I have been wanting to try the new Scrambler Ducati since I first saw their promotional video.
I am not a massive fan of Cafe Racers, Scramblers and Retro/Classic looking bikes, but there are a few out there that I quite like. The Scrambler Ducati caught my interest because besides having a familiar design to the original Scrambler it also looks modern and most of all fun!
When I got an email from Ducati a couple of weeks ago announcing the Scrambler Beach Experience in Zandvoort I jumped at the opportunity and signed in immediately. After all if I have to put up with the downside of being a Ducati client (see my previous post…) I might as well enjoy some of the perks too, right?
The venue included a 30 min guided test-ride of the Scrambler and a BBQ at Tijn Akersloot, a beach cafe in Zandvoort that I thoroughly recommend: great location right on the beach, helpful staff and an amazing surf inspired decor.
The test-ride included a mix of riding around the irregular cement block paved streets of Zandvoort, going past the entrance to the racing circuit, past Blomendaal aan Zee and out on to N200 before doubling back.
All slow speed riding (I think the fastest we got up to was around 100km/h) but good to have a feell for the bike in the kind of environment it was made for: a short ride to the cafe, or to the beach.
First impressions, the bike is small. I mean really small! I’m 1,85 so I seat on it and have both feet on the floor with my legs bent at a 60 degree angle or so. getting a move on the footpegs are placed quite far back making it a bit of a weird reach to the gear lever and back brake as my legs are so bent, but my torso is straight.
I guess if your shorter the riding position should be just perfect, but not for me.
The suspension is soft and very compliant and together with the big tires make the bike super comfortable over rough surface, potholes and speed humps. Even two up it coped really well with the uneven surface and it was a lot more comfortable than my Multistrada. A handicap if you want to ride it hard on good surface but that is not what is bike is for and the gain in comfort and the feeling that you can just go over anything makes it a lot of fun.
The bike I rode had the standard exhaust and sounded pretty discreet but a couple of the other bikes on test had the megaphone style Termignoni, and that one sounds awesome.
The dash is more form than function and although it displays quite some information but on the move I found it very difficult to read anything other than the speed. The rev counter for example consists of a series of tiny black lines filling a bar on the lower half of the dash, running from right to left!
For what it is meant to be, a biker for non bikers or for return bikers looking for something stylish fun and unintimidating the Scrambler ticks all the boxes.
It looks great (especially in Urban Enduro version), sounds menacing with the Termignoni but is as easy to ride as any learner bike I’ve ever tried.
Yes it could do with a smoother gearbox, the throttle can be a bit jerky at low speeds (but at the same it adds a bit more excitement when you do open it up) and it could do with a bit more ground clearance, but all those changes would mean a compromise that I’m not sure would result in an overall better bike!
Would I buy one? No, it’s not the kind of bike I need right now, but you will never hear me say no to the chance of riding one!
It feels fun, simple and modern while looking great with that classic inspired design. Want to have an idea of what it feels like to ride one, rewatch the promotional video . This is one of those cases in which they did get it right.
P.S- The one thing I did not like on the bike was really the size. It’s small and that makes it accessible to shorter riders but also makes it too short for anyone around my height. I also found the ground clearance to be pretty limited as I had to scramble to avoid having my boots touching the pavement every time I gave it a bit more lean angle going trough a roundabout. I will however give it the benefit of the doubt, I was riding two up and didn’t have the opportunity to adjust the preload on the rear shock (the Scrambler’s manual recommends Preload at max for two up riding).