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I recently took possession of brand-new Ducati Scrambler, Classic Edition. As an active motorcycle enthusiast, with almost 40 years of riding experience, here are my initial impressions...

I have waited over 20 years for some manufacturer to build a bike like this. A mid-displacement, minimal-weight, air-cooled v-twin powered motorcycle, with timeless good looks.

Ducati finally did it...

When I first heard the rumors about this bike last summer, I could hardly contain my enthusiasm. I poured over every piece of information that was released, and hurried off to my local dealer to leave a deposit as soon as I could.

This was back in August of 2014, and this past Friday I finally had “her” in my grubby little hands. First “Classic” model delivered to a customer in the US!

I’ve had chance to “get acquainted” over the weekend, taking delivery of the bike from the dealer, and heading out immediately for a 2-day trip that consumed all of the prescribed 600-mile initial break-in period. Not bad for just a couple of days!

I won’t bore you with details about Ducati’s decision to build this unit, and will assume that you know much about this particular motorcycle already, but will give you my impressions of it from the perspective of a long-time (almost 40 years) rider, who is also a degreed Mechanical Engineer and Certified Mechanic.

Read on...

“How does she look?”

Absolutely beautiful, in my opinion. Ducati is currently producing five different variations of this model. All are essentially mechanically identical, differing only subtly from one another.



The “base-model” (upper-left corner of the composite image shown above) is called “Icon” and comes in either a glossy red or bright yellow. It has cast aluminum wheels, and a swing-arm mounted license plate tag. This variation retails for $8495.00 US.

In addition to the Icon, there are 3 other packages available, each retailing for $9995.00.

The first is the “Urban Enduro” model (lower-left), that comes with a matte-green paint job, high front fender, headlamp grill, wire wheels and brown leather seat.

On the upper-right you will see the “Full Throttle” model, with flat track inspired looks, special slip-on exhaust, and lower bars.

Finally, on the lower-right, you can see the “Classic” model with its orange painted tank, brown leather seat, wire wheels and brushed aluminum fenders - front and rear. This was the model I chose, as it looked to me like the most faithful rendition of the original - just gorgeous, IMO. Fit and finish, on my particular model, is excellent.

“How does she go?”

Pretty damn well...

The Scrambler engine is a new version of Ducati’s tried-and-true SOHC V-twin, an air- and oil-cooled two-valver displacing 803cc. In reality, it’s a 796 engine detuned to deliver a claimed 75 horsepower at 8250 rpm and 50.2 pound-feet of torque at a mere 5750 rpm. There’s a 2500-rpm separation between peak torque and peak power, which guarantees great flexibility and smoothness thanks to a cam with 11 degrees of overlap.

The engine breathes thru 50mm throttle bodies and delivers excellent mileage, over 50 mpg in my limited experience so far.

I’ve heard some complain about “snatchi-ness” in the fueling at low rpm’s, but I think the fuel injection is damn near perfect.

It’s not a super-fast bike, but since it only weighs a shade over 400 lbs wet, the real-world performance is more than adequate. However, this is not the bike you want if your intention is to “tear up the twisties” on a permanent basis.

it’s no “street-legal-race-bike” by any stretch of the imagination - and it has other issues, which I will address later in this post, that make it very clear this bike has no “racing-potential” - street, track or otherwise.

If, however, you want a bike that handles most back-roads with aplomb, and is great for just tooling around town, it certainly fits the bill.

“How does she stop?”

Very well indeed.

Great brakes, both front and rear. Excellent feel and control. ABS is standard on all models, and I feared that this would be a disappointment, but I was wrong...

I’ve been on way too many ABS-equipped motorcycles, where the I found the implementation of this technology to be seriously deficient. it kicks in way too early (and way too often) for my liking, but Ducati has managed to address this, as it feel very natural and certainly not over-done.

Most excellent job.

“How does she handle?”

This is where the disappointments start to surface.

Going in, I new that there would be some things that would be somewhat lacking. Being Ducati’s least expensive offering, I had no illusions that everything would be perfect.

The bike was built to a price-point and something had to give - suspension is where it did.

The stock suspension on this bike is simply pretty awful.

Front forks are USD, but damper rod controlled and non-adjustable (even for preload). This being stated, the forks are not the main cause of the “woefullness”, as they are at least sprung decently.

The rear shock, on the other hand, is terrible. Unlike most bargain suspension setups, which are usually way under-sprung and too soft, this shock is stiff, unresponsive and lacks any subtle damping properties.

You can adjust for preload, but when you do get it dialed in for the proper sag, it is like riding a hard tail. Way too stiff, way too harsh. Even medium bumps in the road will leave you searching for lost tooth fillings. A day on some rough roads will really beat you up good, and it’s simply not possible to push the limits of corner speed as a result.

I’ve spent more than a couple of seasons racing, back in the day, and I know what bad suspension is, and this is definitely it.

A small disappointment, one that will have to be rectified by upgrading the components, for this rider.

On the positive side, once the suspension is fixed, this buke will be an excellent “scrambler”. My trip took us on numerous gravel and fire roads, and I can tell that once the damping issues are resolved, she will be a stellar, and somewhat surprising, performer.

“What about everything else?”

Not too shabby.

The minimalist, single gauge, is excellently thought out - providing a ton of useful functions and information.

Located under seat there is a USB socket for charging your phone, something that every modern motorcycle should have, and is very useful.

The exhaust note could be a litter bit better (couldn't they all?), but there are sure to be numerous aftermarket opportunities available soon.

Mechanically, everything that would need servicing seems to be easily accessible.

I’m extremely pleased with this bike, so far. Even with the disappoint suspension, it won’t take too much work to make it go as good as she looks.

Just be informed, know what all the benefits AND limitations are. The scrambler is a great looking bike, one that delivers decent, real world performance. Should end up being one of the best back-roads bikes I’ve ever owned.

But it’s not a bike for killing it on the twisties, and shouldn't be considered something to do any kind of extended touring on.

Originally published on my personal BLOG @ www.moto-graphic.com
 
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Good write up. Not sure I agree with everything you've said but nice write up all the same. :)
 

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Good write up. Not sure I agree with everything you've said but nice write up all the same. :)
Thanks... So, what are your thoughts? I would love to know how your opinion differs.
 

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Thanks... So, what are your thoughts? I would love to know how your opinion differs.
I very strongly agree, But I feel like it is going to do me jsut fine on the twisty roads. Not as good as my KTM DUKE II, but good enough to have a blast with.
 

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I agree with El Toro, but also with a most of what you've written.
A good write up and I appreciate anybody spending their time to do such an in-depth piece.
I personally think the suspension is OK but also know it's not top of the line stuff. I'm used to bikes ducking and diving back in the day, some suspension units you would swear were made from cheese or hardwood so the Scrambler isn't so bad.
Touring, I would and will take it on a tour of Europe as I will have my Urban Enduro and my wife will have her Classic (colour change maybe) Not this year as we intend taking our other bikes which have also been reported as 'not suitable tourers). To me any bike used for a tour is a tourer.
I know some talk about windblast etc. well, I've had big nakeds for years and on my Diavel the clock showed 162mph for a short burst on German Autobanns, there was windblast but can be done, my KTM showed 180mph and still tugging but I know the clock is miles out from factory (recognised fault) so knock 20 off. Bottom line is windblast on the Scrambler for me is not a problem.
I'm not sure there is another bike out there that covers all the bases for me unless I use an old classic bike, which has it's own problems.
 

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Nice Write up Tony , Thanks :)

I think had the Classic been available when I bought mine, I would have gone for that model, I convinced myself I didn't like the wire wheels (just the cleaning process) But it would have been cheaper to buy the classic and bought another set of Alloy wheels for winter,
I've now fitted the Classic Mudguards etc and I'm very pleased with how its turned out, May I suggest you change the rear shock before you buy another seat, You may find that solves your problem seat :rolleyes:

Just bought the Classic tank badges (Albie talked me into it:D) They certainly are much nicer, better made too, ;)
 

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Touring, I would and will take it on a tour of Europe .......... this year as we intend taking our other bikes which have also been reported as 'not suitable tourers). To me any bike used for a tour is a tourer.
My thoughts exactly, the Scrambler is more than capable of touring, even more so with a few mods. I can't think how many times I've been away on bikes that I was told weren't suitable for touring. My view is that I buy bikes that I like and can fully enjoy 52 weeks of the year, rather than a bike that's perfect for the 2-3 weeks holiday a year, and the rest of the year, over weight, over sized and under utilised.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Nice Write up Tony , Thanks :)

I think had the Classic been available when I bought mine, I would have gone for that model, I convinced myself I didn't like the wire wheels (just the cleaning process) But it would have been cheaper to buy the classic and bought another set of Alloy wheels for winter,
I've now fitted the Classic Mudguards etc and I'm very pleased with how its turned out, May I suggest you change the rear shock before you buy another seat, You may find that solves your problem seat :rolleyes:

Just bought the Classic tank badges (Albie talked me into it:D) They certainly are much nicer, better made too, ;)
Oh, I'm not replacing this seat - it's way too good looking on the Classic. The suspension, however, has always been on my short list of things to address - both front and rear. Not so much for comfort, but for the other obvious reasons.

I think I'm going to try one of those air hawk seat pads.


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