XSR700 Scrambler


Everybody loves a scrambler. It’s no new thing, just an old trend, coming around. They were invented in the deserts of California in the 60s – Mohave desert racers. Slap on some wide bars and trail tyres, lower the gearing and you’re street scrambling for real. On Any Sunday.
xs650-1983I remember checking out a Ducati 450 Scrambler in the late 70s; even then it was a legendary machine. And I remember my first XS650 bought a few years later (left). One of my all-time favourite bikes, xs-650-enginea Jap Bonnie wheeled home in two parts for 120 quid and reassembled in a basement. Incredibly, the XS was Yamaha’s flagship until the ‘Supershaft’ XS750 triple came out in ’76, soon followed by the XS Eleven and the FJs.

cbmt12Catapult forward like a snapping bungy to 2016 and Yamaha’s XSR700 was claiming it to be ‘the new XS650’, even if it was just an MT-07 makeover. As you can read here, my quick spin on an MT-07 confirmed tonythat there is no such thing as a dislikable parallel twin with a 270° crank (right); all the throb of a wide-angle V-twin without the space issues.

xsrspexmt07-motorA few weeks ago, riding through Morocco on my WR250R with less speed and comfort than I’d wish, my mind started wandering… In advance of the same engine being used in a T7 Ténéré a year or two away, I wondered if anyone had tried shoehorning an MT-07 (‘FZ-07’ in US) into a ligher chassis, as some have successfully done with the CB500X into CRF-L frames?
Sure enough, on advrider’s ‘Needs xs-07wrSome Assembly’ forum a guy is on it; chipping away at the myriad problems in slowly working the tall, 685cc twin into a trimmed and enlarged WR400 chassis.
I’m lacking in everything it takes XSR700to pull off something like that – it’s a project that’ll never cover its costs. Done plenty of that in my time.
But perhaps the more retro-styled XSR variant of the MT-07 could be modified a little to make it a dirt-road scrambler: wide bars, some protection and trail tyres, Mohave style. How hard can it be?


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