Review: The Royal Enfield SCRAM 411

This new bike from the Royal Enfield stable has recently hit the roads. We find out how it’s different from its predecessors and whether it will make you a good travel companion.

I had just picked up the newly launched Royal Enfield SCRAM 411 from the Bandra dealership in Mumbai and was now facing a traffic snarl at Mahim. Within the first two kilometers that I had ridden it and having been on Royal Enfield’s Himalayan a lot before, I realised that this motorcycle is more than just a stripped down and lighter version of the Himalayan.

The scram 411 is more than just a stripped down and lighter version of the royal enfield himalayan.
The SCRAM 411 is more than just a stripped down and lighter version of the Royal Enfield Himalayan. Image: Courtesy Royal Enfield.

For one, its suspension is far more comfortable and very suited to tarmac. Nice and pliant, it gives a soft, comfortable feel. Then the seating position is nice and upright and the wider seat adds to the comfort. And the wide-set handlebars make filtering through traffic very easy. The reason for this is also because the front wheel of the SCRAM is 19 inches as compared to the 21 inches of the Himalayan. This reduced size of the front wheel has reduced the wheelbase a bit and made the steering rake angle a little sharper. This is what makes the SCRAM feel more agile in traffic than its sibling the Himalayan.

Now at the snarl, one side of the road had been dug up and three lanes of cars and motorcycles had convened into one single file. On an impulse, I put the motorcycle into the shallow ditch that had been dug and manoeuvred it over broken ground, clumps of piled up soil and broken stone and rode it onto the road again, ahead of the traffic snarl. True to its nomenclature, the motorcycled had scrambled over the rough broken ground without hesitation or even a semblance of unsteadiness. It is not something that I would advise, but this motorcycle had scrambled through and come out a winner.

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True to its nomenclature, the motorcycled had scrambled over the rough broken ground without hesitation or even a semblance of unsteadiness.
True to its nomenclature, the motorcycled had scrambled over the rough broken ground without hesitation or even a semblance of unsteadiness. Image: Courtesy Royal Enfield.

My first impression was that Royal Enfield had achieved what they had set out to do with this motorcycle. To create a more city-friendly version of the Himalayan, but one that could still hold its own on the dirt trails in the high Himalayas.

Though the engine is the same 411 cc single cylinder unit that powers the Himalayan, there are changes that run more than just skin deep. First of all the SCRAM is definitely a better looking motorcycle than the Himalayan and in a good way. It is less aggressive looking and not one that says ‘take me to the Himalayas, the city is not my domain’.

It is less aggressive looking and not one that says ‘take me to the himalayas, the city is not my domain’.
It is less aggressive looking and not one that says ‘take me to the Himalayas, the city is not my domain’. Image: Courtesy Royal Enfield.

While the Himalayan’s front suspension travel is 200 mm for all those rough roads that the motorcycle is used to traverse, the SCRAM’s front suspension travel is 190 mm and the rear suspension, while the same as the Himalayan with a travel of 180 mm, has had its damping changed, all resulting in a more pliant motorcycle to ride in the city on tarmac roads.

The cosmetic changes include a headlight set lower and further in and housed in a cast aluminium nacelle. Gone is the windshield of the Himalayan. The side subframe has been replaced by two small side panels and the one-piece seat looks really neat and is very comfortable to sit on even for the pillion.

The one-piece seat is very comfortable for both, rider and pillion.
The one-piece seat is very comfortable for both, rider and pillion. Image: Courtesy Royal Enfield.

I also like the new display. The bold big speedometer has got a nice readable font and the digital displays inside are also easy to read. These include a digital fuel gauge, a gear indicator, two trip meters and a neutral light. A flashing spanner tells when the bike is due for service and the trip changes to a reserve trip meter when the fuel is running low.

There is no rev counter but honestly, I don’t miss it. The sound and the feel of the engine is more than enough to indicate when to shift up a gear. But the one convenience that I do miss is that there is no switchable rear ABS. On the Himalayan, you could turn off the ABS system on the rear brake to give you the ability to slide around corners on a dirt road. On this one you cannot.

Another difference is that the ground clearance of this bike is 200 mm, while the Himalayan is at 220 mm and the seat height of this bike is five mm lower than the Himalayan.

So what does all this translate to in the real world?

I had the motorcycle for a week or so and it always brought a smile to my face while riding it. It is true to its name and so much fun the scramble about on in the city.

With its agile handling, it trumps Google Maps’ time estimates by 10 per cent or so especially during rush hour. The upright seating position makes it comfortable to ride. While the engine specs are the same as the Himalayan as is the gearing and torque figures, the ride is firmer.

A good looking and rugged motorcycle that is at home in the city and can still hold its own on some weekend off-roading.
A good looking and rugged motorcycle that is at home in the city and can still hold its own on some weekend off-roading. Image: Courtesy Royal Enfield.

And the engine feels nice and grunty all the way up to 100 kmph. After that it feels a little strained going to 120 kmph and while the indicated max speed is 130 kmph I didn’t wrench open the throttle to push it to that much because the engine was not yet even 500 kilometres old. Also while the brakes are good, the front brakes do need the full clench of the right hand for rapid stops.

Since the engine is the same as the Himalayan but the motorcycle is a bit lighter, the fuel economy can be expected to be marginally better than the Himalayan that returns about 35 kmpl.

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Our verdict:

The price of the Royal Enfield SCRAM 411 starts at Rs 2.03 lakhs and goes up to 2.08 lakhs ex-showroom and if you’re looking for a good looking and rugged motorcycle that is at home in the city and can still hold its own on some weekend off-roading then the SCRAM is for you.

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