Back to the Future: 2015 Ducati Scrambler

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Photo by Milagro
2015 Ducati Scrambler

2015 Ducati Scrambler
Claimed power: 75hp @ 8,250rpm
Top speed: 130mph (est.)
Engine: 803cc air/oil-cooled OHC desodromic 90-degree V-twin, 88mm x 66mm bore and stroke, 11:1 compression ratio
Weight (wet): 410lb (186kg)
Fuel capacity/MPG: 3.6 gal (13.6ltr)/50mpg (est.)
Price: Starts at $8,495

The usually yellow-painted Ducati Scramblers in 250/350/450cc guise were the last 4-stroke singles with lights and a number plate to leave the Italian manufacturer’s Bologna factory, killed off in 1975 after 40,000 had been built, thanks to a misplaced faith that the 125cc 2-stroke that replaced them would generate greater profits.

Now, after twice thinking better of doing so before, Ducati has finally launched the Scrambler that debuted at Intermot 2014 in Cologne, Germany, last October, with deliveries due to start by the time you’re reading this. But after riding it at a gloriously over-the-top press launch in the über-retro city of Palm Springs, California, I have to say the only thing the new model has in common with the old is the name on the tank — and even that’s been reversed, as in SCRAMBLER Ducati. Scrambler brand director and leader of the model’s six-person development team Mario Alvisi says this is because this isn’t just a new bike, it’s a new brand, much like MINI is a spin-off lower-cost adjunct of BMW.

Lifestyle statements

All this is an exercise in Marketing 101, generating what the corporate suits hope will be a feel-good factor that will inspire free spirit customers to buy a Scrambler. They’ll be aided by a vast array of more than 120 different Scrambler apparel items and other aftermarket add-ons that Ducati is launching alongside the bike, said accessories having been re-baptized as “ingredients.” Ducati would have you believe that with the new Scrambler, “It’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey.” Too bad the marketers didn’t do their homework properly, though, for according to Ducati “the bike is named after the English word to scramble, meaning mixing up or blending.” When then U.S. importer Joe Berliner coined the model name in 1962, he certainly intended it to be a reference to the then best-selling British scramblers — as in dirt bikes, this being what motocross was termed as Back Then. Oh, well. MC

Order the March/April 2015 issue of Motorcycle Classics to read more about the 2015 Ducati Scrambler. Contact Customer Service at (800) 880-7567 or contact us by email.

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