2016 Ducati Scrambler Classic Review – Over the last few years I’ve noticed a change in my riding and motorcycle preferences. Sports bikes, cutting-edge technology and screaming fours no longer hold my attention, with my eyes being more easily drawn to an increasing number of retro-styled models appearing on the market. Since first seeing the prototype Norton Commando back in 2013, bikes such as BMW’s R nineT, the Kawasaki W800, Triumph’s Bonneville T100 Steve McQueen special and Harley’s 883 Iron have made me reconsider what I wanted from a bike.
Perhaps the icing on the cake has been the arrival of Ducati’s Scrambler 800. It jumped out at me following its public unveiling at the Cologne Show in October 2015, looking right up my street and suggestively ticking every requisite box of mine with its impressive specs and characterful nature… or at least in theory. Up until this test I’d never ridden one.
The night before I was due to pick up the Ducati from Editor’s house I was like a kid at Christmas; I just hoped all the anticipation wouldn’t lead to disappointment. Within seconds of starting the 2016 Ducati Scrambler Classic and moving off, any first date nerves were instantly dissolved by the ease with which the bike introduced itself. The Classic’s beautifully cross-stitched seat was low and wide, perfect for my less than average 5ft 6in frame, so I could plant both feet on the floor without any issue.
I immediately felt conﬁdent with the Ducati Scrambler Classic and liked it even more after getting a feel of its smoothness. The clutch was light, the throttle precise and the wide, high bars gave an upright and relaxed riding position. I quickly gelled with it and found nothing but love for the Ducati over the two weeks it was on loan. It wasn’t just the ride that lured me in; the looks did an equally good job.
|You’ll be surprised at just how strongly the Scrambler’s motor pulls, and it’s not too bad at low revs, either.|
Compared to the other bikes in middleweight class, the 2016 Ducati Scrambler Classic hit me as being more like a custom cruiser than a capable backlane bruiser, but once in the saddle, and with some spirited riding under my belt, I was also pleasantly surprised at how capable the engine was. While quite grumbly and snatchy at low revs, above around 3500 RPM the motor really smoothed out, all the way up to its 9200 RPM red line. The gear change was slick and precise, but required a deliberate action or false neutrals were all too common an occurrence.
With strong acceleration, braking is just as important, and the 2016 Ducati Scrambler Classic excelled in that area, too. Despite only having a single disc up front, with a chunky Brembo monobloc radial and ABS as standard, confidence abounded when it came time to scrub off speed.
The cornering experienced also proved every bit as good. With semi-off-road tyres, developed by Pirelli specifically for the Ducati Scrambler Classic, I did have some worries in the back of my mind about their potential the first few times I rode the bike, but the wide bars, and low riding position meant even hard cornering could be performed with ease and confidence. It struck me as an effortlessly flattering bike throughout the duration of my test period, which came to an end far too soon.
But was it my perfect motorcycle? Not quite, but the 2016 Ducati Scrambler Classic really wasn’t far off. The sidestand was a little hard to deploy, and the beautiful brushed-aluminium exhaust cover was quite prone to scratching.
Then there was the issue of an intermittent fuel warning light, which came on and off at random. Not great, but neither big enough issues to put me off spending way too much time scouting the internet and dealers for a bargain example that suited my bank balance.
2016 Ducati Scrambler Classic Specifications and Price
Engine : 4-Stroke, 90° L-Twin, SOHC 2-Valve per Cylinder, Air-Cooled
Bore x Stroke : 88 x 66 mm
Capacity : 803 cc
Compression Ratio : 11 : 1
Induction : EFI, 50mm Throttle Body
Transmission : 6-Speed, Chain-Drive
Max Power : 75 HP @ 8.250 RPM (claimed)
Max Torque : 68 N.m @ 5.750 RPM (claimed)
Dimensions (L x W x H) : 2.165 x 845 x 1.150 mm
Seat Height : 790 mm
Wheelbase : 1.445 mm
Weight : 176.5 Kg (dry, claimed)
Fuel Capacity : 13.5 Litres
Frame : Steel Trellis Frame
Front Suspension : Kayaba 41mm Upside-down Fork
Rear Suspension : Kayaba Monoshock, Preload Adjustable
Front Brake : Single 330mm Disc, with Brembo Radial 4-Piston Caliper, ABS
Rear Brake : Single Floating 245mm Disc, with 1-Piston Caliper
Front Wheel : Spoked Alumunium Wheels, 18 x 3.0
Rear Wheel : Spoked Alumunium Wheels, 17 x 5.50
Front Tyre : 110/80-18 (Pirelli MT60)
Rear Tyre : 180/55 – 17 (Pirelli MT60)
Price : £8395