SPORTING MACHINES ON TEST. THE 596 c.c. SCOTT SUPER SQUIRREL.
By RODNEY L. WALKERLEY.
OF all the machines on the road the Scott is probably the most distinctive. The unconventional frame is celebrated, and shares with the Cotton the reputation of being the finest road-holding frame on the road, by reason of its constructional principles, which embody a duplex frame of unique design.
It was with real pleasure that I looked forward to road testing the 1928 Super Squirrel, and I can definitely say that the new Scott is like the previous machines were, only more so. I took over the Scott at the London Depot, 78, Charlotte Street, W.’, on a pouring wet day, and I was pleasantly relieved by a glance at the generous mudguarding of the Super-Squirrel. The whole machine appears to be as weather-proof as a motor cycle very
well can be, the engine, gear-box, and primary transmission being totally enclosed in very handsome aluminium casings.
Having adjusted my goggles, and pulled up my coat collar as far as it would go, for the rain was pouring down, I got astride the machine, and with one gentle depression of the starter, the engine woke into life. I was reminded of the extreme ” pep ” of the Squirrel by a very good example of skid on the road-ooze when I accelerated away, and I drove with increased caution for the rest of the way out of Town, over tram lines at their worst, and various stretches of surface notorious for their lack of ” ,u,” but apart from a gentle sliding if the throttle were jerked open, the Scott was rocksteady.
During my tests I habitually drive fast, and for this reason I opened the oil taps to a greater degree than was strictly necessary, which caused uneven running at speeds below twenty-five. In traffic I found it impossible to avoid four-stroking on any gear, and this is, I believe, inherent in the Scott ; and the 1928 Super-Squirrel is no worse in this respect than other Scotts I have ridden in the past, but with tuning of carburetter, and due regard being given to the oil supply, I am certain this erratic running could be cured. But as I personally prefer a machine which runs perfectly from forty-five onwards this tendency did not detract from my pleasure in the least. No shock absorbers or dampers were fitted to this machine, and I must confess to a little apprehension
when travelling rapidly. The weight of the Scott is placed low, very low, and it is because of this that the Scott is not altogether as other machines.
One thing I found, and that is, that the front brake is very, very useful, and simply must be used if a stop is urgently indicated. A mere application of the rearbrake—which is very powerful in itself—is not sufficient, for the tear wheel bucks up and down on the road. The front braking mechanism is enough to counteract this, and once the principle of fore-wheel braking is grasped, the arresting of progress is simplified. While talking of front brakes, the adjustment to the Scott front wheel brake is simplicity itself ; but it must be carefully seen that the lock nut is securely tightened,
as I suspect the adjustment was slipping once or twice, since I had to re-adjust almost every fifty miles.
It was suggested to me that the Squirrel made an “unholy row.” That the exhaust is distinct, I will agree, but if it is noisy, it is a decidedly nice noise, and pleasant to the rider’s ears. If it should be thought that the drone is too loud for the common weal, it is quite simple to fit the silencer supplied by the Scott people for this very purpose.
This device is known as the Howarth Silencer and is fitted to the exhaust pipe by a clip. With one of these silencers fitted—which is in addition to the standard expansion box—the result was uncanny. The drone became a purr, and one just fluff-fluffed along. To my mind, the delight of the Scott was gone, one might have been astride an electric motor. Nor does this device cause any appreciable slowing of the engine ; the” pep” was still present in full strength. However, this is a matter for individual taste ; personally, I would have none of it.
The Super-Squirrel undoubtedly has tremendous power. From fifty onwards there is a surge forward when the throttle is propped open which delights the driver. One sweeps along the road in one long, glorious howl, and on corners, the Scott is, of course, famous. High averages are possible across any line of country. I personally rode from Effingham, beyond Brooklands, to my home, via Staines, Colnbrook, Iver and Denham —all notorious “roads “—a distance of quite fifty-two miles, in one hour, twenty minutes, two up, and the last fourteen miles were done in eighteen minutes. The Scott certainly can go. With regard to speed, I should estimate that this machine bettered seventy under good conditions, as it stood. But the chief beauty is its effortless fifty-five to sixty, when the engine is droning along, revelling in the speed. Flat out, over bumpy roads, I found the machine a handful. I say this advisedly, because over
bumpy stuff no machine is particularly docile from sixty-five onwards, and while I say I had my hands full holding the Scott down and in a straight line, there was no danger of an uncontrollable wobble at any time. Once only, in the five hundred odd miles I drove this machine, I encountered a wobble. This arose owing to my taking a hump-backed bridge at speed, and landing with the front wheel in a deep pot-hole.
The wobble was distinct, but momentary, and without diminishing speed it died away.
It was possibly this jolt which caused one of the breakages I suffered. I found the engine vibrating badly at high speed, and on examination, the cause was found to be a fracture of the front engine bearer, where the engine was bolted into the forward end of the cradle. I suggest that a shock-absorber would have damped this crash and saved the fracture. The only other casualty was the petrol tank became loose on its seating, and this may have been due to the same cause.
Off the Beaten Track.
I took the Scott over a short colonial section, and through a foot-deep water splash. Over the former its behaviour was exemplary, but the surface was rather drier than on previous occasions, and the Scott made light of it.
The Squirrel seems to be the ideal machine for negotiating water. The large shield in front keeps spray from the rider, there is no flywheel to fling water onto plugs and carburetter, the magneto is tucked out of harm’s way, and the plugs are high and dry, far from the reach of water in the deepest splash likely to be included in a trial.
Driving the Scott is a joy in itself. The gear change is easy and certain, both up and down, and the clutch is reasonably light in use. Starting from cold is not difficult, and I found that liberal ” flooding ” yielded a start in about four kicks from stone cold. When warm, one gentle depression is quite enough.
Without criticism this sort of article would be useless, and I must append one or two points which I disliked. I found that, for my taste, the gear ratios were too wide. For acceleration bottom was far too low and middle
was too high for rapid acceleration from a speed of about fifteen miles per hour. The gap between middle and high, while being excellent for touring purposes, was also too great for sporting needs. However, I am assured closer ratios can be fitted to the eustomer’s own require ments, which is an ideal arrangement.
There certainly should be a shock absorber and steering damper. The forks clashed far too easily, and at speed I felt I might get a wobble—I didn’t actually, but that was the feeling.
The saddle position could be lower with advantage. Somehow, I felt perched very high on the Scott, and the saddle is some inches above the rear tyre. On the Flying Models, I believe, this has received attention, and I recommend that this be extended to all the Squirrels.
Here criticism ends, all small points, but which might be improved. A point which needs careful attention from the rider is the regulation of the oil-feed. Two drips with two adjusters are combined in the one pump, low down over the gear-box on the left of the machine, and visible when riding. These drips must be nicely regulated, for an over-dose from one upsets the precise running of the machine. A small item, but worth noticing
To sum up, I found the 596 C.C. Super-Squirrel a delightful machine to handle, capable of the highest speeds possible on an ordinary journey, and perfectly reliable withal. A splendid production upon which the Scott Motor Cycle Co. are to be congratulated.
Rally Review, October 1979
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