Palm Springs, California.
Ask any Ducati owner why they bought their bike and chances are, they won’t say it’s because they got a great deal.
They probably won’t even say it’s because they wanted something sexy and Italian.
It could be because they wanted a state-of-the-art electronics system on an extremely competent road and track-ready motorcycle. Maybe they wanted to experience a piece of the Bologna-based bike brand’s racing pedigree or maybe even because they’re just plain cool.
I’d say those are good reasons, but one reason may trump the aforementioned few. Ducati isn’t merely a brand, it’s a lifestyle. That’s not a new concept for the motorcycle industry.
I can name a certain American motorcycle maker that has this notion nailed down better than a floorboard to a joist. Harley-Davidson, of course.
Then again, so does Ducati. In a different way.
Push the t-shirts, hats, and baby onesies aside and you have a following that grows stronger by the day. And by each bike they introduce. Enter the 2015 Ducati Scrambler.
While it might not have all the electronics the Ducatisti have become accustomed to, or the beautiful bodywork that makes jaws drop, it has a cool factor that compensates for it. Among other things.
With the introduction of this bike – well, technically there are four variations of the Scrambler, but for brevity purposes, I’ll refer to it as one – Ducati is targeting younger riders, or riders who want to experience a bike that serves as a hip and modern motorcycle yet pays homage to the Scramblers of old. The ones from the early 1960s.
Fast forward to now. In front of me is one of four models: the Icon. At a starting MSRP of $9,299, it comes clad in either yellow or red. Other models include Full Throttle ($9,995), the Classic ($10,995) and the Urban Enduro ($10,995.)
All Scramblers have identical chassis and engine specs but styling cues, handlebar configurations, seat covers and a few other aesthetic differentiators distinguish each model.
Up front on the Icon you’ve got a 10-spoke alloy wheel with an 18-inch tire and around back, a 17-inch tire. This set of rubbers was developed specifically for the bike with Pirelli and allow some hooliganism to happen both on and off road. But do keep in mind, it’s not designed specifically for off-road use.
The Scrambler scrambles to the tune of an air-cooled, L-Twin cylinder, 803cc
engine. It’s the same engine that occupied the space of the Monster 796 but has be detuned for this bike. Though, 75 horsepower and 50 lb-ft of torque is nothing to scoff at, especially if the bike is targeted at those who want to romp the urban streets.
Perhaps one of the coolest features of this bike is the underseat storage area with a USB port. While you ride, you can keep your phone charging and out of the way so you’re not distracted.
Letting you know what’s going on with the bike is a large, circular, LCD display that’s easy to read and offset to the right.
The steel teardrop-shaped tank with interchangeable aluminum side panels holds 13.5L of fuel and the wet weight of the bike tips the scale at 186 kg (410 lb.)
With a 790 mm (31.1-inch) seat height and an available as accessory low seat 770 mm (30.3-inch), both its weight and seat height are welcoming attributes for both seasoned and rookie riders.
Atop this sunshine-hued motorcycle, the wide seat is cushy, the handlebars are at a comfortable height and I’m ready to take this Icon for a spin.
Engaging the cable-actuated clutch, over time, did give my left hand a good workout. So did shifting through the 6-speed gearbox. After a long, and cold day’s ride, gears started to feel notchy and false neutrals prevailed. You could attribute that to the weather or the fact that the bikes were basically brand new.
Nevertheless, that didn’t stop me from thoroughly enjoying myself. The Scrambler’s strong suit is in its handling. You don’t need to continually adjust it to find an ideal apex on twisty roads and then stay there. Its suspension isn’t jarring, nor does it squirm under slippery situations.
Up front, a single 330 mm disc, radial 4-piston caliper with ABS is standard equipment and can bring you to a stop with minimal input.
Low-end torque, plus a predictable nature allows you to accelerate quickly but keep a snail’s pace if you’re stuck in stop-and-go traffic.
Overall, the Scrambler has a few kinks but that doesn’t distract me from praising its all-encompassing appeal. As for a lifestyle product, you can personalize it to the nth degree and even get the gear, t-shirts, hats and more to match.
And it’s just plain cool.
Visit http://scramblerducati.com/en for more information.