Sure, the Scrambler motorcycles invented the French. But somehow you trust the perfect Scrambler only Triumph and just Ducati. In 2019, the Italians refreshed their very popular 800 machine, we were able to take them for the test.
In fact, the Italians have already been able to deposit more than 55,000 pieces of their scramblers. Keeping the machine attractive requires use, and so Ducati never tires of constantly adding new variants that differ visually. In addition, there is an extremely extensive range of accessories with which the Scrambler can be customized. The 1100s we already had in the test,now the 800 had to compete with 73 hp.
Our specimen came in "Atomic Tangerine", there would still be "62 Yellow" - some would simply say orange or yellow. Many aluminium parts adorn the scramblers, that has not changed. Overall, the design with the 10-spoke alloy rims of the 1100s looks coherent and very high-quality. For this purpose, the actually small machine (only 2.16 meters long) is blessed with an optical presence, which cannot be explained at first glance. But on the two-eyed glance, the fast stud tyres, the high and wide handlebars as well as the core aluminium give a closed picture.
In 2019, Ducati revamped its bestseller and left one thing untouched: the L-shaped two-cylinder, originally from the Monster. It must be reassuring for Ducati engineers to be able to easily reach onto the shelf for a powerful and characterful drive. The unit went to work a bit rough, a new gas handle is now supposed to implement the commands progressively and no longer linearly. Core manners may not disturb a scrambler any further and may even be character-forming, but a little more manners have never harmed cult bikes.
Ducati expressed further need for action on the chassis, which many customers and journalists (including myself) found too rough. Finally, Ducati stopped the immorality of not having included a gear indicator or tank clock in the cockpit. Until now, customers were informed about a warning lamp when the level was low, which was annoying.
Before we can finally start, a big compliment to Ducati. Not long ago, the Italians decided to make their motorcycles safer. This is also the reason that PS monsters like the Streetfighter would be difficult to drive without massive electronic interventions if the road is not bone-dry and absolutely flat. The 73 hp Scrambler wouldn't have this problem, but she got a curve ABS donated without getting much more expensive. That's how it has to be, even the powerful LED light falls into this category.
Then let's go.
First impression: Oha, here the pilot sits upright and stable. The wide and high handlebars force a sitting position that is anything but sporty. You can't be further away from a panigale than on this scrambler. The new bench dispenses with the cowl, so that the butt can find its own position on the bench. On the previous model, I always noticed that the pilot was sitting on the machine, not in the machine, therefore not very integrated. I didn't like this, now I feel the sitting position is well integrated. However: After 15 to 30 minutes of driving, the very slippery seat becomes uncomfortable, which makes the handle necessary for accessories.
The view of the new display registers the laudable tank display, but a new marotte has been added: The speed is displayed via narrow bells at the bottom wheel of the circular instrument, which will hopefully be corrected with the next facelift.
The sound is rather restrained for a Ducati engine, but still bassy and powerful. It never gets annoyingly loud, which pleases the neighbors and suits the character. The engine is a force. It is already enormous what this V2 can do with the light (only 189 kilos filled) Ducati Scrambler 800 Icon. It doesn't matter if you prefer to drive up or down. Of course, 73 hp are not lavish, but they are always predictable. Overall, the engine of the Scamblers looks balanced, more balanced than in the big 1100s. Class.
And something else has changed. When I was visiting a friend in Los Angeles, on a hot day, I used his 800 scrambler for a trip to the sea. I noticed that it got very hot on my right leg, where the bend was. Back in Hamburg (okay, here it is rarely hot) this effect could be observed during a test drive. Now this imbalance has disappeared.
We also liked the chassis. Sporty tight, but by no means uncomfortable and therefore completely ok among Scramblerians. The low weight naturally promotes the manoeuvrability of the icon, which is alien to most rather stable Designed Ducatis. Here, however, she and her crew swing loosely through the curves after a short acclimatization, hear the satisfied sound of the engine and enjoy the country road as the ideal habitat of the 800s.
What remains of this very special Ducati? First of all, she's not really a Ducati. These are loud, often hard and brushed on riot. The exact opposite is the Scrambler, and therefore the spin-off of these machines into a sub-brand was the right decision. The whole machine has an unexcited appearance, positive and just right for the connoisseur.
It is ideal for a relaxing tour after work and around the block on weekends. In addition to a new rev counter, the next facelift should also bring better passenger comfort on the short bench, because you have to be allowed to share positive experiences.
The test bike was provided to us by Ducati Hamburg.