Ducati’s Scrambler has transformed the Bologna company’s fortunes. Ducati sold over 16,000 Scramblers in 2015, its first year of production, to boost sales by 22%. But what is the allure of the Scrambler? To find out, we spent a few days with the Icon model to find out…
At £7386, it’s an inexpensive way to join the Ducatisti. It’s an entry level model that’s been developed to not only extend the Ducati range, but also the types of customer that it appeals to.
While Ducati’s brochures and marketing material show trendy young hipsters enjoying the Scrambler lifestyle, the truth is that this is a range that has a far broader appeal, with plenty for the experienced motorcyclist to get stuck into too.
You see, in a world of technology packed motorcycles, there’s a classic simplicity to the Scrambler. The look is inspired by the range of small single-cylinder bikes, also called Scramblers, that Ducati produced in the 1960s. With high bars, tall suspension and a stripped back design, the styling of the Scramblers are right on point for today’s retro inspired customers. In total, there are six models, five of which share the same 803cc V-twin and most of which are simply cosmetic variations on the theme. This, the Icon, is the basic version, with the Classic and Full Throttle versions riding the same but having more upmarket detailing.
The Desert Sled and Café Racer are new for 2017 and take the concept in a slightly different direction with further chassis modifications and more distinctive styling while, at the bottom of the range, is the Sixty2 – a 400cc version at can be ridden on an A2 licence. At £6586, the Sixty2 is the cheapest new Ducati you can buy but it’s a rare sight on the road due, in no small part, down to the asthmatic performance from the 40bhp motor.
That’s not something that can be levelled at the rest of the range though. The 803cc engine is the latest variant of the venerable 90-degree air-cooled V-twin that is also due to see service in the new-for-2017 Monster 797. It’s a peppy unit that makes 75bhp, with a broad power delivery, but part of the appeal is its sheer simplicity. There’s no ride by wire technology here, or riding modes, or even traction control. This is old school motorcycling, and it’s fun.
The result is a bike that’s light (186kg wet) and with a low (790mm) and narrow seat it’s a really manageable bike. It’s not just appealing to new riders, it’s a great option for those looking to downsize or put a second bike in the garage for weekend enjoyment or even daily commuting.
That upright riding position isn’t brilliant on the motorway but it is superb around town, giving a commanding view over cars and great manoeuvrability thanks to the wide bars and generous turning circle.
What it’s not, really, is an off-roader. It comes fitted with dual purpose Pirelli MT-60 rubber that’s good on the road and will allow the Scrambler to tackle light dirt trails, but this is principally a good fun street bike that’s hugely accessible and cool looking to boot. Its no wonder the Scrambler has been such a massive success.
Alternatives: It’s a different vibe, but the Harley-Davidson Sportster 883 is another simple bike with an iconic badge on the tank. If it’s the scrambler scene you seek, the Triumph Street Scrambler is a more refined (and expensive) option than the Ducati. And if it’s an off-road Scrambler you want, then be sure to look at the new Ducati Desert Sled.
|ENGINE TYPE||L-Twin, Desmodromic distribution, two valves per cylinder, air cooled|
|BORE X STROKE||88x66mm|
|MAXIMUM POWER||55kW (75bhp) @5750rpm|
|MAXIMUM TORQUE||68Nm @ 6500rpm|
|FRONT SUSPENSION||41mm upside down forks|
|FUEL TANK||13.5 litres|
* Based on our average customer 52 year old, 9 years NCB, garaged, WA14 postcode, no claims/convictions, 4000 miles Comp cover is £275.48 with a £400xs. Get your Ducati Motorbike insured with Carole Nash