Urban adventurer: Royal Enfield Scram 411 tested – Fraser Addecott
Enfield’s Himalayan has become a cult classic and this hipper version seems to be just as popular
Royal Enfield have enjoyed resounding success in terms of sales of their bikes in the UK in recent years – and continue to do so.
This was led by the Interceptor 650 and Meteor 350, with the Himalayan also proving popular.
For some punters and motorcycling experts, this came as a bit of a surprise.
At first glance, the Indian firm’s bikes are pretty basic with engine performance that’s hardly seat-of-pants stuff.
But the truth is that Enfield’s machines have a lot going for them – they have a retro-cool aesthetic, they’re well designed and built, they come with great British heritage and history attached – and they’re great value for money – price.
The popularity of the Himalayan – or Himmy as it is called – is perhaps the most unexpected.
At best, you could say it’s utilitarian in both looks and performance, with a 410cc single-cylinder air-cooled engine that puts out just 24.5bhp.
Still, the bike is flying out of dealership doors and has something of a cult following, with riders using it for all manner of long-distance adventures.
Obviously wanting to capitalize on this, but perhaps looking for a younger, hipper, more urban audience, Enfield has now released this variant of the Himmy – the Scram 411.
Short for scrambler, it has the same Harris-designed half-duplex split-cradle chassis and 411cc engine.
So what’s different?
Well, the main change is to swap the Himmy’s 21-inch front wheel for a 19-inch wheel.
That might not sound like a lot, but combined with a wider, more road-oriented tire, it has a pretty dramatic effect on the geometry and feel of the bike.
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The riding position is still very relaxed and comfortable, but is slightly more forward-facing.
And the front end is more responsive and turns faster, perfect for city riding.
At the UK launch, chief designer Mark Wells told us he was particularly pleased with the redesigned seat, which is slightly lower and has much better padding than the Himalayan.
There’s a new analogue speedometer with an integrated digital display showing gear selection and all the other usual information – although there’s no rev counter.
The bike also comes with Enfield’s Tripper navigation system for turn-by-turn directions via a phone app.
There are five new jazzy liveries and the Himmy’s front bars/racks are replaced with groovy looking printed number panels. The Scram also loses the standard bike’s windshield.
This bike is super easy to ride and pure bliss.
It’s back to basics motorcycling at its best – smooth shifting, long gears, responsive cornering and dependable, confident handling.
This 400cc single-cylinder engine will never set the world on fire, but its 24hp is enough to keep the bike running happily, rekindling memories of many happy times on old British motorcycles back in the day – but without the leaks of oil and constant fear of breaking down.
A stronger front brake wouldn’t have been a problem, but I quickly got used to having to use the rear a bit more than usual.
In fact, for new riders who are more likely to grab a handful of them in a sticky situation, not having super-sharp stopping power might not be a bad thing.
And while geared more for tarmac riding, the Scram handled my local greenway admirably, with the long suspension soaking up all the rough stuff with ease.
The dual-purpose tires work well in loose dirt and mud, and the bike is light and responsive enough to make off-roading on the Scram a really fun experience.
All in all, a really good-looking and user-friendly urban adventurer that’s even better than the original.
Royal Enfield Scram 411
Engine: 411cc single
Maximum power: 24.5 hp
Colors: Blue; red; yellow; White Red; silver
Price: From £4,599
Cool retro headwear
The helmet I’m wearing here is the rather excellent Glamster from master maker Shoei.
It’s part of the company’s Classic range and comes with a generous helping of retro cool.
It may have a vintage flavor, but the Glamster has all the latest technology, safety and comfort features.
The helmet is available in three outer shell sizes with a range of paddings for the perfect fit.
It has a number of vents on the forehead and chin, and I didn’t experience any fogging while using it.
It’s also very quiet, and despite its slick shape and lack of a spoiler, I found it to have excellent stability, even at high speeds.
The Glamster comes with a Pinlock anti-fog visor and all-around vision is very good.
The helmet also has a reassuring emergency quick release system that can be used by a third party in the event of an accident.
Attachment is via a double D-ring system and with a secure snap to prevent flapping of the straddle strap (one of my pet peeves).
The lid is backed by a five-year warranty and is available in a wide range of colors
RRP: £409 single colour; £509 Resurrection