Ducati Scrambler - A Classic Comes Back

Ducati Scrambler - A Classic Comes Back

Posted by Ben Baker on Jan 14th 2016

The first Ducati Scrambler came out in 1962. A one-lunger, over the years, it was offered in 250 cc to 450 cc motors. The last one was produced in 1974, giving the iconic ride a 12-year run. It’s back.

The Scrambler was and is a hybrid, a combination of dirt bike and street bike. As with all such rides, you get some of the best of both worlds, but sacrifice some of the performance standards found in a straight off-roader or a highway ride. The biggest drawback is going to the way the bike handles.

It’s not going to tackle mud and heavy terrain like an off road bike. It’s not going to be as comfortable as a pure street ride on the road. But if you plan to hit the highway to get to a dirt track adventure without leaving the saddle, this is a ride for you.

The Scrambler came back in 2014 with a 803 cc air-cooled engine pushing 75 horsepower. The Italian bike maker promotes the new incarnation as Post Heritage, “means taking the best from the past to create something unique and absolutely contemporary. The Ducati Scrambler is not a vintage motorcycle, but the ideal result of how the famous motorcycle from Borgo Panigale would be if Ducati had never stopped producing it.”

The new version has been a huge boost to the Ducati line, driving company sales up by 20 percent from 2014 to the end of 2015.

The modern version comes in four different styles, which we look at below.


It’s short and not very wide. Off-roaders are narrow and this is one of the options the Scrambler keeps. Fortunately, it also has a low center of gravity, unlike some of the bigger off road bikes. It handles well in turns.

The suspension is ok. With one rear shock absorber and that attached at an angle, it’s simply not going to deliver the comfort of a pure street ride with dual shocks and a more vertical installation. Once the shock absorber gets some wear on it, a ride on rough surfaces will deliver more bumps than when the shock was new. But that’s to be expected on any ride.

It’s a single disc twin-piston brake on the front. This is definitely part of the heritage of this bike, but it also means you are not going to stop on a dime and get change back.

It is fuel injected. The engine that comes from the Monster 796. It has definite pop if you hit the throttle hard. So, if you get on, do not rip it the first time. Get used to the acceleration capabilities, especially since the saddle doesn’t have a backrest. Ducati retuned the engine for low-end mid-range performance.

Do not gun it with a passenger on the back.

The exhaust rides low. If you corner and really lean in, sparks will fly. Some riders have changed out the exhaust to the Termignoni set as found on the Full Throttle version. However, that’s not a whole lot more clearance and the pegs will still scrape in a good lean.

Off the pavement, it doesn’t handle as well as a true dirt bike. Changing out the tires to a more aggressive tread would help, but that sacrifices the asphalt capabilities of the standard rubber.

The size and saddle configuration are best for smaller frame riders. The high peg placement also means riders with long legs might find this uncomfortable on longer rides.



3.5-gallon tank

18” front tire

17” rear tire

Wheels vary - spoke or alloy

Pirelli dual sport tires

31” saddle height

ABS with on or off. No independent setting for front and back.

6-speed wet clutch

Chain drive


All four have a low-riding short exhaust system. This is a nod to the original Scrambler, which also had low pipes. High pipes, especially on a bike with a frame like this, are liable to burn a rider. Ducati has an extensive aftermarket parts department so changing the pipes is easy enough.

The Classic, Urban and Icon have a merged large single pipe that angles up in front of the rear tire. The Full Throttle splits into two smaller mufflers at the end, but stays angled up.

Each ride comes with a USB port under the left side of the saddle. This is a past-due innovation and more bike companies should make this a standard feature. You can put saddle bags on the Scrambler, which means you can charge your phone and let it ride in the bag. If you are handy with wiring, you can run a line from the port up to the handlebars for a GPS unit.

The rear is a single Kayaba shock absorber. It has preload ability, but with a single shock, pre-loads are limited. Put two heavy riders on it and you will eliminate the ability to the shock to handle the load. Not that putting two heavy riders on a bike this size is a good idea. Once the shock gets some wear on it, adjustments will become even more important.

The handle bar is “high and wide” which is Ducati’s way of saying low-rise and straight. The wide part means your grips are further apart than on a standard street bike.

Each ride comes in different colors and has cosmetics that vary.

The entry-level MSRP is around $8,600, making this the entry level Ducati.


Meant to be as close to the original as possible, the Classic comes with spoked wheels. It’s got a vintage seat with a passenger grab rail on the bottom edge.

It has a long, slightly curved rear fender and short front fender mounted close to the tire. If you plan to do much riding on wet surfaces, this front shield is not going to do much to keep you dry. The plate holder hangs off the rear fender.

Urban Enduro

The saddle is “ribbed” but from the side doesn’t look much different that the Classic. After some riding, the feel of the seat will be the same.

The handlebar is designed for offloading with a crossbar between the grips. This is not found on the other models.

The license plate holder comes off the rear axle assembly and is about 2 o’clock on the wheel. Frankly, I’m not very happy about the way Ducati mounts the plate to any of the new Scramblers, but that’s one of the trade-offs when riding a hybrid.

The front fender is longer than the Classic, but also mounted high on the front forks. It’s going to offer even less protection from anything the tire slings your way.

Same wheels as the Classic.


The seat is even more of a one-piece design than the Icon and the Urban. Again, after a while and some use, the difference won’t be noticeable

The front fender is still short, but mounted low and has mounting brackets coming down each side. It is more durable than the other model’s front fenders.

The plate holder is the same as on the Urban Enduro and the Full Throttle.

The wheels are 10-spoke alloy

Full Throttle

The saddle here is the most different among the four. It’s contoured a bit more and is “racing inspired.” This seat is also the least passenger friendly of the four, but only to a very small degree. In truth, these bikes will support a passenger, but they are best ridden solo.

The handlebars are a bit lower than on the other rides. Ducati said this is “flat track inspired.” If you like to ride dirt oval tracks, this is the steering system for you.

It has the shortest of all front fenders, mounted between the front forks.

Again, the plate is mounted off the rear axle.

Same wheels as the Icon.