Put A Monster Engine In A Scrambler And What Do You Get?

After its overseas debut last year in Abu Dhabi, Dubai and elsewhere, Ducati is bringing the Scrambler Street Classic to the U.S. market for the 2018 model year. The Street Classic borrows from the ’70s custom scene for its unique spin on the scrambler platform and an 803 cc L-twin that delivers 73 horsepower to maintain the same level of performance as the rest of the mid-size Scrambler family. ABS provides the only electronic safety equipment, but if you’re looking for techno-gadgetry, then you’re definitely looking at the wrong type of bike, no matter the manufacturer. Ducati continues to morph its Scrambler lineup in an attempt to get as much mileage as possible out of it, and who can blame them. The range has proven itself to be very popular with the masses and a blank canvas for personalization. Are they jumping the shark yet? Let’s find out.

Continue reading for my review of the Ducati Scrambler Street Classic.

  • 2018 Ducati Scrambler Street Classic
  • Year:
    2018
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    L-Twin
  • Displacement:
    803 cc
  • Price:
    9695
  • Price:

Design

2018 Ducati Scrambler Street Classic
- image 775863
It is very faithful to the old-school performance-custom builds in that no weight is wasted on extraneous components; only the essentials make it onto the road.

The classic vibe starts out at ground level with a set of laced aluminum rims that hail back to a day when spokes were still king and “mags” had little value to custom builders, especially ones who were building a bike that could potentially see some light off-road action. A gull-wing swingarm, upswept exhaust and inverted front forks lend it a tough-and-sporty look immediately reinforced by bobbed fenders — front and rear — and the hugger/plateholder that rides suspended over the rear wheel. Suspension travel is generous, so the seemingly large gap between the subframe and rear wheel is a necessity that is exaggerated further by the rear fender that is cut down to the limits of functionality and the recessed LED taillight. Gotta say I’m really feeling the whole bob-tail thing. It looks cool, and it’s very faithful to the old-school performance-custom builds in that no weight is wasted on extraneous components; only the essentials make it onto the road.

A UJM-esque bench seat comes built for two with a shallow crook that creates a saddle-like cradle for the pilot’s fifth point of contact. The p-pad comes set with a forward bias and a set of swingarm-mount, fold-up footpegs to complete the passenger’s gear, but with the pegs mounted that far from the swingarm pivot, you can expect a much rougher ride for your passenger’s feet than you would get from subframe-mount pegs.

Naturally, the classic 3.6-gallon teardrop tank does its bit to tie into the past with interchangeable side covers that provide an opportunity to put your brand on the bike and make it yours. Few parts of the Street Classic escape the blackout treatment from the front fork struts up to the handlebar and back to the swingarm, the dark side is strong with this one. A round LED headlight can makes a final classic connection with plenty of lumens to help you see and be seen.

Chassis

2018 Ducati Scrambler Street Classic
- image 775866
Suspension travel is generous and it adds to the overall performance and agility.

Duc starts out with a twin-spar steel Trellis frame to serve as the main structure. The boomerang swingarm, like the wheels, is made from aluminum to help keep unsprung weight down and improve suspension performance. As for the suspension itself, the front end floats on a set of inverted 43 mm forks that come with fixed damping values. Opposite, find a central coil-over monoshock that rocks an adjustable rebound-damping feature to go with the adjustable spring preload function for a tailored ride quality, at least at the rear end. Suspension travel measures out at 5.9-inches front and rear — pretty supple indeed — and it adds to the overall performance and agility. The rest of the Scrambler’s nimble nature is due to the 24-degree steering head and 4.4 inches of trail over the 56.9-inch wheelbase as well as its 410-pound wet weight.

Brembo supplies the anchors with a four-pot M 4.32B monobloc caliper up front with a single-piston binder out back, and this dynamic duo works with a single 330 mm front disc and 245 mm rear to supply the braking power. Bosch follows up with its 9.1 MP, two-channel antilock brake system that comes as part of the standard equipment package to provide a little security, though it’s important to remember ABS is no substitute for skill and/or prudent riding practices.

Pirelli hoops line the 18-inch front and 17-inch rear with “ZR” rated rubber and the now-typical, scrambler-tastic tread pattern that features deep grooves and wide street flats for traction in a variety of conditions.

Frame: Tubular steel Trellis frame
Rake: 24°
Trail: 4.4 inches
Total steering lock: 35°
Front suspension: Upside down Kayaba 41 mm fork
Rear suspension: Kayaba rear shock, pre-load and rebound adjustable. Aluminum double-sided swingarm
Wheel travel, Front/Rear: 5.9 inches/5.9 inches
Front brake: 330 mm disc, radial 4-piston caliper with ABS as standard equipment
Rear brake: 245 mm disc, 1-piston floating caliper with ABS as standard equipment
Front wheel: 10-spoke in light alloy, 3.00" x 18"
Rear wheel: 10-spoke in light alloy, 5.50" x 17"
Front tire: Pirelli MT 60 RS 110/80 R18
Rear tire: Pirelli MT 60 RS 180/55 R17

Drivetrain

2018 Ducati Scrambler Street Classic
- image 775860
The factory borrows from its Monster and Hypermotard programs for the Scrambler's powerplant but uses special cams that deliver linear grunt for a predictable and user-friendly ride.

Ducati powers the thing with its air-cooled, 803 cc L-twin Desmodue engine that delivers a solid 73 horsepower at 8,250 rpm and 49 pounds o’ grunt at 5,750 rpm. The factory borrows from its Monster and Hypermotard programs for the Scrambler’s powerplant with the same pistons and cylinders, but the engines character is defined by the special cams that deliver linear grunt for a predictable and user-friendly ride.

Valve overlap — that period of crank rotation near TDC on the exhaust stroke at which both the intake and exhaust valves are both open so exhaust-gas scavenging can occur — is limited to 11 degrees of rotation so as to reduce the amount of free hydrocarbons in the exhaust stream in order to comply with Euro 4 emissions standards. Compression is pretty warm at 11-to-1, so you can forget about buying the cheap gas. As usual, Duc uses its signature Desmodromic valvetrain system that replaces the valve springs with a pull-closed cam for positive poppet operation with no possibility of valve float in the higher rpm ranges.

Induction control falls to the 50 mm throttle body and pair of electronic fuel injectors with no fandanglery such as TC, rider modes or wheelie control to complicate the plumbing and wiring. Simple, honest control for a solid connection between man/woman and machine. Power flows through a six-speed gearbox and chain drive with an antihopping clutch to couple the tranny to engine power.

Engine: L-Twin, Desmodromic distribution, 2 valves per cylinder, air cooled
Displacement: 803 cc
Bore x stroke: 88 x 66 mm
Compression ratio: 11:1
Power : 73 hp @ 8,250 rpm
Torque: 49 lb-ft @ 5,750 rpm
Fuel injection: Electronic fuel injection, 50 mm throttle body
Exhaust: Exhaust system with single stainless steel muffler, aluminum silencer cover, catalytic converter and 2 lambda probes
Gearbox: 6 speed
Clutch: APTC wet multiplate with mechanical control

Pricing

2018 Ducati Scrambler Street Classic
- image 775858
MSRP puts it just under $10k and positioned well for the class.

You can score a 2018 Scrambler Street Classic for $9,695 MSRP in any color you like, as long as you like Volcano Gray for the sheet metal. The good news is if you don’t like the brushed aluminum-esque tank covers, you can swap them out with something perhaps a little less achromatic.

Warranty: 24 months unlimited mileage
Color: Volcano Grey
Price: $9,695

Competitors

2017 - 2018 Triumph Street Scrambler
- image 767093
2018 Ducati Scrambler Street Classic
- image 775870
They seem kinda' samey-same, but Triumph brings the pain with traction control to which Ducati has no retort.

When I went looking for a competitor for the Ducati Scrambler Street Classic, it seemed almost serendipitous when I immediately stumbled over the Street Scrambler from Triumph. Yeah, this is definitely the one, and that assertion is based on far more than the similarities in the names.

Trumpet starts out with laced rims for that classic, on/off-road connection with a pared-down front fender to touch on the performance-custom vibe as well, much like the Duc. The Street Scrambler stays a tad more faithful to the past with standard front forks and classic shotgun exhaust to go with a hang-down, subframe/fender-mount mudguard that doesn’t look anywhere near as cool as the Duc’s hugger and bobbed rear-fender arrangement. Still, the Triumph ride has a classic look with an unmistakably British vibe. Almost the entire machine gets the blackout treatment with the fuel tank serving as the only splash of color with Matt Khaki Green or Korosi Red / Frozen Silver on the palette next to Jet Black if you’re looking for almost total blackout.

Triumph uses a double-cradle/downtube frame to support the engine, rather than using the engine itself as part of the assembly. The KYB rear shock is a bit simpler with only a preload adjustment to refine the ride. Brakes are similar but with twin-piston Nissin calipers front and rear rather than Brembo as with the Duc. ABS protection comes standard across the board.

Triumph packs in 900 cc for a slight edge in displacement, but the parallel-twin arrangement gives up a different kind of performance. Horsepower drops a tad with only 55 ponies on tap against the Duc’s 73, but the typical Triumph torque comes on low at 2,850 rpm with 59 pound-feet against 49 from the Duc. I think that there’s a lot to be said for an engine that you don’t have to flog to get to the good stuff. So far, it all seems kinda’ samey-same, but Triumph brings the pain with traction control to which Ducati has no retort.

You’ll pay for that gadgetry of course; the Triumph Street Scrambler has an MSRP of $10,800, so it isn’t quite as budget-conscious but it is more technologically advanced. One might even say it’s a more mature type of scrambler.

He Said

“Cool little ride, but I wonder if it’s a bit superfluous. It covers some of the same ground as the Icon, Mach 2.0 and Cafe’ Racer, and I’m not entirely convinced they hit the target era with enough sincerity. Just a token here and there doesn’t not a tribute make. Oh well, it’s Duc’s project, and if they want to tool a bajillion different assembly lines, then more power to ’em.”

She Said

My wife and fellow motorcycle writer, Allyn Hinton, says, “As with the other Ducati Scramblers, it is maneuverable at low speeds. It’s tall, like you can see your house from here. Okay, maybe not quite that tall, but average-height riders will have a little trouble flat-footing around the saddle on this one. Power is smooth, and it isn’t all that bad on the interstate which surprises me a little considering it’s meant to be off-roadish and doesn’t come with a windscreen.”

Specifications

Engine & Drivetrain:
Engine: L-Twin, Desmodromic distribution, 2 valves per cylinder, air cooled
Displacement: 803 cc
Bore x stroke: 88 x 66 mm
Compression ratio: 11:1
Power : 73 hp @ 8,250 rpm
Torque: 49 lb-ft @ 5,750 rpm
Fuel injection: Electronic fuel injection, 50 mm throttle body
Exhaust: Exhaust system with single stainless steel muffler, aluminum silencer cover, catalytic converter and 2 lambda probes
Gearbox: 6 speed
Ratio: 1=32/13 2=30/18 3=28/21 4=26/23 5=22/22 6=24/26
Primary drive: Straight cut gears; Ratio 1.85:1
Final drive: Chain; Front sprocket 15; Rear sprocket 46
Clutch: APTC wet multiplate with mechanical control
Chassis:
Frame: Tubular steel Trellis frame
Rake: 24°
Trail: 4.4 inches
Total steering lock: 35°
Front suspension: Upside down Kayaba 41 mm fork
Rear suspension: Kayaba rear shock, pre-load and rebound adjustable. Aluminum double-sided swingarm
Wheel travel, Front/Rear: 5.9 inches/5.9 inches
Front brake: 330 mm disc, radial 4-piston caliper with ABS as standard equipment
Rear brake: 245 mm disc, 1-piston floating caliper with ABS as standard equipment
Front wheel: 10-spoke in light alloy, 3.00" x 18"
Rear wheel: 10-spoke in light alloy, 5.50" x 17"
Front tire: Pirelli MT 60 RS 110/80 R18
Rear tire: Pirelli MT 60 RS 180/55 R17
Dimensions & Capacities:
Max height: 45.3 inches / brake reservoir
Max width: 33.3 inches / mirrors
Max length: 82.7 - 85.2 inches
Wheelbase: 56.9 inches
Fuel tank capacity: 3.57 gallons (US)
Dry weight: 375 lb
Wet weight: 410 lb
Seat height: 31.1 inches (low seat: 30.3 inches, and high seat: 31.9 inches available as accessory)
Number of seats: Dual seat
Details:
Standard Equipment: Steel tank with interchangeable aluminium side panels, headlight with glass lens, LED light-guide and interchangeable aluminium cover, LED rear light with diffusion-light, LCD instruments with interchangeable aluminium cover, machine-finished aluminium belt covers, under-seat storage compartment with USB socket
Warranty: 24 months unlimited mileage
Color: Volcano Grey
Price: $9,695

References

Triumph Street Scrambler

2017 - 2018 Triumph Street Scrambler
- image 773774

See our review of the Triumph Street Scrambler.

All images featured on this website are copyrighted to their respective rightful owners. No infringement is intended. Image Source: ducati.com, triumphmotorcycles.com

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