Editor's Note: I rode the Scram 411 back at the end of August, 2022. When I returned home from the trip I came down with a nasty case of Covid 19 that I probably picked up at the airport. Despite being vaxxed and boosted, I copped a heavy viral load and was down for two weeks. To this day, a month and a half later, I still have brain fog and difficulty putting thoughts in order. This review represents my best efforts to reconstruct the ride from my notes and my muddled memory of the events, which is why it's a little scattershot and not up to my usual standards.
In late April or early May of 2023, Enfield is sending me a Scram to live with for a while. That'll allow me to form clearer opinions of it and give the bike a proper, long-term review. So, if this review doesn't quite do it for you, keep your eyes peeled next spring for something better and more comprehensive. -J
Before I knew it, I'd lost the pack. Twenty other riders—a mix of moto journalists, social media influencers, Royal Enfield crew, and a handful of crazy-brave, bike-mounted camera people—all mounted on new Scram 411s just walked away from me on a freeway outside of Madison, Wisconsin. It's not like I was slacking, either. I was full-tuck, wide-open throttle, pushing the Scram's 411cc single to its limit and getting about 70 miles per hour out of it. Nevertheless, I suddenly found myself all alone on that Madison freeway with maybe a gallon of gas in my tank, a nearly dead phone, and about 80 miles between me and my hotel in Milwaukee.
It was the last straw. I'd spent most of the day, and nearly all the day before—a solid 400 or so miles—outriding the Scram's brakes, suspension, and frame, bouncing off the rev limiter, and flogging the little single through Wisconsin's bucolic countryside like it owed me money. At the behest of a handful of riders who should have known better, riders who weren't even in charge, we were treating our Scrams like thoroughbred sportbikes—blasting through the sweeping country roads and going hot into corners like we were trying to set record lap times. It was miserable, and it was not, as far as I could tell, what the bikes were designed for.
I struggled to get to know the (admittedly very charming and likable) Scram during this time because I was concentrating on keeping up with the others who thought we were on a Hayabusa presser or something. The whole trip, when I wasn't trying to follow bonafide Enfield race riders' lines through back country farm roads—shout out to Build, Train, Race alum Alyssa Bridges for her phenomenal bike handling skills—I kept asking myself, "What is this bike for?"
It certainly wasn't for the high-speed canyon carving—for lack of a better term—we were doing on Wisconsin's nameless country highways (seriously, the roads just have letters out there, not even names). It wasn't, despite its Himalayan DNA, for hardcore off-roading. As far as I could tell it was a mathom—a lovely and charming (there's that word again) little thing with no real purpose.
I was wrong about that last part, but it'd be a while (and 500 hard-ridden miles) before I figured it out. Before we get to that, though, let me tell you about the bike.
The Scram 411 is powered by Enfield's tiny but mighty four-stroke, single-overhead-cam, air/oil-cooled, 411cc single. This same mill has reliably powered countless Himalayans around the world since 2016, so it's a known quantity. The middleweight single generates a claimed 24.3 horsepower at 6500 rpm and around 23 pound-feet of torque between 4,000 and 4,500 rpm. All those horses are transferred to the rear wheel through a five-speed constant mesh transmission, a wet, multi-plate clutch, and a chain final drive.
This was my first time on a 411-powered Enfield (and only my second time on any Enfield, in fact), and I was pleasantly surprised by the little single. We've spilled a fair amount of digital ink talking about the 411 single's shining parts, so I won't belabor you with a long description of it here. In the Scram, I found the 411 mill eminently competent. I believe I've mentioned before that I love a single, and the Scram's engine is one of the most loveable singles I've ever ridden. With a surprising amount of power on tap, a bucket load of torque, and a lot of effort put into balancing it just right, the 411cc single feels just right.
Suspension and Brakes
The Scram's suspension and frame carry over from the Himalayan largely unchanged. Forward, the Scram features its predecessor's 41mm telescopic forks with 190mm of travel, 10mm less than the Himalayan's. Aft, the rear wheel is sprung with the Himalayan's monoshock and has the same 180mm of travel. The Scram's wheelbase is slightly longer at 58 inches—over the Himalayan's 57.3-inch wheelbase—and it has 7.8 inches of ground clearance.
As for wheels, the Scram features a smaller laced wheel up front—19-inch as opposed to the Himalayan's 21-inch hoop—and both bikes share the same 17-inch wheel out back. Both wheels are shod in CEAT semi-knobby dual sport tires, which are good enough but loud on pavement.
Brakes are the same as well, with a two-piston ByBre floating caliper biting a 300mm rotor forward and a single-piston ByBre floating caliper and 240mm rotor aft. Both calipers are equipped with braided stainless steel lines. The brakes are watched over by a dual-channel, non-switchable ABS system, and did a great job of hauling the Scram's roughly 450 pounds (and my 235) down to a stop. When we weren't outriding them and cooking them off, anyway.
The Scram holds the road pretty well, and I found it competent both on paved roads and on the rough, gravel roads we found out in the boonies. The slight, very slight, reduction in suspension travel didn't seem to bother the Scram, and it did everything I asked of it, even when I was asking too much.
Ergos and Tech
The Scram 411 is only the second Royal Enfield I've ridden—The first was a 650 Interc... I mean... INT that Enfield loaned me for a couple hours before the Scram media launch—and I was pleasantly surprised by its cockpit. It has a single, large gauge that's a combo analog speedometer and digital readout, the latter of which displays your gear choice, odometer, fuel level, range, etc. Various warning lights are located in the lower half of the gauge face.
Our test bikes (mine was number 13 and I called it Lucky 13 for the entirety of the ride) were also equipped with a smaller accessory gauge for Enfield's proprietary Tripper nav system. In fact, the first 1,000 Scrams delivered in North America will come with Tripper standard. Sadly, none of ours were activated, so I don't have any useful info on the system itself here.
What the Scram doesn't have, and something I feel it desperately needs, is a tach. There's room enough in the IP binnacle to mount one. Hell, Enfleid could even put a digital one in the display carousel with the odometers, fuel range, voltage, and clock. The lack of a tach on the Scram feels like an oversight rather than a design choice, and an unfortunate one at that.
The bars felt a touch narrow to me, but the grips were sufficiently chunky and had a good feel. The left and right control binnacles are well equipped with big, clearly-marked switches that were all easy to activate while wearing gloves. I honestly didn't have anything to complain about with the Scram's controls or instruments, they were all good and about what you'd expect on a bike in this segment at this price point.
Now, sadly, we have to talk about the saddle. The Scram has a stepped, one-piece saddle that Enfield claims is designed for "comfort over long saddle time." After 500 miles in two days, I'm here to tell you that ain't the case. I found the saddle's padding and support inadequate for long-haul riding, and after about an hour or so of riding my butt got numb and my back started to hurt. Honestly, though, my complaint with the saddle is the same complaint I have with every stepped or king-queen-style seat—they don't fit me.
I have a long inseam and prefer to sit back from the tank with a nearly straight-armed riding position. Stepped seats always put me too close to the tank and force me into uncomfortable positions. Hell, the stepped seat was my biggest complaint about my Ural on my trip this past summer. I prefer a flat, well-padded seat that allows me to slide around and change position on the fly. There doesn't seem to be a flat saddle in the Himalayan's factory accessory catalog, and I understand that there won't be a ton of unique accessories built just for the Scram, so anyone wanting a better seat will probably have to go to the aftermarket. Not ideal, honestly.
Adventures in The Badger State
In late August, I flew to Royal Enfield's North American headquarters in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, one of my favorite towns in the country. I was there to attend the official launch of Royal Enfield's latest hard-working little wonder—the Scram 411. Developed from the Himalayan ADV, it is, in Enfield's words, "...an engaging, accessible, and capable street scrambler. Ideal for city riding, but its competent, rough-roading capabilities mean the fun doesn't stop even when the pavement ends." Pretty boilerplate corpspeak word salad there, but I figured I could get to the bottom of it.
The first night, we partied at Royal Enfield's North American headquarters and let me tell you, the folks at Enfield know how to throw a party. The food was good, the drinks were free and plentiful, and the music was fantastic. My colleagues and I, and assorted Enfield functionaries, milled around all night, talked about bikes, and even endured the usual company press presentation with goodwill—that's how good the food was.
After a solid night's sleep, we assembled once again at HQ on a drizzly, gray Thursday morning for our pre-ride briefing. After some milling about, we set out to get some photos around Milwaukee, then set out through the suburbs into the countryside. Our final destination that night was a cute little motel in Viroqua, Wisconsin—roughly 200 miles from Milwaukee near the Wisconsin Dells. To get there, we wound through miles of country highways, two-lane blacktop, nameless side roads, and tree-shaded dirt lanes.
Sounds pretty nice, right? It wasn't. Remember how I mentioned above that we flogged these bikes like they owed us money? We spent the entire day at wide-open throttle, dashing as fast as possible between fuel stops, lunch, and photo ops with no consideration for the bikes' capabilities, the various riders' skill levels, or the countryside. We rolled right through Frank Lloyd Wright's hometown without even a mention. The charms of northcentral Wisconsin were lost on us because, well, I still don't understand why we were in such a damned hurry. Honestly, it was miserable.
The next day was more of the same—dashing through the countryside like our asses were on fire and our hair was catching. Late that afternoon, after a stop to tour S&S Performance's headquarters and a late lunch at a roadside burger and ice cream joint, we hit the freeway and headed back to Milwaukee. That's when I got separated from the group in Madison. Once I lost sight of the last rider, I kept going, followed signs toward Milwaukee, and eventually hopped off the freeway to call Enfield's PR lead to let her know I'd gotten separated.
After a couple of tense phone calls and an interminable wait at a 7-11 gas station, the group arrived to pick me up for the rest of the ride home. I don't know what happened between my calls and when they showed up, but we maintained a strict riding order and hewed religiously to the speed limit all the way home. Not exactly what I wanted, but my bike was certainly grateful for the relatively peaceful and easy ride home.
I'll be honest with you guys, due to the frantic pace of our ride and how we really wrung these bikes out, I didn't get a good feel for the Scram's actual personality. I can tell you that it's real easy to outride the suspension during hard, fast, aggressive riding through twisties, but that's not what this bike is for. I can tell you that the rear end has an unnerving habit of stepping out while you're dragging a knee at 60mph around a decreasing-radius hairpin on a country highway, but then again, not what this bike is for. I can even tell you that it's incredibly easy to cook your brakes flogging the Scram like a racing bike through the hinterlands, or that the rev limiter is hilariously low for doing hole shots and racing from stoplight to stoplight through one-horse towns. Again, and I cannot stress this enough, that's not what this bike is for.
What is it for, then? I honestly don't know. It's not entirely a street bike, but it's not entirely an ADV either. It's more like a secret third thing that I can't quite describe. Yes, I know that secret third thing is often what a scrambler is, but it's not even that in this case. It's competent enough on dirt roads and rough-ish terrain thanks to its Himalayan DNA, but I wouldn't do any serious backcountry work with it. It's small and agile enough, and has enough torque, to be a great city bike or commuter, but it has too much off-road DNA to be a real asphalt runner.
Gallery: 2023 Royal Enfield Scram 411
What I can tell you is this: the Scram 411 is definitely for me. During the 500 or so miles I spent in the saddle, I found the Scram extremely likable despite the unfavorable reviewing conditions. It's fun, peppy, has good ergos, the mirrors actually work, and it fit me like a well-cut pair of jeans—no mean feat considering its smallish stature and my 6'1", 235-pound frame. It's absolutely the wrong bike for me—it's not my style and it doesn't really do anything that I want or need a bike to do—but I'd love to have one in my garage.
Ultimately, the Scram 411 is a whole lot of fun in a small, charming package. Priced to move at just $5,099, it's a great, affordable introduction to scramblers in general and Royal Enfields in particular. It's living proof that even with a vaguely-defined role and a flawed press ride, a well-built bike's positive attributes always shine through.