For riders of a certain age, Ducati’s ‘Scrambler’ sub-brand is a tad confusing. ‘Scrambler’ in the UK during the 1950s-60s-70s meant what’s now called ‘moto cross’, ie dirt bikes with knobbly tyres racing around a dirt track. It also filled our TV screens on Saturday afternoons usually with a mud-fest of Glastonbury proportions.
‘Scrambler’ in 2017 Ducati-talk means youthful, exciting, exuberant, stylish and different from the hard sports semi-racer Dukes. The Italian company now has a whole range of bikes under the ‘Scrambler’ genre.
The latest is the most exciting. It’s the Ducati Scrambler Cafe Racer, and the company talks about the 1960s bikes that were part of a social revolution in the UK. We’re talking ‘rockers’ here, the same guys who clashed with Lambretta and Vespa scooter riding ‘Mods’ at British seaside towns. ‘Mods and Rockers’ was one of the 1960s youth rebellions but an important one. We’d never have had The Who and ‘Tommy” for a start without it, nor Jethro Tull’s ‘Too Old to Rock ‘n Roll, Too Young To Die‘.
Anyway, back to the bike. The Scrambler Cafe Racer is powered by a 75hp 803cc version of the current air+oil cooled vee-twin, with a 6-speed gearbox. It has a stylish teardrop tank and, oddly, that race numberplate on the side. I don’t remember 1960s cafe racers having that but hey ho, let’s not be pedantic. What are authentic are the handlebar-end mirrors and snappy short exhaust with megaphone-like ends.
I don’t understand the economics, certainly not from a dealer point-of-view, but there’s a whole range of accessories and clothing to go with the bike. These include a ‘Sport Termignoni silencer with removable db-killer’ – read ‘noisy’ – a protective mesh for the oil cooler, aluminium footpegs, a ‘plug & play’ anti-theft system, and a two-seat saddle. You might think some of these items should be standard…
Clothing is pretty impressive though with a great leather jacket in ‘Black Coffee’ colour cowhide or a ‘Trucker Patch Denim Jacket’, and jeans made of denim with para-aramid fibre reinforcing. There’s even a Check Ace full-face helmet in yellow with a black and metallic gray checkerboard graphic.