

 

Comfort over distance and touring

With its upright riding position and wide bars, the SCR is actually quite comfortable over distance, a sensation helped by the chilled-out motor. Obviously, windblast is an issue but stick to a gentle 60mph and all is well. A few owners find the air filter’s position annoying as it can dig into your leg but aside from this you can certainly enjoy relaxed days out on the Yamaha. Full-on touring might be a bit optimistic but a weekend away is certainly on the cards.

 

Rider aids and extra equipment / accessories

Your only rider assist is ABS – and it isn’t that good so is best ignored anyway. In terms of accessories, Yamaha did release a few and you can get an aftermarket Akrapovic slip-on silencer, soft luggage and a few bolt-ons such as a tail tidy. The aftermarket world adds accessories such as replacement levers, a screen, side-mounted licence plate holder, chunkier bars, new seats etc but there isn’t a huge amount in the UK and you really need to look at American suppliers if you want to go to town. Most SCRs are pretty much standard aside from a pipe and maybe a throw-over set of soft luggage.

 

Yamaha SCR950 (2017 – 2021) verdict

The SCR950 isn’t a good bike and in many ways, it is quite a heavily flawed one. It isn’t great dynamically, the motor is slow and it has no genuine off-road potential. However, it is one of those bikes that grows on you and if you keep it in its comfort zone (gentle pace, on tarmac) it is surprisingly charming and fun to ride while also looking quite cool. And best of all, in the used market it has a very reasonable price tag for what is often basically a brand-new bike!

 

Three things we love about the SCR950…

  • Spirited feeling engine
  • Cool looks if you like the ‘hooligan racer’ image
  • Reliability and build quality

 

Three things that we don’t…

  • The suspension isn’t right for off-road
  • The handling isn’t that good
  • A bit more poke would be nice

 

 

Yamaha SCR950 (2017 – 2021) spec

Original price

£8499

Current price range

£5000-£6500

Capacity

942cc

Bore x Stroke

85x83mm

Engine layout

V-Twin

Engine details

SOHC, 8v, air-cooled

Power

52bhp (38.3kW) @ 5500rpm

Torque

58.7lb-ft (79.5Nm) @ 3000rpm

Top speed

110mph

Transmission

5 speed, belt final drive

Average fuel consumption

47mpg

Tank size

13.2 litres

Max range to empty (theoretical)

140 miles

Reserve capacity

30 miles

Rider aids

ABS

Frame

Steel double cradle

Front suspension

41mm telescopic forks

Front suspension adjustment

Non-adjustable

Rear suspension

Twin shocks

Rear suspension adjustment

Adjustable preload

Front brake

1 x 298mm discs, two-piston caliper. ABS

Rear brake

298mm disc, two-piston caliper. ABS

Front tyre

100/90 - 19

Rear tyre

140/80 - 17

Rake/Trail

29°/ 130mm

Dimensions

2255mm x 895mm 1170mm (LxWxH)

Wheelbase

1575mm

Ground clearance

145mm

Seat height

830mm

Kerb weight

252kg (wet)

 

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