I recent purchased a 2015 Ducati Scrambler - Classic Edition - and did my best to convey my initial impressions of this fine motorcycle in an earlier POST
My original opinions were somewhat constrained by the timing of that communication, as it was written during the first extended trip after purchase, but still while in the midst of the bike’s break in period.
With over 1000 miles now on the odometer, and a recently completed first service, now was the time to “take of the gloves” and really let her stretch her legs and show me what it was all about.
I managed to get away for a day trip today, traveling 350 miles on some of the best back-roads in Southeastern Pennsylvania, to see how this little bike really performs.
My morning started off with a grin, and just widened throughout the course of the day. This bike is just excellent. In spite of its shortcomings (read on for more on these) it manages to convey a truly special riding experience.
It’s not the fastest (by a long-shot), but is exceedingly “quick”. The stock suspension is horrid, but it handles wonderfully. It’s definitely not the most comfy ride, but it seems to fit like a glove.
What this bike is… Well, it’s a bit of a paradox. The few shortcomings present are exceedingly overcome by the sum of what it really offers.
And what is that, exactly? What is this bike really?
- It’s a “hooligan-bike” of the highest caliber (and I LOVE a good hooligan).
- It’s a “do no single thing tremendously - but manage to do a lot of things very well” bike (and I TOTALLY appreciate that).
- It’s a beautifully crafted machine, with “retro-good looks” that are just off the “cool” chart.
It may just end up being my favorite motorcycle - when I fix the things that need to be fixed.
The motor, a 803cc air-cooled V-twin is decidedly “old tech”. Two valves per cylinder, and a single throttle body are definitely not what you would find on any performance oriented machine, but the power delivery is very good and excellently linear. She pulls nicely, all the way to the 8900 rpm redline, without any dropoff or dips along the way. 75 horsepower is not a number that commands bragging rights in todays world, but it’s more than enough to propel this 400 pound beauty through the corners nicely. Without the 6000 rpm constraint dictated by break in, you are presented with a whole new machine, one that easily managed to hit well into the triple digits on numerous occasions today.
The stock tires (Pirelli MT60 RS - produced expressly for this model) are a revelation. When the route turned onto soft gravel or hard-packed dirt, they performed surprisingly well. When they are presented with very technical roads of the asphalt variety, they are nothing short of amazing. My travels today included RTE 125 just south of Shamokin - a very challenging road, one of the most technical in this area. They stuck like glue, enabling me to grind the foot pegs on both sides. I manage to visit this road more than a few times a year, but I don’t think that I have been able to blast through it like I did today in recent memory. Even when they do slide, they do so in a predictable and linear fashion - something I also experienced along the way.
The brakes are more than good - presenting excellent feel and feedback. The ABS is not heavy handed, and does not get in the way at all - unlike some I have experienced.
The chassis is excellent, the motor acts a stressed member and ther is absolutely no flex or "squirrelly" feel. This bike is very light and flickable. It transitions from side to side as good as any other bike I have ever ridden.
The transmission is buttery smooth, shifting is effortless and precise. The slipper-clutch is a welcome addition on a bike built to a price point such as this.
Fuel economy (the least of my concerns) is wonderful. I averaged 48 mpg today, in spite of the almost constant thrashing.
On top of all this, this motorcycle is just gorgeous, looking exactly like a good bike should.
What needs to be fixed is minimal, and should be easily accomplished. In order of priority, these are…
- Suspension - The stock setup is of the “bargain-basement” variety. No adjustability at all up front and just preload adjustment at the rear. It is harsh, jarring and - as a result - unstable , ruining what otherwise are great handling characteristics. Luckily there are a number of 3rd party products already out there that address these woes, the addition of a quality shock along with cartridge sets for the forks should tidy things up nicely.
- Gearing - I find the stock gearing to be a little short - but this will be easily (and cheaply) fixed by fitting a rear sprocket with 2 less teeth.
- Sound - The exhaust note is a tad too “restrained” for me in stock form, but a decent slip-on has already been found and put on order.
- Comfort - The stock seat is wickedly hard and narrow, but I love the look of the brown leatherette, so I will not dare to alter it. Maybe I will try out one of those AirHawk seat pads for longer trips.
I had a great day of riding, one like I have not had in several years. Once the four items listed above are addressed, this very well may be -
My Favorite Motorcycle Of All Time...
Originally posted on my personal BLOG @ www.moto-graphic.com