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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
From LA to LV on an Icon

Well when I say Los Angeles I really mean Covina and when I say Las Vegas I really mean the southern tip of Henderson. Nevertheless I traversed mountains, deserts and… well thats about it on my 240 mile “test ride” of the Ducati Scrambler. Though even in that short time I was able to get a good feel for it and even find a few quirks.

It should be noted that I am NOT the owner of the the this Ducati Scrambler. It is actually my friends bike; she just recently got her license and didn’t want to ride it back from Cali, so naturally I volunteered. I own a Triumph Scrambler and will be using it as my basis for comparison in this review.

LOOKS:
First thing I can say about the bike is it looks better in person. I’ve personally never liked the look of the Duc in photos, it just seemed to modern for my tastes. But seeing it in the flesh it starts to make sense; the lines are clean, the fit and finish looks top notch and I love the little halo effect in the headlight. Though there are still places that seem a bit… off. The mirrors stick out like two bug antennae, the brake and clutch cables swoop up and around like the Atlantic Ocean Road, and I don’t like the swing arm mounted license plate bracket. But to each his own.


Digging the little Born Free engraving!

Example of the ridiculous cables

Pros:
Halo headlight
Clean lines/No weird gaps
Fit n’ Finish
Nice touches like the engraving on the fuel cap

Cons:
Mirrors look dinky
Cables… cables everywhere
License plate bracket

HANDLING:
The second thing I noticed was the weight. I am used to hoping on my (relatively) hefty triumph and having to do a sumo wrestler like move to upright the bike from the kickstand. When I tried the same maneuver at the dealer I nearly threw the Duc to the ground! :eek: Not only is it 100 lbs lighter than my triumph, but a majority of the weight is down low making the bike feel extremely light weight (actually the lightest feeling bike I’ve ever ridden). This weight coupled with a well damped suspension make the bike truly enjoyable in the twisties. The high and wide bars make the turn in practically immediate and the bike responds well to adjusting lines, even halfway through a corner. It inspired so much confidence that even I, as a “new to street rider,” was able to push the bike without feeling scared or nervous.

There have been many compliments on Pirelli’s MT 60 RS tires that were made for this bike and I have to agree with the journalists on that one. I was a little afraid that I might have take it easy considering they were brand new; but the purpose built Pirelli’s just kept on gripping. Even while flying over a patch of gravel that had been thrown into the road, the tires stayed glued to the tarmac. Aside from the gravel, my trek did not include any opportunities to test its true offroad ability. While I think they tires would be fine, given its relatively stiff suspension I can’t imagine it would be much fun on anything other than some light fire roads or a lake bed.

Pros:
Well damped
Low weight
Tires are very grippy
Confidence inspiring

Cons:
Doesn’t seem too good for offroad

RIDE:
As a whole package the Ducati Scrambler is very manageable and confidence inspiring motorcycle. In fact, the only thing I didn't like about the ride was hitting small bumps. I know it sounds weird, but let me explain: On my triumph things like small potholes and divots in the road surface don’t bug me at all but if you happen to hit a sharp dip, large bump, or rut in the road you may as well take a sledgehammer to your spine. The Ducati is the opposite, it handled large bumps/dips like a champ, but hitting something as small as a lane reflector would send a short shock up your back. Perhaps it was just tire pressure, perhaps my preload is wrong but either way changing lanes was not an enjoyable experience.

I am not a small guy at 6ft 190, but somehow I still felt comfortable on the seemingly small Ducati. It was only after the longest stretch, about 1 hour and 15 minutes, that my legs began to get sore. Luckily my butt was fine the whole way through :D. The bike has you sitting up with a slight lean forward, much like my Triumph. However, unlike the Triumph the Ducati has more support in the standard riding position. When I do long trips on my bike I get tired of sitting up straight and I end up leaning into the wind and resting partly on my tank bag. On the Ducati my back only got tired when I was leaning into the wind, I would rest by sitting up straight. While I would never take this bike across the country, it is comfortable enough for day trips and canyon blasts.

Pros:
Large dips/bumps no issues
Comfortable seating position
Good amount of support

Cons:
Small bumps are jarring

ENGINE:
“Peppy.” Thats what I would use to describe the engine in one word. It isn’t overly powerful but has more than enough to keep you entertained. It is very willing and feels like it is constantly telling you to give it more. Despite trying to take it easy, I constantly found myself pushing the 6k rpm break-in limit the dealer gave me. The bike just wants to go.
Most of it’s power is in the mid-range and you really start to feel it pull from about 4500. It feels much faster than my triumph, it actually reminds me of my old SV650. Unlike my SV (thank God), the V-twin vibration is very mild, almost none in the bars and only a minor amount in the footpegs.
My only real complaint is the noise. It's not a bad noise, it just doesn't have much soul behind it. If it were my bike I would definitely be looking for an aftermarket solution that would let that V-Twin sing.
Also I did notice the snappy throttle response that some journalists have mentioned. But, my Triumph does the same thing. It isn't too much of an issue,
just make sure you already have some throttle input before the turn and continual roll on won't be a problem.
Pros:
Peppy engine
Good mid-range pull
Smooth power delivery

Cons:
Noise could be better
Slightly snappy throttle

TRANSMISSION:
Unfortunately, the transmission was not nearly as peppy as the engine. It shifts smoothly going up the gears but going down is another story. On multiple occasions I would try to rev-match my downshift, only to be disappointed when as I released the clutch the bike began to rev freely. I have been told that these false neutrals are kind of a thing with Ducati’s and once you know how to properly use them it isn’t an issue. However, if you are unfamiliar with these gearboxes like I was, I highly suggest wearing some thinner boots (I wear Icon Elisnores for reference) so you can actually feel it go into gear. I just hope for my friends sake that this issue will dissolve after the bike is more broken in.

Pros:
Smooth upshifts

Cons:
FALSE NEUTRALS!

QUIRKS:
Despite it’s comfort there were a quite a few things I found irritating while riding long distance.
1. The biggest one is the tank emblems. I started my journey with my tank bag mounted like I normally do, fat end towards the front of the bike. On every other bike I’ve ridden, this bag has stayed put even well above highway speeds. So it is needless to say that when I got the Duc up to 80 mph and my bag pulled a bruce lee move and did a flying kick to my chest; I was a little shocked. Apparently, those emblems aren’t magnetic and neither is the fuel cap.
2. When I place the balls of my feet on the foot pegs for a more racey riding position (cause I'm such a pro), the heel of my boot touches the exhaust pipe. It didn’t leave any marks and my boot looks fine, but I could both feel and smell the melting sole.
3. The menu on the computer is confusing, took me 7 times to get it changed from km/h to mph and each time I did the same thing :confused:
4. The side emblems are slippery, you really have to squeeze to keep your knees from sliding up and down over bumps.

SUMMARY: The Ducati Scrambler is a fun to ride, affordable motorcycle with enough comfort for a day trip and enough power to have fun blasting through a canyon. Would I trade my Triumph in for one? No, I like dirt riding too much for that. If I had the room/money would I buy one? Most certainly yes. I’d just have to get a different tank bag
I hope this helps anyone considering getting one of these fun bikes!

I averaged 51 mpg for the trip
PICTURES!!!

Leaving the dealer



Stop #1 after the tank bag incident...



2nd and final stop before the long ride home
 

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Thanks for the review! It was really thorough.

I saw you breifly compare this bike to the SV650 which I think is a more fitting comparison to your Triumph. Do you have any more opinions on this bike vs and SV650? That was my big hangup.. Buying a 10k bike or buying a 2500 dollar SV650 on Craigslist and putting ADV tires on it and just beating the snot out of it.

What do you think of the two of them while riding either on the highway in terms of cornering, power, and comfort?

I have to say if I didn't own my W650 I'd probably have had a space for the Triumph rather than the Ducati scrambler in my garage first :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for the review! It was really thorough.

I saw you breifly compare this bike to the SV650 which I think is a more fitting comparison to your Triumph. Do you have any more opinions on this bike vs and SV650? That was my big hangup.. Buying a 10k bike or buying a 2500 dollar SV650 on Craigslist and putting ADV tires on it and just beating the snot out of it.

What do you think of the two of them while riding either on the highway in terms of cornering, power, and comfort?

I have to say if I didn't own my W650 I'd probably have had a space for the Triumph rather than the Ducati scrambler in my garage first :)
Thank you!
Well I only owned my SV650 for about 3 months. But I will do my best to remember how it felt in comparison. The SV has very similar power to the scrambler, I think the difference in torque is like 4 ft lbs.
Cornering on the SV required more effort. Not saying it was difficult just more like a sport bike where you actually had to lean with the bike and make sure your pushing with your hands. The scrambler just kind of... does it automatically? If that makes any sense, it sort of does what you want it to without you thinking about it.
Comfort wise its pretty much a toss up, I always felt comfortable on my SV and with so many aftermarket gel seats I'm sure you could find one you love. For adventure riding I'd be a little concerned about the vibration, as my hands would usually start loosing feel at around an hour but mine had quite a few other issues so one of those could have been the culprit lol.

I got it on craigslist for $2k and while it did teach me a lot, it was a pretty bad purchase. Turns out it needed about $1700 worth of work to get it back to good running order. It had a faulty fuel pump, bad fork seals, old unmaintained chain, bent bars (though that one was from me :D), and had dings and rust in the tank. It was good cause I learned what to watch out for but I ultimately sold it to a mechanic for $400 cause it would stall whenever it felt like it (I think some rust made it into the fuel pump).

Not to scare you out of it I really enjoyed it when it ran and I am sure you are wiser than I. Especially when I bought my SV lol but just be careful with craigslist.
 

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The SV I've ridden in the past didn't put my hands to sleep. In fact, I liked riding it better than my Speed Triple because it was more closely built for someone my height. I felt pretty at home on it. So I think what you're saying is that I'll really like the Scrambler. So far, most people are describing it to have most of the things I'm looking for such as being nimble, changing direction effortlessly, light weight, etc...

The bike I got rid of to get it was hopefully about the same exact ergonomics, but it only had 15 horsepower, haha... That's why it had to leave.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Like I said, I never got to actually test it offroad so I am honestly just basing my opinion on how the bike felt. That being said I would definitely try it stock first but if the suspension really is an issue probably just softer springs and more travel (if doable) would work wonders.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
@silverluxe Oh my goodness! Only 15 hp, I don't blame ya for swapping bikes lol I think you'd probably enjoy the SV as well but the Scrambler just has so much more soul its a bike that speaks to you (or at least it did to me). Luckily there are a lot of bikes that do that, its just my SV wasn't one of them
 

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thanks for the detailed review and comparison with the Triumph namesake. Enjoyed reading it. Your friend has picked a winner, all the best to her and hope she shares her experiences on this forum too.
 
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