Ride Review: Ducati Scrambler


Of the 4 variants, this is my favourite
Of the 4 variants, this is my favourite

Recently I took the new “retro” styled Ducati Scrambler for a test ride. This bike is aimed squarely at the hipster crowd. Sure it’s a ‘dangerous’ motorbike, but it’s also hip, colourful, and reminiscent of Europe in the 60’s.

A Man's Man
A Man’s Man

The styling is that of the old Triumph Scrambler that Steve McQueen used to ride (barechested and helmetless no less), mashed with technology and colour to make it relevant. I’ll be honest, I’ve wanted one of these since their global launch. They just look like so much fun!

And for sure, this is a fun ride. Like the Monster, this machine lacks any complications. Where there is pretension, this is all cosmetic. The bike itself is very basic.

It rides well, although I found the handle bars too high on the Scrambler. After the Monster I felt a little like Goldilocks: This one is too low, this one is too high… …and so on. You do get a lot of leverage in the corners though and flicking the bike around is a lot of fun.

Despite it’s off-road livery, you’re not going to do any serious off-roading or even touring (even for a week-end) with the Scrambler. For one thing the seat is way too hard. After 20 mins I was missing the Monster’s saddle let alone the Multi’s. From a ride and reliability perspective, I reckon this may enjoy a beach (certainly Instagram seems to indicate) but I don’t see anyone contemplating the Long Way Down or anything beyond about 30 minutes in the saddle.

I had a Yellow Scrambler just like this one for my 15th Birthday
I had a Yellow Scrambler just like this one for my 15th Birthday

It’s an 800, so not suited to the learner crowd. Which is a shame, because it is so reminiscent of the Suzuki Scrambler 50cc that was my first ever motorcycle. And it has all the hallmarks of a great learner bike. Light, uncomplicated, forgiving, easy to ride at low speeds, unlikely to get to (serious) high speeds. Great in traffic, and a good looker. (Always important when you start riding.)

Would I buy one? Um, no. Just not my style. My hair is too long, and beard too short. I don’t drink coffee at all, let along a single origin, soy, vanilla latte, my man. But mostly, I ride wa-a-a-y too much for a bike like this. If I was to get something just for pottering around the city, it would probably be the Sachs MadAss 😂😂

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