Yamaha SCR950 vs Triumph Street Scrambler
Triumph Scrambler is now $10,800 for a 2018. They're also water-cooled now, with a big honkin' radiator ready to get smashed to bits by rocks and debris. Triumph has 54hp and 59 ft lbs of torque.
Power: 54 hp
Torque: 59 ft lbs
Weight: 454 lbs
Engine: Water cooled parallel twin
Fuel economy: 44mpg
MSRP: $8699 (Street price $6699)
Power: 48 hp
Torque: 54 hp
Weight: 547 lbs
Engine: Air-cooled V-twin
Fuel economy: 50mpg
So the Triumph makes more 6 horsepower, 5 more torques, and weighs 92 lbs less.
Let that sink in. Ninety. Two. Pounds. It makes 6 more horsepower, and weighs ninety-two pounds less. In the racing community, 10 pounds is worth 1 horsepower. So that makes an equivalent of 15 horsepower difference between the two bikes.
BUT that new Triumph costs $2100 more on paper, and $4100 more in reality. (Actual dealer incentives/rebates are $2000 for dealerships. Some dealerships are selling for significantly below that now, but most are not).
That said, 92 pounds is huge. You can feel it in the heft of the bikes off the side stand. You can feel it throwing them both through curves. You can feel it accelerating onto the highway. What's more, the SCR950 has abysmal cornering clearance, and the steering is rather heavy and vague. The triumph has lots of available lean angle, and the steering feels light and agile.
The Triumph scrambler, at heart, is a well-suspended bonneville with a motor tweaked and designed more low end grunt and a frame that is made specifically for the scrambler.
The SCR950, at heart, is an XV950 Bolt, with identical cruiser suspension, identical frame, and no real changes other than cosmetic styling. It has poor ground clearance, poor suspension travel, it weighs too much, and doesn't have enough horsepower.
But... I love it anyways. I bought the SCR950 over the Triumph Scrambler because I like the styling, and because it's a better starting place for a person like me who modifies his bikes, often rather severely.
Not a lot can be done about the weight. It's mostly engine and frame, although some can be done with the stock exhaust system. $280 for a Danmoto slip on will reduce weight, but not really gain you much in the way of actual power. Horsepower can be helped with Ivan's ECU flash and an open airbox. And that's relatively inexpensive, $150 for a V&H naked air cleaner and $350 for the flash. That will get you around 11 horsepower. That bumps the SCR to 59hp for under $800. That's 5hp more than the Scrambler.
Now, to do something similar on a Triumph Scrambler, you'll need a Stage 1.5 intake kit and a 2-into-1 exhaust. That'll net you 8 horsepower. The Stage 1 induction kit is $302, the EFI flash is $127, and a reasonably-priced 2-into-1 exhaust is between $950 and $1300, depending on the brand. You're looking at at least $1400 to get 8 hp.
So, if you're a mechanically minded individual, in the horsepower-per-dollar arena the SCR950 wins HANDILY.
In the weight area there's really not much you can do. Exhaust will free up a few pounds, passenger peg brackets and tail removal, but that's it really. There's nothing non-essential that you can remove or replace easily. So you're stuck with the weight.
What about suspension? Well, I wasn't happy with my SCR950's performance in that regard, and I pioneered modifications to it that GREATLY enhance the handling and cornering clearance -- on the street. For under $150 I acquired 12.25" long shocks made for a Sportster, and then made new spacers for the bushings to fit on the Yamaha shock mounts. This raises the back of the bike 1.75" over stock. I slid the tubes down in the triple trees 0.25", so the rear is 1.5" higher than the front. This modification requires adjusting the tension of the belt, and for that you'll need the proper deflection gauge. You'll also have to trim the rear brake line guide bracket if you're running stock exhaust, as this bracket will hit the stock muffler mount. If you have aftermarket exhaust, you'll have no problems.
The difference in handling is phenomenal! The stock bike has rather slow, lazy handling, and drags hard parts at very mild lean angles. With the tail lifted more than the front, the bike rides as if on rails. It turns in quickly and it much easier to alter a line in a curve. It feels confident leaned over quite far, and it takes a serious lean to start dragging peg feelers. It's an amazing change! On the street. I used sportster shocks because they're not long-travel. In fact, they only have half an inch more travel than stock shocks, even though they're significantly longer. The bike no longer bottoms out over speed bumps, but it's still not what I'd call well-suspended. Because of the belt drive, I'm limited to short-travel suspension unless I engineer a tensioner for the belt. Also, this makes the SCR950 a lot taller. My 5'9" self can no longer flat-foot the bike. I'm on the balls of both feet, or one heel and one toe. That may be an issue for shorter riders. (But as far as keeping kin with vintage scramblers, it's more accurate).
So off-road, the Triumph is much more capable. It has longer suspension travel, is far lighter, and has a lot of design changes with dirt in mind. It's not just a bonnie with longer shocks. The SCR950 will always be a cruiser that looks like a scrambler (actually it looks more like a dirt tracker, but I digress).
Ultimately, the SCR950 is the winner for me. It's the best bang-for-the-buck, and I love the looks. The Triumph is a more capable bike for actually riding in the dirt.
Loud pipes don't save lives, they just piss off voters.