Mash Scrambler 400 and SWM Silver Vase 440

Exit with Mash Scrambler 400 and SWM Silver Vase 440

Single cylinder retro scrambler

Retro is in. But it doesn’t have to be a BMW or a Triumph. Because for a fraction of their prices there are small, air-cooled single cylinders from China like these two off-road singles in the classic look from Mash and SWM. What good are they?

Simple technology, robust workmanship, functional design: this was the recipe that used to be used to build off-road machines. Something similar also applies to these two “modern” single cylinders M.ash Scrambler 400 and SWM Silver Vase 440, which not only have their origins in China, but also come from the same company. Because behind both brand names is the Shineray group. Simple, single-cylinder engines that have been tried and tested a million times serve as the drive.

Exit with Mash Scrambler 400 and SWM Silver Vase 440

Single cylinder retro scrambler

Mash scrambler 400

Let’s start with the Mash Scrambler 400. The French Shineray importer SIMA came up with the brand name in order to better market the Chinese bikes in Europe. MOTORRAD had already tested the Five Hundred model (MOTORRAD 2/2015), which did quite well in comparison with the Yamaha SR 400.

The air-cooled 400cc engine looks a lot like the Honda single of the 1980s, technically it also copies its RVFC technology with four valves in a radial arrangement and a central camshaft. The Mash Scrambler 400, which costs just under 5,000 euros, is not a cheap home, nor is the SWM, which is equally expensive. For example, the Honda CBR 300 R including ABS and modern technology would be available for less money.

But the two test candidates certainly cannot and will not compete with that. To be happy with them, you have to be aware that not only do they look like they are from the 1970s, they also drive like this. The Mash Scrambler 400 even brakes with a drum brake at the rear, in proper style. At least that’s enough to make the yuanxing gum smoke. The fork and spring struts work according to the motto “hard but hearty”. Small bumps are simply ignored, big bumps are bravely opposed.

An honest motorcycle

The engine of the Mash Scrambler 400 is more enjoyable. It runs a bit rough, but takes up the gas cleanly and is quite easy to turn. The five gears can be shifted fairly precisely, and you can even reliably find idling when you stop at traffic lights. In the Scrambler version presented here with only one exhaust line, the single cylinder has a nominal output of 27 hp, two less than in the technically otherwise identical Five Hundred with two silencers.

In any case, the Mash Scrambler 400 is an honest motorcycle. In other words: what looks like metal is also metal. The tank anyway, and the magnet also sticks to the fenders, the headlight pot and even the side covers. Unfortunately also on the wheels, the budget was not enough for aluminum rims. A rare witness of bygone times can be found in the headlights. A real Bilux lamp strives bravely and in vain for illumination in the dark. During the day you can also switch off the light completely, which is also a bit retro today. You sit quite neatly on the mash, even though the upholstery is very soft.

SWM Silver Vase 440

The Italian brand SWM (Speedy Working Motors) was a big name in enduro racing in the 1970s and won six European championship titles. Later things went downhill, as early as 1984 the brand disappeared from the scene. Until 2014, after the sale of the BMW brand to KTM, the former Husqvarna workforce suddenly found themselves without a product or job and revived SWM.

In the meantime, production is resuming in Varese, partly with the technology of the old Huskies, partly based on machines from the parent company Shineray. Most of the components of the Silver Vase 440 come from China, complete with Italian add-on parts. Basically, it is the same engine in both cases, but in the SWM Silver Vase 440 with a slightly larger cylinder bore and 445 cm3. More displacement usually results in more power and more torque, and that is also the case in this case. Objectively and subjectively, progress is stronger with a measured 32 hp. The SWM motor, with its powerful center and robust sound, really puts you in a good mood. Small downer: the larger engine also vibrates a little more. That may bother some, others would rather book it under character.

Despite the beautiful workmanship, the test machine still suffered from a few defects that will hopefully so on be eliminated in series production. The engine was sweating out some oil, idling often did not go in at the traffic lights, and the engine control light sometimes shone. The Mash Scrambler 400, which has been in production for a long time, can definitely be attested to a higher degree of maturity.

Finer parts for the same money

However, the SWM Silver Vase 440 offers finer parts for the same money, starting with the stainless steel exhaust system and the rear disc brake to the adjustable fork, which, however, still appealed to a bit awkward on the dewy test machine.

Such trivialities hardly reduce the driving pleasure. The sonorous bubbling from the double, right-hand stainless steel exhaust and the old-school sitting position, far back and with an upright upper body, make you feel like Steve McQueen himself within a very short time. Anyone interested in driving dynamics will not seriously expect top performance from these little retro scramblers anyway, but rather an authentic, personable appearance. And despite all the inadequacies, both deliver it very easily.

Technical data Mash Scrambler 400

Data SWM Silver Vase 440

Mash Scrambler 400 and SWM Silver Vase 440 in price comparison

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Two pretty mid-range retro bikes.

The brands Mash and SWM can be called comparatively small brands, which is why the Scrambler 400 and the Silver Vase 440 are relatively seldom found on the second-hand market. But with them you stand out on the streets, and the prices are affordable. Here is the overview: used Mash Scramber 400 and SWM Silver Vase 440 in Germany.

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