Ducati unveils its new Prince of Darkness

Ducati’s Scrambler line has proven popular with the masses, and the factory expands its footprint further with its new Icon Dark. The “Dark” brings all the usual Scrambler-tastic charms to the table along with a custom bent meant to give would-be customizers a gentle nudge down that homegrown-bike path. It rocks the same 73-horsepower, 803 cc L-twin as the rest of the mid-range Scramblers along with the usual electronics suite, but it takes a turn toward the Dark Side with ample blackout paint and a monochromatic finish on the sheet metal.

  • 2020 Ducati Scrambler Icon Dark
  • Year:
    2020
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    L-Twin
  • Displacement:
    803 cc
  • Top Speed:
    125 mph (Est.)
  • Price:
    8792
  • Price:

2020 Ducati Scrambler Icon Dark Design

  • Black-out aesthetics
  • Begs for customization
  • LED lighting
  • LCD display
  • Swappable tank cover
  • Ducati Multimedia System ready
2020 Ducati Scrambler Icon Dark
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2020 Ducati Scrambler Icon Dark
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2020 Ducati Scrambler Icon Dark
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Chrome won't get you home, and this little Prince of Darkness rolls with a dearth of the shiny stuff in favor of widespread blackout treatment.

Black has always been a popular hue for custom builders in spite of the homogenizing effect it has on the overall look, so rather than using the fork stanchions, frame, and engine to add to the aesthetic on the Icon Dark, they blend together so nothing about the bike is very conspicuous. The good news here is that it’s a blank canvas and when you start adding pieces and parts, those components will instantly leap off the background at the observer. Of course, I mean as long as they aren’t flat black, as well.

Up front, a bobbed-and-flared fender contains the spray with generous vents in the topsides that improve flow and reduce drag. The uprights double as fork guards to keep the inner tubes grit free to protect the front fork seals.

LED technology lights your path through a round cyclops headlight. The compact housing keeps the front end clean and mounts standoff-style turn signals high and tight where they’re less likely to be damaged in a drop. The main projector carries a series of Daytime Running Lights that increase your visibility to the world when the headlight is off. Remember that visibility is safety, m’kay?

A round gauge packs all the instrumentation into one location, and while the single offset display imparts a classic look to the cockpit, the LCD screen delivers the pertinent metrics in thoroughly modern fashion.

The 3.57-gallon teardrop fuel tank makes another classic connection with its timeless profile, and here we find the first easily customized component. The gray aluminum tank covers are universal across the family and can be swapped for a quick-and easy-custom look..

The bench-style saddle provides seating for both you and a friend with nothing in the way of an offset to segregate the two.

If you're into a bit of jackassery with your two-wheel toy, you'll have plenty of room for weight shifts fore and aft.

To complete the pillion gear, the factory chucked on a set of swingarm-mount, fold-up footpegs, and I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out that of the available ways to mount passenger pegs, that is the least desirable as every bump the rear wheel hits is transmitted directly to the passenger’s feet. It’s not a dealbreaker by any means, but it is a less than ideal arrangement.

An LED taillight rides tucked up under the back of the seat with blackout bullet housings for the rear blinkers. A cut-down rear fender makes another custom connection, as does the one-sided hugger that doubles as a plateholder.

Overall, the Dark displays the same exuberance of youth as the rest of the family in spite of its somewhat-sinister streak.

2020 Ducati Scrambler Icon Dark Chassis

  • Bosch Cornering ABS
  • Kayaba front forks
  • Nimble handling
  • Huge 330 mm brake disc
2020 Ducati Scrambler Icon Dark
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2020 Ducati Scrambler Icon Dark
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2020 Ducati Scrambler Icon Dark
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Blackout treatment makes the frame blend into the background, but it's the same stressed-engine Trellis as used by the rest of the family with welded tubular-steel members for the main structure.

Since the engine on the Scrambler Icon Dark is used as part of the frame, a large chunk of tubing is displaced to help keep weight down without sacrificing stiffness. The steering head sets a 24-degree rake angle for the usd, 41 mm Kayaba front forks with 4.4 inches of trail to put the Scrambler Icon Dark toward the nimble end of the spectrum.

Fixed preload and damping values are part of the package up front, and out back, the coil-over Kayaba monoshock comes with naught but the obligatory spring-preload adjuster as the only mechanical ride-quality tweak. An 18-inch front rim is followed by a 17-inch rear to round out the rolling chassis, and they mount Pirelli’s MT 60 RS hoops in a 110/80 and 180/55 on the front and rear, respectively.

When it’s time to drop anchor you can count on the power of a four-piston caliper and huge 330 mm front disc with a 245 mm rear disc and single-piston binder to take care of business. This is all under the protection of a Bosch Cornering ABS feature that’ll help you keep it rubber-side down.

Frame: Tubular steel Trellis frame
Front suspension: Upside down Kayaba 41 mm fork
Rear suspension: Kayaba rear shock, pre-load adjustable
Rake: 24°
Trail: 4.4 in (112 mm)
Total steering lock: 35°
Wheel travel, front/rear: 5.9 in (150 mm)/5.9 in (150 mm)
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
Front brake: Ø330 mm disc, radial 4-piston caliper with Bosch Cornering ABS
Rear brake: Ø245 mm disc, 1-piston floating caliper with Bosch Cornering ABS

2020 Ducati Scrambler Icon Dark Drivetrain

  • 803 cc L-Twin engine
  • Slip-and-assist clutch
  • Desmodromic valve-actuation system
  • Black-out heads and brushed aluminum fins
2020 Ducati Scrambler Icon Dark
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2020 Ducati Scrambler Icon Dark
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2020 Ducati Scrambler Icon Dark
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Power comes from an 803 cc L-Twin plant to the tune of 73 horsepower at 8,250 rpm that's backed up by 49 pound-feet of torque that tops out at 5,750 rpm.

After the juice flows through the slip-and-assist clutch to provide some anti-hop protection, the six-speed transmission and the tough chain drive on the Scrambler Icon Dark drives this bike to speeds of around 125 mph, if you have the nerve for it.

It’s air cooled, so there’s no ugly radiator or water-jacket system to clutter up the look and needlessly complicate the engine. An 88 mm bore and 66 mm stroke turns out an 11-to-1 compression ratio that falls in the middle of the range but will likely require top-dollar road champagne to prevent knock, ping and run-on. Twin-poppet heads run Ducati’s signature Desmodromic valve-actuation system that substitutes a pull-closed cam for the valve springs to eliminate the possibility of harmonic valve float at high revs.

Induction control falls to the 50 mm throttle body, and between the electronic fuel injection in the intake and Lambda probes in the exhaust, the system manages to meet Euro 4 emission standards.

Some may complain about the lack of higher electronics, but you've got to appreciate the essential nature of the Scrambler Icon Dark.
Engine: L-Twin, Desmodromic distribution, 2 valves per cylinder, air cooled
Displacement: 803 cc
Bore x stroke: 88 mm x 66 mm
Compression ratio: 11:1
Power: 54 kW (73 hp) @ 8,250 rpm
Torque: 67 Nm (49 lb-ft) @ 5,750 rpm
Fuel injection: Electronic fuel injection, 50 mm throttle body
Exhaust: 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: Hydraulically controlled slipper and self-servo wet multiplate clutch

2020 Ducati Scrambler Icon Dark Pricing

2020 Ducati Scrambler Icon Dark
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2020 Ducati Scrambler Icon Dark
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2020 Ducati Scrambler Icon Dark
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The 2020 Scrambler Icon Dark rolls for a base price of $8,795.

Matte aluminum accents on the Scrambler Icon Dark stand out from the Matt Black backdrop for a bit of subtle bling that breaks up the darkness quite nicely.

Standard equipment: Steel tank with interchangeable aluminum side panels, headlight with DRL by LED light-guide and interchangeable aluminum cover, LCD instruments with gear and fuel level indications and interchangeable aluminum cover, ABS cornering, machine-finished aluminum belt covers, black engine with brushed fins.
Icon equipment: Dedicated logo, dedicate handlebar, matching mudguards, aluminum muffler cover
Warranty: 24 months unlimited mileage
Color: Matt Black
Price: $8,795

2020 Ducati Scrambler Icon Dark Competitors

2020 Ducati Scrambler Icon Dark
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2016 - 2019 Harley-Davidson Street 500 / Street 750
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There is no shortage of scramblers on the market right now with most major manufacturers on the bandwagon, but this time around, I want to go to an unlikely source for a custom-ish beginner’s bike, Harley-Davidson’s Street 750 to see how they compare.

Harley-Davidson Street 750

2016 - 2019 Harley-Davidson Street 500 / Street 750
- image 731665

Admittedly, the Street has more of a café-tastic panache than a scrambler one, but if you know your history you’ll have to admit that both café racers and scramblers share a common ancestor in the standard streetbikes of the ’60s and ’70s, and both genre’s were originally the result of homegrown customization.

Blackout treatment is rife throughout both designs, and besides the nasty old radiator and shroud on the Street, the main visual differences occur an the bullet fairing and the bellow gaiters up front.

Cut-down fenders are another constant, as is the look a V-Twin engine adds to the mix, but unfortunately for the Street, it’s kind of chunky for a mid-size machine, and I find it to be a little too wide at the waist by comparison. Rwu forks float the front end, and that gives the Street a last century air the Icon Dark leaves behind, nevermind the strength that inverted forks bring to the table.

The Street rolls with the same preload adjuster out back, so the stems are a wash, and while ABS is available as a $750 option on the Street it isn't the lean-sensitive kind, and that cedes an advantage to Ducati.

Harley’s liquid-cooled Revolution X mill cranks out 43.5 pound feet to fall just short of the Scrambler’s grunt to hand Ducati another win against its 49 pounds o’ grunt. Harley offers the Street in a variety of hues with five packages that run from the $7,599 Vivid Black through an $8,049 two-tone package, but to be fair, four of the five are as monochromatic as the Icon Dark’s livery with Performance Orange as the only bright paint to be had.

Read our full review of the Harley-Davidson Street 750.

He Said

“This is one of those rare bikes that could serve both as a beginner’s bike and as an experienced rider’s weekender. Ducati’s Scrambler line started out humbly enough, but the factory spread the love across three different engine sizes to create a pool of Scrambleristi that is fairly broad in scope. Personally, I prefer the scrambler models that tie directly into the designs of yesteryear, indeed I consider Ducati’s version to hardly be a proper scrambler at all, but let’s not get hung up on labels and just appreciate the Icon Dark for what it is.”

She Said

My wife and fellow motorcycle writer, Allyn Hinton, says, “Stripped of the extraneous, the Scrambler Icon Dark is a lean, mean machine. Priced attractively and ready for customization, the “Dark” comes with a new, flatter seat and distinctive round mirrors. More than just an Icon painted black, the overall look might be described as sinister were it not for the overall jaunty design of the Scrambler lineup as a whole. My only disappointment is in the tank covers. If you’re going dark, why put gray tank covers on it and then make buyers purchase black covers?”

2020 Ducati Scrambler Icon Dark Specifications

Engine & Drivetrain:
Engine: L-Twin, Desmodromic distribution, 2 valves per cylinder, air cooled
Displacement: 803 cc
Bore x stroke: 88 mm x 66 mm
Compression ratio: 11:1
Power: 54 kW (73 hp) @ 8,250 rpm
Torque: 67 Nm (49 lb-ft) @ 5,750 rpm
Fuel injection: Electronic fuel injection, 50 mm throttle body
Exhaust: 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: Hydraulically controlled slipper and self-servo wet multiplate clutch
Chassis:
Frame: Tubular steel Trellis frame
Front suspension: Upside down Kayaba 41 mm fork
Rear suspension: Kayaba rear shock, pre-load adjustable
Rake: 24°
Trail: 4.4 in (112 mm)
Total steering lock: 35°
Wheel travel, front/rear: 5.9 in (150 mm)/5.9 in (150 mm)
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
Front brake: Ø330 mm disc, radial 4-piston caliper with Bosch Cornering ABS
Rear brake: Ø245 mm disc, 1-piston floating caliper with Bosch Cornering ABS
Dimensions & Capacities:
Wheelbase: 1,445 mm (56.9 in)
Fuel tank capacity: 3.57 gallon (13.5 l)
Consumption: 46 mpg (5.1 l/100 km)
Dry weight: 381 lb (173 kg)
Wet weight: 417 lb (189 kg)
Seat height: 31.4 in (798 mm) - low seat 30.6 in (778 mm) available as accessory
Max height: 45.3 in (1,150 mm) (brake reservoir)
Max width: 33.7 in (855 mm) (mirrors)
Max length: 82.7 in - 85.2 in (2,100 mm – 2,165 mm)
Number of seats: Dual seat
Top Speed: 125 mph (est)
Details:
Standard equipment: Steel tank with interchangeable aluminum side panels, headlight with DRL by LED light-guide and interchangeable aluminum cover, LCD instruments with gear and fuel level indications and interchangeable aluminum cover, ABS cornering, machine-finished aluminum belt covers, black engine with brushed fins.
Icon equipment: Dedicated logo, dedicate handlebar, matching mudguards, aluminum muffler cover
Warranty: 24 months unlimited mileage
Color: Matt Black
Price: $8,795

Further Reading

Ducati

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TJ Hinton
T.J got an early start from his father and other family members who owned and rode motorcycles, and by helping with various mechanical repairs throughout childhood. That planted a seed that grew into a well-rounded appreciation of all things mechanical, and eventually, into a formal education of same. Though primarily a Harley rider, he has an appreciation for all sorts of bikes and doesn't discriminate against any particular brand or region of origin. He currently holds an Associate's degree in applied mechanical science from his time at the M.M.I.  Read More
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All images featured on this website are copyrighted to their respective rightful owners. No infringement is intended. Image Source: ducati.com, harley-davidson.com

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