Gettin' Dirty on the SCR950

Taking Yamaha's Scrambler out to Gorman, CA

Yamaha Scrambler
Yamaha SCR950 out in the sand at Gorman OHV areaJon Mcdevitt

We recently picked up the new 2017 Yamaha SCR950 for testing and I immediately decided I wanted to take this modern scrambler into the dirt. But not just any dirt trail, I wanted to push this rad bike to the limit and I took it to Gorman CA OHV area.

If you have not been to Gorman it is an off road paradise for dirt bikes, quads and four-wheel drive vehicles. With open desert, tracks, and three variations of difficulty trails, there is something for everyone.

Now taking a $9,000 brand new motorcycle out there was definitely not something to be taken lightly. If I were to tip over on this I would be looking at a much higher price tag in repairs than if I were to tip on my dirt bike. So taking it easy, off I went, paired with my pal on his Kawasaki KX450F.

Now clearly I was not able to keep up with my buddy on his dirt bike and I didn’t get the SCR950 out of second gear but every green trail (easiest) the SCR950 conquered with ease. Not once did I get into a position the bike couldn’t handle, well that is except for the wash. If you have spent time in the desert on a bike you know about the wash. It is a section of deeps sand which because the front end to go every which way on you and the best way to combat that is to power through it at a higher speed. Not the most stomach settling thing to do on a brand new motorcycle. The reason it is more difficult on the SCR950 over a dirt bike is weight, the front end sinks much deeper and faster because it weighs more.

The looks were worth the trip alone, coming into the park all the rangers came over and said, “you are taking that beauty in the dirt!?” “That looks like a brand new bike!?” Well I explained indeed it was a new bike and yes I was planning to take it out there, they damn near needed to pick their jaws up off the floor. And the looks didn’t stop there; everyone we rode past did the old double take.

All in all the bike handled surprisingly well in an environment it was in no way meant for. Yes it is a scrambler, but it is meant for more of a fire trail ride rather than ripping over the whoops or powering through the wash or climbing a steep rutted hill. But that being said if you wanted to do those things with the SCR950, you could, just slowly and carefully. Still fun times though, two big thumbs up on the SCR950 from this guy!