2017 Yamaha SCR950 | First Look Review

Yamaha SCR950 scrambler
Yamaha’s new-for-2017 SCR950 scrambler, shown here in Rapid Red, is based on the Star Bolt platform.

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

1968 Yamaha YDS-3C Big Bear
1968 Yamaha YDS-3C Big Bear

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.

Read our Retrospective on the 1967 Yamaha YM2C Big Bear 305 Scrambler

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.

2017 Yamaha SCR950 in Charcoal Silver
2017 Yamaha SCR950 in Charcoal Silver

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.

Read our first look review of the 2017 Yamaha Bolt and Bolt R-Spec

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.



  1. Clearly a bike for people that want a Scrambler look. How else do you explain it being that heavy and using a belt drive. Will they mention to owners in the owners manual that, because of the belt, their scrambler should not be taken off paved roads?

  2. One of the most ridiculous bikes to ever hit the market. To big, too heavy and not really intended to be taken off-road. It’s just a bolt with a jacked up rear shock.

  3. Too heavy with a pitiful 2.8 inches of suspension travel in the back,………….. This is not really a scrambler!!! What are Yamaha’s marketing people thinking?

  4. UJM. Great sitting position. Needs bigger tank and tubeless tires. Otherwise a great do it all bike. As pointed out, definitely not a scrambler.

  5. Not my ‘cup of tea’ but if I were in the market for this style bike it would be a Brit or Euro bike. Form and Function, I like the best of both and this bike is mostly Form. Now all the variations Yamaha is coming out with based on the FZ-09 & FZ-07 bikes…those interest me.

  6. It would be easy to go on about all the short comings concerning the Yamaha SCR950 having ridden the desert and spent how many nights at Ascot Park watching flat track and TT racers. Easy to critique indeed but for one little issue, I sat up and took notice because this bike is very close to a Scrambles bike. And as you state, the bones are there for one to retro the bike for an even better look. And not a bad price either! However, about the belt drive…

  7. I love the retro look. I personally would never take the bike off road. As a Sportster owner, I would have no trouble putting my dollars down on this bike. I do a lot of long freeway rides and this bike looks like it would fit that bill for me just fine. Id put on the taller wind screen and the saddle bags. It would be a perfect weekend getaway bike. With all due respect to Mr. Fetterman, I personally feel a belt drive is much more reliable than a chain. I have 27,000 miles on my belt. Never a problem with it. If I were to take it off road, then I would opt for a chain. I think Yamaha did a good job.

  8. The new bike fascinates me, but for the Harley-esque density. They say 65% of American females are obese, as are 55% of us men, but a skinny-looking motorcycle? C’mon! How’d it tip the scales at almost 560 pounds? Cast-iron pistons?? Maybe a forklift battery?

    I added up some options: Yamaha’s custom rear shocks (no reservoir) for a taller ride, some of their brass bits here and there, a custom air cleaner cover just for kicks, maybe some fancier wheels, or a seat, et voila — $15,000! Yup. (Try it for yourself.) [I actually did this for the R-Spec, as the SCR-950 doesn’t have all its options posted as of yet.]

    I’d have to keep it in the house at that price tag, and I just know it’d go through the floor like my brother’s Sportster Roadster (2008) did.

  9. I own a 2017 Yamaha SCR950 and I live in Arizona. I have been riding bikes for 50 yearend have owned at least 25 over the years ! This is a GREAT FUN BIKE & RELIABLE WITH PLENTY OF POWER. And yes I take it off road here in AZ nothing to crazy but it rides in the ruff and dirt just fine. On the street it handles very well.


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