To many riders, the concept of one day owning a Ducati is a sexy fever dream filled with carbon fiber and race leathers—an epic fantasy where they’ve accrued enough experience to squeeze every last drop out of the 200+ mph capable race bred machines.
In practicality, however, the average weekend warrior isn’t looking for a detuned superbike to buzz over to Caffeine and Carburators on a Sunday morning. This is why, for the past decade or so, Ducati’s been having its lunch eaten by the likes of Triumph and Honda in the entry level segment, that sub-$10,000 market where most riders develop their lifelong addiction to the two wheeled lifestyle.
It’s a space they used to dominate until 1976, when the original Scrambler suddenly and mysteriously disappeared as the brand doubled down on racing.
But now, it’s back.
I spent the past week in Palm Springs as the guest of Ducati, for the first American press drive of the the new Scrambler. Alongside me were journalists from all stages of experience, ranging from Ex-MotoGP to the newly licensed. After 10 hours on the bike, every single one of us echoed the same sentiment: the Scrambler is, without question, the most fun we've ever had on a Ducati.
Why though? Aren’t all Ducatis supposed to be fun?
Well, yes, technically. But the reality is that when you get behind the bars of a 1199 Panigale for instance, you’ve just stepped into a new universe, a parallel one where no matter how capable you actually are, you have to convince the bike that you’re a race seasoned veteran. If you don’t, it’s going to hand you your own ass on a silver platter. But with the Scrambler, I felt an immediate sense that this bike was here to let me be me.
Quite literally, as it turns out, that’s the way the bike was engineered.
Sensing the overwhelming trend that aftermarket specialists like Revival Cycles and Dime City Customs are satisfying a consumer desire to create deep personal connections to their machines through customization, they’ve created, alongside the bike, a seemingly endless range of parts and pieces that allow you to tailor the chassis and engine directly to your personal taste.
They’ve even gone so far as to create an entire line of Scrambler Ducati apparel and accessories, a somewhat hubristic bet that once you’ve spent a day on the bike, you’ll be doing everything you can to cram more Scrambler into your life. I’ve seen it all in person, and I feel comfortable admitting that I wanted to own 80% of it.
Because that’s what the whole Scrambler philosophy is about - inviting you into a world of fun (they call it #LandOfJoy), and letting it rip.
In every way that having a 1199 Panigale in your garage is a bit like having a pet Bengal tiger, the Scrambler is like having your best friend move into your apt for the sole purpose of building forts, going on adventures, picking up chicks, and cranking through twisties.
That’s how much fun the ride is; you never even have to think about it. It’s perfectly balanced, as powerful as you need it to be, and extremely excited at the prospect of you taking it off road.
If it sounds like I’m being effusive about this bike, you’re right - I freaking love it. I live in New York, easily one of the worst towns to own a bike over 1000CCs. The Scrambler has 800, but it doesn’t even bother to mention, it’s just as comfortable doing 5mph through traffic as it is leaning hard into a turn at 85. The ride stance is comfortable enough for long hauls, yet sporty enough to get what you want out of it. The stock exhaust is beautifully tuned for just enough feedback, and it’ll even give you a pinch of backfire if you’re in the mood.
In short, the Scrambler is in the Goldilocks zone. Not too much, not too little, just right.
In really short, the Scrambler is f*cking fun as hell.
And it’s that fact, right there, that makes this the most important Ducati they’ve made in years - it’s the gateway drug to the brand, and it’s about to set a whole generation of riders up for a lifelong addiction to the Italian Stallions from Bologna.
Ted Gushue is the Executive Editor of Supercompressor, and has already tried to put a deposit down on the first Scrambler to reach NYC, despite how freaking cold out it is. Cruise down below to see a few other shots from his trip to Palm Springs, including one where he looks really serious.