Ducati Scrambler 2G review: Scramble On

    Ducati’s bestselling motorcycle in India gets a big update. We ride it in Spain to learn what’s new.

    Published on May 03, 2023 07:00:00 AM

    21,955 Views

    Make : Ducati
    Model : Scrambler

    The Scrambler is a significant bike for Ducati in most markets, but particularly so in India where it is the company’s bestselling motorcycle. That’s obviously down to the fact that the Scrambler is the easiest (read most affordable) entry point into the ultra-premium world of Ducati ownership, but it also helps that the bike has a cheerful, relaxed nature that makes it easier to get along with than most other angry and exotic Ducatis. The bike you see here is the second-generation model and while it looks like not a lot has changed, there’s quite a bit that’s new. 

    Ducati Scrambler 2G: engine

    Ducati has been careful not to mess with the core of what makes the Scrambler tick. It’s still one of the only two bikes (the other being the Scrambler 1100) they sell with a good ol’ two-valve air-cooled engine and even the specs on this 803cc L-twin motor are the same as the current-gen BS6-compliant version. With 73hp and 65Nm, the Scrambler is nothing like the violently fast superbikes that you’ll see parked next to it in a Ducati showroom, but it’s still quick enough to ensure that riders of all skill levels will have a good time. 

    What I found equally appealing was how easy this bike is to ride slowly. A lot of our time on the press ride was spent gently meandering through the beautiful Spanish countryside at 60kph and the Scrambler exhibited none of that typical Ducati unhappiness at not having its throttle twisted to the stop. Among the changes made to the engine, the new exhaust header pipe design is certainly less attractive than the old bike (as is that giant exhaust collector box behind the smallexhaust can), but Ducati says that this design will reduce the amount of heat felt by the rider. In truth, I never felt any because the ambient temperature never went above 20°C on our ride around Valencia, but this is one change that could prove to be quite valuable here in India. 

    What is easy to tell is that the gearbox is now much nicer to use. Ducati has redesigned numerous internal engine and transmission components, with one of the objectives being losing weight. However, the big gain for me was that the gearbox now feels lighter and slicker, and that it’s very easy to find neutral, something that has traditionally been a pain on these Italian motorcycles. I’d love to see these benefits on more Ducatis. 

    Vibrations are also very well managed and you’ll only feel them between 8,000 and 9,000rpm, which isn’t a frequently visited zone on such a mid-range rich motor. The only downside is that the engine needs a valve clearance check at every 12,000km oil change and a full Desmo service every 24,000km. Those numbers are the lowest of all current Ducatis and will make the Scrambler significantly more expensive to live with than similarly priced big bikes from other brands. 

    Ducati Scrambler 2G: ride and handling

    One of Ducati’s intentions with this generation change was to make what is already a very easy motorcycle even more so. To that extent, it now gets a new chassis that has helped save some weight as well as a new bolt-on subframe that will be appreciated in the aftermarket customisation scene. The reworked engine and chassis together result in a 4kg weight saving, bringing the total down to 185kg. That’s lighter than every Royal Enfield on sale today, apart from the Hunter.

    The wheels, suspension, tyres and brakes are all the same as before, and just like before, this bike feels compact, light and easy on its feet. If you want a bike that feels big, the Scrambler will be a disappointment, but for newer riders or someone graduating to their first big bike, it doesn’t get much easier than this. The seat height is a comfortable 795mm, but taller riders will fit on the bike as well. It also helps to have a wide handlebar and a decently tight turning radius.

    At slow speeds, the Scrambler is a doddle, but pick up the pace on a winding road and the bike will surprise you, especially if you just looked at the semi-blocky Pirelli MT-60 RS tyres it wears. There’s plenty of lean angle available, a surprising amount of grip and very good braking performance from the giant 330mm single front disc. The larger 18-inch front wheel feels a little vague on the limit, but on a tighter road, a well-ridden Scrambler can keep up with much more powerful bikes.

    I pointed the Scrambler at the few bumps and potholes I could find and the suspension was able to absorb impacts decently. The suspension is non-adjustable apart from rear preload and like before, it feels like budget suspension that gets the job done. We’ll know more when we introduce it to the Mumbai road system.

    Ducati Scrambler 2G: features

    With the performance and dynamics feeling much like before, one addition that has helped elevate the Scrambler’s appeal is the new electronics suite. It is still quite simple compared with Ducati’s other motorcycles, but you now get two riding modes as well as the safety net of cornering traction control in addition to the existing cornering ABS. Throttle response is smooth and predictable in both modes and the hooligans among you will be happy to know that the traction control can be turned off if you like pulling wheelies. 

    With 175mm of ground clearance and 150mm of wheel travel at both ends, the Scrambler comes across as a bike that will enjoy some off-road riding as well. However, you’ll soon realise that this is a bike best kept on tarmac. First, there’s the foot pegs that are quite tall and a little rear set – these put you in an engaging riding position, but they make the standing ergos feel a little awkward. The bigger issue is that despite the improved electronics, you still cannot turn off the rear ABS and that’s a downer for riding off-road. 

    Capping off the changes is a refinement in the Scrambler’s look. The headlamp, tank panels, side panels and tail section are all new, but designed to still be instantly recognisable. The TFT display also adds to the appeal and it’s certainly a nicer display, but this new rectangular display loses some of the charm of the older circular unit. There are now nine different colours and two additional variants over the Icon model you see here – the Full Throttle and the Urban Enduro. Both have slightly different designs and ergonomics and the Full Throttle comes with a Termignoni slip-on exhaust as standard. 

    Overall, the new design lends the bike a more expensive feel, which is always good for a Ducati, but then again, it better be because this bike is now a whole lot more expensive.

    Ducati Scrambler 2G: verdict

    The previous model was a pricey thing on its own, but the new one will cost about Rs 1 lakh more, with Ducati India suggesting that prices for the Icon will begin at Rs 10.39 lakh, ex-showroom, when it goes on sale in the last quarter of this year. That puts it above the likes of the Kawasaki Z900 and no, it isn’t that much bike – not even close. What it is is a sweet entry point into the deeply desirable world of Ducati, and if you have a liking for characterful twin-cylinder bikes that are also easy to get along with, you’ll probably get along very well with the new Scrambler. Just make sure to leave any expectations of value for money behind before you walk through those showroom doors.

    Also See:

    Ducati Scrambler 2G video review

    Ducati Bikes

    Tech Specs

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