Ducati Scrambler 800 Classic – Grand Old Thing

Recently I passed a (very) minor milestone on my Ducati Scrambler Classic: I clocked up my 1,000th mile on my pretty little V twin. It has taken me around 18 months of ownership to reach this point, and here resides the crux of the problem:

As I said, I had owned the Ducati about 18 months and covering only 1,000 miles over that time can hardly be described as ‘sweating your assets’ to use an industry term.

The odd thing is the bike is an absolute hoot to ride. In addition it is comfortable for the limited distances I have traversed on it. So why have a managed such a meagre amount of miles?

It has Competition

Well a few factors have played their part. The Scrambler has competition for my precious ‘biking-time’: I am lucky enough to own another couple of bikes. One of these in particular is a supremely comfortable and capable sports-tourer. So that tends to get the nod for my longer distance, longer term outings. The other in older 600 with a Givi rack and box. So that tends to get the slot for the odd bit of commuting I do in the summer months.

The other key thing counting against the poor old thing is just how good looking it is and the excellent condition it’s in for what is now an eight year old bike. the result is I don’t like going out in bad weather or on grubby, muddy, wet or salty roads: It would seem cruel!

It’s a good looking bike

Therefore before the Ducati gets the nod I have to be going fairly locally in decent weather and not carrying anything other than me!

However whenever I do use the bike the thing is an absolute pleasure. But not perfect. Read-on:

Performance is brisk and plenty quick enough to nip past any traffic with ease. The little Ducati is a ‘naughty’ wee thing and it seems almost to ‘egg-you-on’. Honestly officer…Oddly this perkiness puts me in mind of my barmy Spaniel dog! Always into mischief! Laid back, the Scrambler isn’t. The  delicious rasp from the Termignoni high-level exhaust, just adds to this character.

The Termi pipe does a bit of fizzing and popping on the over-run which adds to the fun. Can be a tad embarrassing in some situations, but worth it. Throttle response low down the rev-range can be slightly ‘fluffy’. However I can live with it to be honest, so clearly it’s not that intrusive

Good in the Twiddly Bits

The handling remains great on the road. Islands and roundabouts can be attacked with some verve. Although a second disc on the front brakes would be welcome. The retardation available when compared to the S2R1000 Monster I ran previously just isn’t as good. However the bike still loses speed plenty well enough.

The forks are very road biased in feel. I certainly don’t think the off-roading capability would be that great if you were to venture away from anything much worse than a graded gravel track. Despite the high rise exhaust, engine bash plate and the  dual-purpose tyres fitted. I might go for straight road tyres if I keep the Ducati for a while.


Reliability has been total, but in 1000 miles on a low mileage bike so it should be! The Scrambler is only on a total of 4000 miles now. Finish is still virtually perfect, but the Ducati lives snuggled up in a  garage under a tartan blanket!

So the main problem is that the Scrambler is too pretty and in too good a nick! There are worse problems to have in life it has to be said! A service is looming, so let’s see what that brings….

Words and Pictures: Tony Donnelly