The new Scrambler is the first new-model announcement from Ducati this year, a stripped-down, retro-hued roadster that will cut a broad swathe of demographics, from hipster 20-somethings to nostalgic Baby Boomers. It’s also the platform that will ensure Ducati’s air-cooled V-Twin powerplant a life beyond 2015.
ED- The video seen below was shot when Ducati reps told us the Scrambler would be produced in only one color and one version. Keep reading the text below to learn about the four versions of the Scrambler.
The Scrambler is an homage to Ducati’s single-cylinder Scrambler line that debuted in 1962, with several variants continuing in production until 1975. This new edition ups the engine ante to an 803cc V-Twin, the sweet air-cooled lump last seen in the Monster and Hypermotard 796s, which uses an 88 x 66mm bore and stroke. Ducati reps weren’t forthcoming about the changes to the motor but did allow the crankshaft and pistons are identical.
Power at the crankshaft is purported to be 75 hp at 7000 rpm, with 50 lb-ft of peak torque. That’s down slightly from the Hypermotard 796’s claims of 81 hp and 56 lb-ft. Our independent dyno testing of the Hyper revealed 76.1 hp produced at the rear wheel at 8400 rpm.
The air-cooled, two-valve-per-cylinder lives on in the Scrambler. Note the aluminum cam-belt covers and and the attractive (and, hopefully,effective) heat shielding for the rear cylinder’s header pipe.
It’s the stance and profile of the new Scrambler that will draw the most attention. Its tank is low, like vintage-era dirtbikes, and its handlebar has an unexpectedly tall rise, putting a rider in an upright position. Its seat is placed at a modest 30.3 inches despite what feels like thick padding. Ducati claims the Scrambler weighs 410-lbs with its 3.57-gallon steel tank filled.
As typical for Ducati, a steel-tube trellis frame underpins the chassis, but it’s a more simplified arrangement of tubes than previous Monsters and Hypers. A cast-aluminum swingarm acts on a monoshock adjustable only for preload. The 41mm fork is sourced from Kayaba, as is the shock, but it has no provisions for adjustment.
The Scrambler’s aluminum swingarm acts directly on a preload-adjustable shock. Interestingly, a gray shock spring is used rather than Ducati’s traditional yellow springs.
The Scrambler’s finish detailing is excellent, highlighted by the aluminum panels that adorn both sides of the fuel tank. Also noteworthy are the engine covers (cam belts, clutch and alternator) being fashioned from aluminum rather than nylon or steel.
The Scrambler also boasts LED lighting all around, including the round headlight which adds LED lamps running around the ring. The LCD gauges might also be cool, but we were unable to see them switched on. We’ll take Ducati’s word for it that it’s a grayscale display, not a color TFT as used on more expensive Ducs.
The Scrambler almost looks ready for dirt-track racing. Note the trellis frame’s new arrangement of tubes distinct to the Scrambler.
The Scrambler has an unique wheel/tire combo, using a dirt-track-like 18-inch front instead of a 17-incher as preferred on sportbikes. In addition to the Scrambler “Icon” seen in our photos (in yellow or red), the new Duc is also available in Urban Enduro (green), Full Throttle (black) and Classic (orange) versions. Both the 120/70-18 front and 180/55-17 rear are specially designed by Pirelli for the Scrambler. The MT60RS rubber features a blocky tread pattern that looks ready to throw roost, but the bike’s low-mounted, two-into-one exhaust underlines the Scrambler’s intent to prowl paved surfaces rather than the Erzberg Rodeo.
Braking components eschew the traditional dual-disc front setup in favor of a single caliper and rotor, the latter going to an oversized 330mm diameter. Brembo supplies the 4-piston radial-mount caliper. The rear brake consists of a single-piston caliper biting on a 245mm disc, and both ends are governed by a standard antilock system.
A single front disc brake shows off the right side of wheels unique to the Scrambler.
The Scrambler, of course, was designed and engineered in Italy, but final assembly in Thailand helps bring down production costs and allows the MSRP to be a fairly palatable $8,495 for the red Icon version; $8,595 for yellow.
The three other versions retail for $9,995. The Classic features spoked aluminum wheels, steel fenders, a striped fuel tank and a brown seat The Scrambler Full Throttle distinguishes itself with lower handlebars, a “flat-track-style seat” with yellow accents, and a Termignoni slip-on muffler. The Urban Enduro features wire-spoke wheels, an engine sump guard, headlight grille, high-mount front fender and fork protectors.
Ironically, Thailand is also the source for the Scrambler’s most obvious competitor, Triumph’s Bonneville platform. The base Bonnie retails for $7,899, undercutting the Scrambler’s price, while the T100 version retails for $9,199. However, the Trumpet’s 865cc parallel-Twin motor is relatively wheezy, factory-rated at 67 hp and 50 lb-ft of torque, and it’s saddled with pulling around an extra 85-plus pounds. Also of note are lower-spec brakes, skinny tires (100/70-17; 130/80-17) and the absence of a sixth cog in its 5-speed tranny.
Is the Scrambler the retro-inspired machine that can bring the fight to Triumph’s Bonneville?
Overall, the Scrambler looks capable of stealing a big chunk of Bonneville pie. We expect to be able to bring you a ride review before 2014 has run out. Dealers are scheduled to receive Scramblers early in the New Year.