Two of my favorite things in the world are classic automobiles and vintage motorcycles. And when you combine them both into one event… well, that’s a pretty good day. Today I made my way to The Factory in Franklin, Tennessee for the 27th Annual Antique & Classic Car Show, sponsored by the Battlefield Region of the Antique Automobile Club of America. But it get’s better… this years show was held in conjunction with the Music City Chapter of the Antique Motorcycle Club of America. That’s right… a beautiful day filled with classic automobiles and vintage motorcycles…. all in the same place. I could go on about how heavenly that is, but I’ll just shut up and let you enjoy some of my photos.
All you have to do is say the words “Ducati Scrambler” and those of us who love the two-wheeled life instantly perk up. At least those of us with a few years on our tires and sufficient memory to recall earlier days. The Scrambler was Ducati’s push into the US, back when bellbottoms and wide collared shirts were the fashion and it was the epitome of the “little motorbike” that everyone wanted. By 1968 standards it had “the” sporty look, a solid frame, responsive controls, perfectly matched powerplant options of both a 250 and 350 motor… oh, and perhaps most importantly… it was cool! Despite it’s success on the street, and even on the track to an extent, Ducati decided to suspend production in 1974 bringing an end to what we all thought was the Scrambler legacy.
But hold on… not so fast! After much anticipation, Ducati introduced four new Scrambler models in 2015 (Icon, Full Throttle, Classic & Urban Enduro) to the delight of old school fans and hipsters alike. The results have been impressive and according to Revzilla, Ducati delivered 7,309 units in April of 2015 resulting in the company’s best sales month in history! This is largely due to the introduction of the new Scrambler.
As an old school kind of guy, my interest was more than peaked when Ducati started leaking information about this groovy little motorbike, so when the local Nashville Ducati dealer (Bloodworth Motorcycles) announced a factory demo day that included the Scrambler, I was all in. I signed up early and got to demo the new Scrambler on a 30 minute ride that covered everything from highway to backroads and even some good old urban bumper to bumper traffic. Here’s my take on the Scrambler.
First off, this bike is a real eye catcher. Even sitting in a line of high-powered, high dollar Ducati sport bikes, my eye instantly gravitated to the base model Icon Scrambler. It’s the perfect blend of old-school meets modern day motorcycle and practically begs you to ride it. When you first sit on the bike you will immediately notice that the handlebars are much like that of a dirt bike and you instantly get the feeling that this is a nimble and spry motorcycle. Seat height was very comfortable for my 5 foot 9 inch frame and all the controls were simple to operate and within easy reach.
Soon I was off on an adventure in the middle of a 12 bike pack. The first part of our ride took us down a stretch of interstate that allowed me to see what the 803cc motor had to offer. It did not disappoint and I was pleasantly surprised at how much torque the Scrambler had. Of course, with no wind screen, it was not the most comfortable ride at 70 miles per hour but then again, long interstate rides are not what this bike is built for. Next we made our way through 11 miles of twists and turns. This is where the Scrambler shined for me. I expected it to be a bit top-heavy under hard cornering but to my surprise it was smooth as silk and gripped the road admirably. The dirt bike “feel” was evident here again and I had no problems laying the bike over and hanging with the sport bikes in the group. The six-speed transmission and super-responsive clutch performed flawlessly and added to the fun. This road did reveal my biggest complaint about the Scrambler however. I found the tachometer to be painfully hard to read, especially when navigating sharp turns and trying to sneak a quick look at the RPMs. It’s not a deal-breaker but I hope that Ducati will address this issue going forward.
On our way back to the dealership we got caught in rush hour traffic. It lasted about 5 miles and gave me the opportunity to test out the Scrambler in a real-world situation. The bike performed great. It’s light enough to maneuver easy and has enough torque to get you out and away from tight situations. I could easily see this bike as a daily commuter but I do have to say… one drawback would have to be the hot exhaust pipe just under your right thigh. It’s positioned just where you can really feel it and on a day that saw over 90 degree temperatures, I was more than aware of it. Again… not a deal breaker but something to consider.
All in all, I’d have to say that the Ducati Scrambler is well worth a look for the rider who wants a reasonably priced (starting at $8595 MSRP) smaller, fun bike for either canyon carving or commuting. I could easily see one in my garage and I suspect that if it were there I’d probably be pulling it out more than any of the others because of it’s size and “fun” factor. Check one out for yourself!
– Looks Fantastic
– Lots of Torque
– Very Manuverable
– Poor visibility of the tach
– Warm Exhaust Pipe
Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned.
This review indicates my own personal opinion of this product and should be taken as just that. Yours may vary and you should try this product yourself before drawing any conclusions about it.
© 2016 Biker Swag, All Rights Reserved. No part of this review may be reproduced in any format without express written permission.
I recently made my way to the local Ducati dealership here in Nashvegas. I run by there every now and then, just to take the precision Italian machinery in. I’ve never owned a Ducati but would love to change that one day. In particular, I love the looks of the “Monster” below. In fact, when I think naked bike, I think Ducati Monster. The others are just copy-cats in my book. The last photo is of the incredible “Diavel Carbon” model. 162 horsepower and 94lb-ft of torque and the throttle-cabeless Ride-by-Wire system. Oh… and lots of carbon! All for about $20K.
As many of you know… I’m in the (slow) process of “bobbing” my Harley-Davidson Sportster and when I complete it, it won’t exactly be the most comfortable motorcycle I’ve ever owned. I’m not talking horrible, but I won’t be taking any weekend trips on it. So… I’ve been thinking. (A dangerous thing!) What would I really want for cruising or commuting to go along with the Sporty Bob? Certainly my interest in large touring H-D bikes is way-gone so they are out. I’d love to have a Sport Tourer such as the Kawasaki Concourse or Honda ST1300 but a daughter in college rules those awesome machines out on price alone. So what’s left? Of course, it would be the Sportbike family. But that’s a problem too. While I would love the performance and reliability of an R6 or CBR600, frankly… when I sold my Sportbike last year I vowed that I would never again own a bike that forced my body into a racing position. (Old age I guess.) But what if I could find that performance, reliability and wow factor in a more traditional riding position? Do those bikes exist? Yes they do… and they are commonly referred to as “Naked” bikes. These stripped down Spotbikes never quite caught on here in the US like they have abroad but there are some out there on the used market and they offer the ergos and performance I would be looking for at fairly affordable prices. Three in particular have caught my eye… The Ducati Monster, Honda 599 and the Suzuki SV. Here’s a look at all three in their 2004 versions.
2004 DUCATI MONSTER 620: Of the three, I like the looks of this one the best. Something about that tubular frame and racing red color seem to be screaming for my attention. Two things bother me about it though. I don’t know if I could ever get used to the clanky sound of a Ducati engine and my research indicates that maintenance on this bike is significantly more costly than on the other two. KBB Retail: $3570
2004 HONDA 599: Some people feel like this bike looks fat and bulky. I disagree. I like it’s looks and while I have never ridden one, just looking at it, the Honda seems like it would feel more substantial than the others. I also love Honda’s reputation for bullet-proof engines. Performance specs are good as well… the downside to this one? Hmmmm… I’m really not sure there is one. KBB Retail: $3120
2004 SUZUKI SV650: I owned the “S” version (lay-down with fairing) of this bike for a while, and while it performed well, it always felt a little squirrely to me. More than once I was not happy with how it handled when pushing through the curves. Still, I think the non “S” version here might be a good option for what I would want… and it is also the most affordable of the bunch. To bad it doesn’t look better KBB Retail: $2850
Of course, trying to compare these bikes without riding them is somewhat ridiculous but these are my initial impressions. Let me know what you think… and who knows… maybe one day soon I will be riding naked!
I’ve come to the conclusion that I must be Italian at heart. Maybe it’s because I grew up in a predominantly Italian community… I don’t know but I seem to love all things Italian… from the art to the architecture to the food to the dark complected, dark haired women! (See pics of my wife.)
I guess that’s also why Ducati motorcycles make my heart race! I’ve yet to own one but there is something about the Italian built line… and particularly the Monster… that seems to call my name! Today I fed the infatuation by stopping by the local Ducati Dealership here in Nashville to check out the 2009 Monster 696. Unfortunately all I came home with was the brochure… and a re-kindled old flame. Man, what a cool bike!
There’s an old saying that goes… “The only difference between men and boys is the price of their toys”… but that’s not always true. In fact, sometimes the price is exactly the same because the toy is exactly the same. Take for example, the 1:18 scale Ducati Hypermotard 1100 above that I picked up at Target tonight. I’ve been slowly collecting authentic two-wheel scaled metal models for a while now and including this one… I now have 15 in my collection. I guess the difference is that I don’t play with them… but I do think they are cool. Below is a pic of the real deal courtesy of Ducati.com. I’ve been lovin’ this bike for a while now!