Nothing exudes elegance like tastefully styled British bikes. But not everyone can spend nearly 10 grand on a new Triumph. Enter Royal Enfield and its handsome Scram 411 ($5,099). Positioned as an urban scrambler, the on/off-road-capable Enfield is a classically styled air-cooled streetbike that’s a good fit for first-timers or more experienced motorcyclists seeking a mellow second bike for escapades around town. It’s based on Royal Enfield’s Himalayan adventure bike introduced for the 2018 model year, and tweaked last year.
Editor’s note: This article is sponsored by Royal Enfield North America. It outlines a two-day Southern California adventure we had recently showcasing the Scram 411′s versatility for urban-minded and light adventure rides. Royal Enfield is one of the world’s oldest motorcycle manufacturers. Born in England, the company’s manufacturing is now rooted in India but it continues to leverage a design and engineering operation in Leicestershire, England.
Whether you like motorcycles or not, few will argue against the Scram’s aesthetics. It offers clean, tidy lines from nose to tail. Proportions are spot on and it looks (and feels) like a real bike. It has a pleasing silhouette and construction is neat without excessive exposed cables or wires. Even the seat cover looks more premium than you’d expect for its price tag. One gripe: It would be nice if the exhaust finish was more stain-resistant.
Although priced like some scooters, it’s anything but, offering a full-size, real motorcycle feel complete with an easy-squeezing cable clutch and slick-shifting five-speed gearbox. Paint finish is better than we remember versus older modern Enfields (think the original ‘13 Continental GT 650) with a thick sheen and minimal orange peel effect. It’s nice to see Royal Enfield evolving its craft. If the Silver Spirit colorway isn’t your jam, seven other tasty colors are available, so you can match your favorite pair of Nqikes, er, Rev’Its.
Seated at the controls, we certainly noticed the Enfield isn’t the lightest bike on the road, weighing 431 pounds with its 3.9-gallon tank filled. A peculiarly short kickstand compounds this making it heavier-feeling to lift off the stand—but you get used to it. On the plus side, the seat height is accommodating for a range of rider sizes (the author stands 6 feet tall and weighs 205 pounds), and the saddle has a nice dish to support the rider. There’s room for a passenger too. A flat handlebar affords a commanding stance and the serrated footpegs afford a relaxed riding position (and more grip when riding in slick conditions, i.e., rain and off-road).
Built for urban rides the Scram is at home away from fast-moving freeways. Select the “avoid highways” button inside Royal Enfield’s slick Tripper smartphone app and the color round-face gauge directs you to good times.
The Scram is powered by a simple air-cooled fuel-injected 411cc overhead-cam single. The power unit is painted in a durable-looking matte black finish. Fins around the cylinder and head add to the aesthetic and of course keep the engine running cool. Thumb the starter and the engine fires to life and settles into its lumpy growl. Being air-cooled, it appreciates a bit of warmup before you get off and running.
The long-stroke configuration allows for ample torque (upward of 20 lb.-ft. just above idle) which gets you rolling with minimal clutch work. Clutch lever pull is both light and weighted well, another plus for all riders, regardless of skill. Throttle response is mellow and well suited to beginners. Maintenance-wise the engine offers 6,200-mile oil/filter change intervals. On a related note, a simple tool kit is included with purchase as is a first-aid kit.
The transmission offers precise shifts as you row through it. As revs increase, the engine certainly makes a lot of noise, with a bit of rattling at a certain rpm, but it fits the classic motorcycle vibe that the Scram exudes. The engine/exhaust note is low (in frequency) and slow, but it has a nice “thumpy” tone when heard from the side of the road. It also isn’t too obnoxious to annoy the neighbors.
With nearly 22 hp at the business end of the 120/90-17 CEAT rear tire the Scram is more than capable of traffic signal holeshots versus sleepy-headed drivers and is freeway-capable with an indicated top speed of 85 mph. Yet this isn’t the type of bike to rush around on. Instead it’s more suited to cruising California’s Pacific Coast Highway while registering nearly 44 mpg.
A cozy well-supported seat, flat, upright ergonomics, and more than 7 inches of suspension travel (with rear suspension linkage) allow miles to melt away with ease while you’re enjoying the sights, smell, and sounds of your surroundings. OE-fitted hand guards not only look neat but do a good job of keeping your mitts warm during rides in cooler weather.
Keeping tabs on the Scram’s vitals is a tasteful round-face dash. A classic swept speedometer relays speed information. Inside a small LCD houses a fuel gauge, handy gear position indicator, and trip functions. It’s simple and easy to read day or night. Speaking of after dark, although it employs an old-school halogen-bulb headlight, the headlamp throws an ample swath of light (high-beam enabled). Full LED lighting would no doubt bump it up a notch.
In spite of its curb weight, in motion, this Royal Enfield is exceptionally agile. It excels at both low-speed parking-lot maneuvers and offers excellent maneuverability at speeds through turns. Riding through the slow to medium speed hills of De Luz, California, (think second, third, and fourth gears) exploits this attribute allowing carefree midcorner handling corrections. Ground clearance is also decent for its level of power output as is general stability. If you’re seeking an easy-riding bike to boost confidence and get you ready for a more powerful ride one day, this Enfield is it.
The neat thing about real scramblers is that you can ride on and off pavement. Although far from a true dual sport the Scram is capable of tackling two-track-style fire roads. The 19-inch spoked front wheel rolls over dirt dirt clods and small rocks. An aluminum skid plate keeps the engine vitals safe if most of the 7-plus inches of suspension travel is used. Again, balanced ergonomics pay dividends in off-road conditions, too, making it easy for the rider to stand or sit depending on the terrain.
The chunky rubber along with the engine’s modest power output afford surprisingly good traction in the dirt and the engine is capable of lugging up moderately steep terrain that you might second-guess, even in a 4×4 pickup truck. For sure gearing is a tad tall for true off-road, but for exploration off the beaten path the Scram gets it done.
Similarly to the muted throttle response, the disc brakes are also novice-friendly with pleasingly dull brake bite. This helps newbs develop an understanding for brake sensitivity (or lack thereof, lol). Of course, the deeper the squeeze the faster the stop, and fixed ABS mitigates tire skids.
Fast, expensive motorcycles have their place. But when it comes to the basics of motorcycling—especially for a more modest, casual rider—it’s hard to argue with the Scram 411′s formula. After two solid days (and nights) in the saddle, we can say the Scram 411 is a fun urban all-arounder. Whether riding to grab a quick coffee, blow off steam after work, or cruise to see sunsets, it’s a charismatic, easy-riding streetbike. Yet it has enough spunk inside to deliver excitement on curvy stretches of tarmac and can kick up dust past pavement.
Helmet: Bell Helmets Moto-3
Jacket: Rev’It Quantum WB
Gloves: Rev’It Avion 3
Pant: Rev’It Jeans Reed SF
Boots: Rev’It Arrow
2023 Royal Enfield Scram 411 Technical Specifications and Price
|ENGINE||411cc, SOHC, air-cooled single; 2-valve|
|BORE x STROKE||78.0 x 86.0mm|
|FUEL DELIVERY||Fuel injection|
|CLUTCH||Wet, multiplate; cable actuation|
|FRONT SUSPENSION||41mm telescopic fork, nonadjustable; 7.5 in. travel|
|REAR SUSPENSION||Monoshock w/ linkage; 7.1 in. travel|
|FRONT BRAKE||2-piston floating caliper, 300mm disc w/ ABS|
|REAR BRAKE||1-piston floating caliper, 240mm disc w/ ABS|
|WHEELS, FRONT/REAR||Die-cast aluminum; 17 x 3.5 in. / 17 x 4.5 in.|
|TIRES, FRONT/REAR||CEAT; 100/90-19; 120/90-17|
|GROUND CLEARANCE||7.9 in.|
|SEAT HEIGHT||31.3 in.|
|FUEL CAPACITY||3.9 gal.|
|CURB WEIGHT||431 lb.|