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Back in April we noticed the Star Motorcycles website was being redirected to Yamaha’s website, and we broke news with an official response from Yamaha that its Star Motorcycles brand was being reabsorbed into Yamaha’s street lineup now split into four segments: Sport, Super Sport, Sport Heritage, and Cruiser.

Yamaha notes there is some crossover traffic in the latter two categories, with both camps appreciating customization, timelessness, authentic materials, engine character and social lifestyles. While aging Boomers and Gen Xers are moving to more comfortable and practical baggers, Gen Y is digging on lighter and simpler cafe racers and scramblers.

Yamaha’s most successful cruisers of late have been the Bolts, and Yamaha is bringing about further distinctions between the Bolt and Bolt R-spec. The R ($8,399) will maintain its current “sport” positioning, while the regular version ($7,999) will get reinforcements to its “timeless character,” which for 2017 means new wire-spoke wheels. Both Bolts get a nice upgrade with a new flangeless fuel tank (no ugly seams!) that holds an extra 1.2 liters. Also new for the 2017 Bolts, available in August, are “improved appearance wire guides.”

Look, ma! No seams!

I can’t say much about the wire guides, as I was too busy checking out the new SCR950 to ask about them. While the Bolts belong in Yamaha’s cruiser stable, the same platform in the SCR is slotted into Yamaha’s new Sport Heritage line. Yep, the SCR950 is essentially a Bolt dressed in scrambler clothes.

2014 Star Bolt vs. 2013 Harley-Davidson 883 Iron

So, we’ve got the now-familiar 60-degree air-cooled V-Twin displacing 942cc, with its four valves per cylinder helping churn out about 49 horses to the rear wheel. Also familiar are the instrumentation, frame and suspension.

Any resemblance to a Yamaha XT500 is purely intentional. The SCR950 boasts the same 3.2-gallon seamless fuel tank as the other 2017 Bolts. The fork might look too raked out for a proper scrambler, but Yamaha test riders claim the SCR is surprisingly light on its feet, even compared to Triumph’s Scrambler. The aluminum bash plate pictured here is an optional accessory, of which there are about 30 available for the SCR.

An important piece to turn a Bolt into a scrambler is the new subframe that allows a flat seating area for a variety of seating positions for riders of different sizes or for when clambering about while navigating off-road terrain. A tall and wide steel handlebar with crossbar can accommodate a standing position while riding.

The SCR’s saddle sits at 32.7 inches, which allows far more legroom than other Bolts, including the C-spec, from which the SCR get its footrests. There is a small storage area behind the faux number plate. The suspension is from the Bolt R-spec, including its fork with 4.7 inches of travel but with new tuning for this application and de rigueur rubber gaiters. Belt drive, a low muffler and remote-reservoir shocks with 2.8 inches of stroke snicker at any Baja intentions.

Completing the transformation to scrambler is a pair of aluminum-rimmed wire-spoke wheels with large-block off-roady tires, a 100/90-19 up front and a 140/80-17 rear. It adds up to a 547-lb curb weight package available in Rapid Red or Charcoal Silver this July. Price negotiations start at $8,699.

2017 Yamaha SCR950 Specifications
Engine Type 58-cubic-inch (942cc) air-cooled SOHC 4-stroke V-twin; 4 valves
Bore x Stroke 85.0mm x 83.0mm
Compression Ratio 9.0:1
Fuel Delivery Fuel injection
Ignition TCI Transistor Controlled Ignition
Transmission 5-speed; multiplate wet clutch
Final Drive Belt
Front Suspension Telescopic fork, 4.7-in travel
Rear Suspension Dual piggyback shocks, 2.8-in travel
Front Brakes Wave-type disc, 298mm
Rear Brakes Wave-type disc, 298mm
Front Tire 100/90-19
Rear Tire 140/80R17
L x W x H 88.6 in x 35.2 in x 45.9 in
Seat Height 32.7 in
Wheelbase 62.0 in
Rake (Caster Angle) 28.4°
Trail 5.1 in
Ground Clearance 5.5 in
Fuel Capacity 3.2 gal
Fuel Economy (Claimed) 51 mpg
Wet Weight (Claimed) 547 lb
Warranty 1 Year (Limited Factory Warranty)
Color Options Charcoal Silver; Rapid Red

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