We look back at the 2008 long term test on the Scorpa SY 250 R from issue 9 of Trial Magazine
When a machine is usually tested most reports do not give a true picture of the machine. This article should be titled ‘Living With’ and that is exactly what I have done with the Scorpa SY 250cc R. No I have not taken the bike to bed (yet) but I have had the bike at my disposal for the last three months. It has been ridden in various events on many different types of terrain and the conclusion I came to is that it’s very much a wash and go machine.
Words: John Hulme
Pictures: Andrew Stewart, Kevin Hipwell and John Shirt Snr
The machine on loan to me was the SY 250cc R two-stroke. U.K Scorpa importer Nigel Birkett had built the machine up and it had been used just the once at a recent test day. First impressions when you look at the machine are that it appears very different with the machine bolted to the Yamaha engine with this being the main mass. After giving it the once over in the workshop and checking all the usual P.D.I (Pre Delivery Inspection) jobs had been done I adjusted the handlebars and levers etc to make myself comfortable on the machine. I swapped the quick action Dominio throttle for the slow one (black throttle drum as opposed to white for fast) as I always think this gives me a little more thinking time, I am approaching the big 50 you know! I popped on some riding gear, fuelled the bike and fired it up.
The kick start lever is very high when at the top of its stroke making it quite difficult to start unless you are stood up. It is a bit fiddly trying to pull the choke lever on but as this is only required when starting from cold it is not such a hassle. The bike fired up first kick and it was straight up to my practice patch. The first thing which I noticed immediately was how stable the bike feels. It also appears to be quite powerful though the power is very nice being quite soft off the bottom. One of my favorite practice sections consists of a short run up to a three foot step which then climbs over a bank onto a very steep narrow rocky climb finishing with another step you go over as you ride out. Revving the bike hard in first gear I struggled and was all over the place at my first attempt with the bike taking control of me, though I still managed to leg it out. After a few more feeble attempts I decided it was time to put my “wanna be” world champion head on. Selecting second gear and attacking things a lot more calmly and riding more of the throttle resulted in a smoother ride for a dab just to keep things going. After a few more attempts it made me realise that if you have the confidence to let the engine labour how stable the whole package becomes as I quickly managed to clean the section. After this I dropped it back down to bottom gear and with this new found confidence managed to clean it with ease. It really is about having confidence in the machine. I then went a ride over the moors and tracks taking in a few more of my regular practice sections. These are in a heavily shaded wood with plenty of fallen logs and loose banks. Once again the more you ride the bike the more confident you become. Choice of the right gear to use was difficult for me as I am generally a bottom gear man but with the Scorpa I felt very comfortable in second. On the ride back home it made me realise just how much all the machines that are available today vary. My first thoughts on the machine were that I enjoyed riding it, how powerful it was and that the clutch was slightly heavier than I am used to though this is a personal issue. I also adjusted the front suspension by turning the compression and rebound adjusters to suit my weight. With them adjusted right out this made the suspension softer. This allows for individual adjustment to suit you the rider. The rear suspension was left alone as this appeared to suit me.
I could not believe how nervous I was riding on a different machine for the first time in fifteen years! As you all know I have ridden Gas Gas machines previously. However, pulling off a clean on the first twisty section of the day settled me down. On this type of section you soon notice that the machine does not have anything for you to grip your legs against at the back as the machine is very front biased. My first lap caught me for three quick fives as I became accustomed to the clutch action. Once again it was my fault as the clutch works about two thirds out whereas I am used to the clutch working with the lever right out. Through the day I became more accustomed to the machine and choice of gear became easier. The machine really comes into its own on certain sections such as one that featured tight turns up and around a rooted slippery bank. It is very stable to ride encouraging you to pick your line and focus where you are going but if you do need some extra power it comes in nice and smooth. My next event was at a very muddy venue featuring a river running through it. The river was obviously very slippery but once again the Scorpa gave me confidence after firing it up a four foot bank out of the river in the first section. The trial featured some very tight turns with it being a muddy venue and I became quite tired towards the end. You tend to notice that the machine does not feel as agile as some of the other makes but this can work both ways. Because it holds its line well you can pick where you are going. With some of the other machines they feel lighter to ride but tend to bounce about a bit. For the modern day trick rider this can work to their advantage but for old dogs such as me it can become hard work. My next event was the Bemrose national trial based in the Peak District. This excellent trial gave me a true picture of the bike as it is a road based event covering forty sections in one big lap. It was a good day out and the machine performed well all day. I must mention that on the grip-less limestone going it amazed me at how well it found grip. As with all the modern trials machines it is not very comfortable on the road but performance wise you can fair just press on without fear of the engine giving problems, fuel consumption was good as well.
After each outing it has been washed and fettled by Trial Magazine giving a true picture of the machine over a period of time. As with all the modern machines the bike is very much a wash and go machine. Before washing the machine I took the seat and mudguard one piece unit off and put some rag into the air filter intake before replacing it. A quick blast with the power-washer being extra careful not to aim it at the carburetor was all that was needed to bring the bike back to looking new. After this I dried the machine off and placed it on the stand in the workshop. I removed the rag from the air filter inlet and removed the air filter element which is a very easy job to do, just flip the retaining clip off. The air filter was like new with nothing having entered the box as they now have a nice rubber seal around the top. Removing the fuel tank is quite easy, just two screws, which leaves the rest of the machine exposed ready to maintain. The carburetor looked a nightmare to remove but on closer inspection it just needed a little thought. If you remove the sub frame bolts and undo the clip which retains the air filter manifold to the carb the whole assembly comes away as one. Remove the carb top and slide, undo the other carb clip and it slides out nicely. Nothing had entered the carb so it was just a case of blowing it out with the airline. Re-assembly is pretty easy; it is just a little fiddly marrying the rubber air filter manifold to the carb but nothing that the average person cannot do. The rest of the machine is like any other and general maintenance is all that is required. I changed the thermostat that Nigel had given me as a matter of precaution. Any thing electrical can last from three weeks to three years as we all know but on the Scorpa this is a weak point created by the engine vibration. To help keep the thermostat out of the elements an after market mud-kit was fitted. The only other changes I made to the machine were for personal preference. After a while I replaced the slow action throttle for the fast one and fitted 7/8th handlebars and clamps, this being a personal preference. A must-have to fit to the machine though is an exhaust guard. I had been on the machine for five minutes when I caught my leg on the front pipe, be warned! There are various guards on the market to suit personal preferences so fit one to avoid this. In conclusion I had enjoyed “owning” the Scorpa and riding it in events. It is a far better machine than it is given credit for. Next time you see one throw your leg over it and give it a try, you could be quite surprised.
+ Very stable, smooth power, easy to ride, robust and maintenance free engine
– Clutch action, High kick-start, difficult to access the carburetor and air filter
Motor: two stroke water cooled – 249 cm3 (74 x 58mm) – carburettor TK Ø 26 mm – 6 speed gearbox.
Chassis: frame semi-perimeter steel 25CD4S – fork Marzocchi Ø 40 mm – rear shock Sachs – disc brakes Ø 182/150 mm – brake callipers 4 and 2 piston.
Dimensions: seat height: 610 mm – wheelbase: 1325 mm – weight: N/A – fuel capacity: 3.5 litre
Contact: Scorpa U.K 01229 716806
Price: £3850.00 (Inc v.a.t)
Spare Parts: (Plus v.a.t)
Front mudguard: £30.76 Rear mudguard: £69.59
Piston kit: £68.17 Kick-start: £93.93
Gear lever: £36.00 Foot brake lever: £31.30
Magneto cover: £76.33 Clutch cover: £314.37
Air filter element: £12.76 Clutch lever: £13.77
Front brake lever: £13.77 Throttle cable: £12.99
Clutch hose: £31.59 Front Brake hose: £30.96
Article Copyright: The copyright works remain in total to Trial Magazine. No part of this text or images must be used anywhere without written consent from the copy rights owner: Trial Magazine – John Hulme