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.
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