Ducati Scrambler Review
2016 Ducati Scrambler – Click above for high resolution image gallery

2016 Ducati Scrambler Review

Bike Tested: Ducati Scrambler Icon; Road Test No. 715

Price OTR Mumbai: Rs. 9,45,960/-

The Ducati Scrambler is a light-weight road burner which also captures no roads easily

The last time there was a Ducati for a review, it was a beast; a mighty 162 BHP 1200cc heavy weight champ with big tyres and lots of electronics, a pure devil called the Diavel. This time we got a chance to test ride a not-so-sane light-weight player, the Ducati Scrambler Icon. The younger naked machine is yet similarly mad with exhilarating torque with the least amount of electronics to control it. How was the experience? Were we impressed? You bet!

Motor Quest: The word Scrambler itself is a class of motorcycles which are used for motocross. The Scrambler represents a small, light-weight machine with knobby tyres and the least amount of body work. It has capabilities to go off-road and have some fun on the road too.

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The Scrambler stays raw with the least amount of bodywork

Styling – Taking a good look at the Ducati Scrambler, one could see that there’s literally no body work and just a tank along with a pair of mudguards which consist of the body. The exposed L-Twin engine under the tubular steel trellis frame grab all the attention followed by the knobby front and rear tyre with 10-spoke alloy wheels that continue the drama. Even the exhaust pipes are completely visible from the side to the tip giving the Scrambler a bold look.

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The only Ducati which has a rather simple design

The interchangeable aluminum side panels give room for customization

If we look from the front, the Ducati Scrambler looks sleek and thin. The headlight is a conventional round unit but to jazz up the party, it gets an LED ring guide-light. There’s an offset circular unit which is basically the instrument cluster. The seat is a single piece below which at the rear is the amazing LED tail-lamp. Just below the left of the seat, there’s the single Kayaba shock absorber holding the amazing rear swingarm.

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The console features lots of details, misses out on a fuel gauge

Instrument Cluster and Switchgear – The instrument cluster is a small circular unit which consists of all the information, placed offset to the right on the handlebars. The first thing I noticed was the tachometer that goes down in an inverted manner, which is weird. Rest of the details like the time, speedometer, two trip-meters go along the small console. There’s no fuel gauge but a low fuel-level indicator and once it’s up, there’s only 30 kms of rideable range left. The switchgear feels premium and it’s similar to the one on the Ducati Diavel with the left hand having all the controls, even for the headlight. The exposed throttle and brake wire look a little out of place.

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The ergonomics is purposeful and suitable to all kinds of people

Ergonomics – The Ducati Scrambler has some interesting features and the ergonomics is one of it. This bike is made for a purpose to suit the city on weekdays and ready to have fun on the weekend. The seat height of 790 mm is comfortable and as the seat and tank are sleek, it becomes easy for shorter riders too. The handlebar is wide and high giving an upright posture to the rider. The footpegs are centre-set keeping the rider comfortable and yet ready to make aggressive maneuvers. The seat is a bit of a concern as one would take time to find a comfortable spot as it is straight and there is no specific tank grip to stick to.

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Initial acceleration is super punchy, the Scrambler just lifts

Performance – The 803cc L-Twin engine produces 75 BHP at 8250 RPM and 68 Nm of torque at an early 5750 RPM. These numbers are pretty decent but the bike weighs only 186 kgs (wet), giving out an amazing power-to-weight ratio. Even with these numbers, the Ducati Scrambler doesn’t have much electronics, the throttle is just a cable going to the engine and response is amazing. The early torque and the light-weight with no hindrance of traction control or ride-by-wire, the Scrambler just lifts off! One has to be really careful while enjoying the punchy torque output.

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The L-Twin engine is air-cooled with a small oil-cooler

The torque output is so immediate, it gives out a mind-blowing punch

The exhilarating performance is coming from the L-Twin engine is addictive but at the same time the amount of heat the bike produces can cook the rider. There is no radiator while the cooling is done by an oil-cooler and the air around. There are just two valves per cylinder and the overall harshness is pretty much felt. There are vibrations right from the moment the bikes starts. The motor idles at slightly below 2000 RPM and when it gets hot, it goes upto 2000 RPM. The fuel injection and the 2-valves which are desmodromically actuated make sure the power isn’t wasted.

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Once you lift, you can keep on carrying

Despite being L-Twin, the Scrambler’s engine is very much rev friendly

The gears on the Ducati Scrambler are a bit stiff and shifting among them is a bit difficult at first. Once we get used to the gears, the first gear hits the redline in no time while going towards the other gears and the top speed is achieved in fraction of seconds. The redline comes early at 9000 RPM but the bike doesn’t mind being pushed till 10,000 RPM. The motorcycle hits the ton in under 4.5 seconds on our VBOX test and this is achieved with the first two gears itself. It isn’t that frugal as the best it could do was 17.6 km/l.

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Power delivery is scary and yet exhilarating at the same time

The first gear is tall and manages to do 80 km/hr while the second crosses the ton and goes up to 110 km/hr. The third and fourth gears manage to take out 145 and 180 km/hr respectively and the rest two gears help in reaching the second ton which happens to be the top speed of the bike. Cruising at 100 km/hr feels sluggish as the Scrambler manages to do the same at 4000 RPM where it hasn’t reached its power band yet. The throttle stays snatchy all the time and as we give a blip, there is tremendous momentum which comes up.

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The Ducati Scramble is the lightest of the Ducati lot

Riding Dynamics – Upright riding posture and a maddening engine below the Ducati Scrambler is pure fun. However, the words pure fun come only after a person has had a good experience riding the Scrambler. As the throttle is snatchy, it is difficult to ride without having your neck strained. The Pirelli rubber on the bike offers tremendous grip on and off the road. If the tyres are cold or you are not on the road, the motorbike is happy sliding all around. Once the tyres get hot, the rubber sticks well and gives a lot of confidence.

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Gaining speed is just a matter of seconds for the Ducati Scrambler

Wide and high handlebars give a commanding riding experience

The sleek body design makes it easy for anyone to get used to and also helps in taking treacherous roads. This on the other hand is disappointing as there is lot of wind-blast to the rider and it gets very uncomfortable and difficult to stay on the bike post 150 km/hr. The front wheel keeps lifting every time you quick shift a gear or go redlining. Once you accelerate, the handlebar gets light and maneuverability becomes a piece of cake. On the straights, it’s the wind-blast that causes a lot of issues and the Scrambler doesn’t get any visor, not even as an option.

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Off the road the Ducati Scrambler is more fun

In the corners, the only fear of the tail sliding out stops us to go all out. If the tyre grips in the corner, the front gets lighter and sometimes it even wheelies at an exit. The front USD forks are softly sprung while the adjustable rear monoshock feels hard and not that comfortable. As this bike is made for city usability too, the light-weight and sleek design help a lot. But in traffic conditions, the oil plus air-cooled engine heats up a lot and makes the rider break into a sweat. The brakes are amazing and the stopping power from the Brembo brakes is far superior and has an amazing feedback. The ABS works well too.

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The more it tries to blend in, the Ducati Scrambler just stands out

Verdict – The Ducati Scrambler is the most affordable Ducati in India. Well, it gets a lot of variants and customizable options and it still remains an eye-candy. Being fairly light in weight and having the power very much suitable for Indian roads, the Scrambler makes for a great bet. It isn’t the most comfortable of all as the amount of torque it generates is quite a lot for a normal rider. But it’s the amazing ride-ability, ready to burn the streets and the ability to go a bit off-road which keeps the fun going.

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Everything is rather simple yet an eye candy for a lot of people

What’s Cool

* Torquey nature of the engine and the lighter weight aids in astonishing performance
* The Pirelli tyres offer good on-road as well as off-road grip
* Brembo brakes have very good stopping power
* Comfortable to ride in the city as well as on the highways

What’s Not So Cool

* No fuel gauge on the instrument cluster
* The bike heats up a lot in stop-and-go traffic
* There is a lot of wind-blast due to sleek design and upright riding posture
* Small tank and decent mileage will require lot of fuel stops while cruising long distance

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The best LED tail-light ever seen on a motorcycle

Ducati Scrambler Specifications

* Engine: 803cc, L-Twin, air-cooled, Desmodromic distribution, 2-valves per cylinder
* Power: 75 BHP @ 8250 RPM
* Torque: 68 Nm @ 5750 RPM
* Transmission: 6-speed
* 0-100 km/hr: 4.49 seconds (VBOX)
* Top Speed: 200 km/hr
* Fuel Consumption: 17 km/l
* Fuel Type: Petrol
* Frame: Tubular steel trellis frame
* Suspension: Upside down Kayaba 41 mm fork (Front), Off-set Kayaba mono shock (Rear)
* Tyres: 110/80/R18 (Front), 180/55/R17 (Rear)
* Brakes: 330 mm Disc (Front), 245 mm Disc (Rear), ABS

Ducati Scrambler Dimensions

* Length x Width x Height (mm): 2100 x 845 x 1150
* Wheelbase: 1445 mm
* Ground Clearance: 160 mm (est.)
* Seat Height: 790 mm
* Fuel Tank Capacity: 13.5-litres
* Kerb weight: 186 kgs

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The Icon is one of the variants of the Ducati Scrambler catalog

Testers’ Note:

“Not a typical Ducati but a very fun one nevertheless, the Scrambler is a no-nonsense middle-weight motorcycle which focusses on the riding experience more than anything else. It does make people alert when you tell them it’s a Ducati while the acceleration is mind-blowing enough to make you scared because the Scrambler simply likes to wheelie when you launch it with a bit of aggression. It might be the entry-level Ducati but the Scrambler is a fantastic machine for pure riding thrills.” – Faisal Khan, Editor, MotorBeam.
“The Ducati Scrambler is a mad machine. Lightweight and yet agile with mind-blowing torque. I had a great time doing wheelies on this one as it is super fun to ride. The first time I dumped the clutch and the bike just left from under me, superb motorcycle but it isn’t that refined. Also it requires a radiator as a small oil cooler cannot do the job well in the hot and humid Mumbai climate. The suspension is setup for the tarmac yet the fun isn’t just on the road, off the road the Scrambler is like a powerful toy. Sliding and jumping all the way.” – Dhanil Vira, Road Tester, MotorBeam.
“The Ducati Scrambler is not a bike that grabs a lot of attention. It hardly even looks like a typical Ducati. However, it is not just about the presence it boasts of, the bike is all about how you feel when you ride it. It isn’t that refined, but all that is forgotten when you blip the throttle and the bike wheelies off into the distance. The brakes work really well and the bike is really fun to ride in the city. It is capable of zipping past regular traffic without too much effort because of its sleek design. Overall, a very good purchase for Rs. 8 lakhs.” – Adwait Babras, Road Tester, MotorBeam.