Posts tagged “Review

A CLOSER LOOK AT THE DUCATI SCRAMBLER

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

PROS:
– Looks Fantastic
– Lots of Torque
– Very Manuverable

CONS:
– Poor visibility of the tach
– Warm Exhaust Pipe

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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.

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REVIEW: HARLEY-DAVIDSON SEVENTY-TWO

(WARNING: TONS OF PICTURES)


Those who know me or frequent this blog know that I am a Sportster fanatic. It all started back in the 70s, when as a child, I watched a TV show by the name of Then Came Bronson which depicted an ultra-cool dude riding from town to town on an ultra-cool bike… a Harley-Davidson Sportster. Over the years I’ve owned just about every brand and size of motorcycle you can imagine, but I always seem to wind up back at Bronson’s choice of two-wheels. In fact, that’s where I am right now. Some thought I was crazy when I sold my Electra-Glide last year and got another Sporty. But that’s OK. I am perfectly happy with my choice. And if some don’t understand… well, in Jim Bronson rebel form, that makes it even better!

But enough about me. As a fan of the bike… I’ve been pretty happy to see the Motor Company giving the Sportster model some specific attention over the past few years. And in particular, their decision to try and capture some of its history and the retro vibe that I love. The Nightster, Iron 883 and the Forty-Eight were great steps in that direction and now here we are in 2012 and H-D has taken it to the next level with the introduction of the Seventy-Two.

Marketing blabber from Harley describes the newest member of the Sportster family like this:  “Authentic ’70s chopper attitude meets modern power and premium H-D styling in this bare-bones, lowrider-inspired radical custom.” I don’t know how accurate that is and honestly, I don’t really care what a marketing team in a conference room in Milwaukee came up with to say about this bike. I’m only concerned with a couple of things. Does it look good, and does it function well. On the first count, I’ll have to admit that they immediately got me hook, line and sinker. The design team, in my opinion, nailed the retro vibe and I’ve wanted to climb on one of these bad boys since I first saw the sneak-peek photos coming out of the dealer meetings this winter. And today was my chance. Bumpus Harley-Davidson, a local dealer here in Middle Tennessee, is playing host to the Harley-Davidson factory truck this weekend and it offered the perfect opportunity for me to check out the Seventy-Two up close.

The Seventy-Two is available in three colors which are Black Denim, Big Blue Pearl and as in the test model I rode that you see here, Big Red Flake. For me, the gorgeous Big Red Flake is the only viable option if you really want to capture that 70s vibe. It looks gaudy and fantastic! Adding to the retro  “look” is the 8-inch round mirror chrome air cleaner cover. It might seem like a small thing but it is a great period-correct touch. And while it may be debatable as to whether whitewall tires are authentic to the time period, they look great on the chrome laced wheels.


When I first threw a leg over the Seventy-Two, the shocks seemed pretty spongy. This could be because I have grown accustomed to riding Burly Slammer shocks on my own Sporty… I don’t know. More on the ride later. The next thing I noticed, and what the specs don’t tell you about, is the stance of the bike. The low 26.6 inch seat height, retro 2.1 gallon tapered peanut tank, mini-ape hanger handlebars, 30.1 rake and 21-inch front wheel all add up to a realistic chopper feel. Seriously, It feels like the front-end is up in the air where it belongs on any cool chopper!

Next came the demo ride… where the rubber hit the road, so to speak. At first, the mini-ape hangers seemed pretty wide. My hands were at about bicep level and a few inches wider than my shoulders. This was much different than my Biltwell Frisco bars that are very close together… but it took no time at all for me to get used to the wider feel and I soon found the low seat / ape-hangers / forward-control set-up to be very comfortable. We almost immediately turned on to a four-lane Interstate Highway and since I was the last rider in a line of 15 or so bikes, I had the opportunity to play a little catch-up. I won’t tell you how fast I got going, but let’s just say the 73.3 cubic inch, fuel injected air-cooled Evolution motor had no problem whatsoever getting me to… well at least the 70mph posted speed limit… in no time at all. The Seventy-Two had very good power and the 1-down, 4-up 5-speed tranny shifted and sounded just like any Sportster I’ve ever ridden. No surprises in the gear box.

Next came the curvy part of the demo ride and the Seventy-Two performed flawlessly. I was able to glide through every curve, hitting the apex smooth as silk. It was a joy to ride and very comfortable. This is where the bike shined for me. I would imagine that if I owned one, I would trade every Interstate route I had for the most winding backroads I could find. And as for the soft feel of the shocks? I didn’t really notice it while moving. The ride of the Seventy-Two was very comfortable while still maintaining a good feel of the road. No complaints whatsoever. One final thought on the demo ride. When pulling back into the parking lot of the dealer, I did some slow-speed maneuvering. When I did this on the Forty-Eight, the front-end was pretty “floppy” and a bit unstable but the Seventy-Two handled beautifully with no stability issues at low speed.

So what’s the verdict then? Here are my pro and con opinions of the Seventy-Two. Take them for what they are worth.

PROS: The bike looks FANTASTIC. Even better in real-life. It definitely captures the “chopper” vibe and feel and the Big Red Flake paint is drop-dead gorgeous! The bike has good power and handles well at high and low speeds. One other observation. While waiting my turn for a demo ride, I watched three other people ride off on the bike. A small lady, a stocky man and an older medium build rider. In all three cases, the bike looked killer going down the road. The lines are very nice and regardless of rider size, the vibe works well.

CONS: The most glaring con for me is the speedo location. When you are on the bike it feels like it is sticking straight up in a vertical position. In my opinion it would have made more aesthetic sense to tilt it down and out of the way a bit. If I owned this bike I would probably re-locate the speedo or at least find a different mounting option. The other issue I had is the same one I seem to have with all of the new Sportsters. The exhaust pipes are way too quiet. I literally struggled to hear any exhaust noise at all while riding. I don’t want to hear engine clatter when I’m going down the road. I want to hear that rumble that makes a Harley a Harley. If this were my bike, the stock pipes would have to go! The classic H-D sound should come with the classic H-D look but unfortunately that is only going to come via aftermarket.

Overall, I have to give this bike two big thumbs up! The Sportster haters are of course going to hate any Sportster and the sportbike crowd won’t be interested… but if you are like me and find the classic Sporty look appealing, you should check this bike out. And if the vintage/retro vibe is also your thing, then you definitely MUST check out the Seventy-Two.

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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.

© 2012 Biker Swag, All Rights Reserved. No part of this review may be reproduced in any format without express written permission.