I am writing this on a gloomy
Monday, but all this took place on a rainy Friday evening in Pune. Ed called
right as I was about to pour myself the third peg asking me to test Royal
Enfield’s Scram 411 over the weekend. It seems that he said, “Just don't go
offroading and get it dirty!” but my hungover self just omitted the first two
words. Let’s keep that aside for professional reasons.
So Royal Enfield launched the
Scram 411, a motorcycle based on the famed Himalayan, an ever-so-capable
mountain goat of sorts. According to RE, they positioned it under the Himalayan
as a more road-biased, Scrambler iteration. They also claimed to have made a
lot of changes to tweak the character of the motorcycle to help differentiate
it from the highly adventure-focused big brother.
I’ve ridden the Himalayan
extensively and also ended up buying one for myself a few months after which
made it easier for me to point out the performance and visual differences
between the Scram and the Himalayan. Mind you, there is no comparison between
these two, since they are both built for different purposes, although the target
audience may be a mix given the huge demand for adventure motorcycles among the
Making of the Scram 411
The Royal Enfield Scram 411 is
essentially a Himalayan underneath. It has the same long-stroke 411cc motor
sitting in a half-duplex cradle frame, makes the same amount of power and
torque, still the engineers and designers at RE managed to redevelop the
character with a redesigned front-end and shedding some weight, something that
the Himalayan had in oodles.
The idea was to create a motorcycle
for your daily hustle, be it on the road or off it. It’s honestly really easy
for one to assume that the engineers must have said “Remove this, remove that,
add this and voila!” But deviating away from the hardcore adventure focus of
the Himalayan and giving birth to a different persona altogether was a bold
move for Royal Enfield, especially for the mass market appeal. They even
managed to make the bike appear more ‘fun to ride’ with the appealing colour
schemes that you will also see on the Hunter 350. Is it actually built for the
State of Flux? For someone constantly switching between modes in their life?
What are the key differences?
Let’s start from the front! To
play around with the styling, to give it a more ‘lightweight’ look, Royal Enfield
has done away with the top frame which was mounted on the frame and housed the
headlight, instrument cluster (and tripper) along with the indicators and
windshield visor. With the top frame removed, RE had to make provisions to
mount the headlamp and cluster on the fork assembly. Gone is the fixed-axis
headlamp setup, swapped for a sweet-looking compact cowl design that houses the
headlamp and cluster.
The design now is neater and
certainly a few kgs lighter. The new cowl design gets a more compact, semi-digital
instrument cluster as seen in the Meteor 350. You also get a tripper navigation
pod which can be connected to your phone for directions.
The absence of a windshield
visor was a small problem on long rides, but the new instrument cluster was a
breath of fresh air. Mind you, Himalayan fan boys, i never said it is better
than the cluster we get. The headlamp, indicator and cluster wiring were neatly
tucked into the compact cowl giving it a clean look. The tank gets badge plates
on either side of the tanks aside from swanky looking graphics matching the
paint schemes. There was more Scram 411 branding on the left and right side
panels that cover the air filter housing and the battery. The dual mudguard
setup was done away for a simple tyre hugging mudguard in the front.
If you aren’t scrupulous
enough, you would never notice the fact that the tail section is redesigned
too, with the indicators now being fitted in the number plate holder itself. The
mudguard is of a different design, shorter than the one on the Himalayan. What
hurt the most however, was the absence of the tail rack which we saw on the
utilitarian Himalayan. The Scram gets a simpler grab handle to match its design
and duties. That's not it. It gets a single-piece seat which I found 10X more
comfy compared to the dual piece on the Himalayan, mainly because the pillion
sits slightly lower than before and because my bottom fits quite well on this
As a matter of fact,
Scramblers do not require mile-long travel suspension, or the compulsion of
high ground clearance. The guys at Royal Enfield gave the front forks a slight
tweaking. Yes, they retained the 41mm forks, but now have 190mm of travel
instead of 200mm on the Himalayan. This was the major reason as to why the
Scram sat lower too, with Ground clearance of 200mm, almost down by 20mm. This
also reduced the seat height from 800mm to 795mm. To suit its ‘Scrambler’
stance, RE took away an important aspect, the 21-inch front wheel and swapped
it for a 19-inch wheel shod with 100/90 section tyre for a more road-biased
setup. All this mix-match resulted in a 10mm shorter wheelbase and 30mm
reduction on total length. Most importantly, this has all managed to reduce the
kerb weight by a full 14 kilos! That is a lot of weight reduction for
motorcycle like this!
The LS410 motor still makes
the same power figure of 24.3bhp and 32Nm of torque. RE did mention that the
fuelling and throttle response was modified to an extent.
How does it handle?
The new setup adds so much
more on-road capability. With the 19-inch wheel, the Scram feels more planted
in the corners compared to its sibling. It is so much more nimble courtesy of
the strict diet and the slightly stiffer set front suspension. The Scram is
easily a more practical option compared to the Himalayan if you chose to use it
as a daily motorcycle. The ergonomics wont hurt your back, as you sit upright.
We did most of our test
off-road, quickly realising that the wheel size and tyre aspect ratios makes a
huge difference on the bikes capability on gravel or mud. The Himalayan would
usually find its way through ruts thanks to the 21-inch front, but the Scram
was slightly harder to tame and would wash out very easily on off-road trails
that too in the monsoon. Come to think of it, the Scram was not made for this!
It was made to handle a mix of both. It is a lovely motorcycle for the urban
commute and to jump around trails if you are brave enough. At a price tag of Rs
2.03 lakh (ex-showroom), it is almost Rs 10,000 cheaper than the Himalayan. If
you are in the market for a daily that is insane fun, can do long distance and
won’t burn a hole in your pocket, this deserves a place on your list.
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