Road Test

UK road test: Ducati Scrambler Full Throttle review

A week living with the hippest bike in motorcycling

THE Ducati Scrambler is a hip bike for hipsters - the internet has already passed judgement.

Granted Ducati hasn't done itself any favours by covering the Scrambler microsite in Instagram-style snaps of trendy kids on nauseating voyages of self-discovery with their 'post-heritage' (Ducati's words, not mine) motorcycles.

But the thing is, it's become so trendy to knock the Scrambler for being trendy, that's it's actually trendy not to knock the Scrambler for being trendy... if you follow my logic. You see, lurking beneath the oh-so hip exterior is a really capable machine and one of the best city bikes I've ever ridden.

I spent a week with the Full Throttle variant of the Scrambler. It's inspired by American flat trackers and has more than just a little Harley-Davidson XR1200 about it. Other options include the Classic, Urban Enduro and Icon, each with their own subtle little styling twists.

I suppose I should have conducted my review with mr Hipster around Shoreditch in east London, rolling around and around Hoxton Square in the hope some student from the Camberwell College of Arts wants to feature me on their blog. But no! I quickly decided to go all anti-fashion and explore the real world possibilities of the Scrambler. After all, bikes are for riding and not posing outside vegan smoothie cafes.

So I took the Scrambler to the least hipster place I could think of - the darkest corner of the East Anglian Fens. Welcome to Pondersbridge, home to three farm cottages, a knackered caravan and a dachshund called Colin. The only hip thing here is the one Mrs Berridge had replaced last March.

The sun is finally shining and the traffic is all elsewhere (the A14 apparently), I have the Fens to myself. Here the roads run straight - if a little bumpy - and arrive at sharp 90°  bends. In these flatlands vision is endless so you can corner in confidence and, aside from the occasional agricultural spillage, it's an overlooked gem for a blast.

The wide bars and lightweight Scrambler (186kg kerb) are a joy to throw around - particularly coupled with the Pirelli dual sport tyres which grip confidently even when I applied the throttle aggressively out of the corner from the torquey 800cc V-twin.

There's something satisfying and raw about the Scrambler. Make no mistake, it's a sophisticated motorcycle but it feels so earthy and lively. It's the sort of bike you'd like to go for a pint with - unlike, say, the Panigale, which would probably insist on drinking diet Coke.

The air-cooled motor is so responsive and packs such a punch, seemingly oblivious to what gear you're in at the time. When you ride the Scrambler you feel connected to the road, aided in a large part by the stiff suspension and firm Kabaya rear shock. The SV650 I'd been riding moments earlier felt spongey and vague as a direct comparison.

Unlike its stable mates the Full Throttle version gets a stubby double-barrel shotgun exhaust with Termignoni mufflers and it produces a satisfying, gruff bark which gets you heard but not offensively so. Of course, if you do want to fall out with your neighbours, there are plenty of ways to turn the volume up to 11.

The range from the 13.5 litre tank is between 100 miles around London or 110 miles at motorway cruising before the reserve countdown begins ticking up menacingly. I estimated, with some petrol station receipt maths, that I'd have around 15-20 miles on reserve. The tank's range would be a nuisance for touring but not half as much of a pain as the seat.

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