After having some issues with my 800, I had a Sixty2 for a few weeks and did a lot of miles on it.
I would say go for the 800. The 400 really isn't any safer as it weighs about the same and can still go plenty fast enough to kill you.
the 400 has quite a lot of cost-cutting parts fitted but the bike isn't actually THAT much cheaper. It has lower quality brakes, cheaper suspension, lower quality plastic belt covers, a heavier steel swingarm and the list goes on.
The biggest crime for me though is the exhaust, it loses the beautiful header pipes that curl around the side of the bike, a real signature feature that I love. Instead it gets a basic straight pipe that runs to the back.
The newer 800 bikes, I think 2018 and on have a revised throttle that makes the power delivery much smoother. 2019 and on also have cornering ABS on the 800. Perhaps sell that as being more safety conscious
Here's a dissenting opinion on getting the 800:
I intentionally chose the Sixty2 because it was lighter, more flickable, less twitchy on the throttle, and a bit easier to work on. I was able to take a 120 mile test ride on both bikes, and came back KNOWING that the 400 was the better bike for me. Full disclosure: I enjoy riding smaller bikes longish distances (my 2017 Honda CRF250L Rally gets ridden an average of 160 miles every time I ride it; and I've ridden it as much as 350 miles/day several times). So far, my average ride on the Scrambler 400 is just over 125 miles...
You know what they say: "It's more fun to ride a slow bike fast than a fast bike slow..."
Don’t doubt the Sixty2 could be just as fun. A little 400 V Twin is quite unusual in a sea of single cylinder and parallel small bikes.
Thing is though, the Sixty2 isn’t that small. Exact same size, height and width as the 800 and it’s only 6lbs / 2.7kg lighter.
400 is for sure an easier bike to ride due to the lack of power but the 800 isn’t a rocket ship, it’s not massively fast either. Throttle on the pre-2017 bikes is a little sharper but quite easily improved if needed.
I love mine.
It certainly doesn't have as much pull as an 800 but its got enough for what I need.
Super smooth and not much heat off the rear cylinder.
One con I didnt expect was the amount of shifting as this is the smallest cc four stroke I have ever owned.
The 800 might be a better value in terms in up front costs.
Not sure if there is much of an insurance premium between the two.
But I wonder if the sixty2 gains some of the value back over time.
The 160 tire over a 180 and gas costs might save you a couple bucks.
I might be reaching now but just a perspective from a sixty2 owner.
Its also plenty of fun...as long as its under 50 mph.
i have a sixty2 mainly because of insurance purposes. here in toronto, motorcycle insurance is insane. we're talking thousands of dollars a year insane. compared to some places like california where you barely pay a few hundred a year.
if it werent for insurance, i probably would get the 800 as they both basically weigh the same. the sixty2 is also missing some of the stuff from the newer scramblers (hydraulic clutch, gear indicator etc).
that being said, the sixty2 is perfectly fine for my needs. inner city riding (40-50km/h) and country roads (70-100km/h) with the occasional highway jaunt (120+ km/h) is just fine. obviously it is lacking the power of 800 but meh. i do wish i could easily customize the tank like you can with the 800s but whatever.
at your age, how are your wrists? i do find these ducatis are generally more stiff with their clutch levers. compared to my old suzuki, the ducati clutch lever is way harder to pull in.
I don't have an 800 quote to compare with but the Sixty2 was $200 a year to insure in California (I'm 35, no tickets, and added to 4 bikes between me and my wife).
I've put on about 400 miles of commuting over the first 2 weeks of ownership and the scrambler is exactly the bike I like to ride. Sure I'm probably not going to do an iron butt challenge on it, but it is just as comfortable to ride long distance as my KTM 625SXC which I did 1600 miles on a 3 day weekend...
I like that I can just wip the throttle and it will likely never surprise me (nothing like the Buell lightning wheely monster that I do miss )
Different strokes for different pokes. Just enjoy the ride!