FIRST LOOK: 2017 Yamaha SCR950 Scrambler

Yamaha builds a scrambler based on the Bolt

When you've got a good thing, roll with it! That's what Yamaha did with the Star Bolt, first introduced in 2014 (click here to see our First Ride review). The Bolt cruiser is a bitchin' bike with a punchy and sweet-sounding V-twin, decent brakes, and good handling, and its spawned two appealing sub-models—the R-Spec with its upgraded suspension and the C-spec café cruiser.

2017 Yamaha SCR950 Scrambler
The best Bolt yet? The SCR950 doesn’t carry the Bolt name, but it uses the same air-cooled 942cc V-twin, steel double-cradle frame, and suspension components as the R-Spec and C-Spec bikes. Belt drive means clean operation and very minimal maintenance.©Motorcyclist

Now the Bolt platform has borne another model: the SCR950. The SCR evokes classic scrambler style with spoke wheels (the rear is an inch bigger at 17-inches) and semi-knobby Bridgestone Trail Wing tires, plus paint that’s based on the iconic XT 500 enduro of the late ‘70s. Yamaha also slapped a higher handlebar and a new bench seat (supported by a new, higher subframe) on the SCR, as well as “upswept” muffler and side number plates. The suspension has been retuned too, and the bike looks ready to rip around the city and explore a dirt road up in the hills.

2017 SCR950 Scrambler seat
A new, classic-looking bench seat rests on a new subframe. The SCR’s seat height is 32.7 inches, while the base Bolt’s scooped saddle sits just 27.2 inches above the ground. The circular taillight and bullet-style turn signals are bolted to the fender just behind the subframe loop.©Motorcyclist

We got to throw a leg over the SCR950 at a recent Yamaha press event, and that new handlebar and taller, very narrow seat make the riding position more upright and relaxed than any of the other Bolt-based bikes. That should prove helpful for the more adventurous riding this bike is designed for, but limited steering lock means potential Steve McQueen impersonators will want to avoid getting too sideways in the dirt. The SCR has the same rearset footpeg arrangement as the C-Spec, which means the new, knurled-aluminum pegs are exactly where you want to have your legs when the bike is stopped.

2017 SCR950
The SCR comes in two subdued colors: charcoal silver (left) and rapid red (right). Based on this image and many others provided in the SCR press kit, Yamaha is really pushing the idea that this is a dirt-capable bike. The bike on the left is equipped with an accessory skid plate—definitely recommended for anyone looking to explore off pavement.©Motorcyclist

Given what we know about the Bolt platform we expect the SCR to be a fun and functional bike with a pronounced V-twin sound and feel. And thanks to that new handlebar and burlier tires this scrambler-styled cruiser ought to offer riders a bit more freedom to roam.

2017 Yamaha SCR950
The SCR950 is the priciest Bolt spin-on yet at $8,699.©Motorcyclist

The SCR950 is expected to arrive in dealerships this July and will be available in charcoal silver or rapid red. At $8,699 the SCR is the priciest Bolt spin-on yet (the base Bolt is just $7,990), ringing in just $791 below Yamaha's similarly retro but much sportier FZ-09-based XSR900 (click here for the XSR900 First Ride).