Over the past few years, Royal Enfield has gone through a metamorphosis and has now become a force to reckon with. RE’s sudden trajectory is majorly attributed to the success of the Classic 350 which managed to pull the iconic bikemaker out of a mothballed, lacklustre mid-life crisis. But it was the Himalayan that proved to the world that Royal Enfield has enough resources and grit to sway away from its traditional cruiser and retro line-up of thumpers. Fast forward to today and RE has expanded the Himalayan lineup with the launch of Scram 411. Calling it a variant of the Himalayan makes more sense, rather than tagging it as a whole new model but it has its own individual persona.
During the press brief, Royal Enfield stated that they have “utilized the Himalayan platform to create an ‘urban platform’ which provides a more ‘approachable and accessible’ option while retaining the ‘rugged’ appeal and ‘rough-road’ capabilities.” Now that we have ridden it, we can attest that this is exactly what the Scram 411 is. If my job didn’t pertain me to delve deep into the details, this review would have culminated right here. But since I don’t want to get sacked, let’s Scram, shall we?
Carrying Forward the Genome
One quick glance at the Scram 411 would suffice to make you realize that it shares the same genetics as the Himalayan. While the Himalayan is a long-legged adult with an illustrious and adventurous past, the Scram 411 looks a bit stouter and playful.
Seeing the Scram 411 head-on introduces you to a redesigned fascia which is the most visually apparent makeover it has received. There’s no provision of tucking behind the windscreen because… there isn’t any. The redesigned cast metal headlamp cowl and 19-inch wheel up front make the Scram 411 look a bit more hunkered down and athletic as compared to the Himalayan.
The side-profile of the Scram 411 is indistinguishably similar to the Himalayan, save for a few cosmetic tweaks. Himalayan’s signature exoskeleton that can also be used for mounting jerry cans, is a goner.
It has been replaced by a chiselled side panel with slots. If you have been teleported from an alternate dimension and are having a hard time figuring out which motorcycle the Scram 411 is based upon, just look at the side panel which is home to the ‘Himalayan Scram 411’ badging.
The cockpit view of the rider is where the differences become even more apparent as it is a lot less cluttered as compared to the Himalayan. There aren’t countless dials to look at as the Scram 411 has borrowed its display from the Meteor 350. Media units were also equipped with tripper navigation pod which is an optional accessory. To make the ergonomics sync well with its road-biased dynamics, Royal Enfield has also tweaked the handlebar a little which now sits 60mm lower and 20mm closer to the rider.
The split seat found on the Himalayan has made way for a ‘Scrambler-esque’ ribbed single-piece seat. RE has also eliminated Himalayan’s luggage rack for a new grab rail unit.
The elimination of these bits has resulted in the Scram 411 tipping the scale at 183.5kg as opposed to the Himalayan’s dry weight of 190kg. One thing which is worth noting here is that you won’t get a centre stand as a factory fitment as it can only be availed under RE’s MiY campaign as an optional accessory. If you opt for a centre stand (which you definitely should), the overall dry weight of the Scram 411 will climb up to 185kg, still making it weigh around 5kg less as compared to the Himalayan.
Royal Enfield is offering the Scram 411 with a rather catchy colour palette – White Flame, Graphite Red, Silver Spirit, Graphite Blue, Blazing Black, Graphite Yellow and Skyline Blue.
The Agile Child
Riding dynamics is where Royal Enfield has paid most focus on as the Scram 411 gets a smaller, 19-inch unit as compared to the 21-inch unit found on the Himalayan. Mounting on the bike is a tiny bit easier and the uncluttered cockpit view is also a welcome addition. Another thing which you would notice right after helming the motorcycle is its lower seat height as it sits a bit lower (5mm) than the Himalayan.
After our ride was flagged off, we had to cover 80kms on the highway to reach our destination for the day – Big Rock Dirt Park. For someone who has been living in Mumbai for the past three years, Bengaluru’s weather was a stark revelation. And so was the Scram 411, out on the highway. Its 19-inch front wheel has definitely aided in its road-going mannerisms as it changes direction quicker than the Himalayan. Moreover, you also feel more connected to the motorcycle as the feedback from the road is also more pronounced.
The Scram 411 also feels more stable and gives you enough confidence to thrash it around corners as well. The riding ergonomics are a bit different too, with the rider sitting a bit more forward but the rider’s triangle is still sorted enough for those long highway jaunts.
Royal Enfield might have toned down the distilled recipe that is the Himalayan but it didn’t want to lose out on its off-road credentials by a fair margin. This is primarily the reason why RE opted for a 19-inch wheel up front, instead of a more road-biased 17-incher. This has brought down the ground clearance to 200mm from 220mm of the Himalayan but it is still respectable, at least if you compare it with the other pseudo-scramblers and ADVs that have flocked our market in the lower end of the spectrum.
The suspension travel too, has been reduced but not by a fair margin. While the Himalayan gets 200mm suspension travel up front, the Scram 411 makes do with 190mm. However, the rear suspension travel stands the same at 180mm. Royal Enfield didn’t want to compromise on its off-road credentials and it certainly shows! We had to undertake a scenic trail to experience the Scram 411 amidst the wilderness and it didn’t disappoint at all. While it might be a little sedated in terms of outright trail-bashing capabilities, it really can go off-road. Even when you stand up on the footpegs and manoeuvre the Scram 411 through tight sections, it shines. 200mm of ground clearance will see you fly over bumps and ruts like they are no big deal.
Braking is one department where the Himalayan hasn’t had a gala of a time and the same goes for the Scram 411 as well. It gets the same 300mm disc up front and 240mm disc at the rear. ‘Adequate’ is the word that best describes Scram 411’s braking performance as the brakes feel a bit wooden and lack the initial bite that we crave for confidence. Having razor-sharp brakes would definitely prove to be a curse when you are dealing with nasty trails but some more bite and feedback would have gone a long way in making the Scram 411 a dependable tourer.
Same Heart, Same Affair
The Scram 411 retains the same 411cc air-cooled, fuel-injected motor that pumps the affair in the Himalayan. This long-stroke unit is able to put down 24.3HP @ 6500rpm and 32nm of twisting force. Assumptions were ripe that Royal Enfield would deploy this mill in the same state of tune and they were right. There isn’t any change in its final drive ratio either to cater to its road-biased dynamics. Although we would have loved to see RE squeezing some more juice out of this mill, we are assuming that they are saving it for later.
If you have ridden the Himalayan before, the Scram 411 would pose no surprise in this department at all. This torquey motor is a breezy experience as it propels the Scram 411 in a linear and meaty fashion, right from when you dump the clutch and set off. This level of performance is enough for a brisk walk towards its cruising speed of around 90-100kmph. Even when you are sitting at 100kmph, there’s still enough juice left to perform quick overtakes. The absence of windshield is dearly felt on the highway with our notorious cross-winds. Vibrations are well contained till about 90-100kmph but as you climb up the rev counter, they become more pronounced.
This LS 411cc engine comes mated to a 5-speed gearbox and thanks to its longer gearing, the need for a 6th cog isn’t felt. It proved to be a herculean task to slot the Scram 411 in neutral from 1st gear and this is the reason why I had to shift to the 2nd gear and then slot the bike in neutral. This might be because of the nascent stage the engine and gearbox were in but still, a little more slickness would make the overall riding experience a bit more enjoyable.
Battle on the Cards
Are we living in the 1980s? Now that modern Yezdis and Royal Enfields will be taking over our streets again, it certainly feels that way. We cannot wait to pitch the new Yezdi Scrambler against the RE Scram 411 for a thorough shoot-out because both these motorcycles have identical ground clearance, 19-inch front wheel and are their brand’s respective takes on how a Scrambler should be. Tyres will dig deep in the dirt and picturesque landscapes will unfold as the two iconic brands will lock horns again. Glorious times for us enthusiasts, eh?
With the resurrection of Yezdi with three motorcycles catering to different niches, Royal Enfield had to adopt a two-pronged approach to retain its supremacy in the Indian market. The Scram 411 stands true to what RE set out to build- a more affordable, accessible and approachable take on the Himalayan. Although it could have done away with more individuality when it comes to its overall aesthetics, it is more capable than the other affordable Scramblers available in the market today. If you believe that the Himalayan is a little too hardcore and focused for your taste but you don’t wish to compromise on the off-road capability front, the Scram 411 would do justice to your garage.