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Yamaha XScrambleR 700

Chris S

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A couple of years ago, while waiting for the new Tenere, I was coming back from Western Sahara on a WR250R, pegged-out into a headwind at 55mph and thinking "there must be something better than this".

Then I had a brainwave: an XSR Scrambler might help fill the gap. I'd briefly test-ridden an MT-07 a year or so earlier and loved the motor, as most do. The rest, not so much. The bars on the XSR made it faintly doable, or more so than an MT-07.


By chance, when I got back home I was the only bidder on a smashed-up XSR on ebay for about half price.

Careful scrutiny of the photos showed it was worse than it looked and costing the repairs still made the project viable alongside a used one.

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A couple of months later, with the gash in the clutch cover and other mashed components repaired, I got my motor running and took it for a spin. What a great machine ;-)


There's only so much you can do by the kerbside without spending the five-figure sums of these Bike EXIF types.

But this was to be a practical gravel-roader, not some show pony shot moodily against a warehouse wall.

All I really needed was a bit of a suspension lift, some protection and a 19-inch wheel courtesy if an XV950, a rotor from a V-Max and a longer-than-stock Wilbur's shock. Plus some all-road rubber.



I did my Morocco trip, riding down in a warm autumn and back into the early winter's snows. The XSR's low seat was a real treat after the WR's annoying perch, and the motor was just about perfect, road or trail, if not quite as economical as an earlier Rally Raid CB500X.



But on the dirt, even if the tyre helped a lot, it was still really a road bike with road-bike ergos. And the Wilbur's wasn't as good as previous Hyperpros, or even more recent YSS shocks. 



A year later I found myself down there on a rental 700GS with 100k on the clock and an Ohlins on the back and have to admit the suspension was better and – horror of horrors! – the BMW motor felt as good too. The low CoG, aided by the undersea tank, made piloting over gnarly terrain much easier. But a yellow, speed block Anniversary XScrambleR 700 looks a whole lot better than a grey 700GS.


Can't wait to see how the CP2 Tenere turns out.



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