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Royal Enfield Scram 411 test ride review 

S Muralidhar | Updated on: Mar 18, 2022

Even if it does look like an extension of the Himalayan platform, the new scrambler can bring in a whole bunch of new riders into RE’s fold

The entry-performance motorcycle segment’s evolution has been quite rapid. And even as new brands enter the fray, the existing players are constantly finding ways by which the younger and more evolved buyers’ expectations can be met. While the entire category is breaking up into multiple sub-segments and body-styles, there is constantly a big bunch of riders upgrading from commuters; many are also first-time entrants into the two-wheeler space. The upgraders are always going to be a captive audience for brands that have the entire range of bikes from commuter to executive to performance. Yet, a lot of first-time motorcycle buyers are choosing to go retro. For these buyers, the brand, the riding experience and the pride of owning a piece of heritage matter. These are buyers who, very often, already own a car and would only head out on a long ride during weekends or on that odd annual trip out of town. The retro motorcycle, a domain that has traditionally been occupied by Royal Enfield, has seen a lot of action recently. Sensing the growth in demand, new brands have launched their own - Jawa, Yezdi and even Honda now are trying to woo the retro-bike enthusiast. 

Royal Enfield, the leader in the segment, is surely going to fight back. And the new missile in its arsenal is going to be the Scram 411. It’s RE’s take on a Scrambler, a body style that is gaining popularity even amongst older buyers for its naked street bike design and mixed terrain capabilities. RE was missing a bike that could fill this gap in its portfolio. But the company was probably faced with two issues when the Scram 411 idea was born. You see, the RE Himalayan was purpose-built to tackle the extreme riding conditions off-road. It was a bike that was literally built to take on the Himalayas. But that positioning wasn’t going to get RE large volumes. It was also, to put it bluntly, intimidating for the newbie biker who is of average build, with moderate riding capabilities, aka the bulk of the market. 

The solution? 

Enter the new Scram 411 - a very approachable Scrambler based on the legendary Himalayan, just without the intimidating, raised ride and off-road focus. RE says that the brief for its designers and engineers was to use the Himalayan platform to create an ‘urban’ variant, which provides a more accessible option while retaining the rugged appeal and off-road prowess of the Himalayan. Of course, there are a lot many more changes in the Scram 411 compared to the Himalayan. Clearly though, there’s much that has been carried forward and one can’t shake off the feeling that this motorcycle must have taken much less effort to develop compared to the Himalayan. But, as an extension of the platform to enable market discovery, the Scram 411 looks like the right call made by the folks at RE. 

So, how different is Scram 411. First, the bits that are shared are the frame, fuel tank and engine. The exhaust too is nearly identical and even the exhaust note is the same as in the Himalayan. Noise, emission, and other regulations meant that the exhaust note couldn’t be meddled with much; though I thought a slightly differentiated note might have gone well with the younger, naughtier image of a Scrambler. It still has the macho stance of a scrambler and the tight proportions that define the body style. The features that most distinguish the Scram 411 from the Himalayan are the front headlamp and its aluminum nacelle. Devoid of a tall fairing, machined out of aluminum, and sporting body colours, the nacelle is minimalist and very retro. A single ‘horn’ to the left acts as the recess into which the instrument pod sits. The smaller tripper navigation pod you see in these pictures is an optional addition. The analog-cum-digital instrument pod offers all the key information including odo, fuel, gear indicator, and time. The analog speedo readout is in both kmph and mph. The ‘Trip F’ distance to empty indicator was a helpful feature.  Ready for the Hustle The Scram 411 is not exactly a much smaller bike, and it has had its own additions for creating that Scrambler aura around it. It is still about 6.5 kgs lighter than the Himalayan. With a dry weight of 183.5kgs, compared to the Himalayan’s 190kgs, the Scram 411 doesn’t feel any lighter, even though handling agility is much better. About 3kgs of weight savings comes from the front of the bike and the remaining about two kgs has been had from the rear. The other difference is that the Scram will only be offered with a side-stand. The center-stand is an optional MiY accessory. Of course, a saree-guard will be mandatory, though you don’t see it in these media test ride bikes. They have been removed for photography and aesthetic reasons. 

The tighter proportions and impression of a more accessible bike come through from key changes to the riding posture. The handlebar has been lowered by 60mm and moved closer to the rider by 20mm compared to the Himalayan. The Scram 411 also gets some cosmetic additions to differentiate it from the Himalayan. So, the latter’s side frames are gone, and instead, the Scram gets a badge plate on either side of the fuel tank that lends some character thanks also to the contrast colors and branding. The side panels are also new. Unlike other scramblers with their flat seat construction, the Scram 411’s seat is somewhat similar to the Himalayan’s with its raised pillion position. It continues to be comfortable; long rides won’t be a problem. 

The Scram 411 gets the same LS 410 engine from the Himalayan. And though the gearing is the same as in the taller bro, the engine’s calibration has been changed in the Scram. The single-cylinder, 411cc engine’s output also remains the same 24.3bhp, with peak torque delivered also being the same 32Nm. Paired with this engine is the same 5-speed, constant mesh gearbox from the Himalayan. I guess there wasn’t any need to retune this power unit when it worked so well for the Himalayan. Typical RE character in the way the engine delivers a good breadth of torque and power in the low and mid-rpm range means you can stay in gear and expect to pull away clean when the traffic opens up ahead of you. Gear shifts are clean and crisp, and the foot peg positions should be perfect for most riders’ sitting positions. I would’ve liked a pop-out option for the rubber foot pegs, could be useful for riders that want to attempt some serious off-roading. I found the engine to be capable during my short off-road and trail journeys. Again a wring of the throttle while staying in gear is enough to dig the Scram 411 out of loose gravel or a muddy slope. I spent the first half of the day with the bike cruising on the highway heading out to Kolar from Bengaluru; a distance of about 100kms. Apart from the average urban commute with stop-and-go traffic, it should be possible to manage low-speed riding with minimal gear changes. 

Ride and handling

The ground clearance at 200mm has gone down by a significant 20mm. The saddle height, which wasn’t too tall even in the Himalayan, has dropped down by 5mm (795mm) in the Scram 411. But riders will ‘find their feet’ on the ground even better because sag rates have increased for the suspension. Speaking of suspension, compared to the Himalayan, the suspension travel has been increased. The front 41mm forks’ rake is now about a half-degree higher and it gets more travel (190mm). It doesn’t get any pre-load adjustments, though the rear monoshock gets a 10-step adjustment. My test mule was set up at a default mid-level 5-6. At that setting, the Scram 411’s ride is certainly stiffer than the Himalayan and that has been chosen in keeping with the assumption that most riders of this motorcycle will be using the Scram 411 on city streets and highways rather than taking the less traveled path.  The Scram 411’s ride quality on regular tarmac is excellent. It is clearly a mile-muncher and even novice riders should be able to clock a few 100kms without feeling drained out. I have done the same stretch of highway on regular commuter bikes and felt drained at the end of the journey. The 100/90 and 120/90 profile CEAT tyres that my test mule came shod with for the 19-inch front and 17-inch rear wheels respectively, offered a mix of abilities. Knobbly, but comfortable on the regular tarmac, they were still able to offer lots of grip in trail and off-road conditions. 

Brakes are the same as in the Himalayan. So, the same 300mm disc at front and 240mm disc at the rear with the 2-piston floating caliper and a single floating caliper at the front and rear respectively. But the dual-channel ABS has had to be returned because of the smaller 19-inch wheel at the front (compared to the Himalayan’s 21-inches). The Scram 411 doesn’t get a switchable ABS option; obviously most riders aren’t going to be taking this off-road. The wheels themselves have been chosen to give the Scram 411 a combo of off-road capabilities and nimble city riding. So, the smaller rim at the front and lowered handlebar should make weaving through traffic easier. The Scram also gets only spoked wheels with small stripes of contrast paint on the rims. I’m a fan of spoked wheels and am not complaining, though some buyers may want alloys. 

Bottom line

The Scram 411 is likely to appeal to a larger audience. The target demographic is the young rider who is looking for a bike with a muscular presence but is still easy riding. There is a large section of buyers who will fit the “hustle on weekdays and fun on weekends” profile. The Scram 411 will certainly fit right into that equation. As is the case with RE bikes, the Scram 411 also gets a whole bunch of MiY (make it yours) program accessories for personalising it to buyer’s tastes and preferences.  Expect prices to range from Rs 1.6 lakh to Rs 2 lakh. 

Published on March 15, 2022

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