When Yamaha introduced the “neo-retro” XSR900 for 2016, which combines old-school styling with the modern, crossplane triple of the FZ-09, it launched the XSR as part of a new category that Yamaha calls “Sport Heritage.” Other models in this category include the VMax muscle cruiser, the café-racer styled Bolt C-Spec and the ‘70s throwback, kickstart-only SR400.
Read our 2016 Yamaha XSR900 review
For 2017, Yamaha will offer a fifth Sport Heritage model, a scrambler based on the Bolt platform called the SCR950. Back-to-basics, vintage-style bikes such as café racers and scramblers are popular these days, especially among younger riders with limited budgets. Yamaha has plenty of heritage to draw from for inspiration, such as its Big Bear “two smoker” scrambler from the late ‘60s.
For the SCR950, Yamaha started with its best-selling and affordable Star Bolt platform, which has an air-cooled, 60-degree, 942cc V-twin with a 5-speed transmission carried in a steel, double-cradle frame. The SCR has the key scrambler styling elements in place, everything from 19-inch front/17-inch rear spoked aluminum wheels shod with semi-knobby tires to an off-road style handlebar with crossbar, a flat bench seat, number plates on the side covers and a high-clearance rear fender. The 2-into-1 muffler is slightly upswept, but it isn’t of the chrome, high-mount variety often associated with scramblers. Also, like the Bolt, the SCR950 has belt final drive rather than a chain.
The SCR gets the new, 3.4-gallon flangeless fuel tank that graces the 2017 Bolt and Bolt R-Spec. Up front is a traditional round headlight, fork gaiters and a telescopic fork with new settings. Carryovers from the Bolt/R-Spec include a single all-digital meter, a round LED taillight, steel fenders, single front/rear disc brakes and dual piggyback rear shocks, and it gets somewhat rear-set footpegs like on the Bolt C-Spec. Suspension settings are unique to the SCR950, but travel is just as limited as on the cruisers—4.7 inches up front, 2.8 inches out back—so off-road scrambling will be mostly light-duty.
Bikes like the Bolt and SCR950 are ideal platforms for customization, and their entry-level prices should leave room in the budget for accessories. Yamaha will offer at least 30 accessories for the SCR950, including windscreens, a skid plate, leather saddlebags, cleated footpegs and much more.
The 2017 Yamaha SCR950 will be available in Rapid Red or Charcoal Silver for $8,699, and it should be in dealerships in July 2016.