Ducati Scrambler Classic – Pastiche or the Real Deal?

Well I don’t have a beard, sleeve tattoos, braces and an aged leather man bag. I don’t even put my hair in a bun or have a ‘piss-pot’ crash helmet with goggles. Apparently these are all prerequisites of Ducati Scrambler ownership, at least according to the stereotype or so I am told. However what I DO have is a really straight forward fun motorcycle.

Taking a break

Not my First Ducati

I came into Scrambler ownership after trading in my 2008 Ducat S2R1000 Monster, itself a really fantastic bike.  My example is a Classic of 2015 vintage with a mere 3500 miles on the clock. It came festooned with a variety of tasty add-ons notably the pipe and the slightly lower seat. The contrast between the two bikes is quite marked despite sharing much DNA including the V twin, air-cooled engine. With the Scrambler Ducati were shooting at achieving a cool, retro vibe. I think that they have pulled it off. Not easy as it is a very fine line between getting it right and winding up with a clumsy pastiche.

The finished article is a simple bike, one where you just want to grab your lid and leather, jump on and head off for a fun, local blat. For me the bike has a perky, naughty feel: The wide bars give you great control and 803cc V twin has plenty of instant grunt on tap. This ensures the Scrambler is huge amounts of fun to ride on a country lanes and minor single track A roads. Luckily I am surrounded by such roads and here the Duke is very much in its element. The S2R was altogether more serious and focused about the task in hand, but the Scrambler remains a hoot to ride. My example sports a high level Termigoni pipe which announces our progress with characterful bark.

Adding bark to the bite

Great Fun to Ride

Moving on to how the bike handles, it is easy to throw about, more so now as my confidence grows in the chunky ‘off-road’ tyres. I might still go for more street orientated rubber when the time comes to replace them. I very much doubt I will ever tackle anything more demanding than a gravel track or damp, grassy field on the Scrambler if I am honest . The bike may have a classic off road stance and even have such off road accoutrements as bash plates etc, but it is more about the look than actually doing the business off-road. I don’t have a problem with that and I think it looks great in the vibrant orange and silver colour combination of my 2015 example.

This brings me neatly to the suspension and brakes. The overall set up for me is very road orientated. The front forks are actually pretty firm; I was expecting a little more compliance in general. I’m not complaining as the bike can be push through tight and twisty roads with aplomb, even by someone as cack handed as me:  The Ducati is a smile maker par excellence!


Every bikers Nivarna…

The single front disc brake is ok, but I do find myself missing the bite given by the twin disc set up on my S2R. Also when the last few mph are shed or you slow gently the bike feels a little ‘pulsy’ almost like the disc has a slight high-spot. I might have to take it up with the dealer I bought it from (Moto Italia). So far they have been great and I am really happy with how they have dealt with me. (Update: I didn’t bother in end, I stopped noticing it as I got used to the bike)

Out with a fellow Italian

Enjoying it so Far

So what do I think of my first few hundred miles at the helm of my Scrambler? As I said earlier it is all about getting to the crux of biking. Getting your lid and leather on and just enjoying the ride. Going without all the clutter we seem to want to saddle ourselves with these days. It is especially well suited to local rides of say 50-100 miles, when you just need a biking ‘fix’.  I am looking forward to the next couple of years very much….I will keep you posted as the miles build.

Words and Pictures: Tony Donnelly

My Ducati S2R that I traded in for the Scrambler:

Ducati S2R1000 2008 – 1st Impressions… and few updates along the way