The blackout look and the overall vibe of the Nightshift sets it apart

Ducati’s Scrambler division unleashes its new-for-2021 “Nightshift” model on the world in all of its blackout glory in a sinister turn for the usually youthfully-jubilant Scrambler lineup. It carries the mid-range, 803 cc L-Twin engine wrapped in a homejob-custom package with unique components that complete the look. The ABS feature is of the corner-sensitive variety to give the Nightshift an edge on the streets.

  • 2021 Ducati Scrambler Nightshift
  • Year:
    2021
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    L-Twin
  • Displacement:
    803 cc
  • Top Speed:
    120 mph (Est.)
  • Price:
    10995
  • Price:

2021 Ducati Scrambler Nightshift Design

  • Blackout styling
  • Flat-track-inspired side number plates
  • LED lighting
  • Wide handlebar
  • LCD display
2021 Ducati Scrambler Nightshift
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2021 Ducati Scrambler Nightshift
- image 947881

For the Scrambler Nightshift, Ducati puts together an old-school custom machine that sports a mish-mash of historical design points. The classic references start in earnest right out of the gate with laced wheels and a front fender that is cut right down to the bone. A round cyclops headlight splits the night through its LED-projector technology, plus it comes complete with a DRL ring for improved daytime visibility.

The 3.57-gallon steel teardrop tank defines the forward flyline, and like the rest of the Scrambler family, the aluminum inserts on the tank can be removed, mixed, or matched with the tank plates from one of its Scrambler siblings. A café-style, two-up bench seat makes a tenuous connection to the café racers of old with bar-end mirrors to reinforce the look, but I gotta’ say, it’s pretty subtle. I mean, would it have killed them to throw on a bullet fairing or at least a faux-fairing windshield? It certainly would have sold the look a bit better.

Teeny-tiny turning signals and a small taillight take care of the rearward lighting with LED brightness that ensures your rear visibility to the rest of the world. A single-side hugger mounts the tag with a secondary, swingarm-mount hugger to complete the coverage and leave the rear wheel well visible from both sides. Below the saddle, a set of blank, racing-style numberplates close off the flanks and add to the racing chops. Generous blackout treatment runs throughout the design to the exclusion of all chrome components for a decidedly-dark overall panache.

2021 Ducati Scrambler Nightshift Chassis

  • Responsive handling
  • Wide handlebar
  • Corner-sensitive ABS
  • LCD display
2021 Ducati Scrambler Nightshift
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2021 Ducati Scrambler Nightshift
- image 947882
2021 Ducati Scrambler Nightshift
- image 947891

Tubular-steel is the material of choice for the Trellis-style frame on the Nightshift. It’s strong, tough and resilient, and the weight it adds over an alloy is negligible as the Nightshift weighs in at 432 pounds soaking wet.

The steering head establishes a 24-degree rake angle, and once the 18-inch front wheel is factored in, it ends up with 4.4 inches of trail over a 56.9-inch wheelbase. That promises an enthusiastic response to steering inputs while under way, plus it comes with a 35-degree steering arc lock-to-lock that will help with parking-lot maneuvers and a wide handlebar for plenty of leverage. You may not be able to make a U-turn, but at least you have a chance at a K-turn instead of a W-turn.

Inverted 41 mm Kayaba forks float the front end on 5.9 inches of travel and fixed damping values. Out back, the Kayaba rear shock unit takes care of business with the obligatory preload-adjustment feature as the only adjustment for the suspension components.

Laced aluminum wheels round out the rolling chassis with Pirelli MT RS hoops in a fat 110/80-18 up front opposite an even fatter 180/55-17, both of which add to the old-school custom look.

As sinisterly whimsical as this bike may appear, the factory took safety seriously by adding a corner-sensitive ABS feature that modulates its intervention levels to meet the calculated available traction. A four-piston anchor bites a 330 mm front disc with a single-pot caliper and 245 mm disc out back and the instrumentation is delivered via LCD screen, and it comes with a USB port so you can power/charge your mobile devices under way.

Frame: Tubular steel Trellis frame
Front suspension/Wheel Travel: Upside down Kayaba 41 mm fork/5.9 in (150 mm)
Rear suspension/Wheel Travel: Kayaba rear shock, pre-load adjustable/5.9 in (150 mm)
Rake: 24°
Trail: 4.4 in (112 mm)
Total steering lock: 35°
Front wheel: Spoked aluminum wheel 3,00" x 18"
Rear wheel: Spoked aluminum wheel 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 as standard equipment
Rear brake: Ø245 mm disc, 1-piston floating caliper with Bosch Cornering ABS as standard equipment

2021 Ducati Scrambler Nightshift Drivetrain

  • Proven 803 cc L-Twin engine
  • 73 hp @ 8,250 rpm
  • 48.8 lb-ft @ 5,750 rpm
  • Slip-and-assist Clutch
2021 Ducati Scrambler Nightshift
- image 947889
2021 Ducati Scrambler Nightshift
- image 947883
2021 Ducati Scrambler Nightshift
- image 947888

The mid-range, 803 cc L-Twin engine in the Scrambler Nightshift delivers the goods with 73 horsepower and 48.8 pound-feet of torque on tap for your riding pleasure. Massively oversquare, the mill rocks an 88 mm bore and 66 mm stroke with a spicy, 11-to-1 compression ratio that makes for a spirited throttle response though you can count on using top-hook gas or adding an octane-booster to regular/non-ethanol fuels.

To keep the powerplant relatively uncomplicated, the factory went with air cooling to deal with the waste heat. Twin-valve heads run with Desmodromic valve actuation that replaces the valve return springs with a pull-closed cam for positive valve closure and effective valve-float prevention that makes it safe to operate in the highest available RPM range.

A slip-and-assist clutch does its bit to protect the integrity of the rear contact patch during hard downshifts/engine braking, and it connects engine power to a transmission with six speeds to keep the engine in the usable power band. The final drive is a tough O-ring chain and sprockets that, once factored with the primary drive and transmixxer, turns out a top speed around 120 mph. To keep the electronics simple as well, the factory declined to add any ride-quality features or additional safety gear.

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: 48.8 lb-ft @ 5,750 rpm
Fuel injection: Electronic fuel injection, 50 mm throttle body
Exhaust: Stainless steel muffler with catalytic converter and 2 lambda probes, aluminum tail pipes
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 spocket 15, rear sprocket 46
Clutch: Hydraulically controlled slipper and self-servo wet multiplate clutch

2021 Ducati Scrambler Nightshift Price

2021 Ducati Scrambler Nightshift
- image 947885

The 2021 Ducati Nightshift will roll in the U.S. with a $10,995 price tag. Aviator Grey is the main color for the sheet metal with generous blackout paint just about everywhere else.

Standard equipment: Steel tank with interchangeable aluminum side panels, headlight with DRL by LED light-guide and interchangeable aluminum cover, LED rear light with diffusion-light, LED turn indicator, LCD instruments with gear and fuel level indications and interchangeable aluminum cover, under-seat storage compartment with USB socket, ABS cornering, machine-finished aluminum belt covers, black engine with brushed fins.
Nightshift equipment: Low aluminum handlebars, double passenger seat, sport tail piece with dedicated turn indicator support, sports style front mudguard, dedicated logo, café racer rearview mirrors, spoked wheels, side flat track number plate, LED Ducati Performance turn indicators (EU Homologated)
Warranty: 24 months unlimited mileage
Color: Aviator Grey
Price: $10,995

2021 Ducati Scrambler Nightshift Competitors

2016 - 2020 Harley-Davidson Roadster
- image 809340
2021 Ducati Scrambler Nightshift
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The old-school custom chops that the Nightshift brings to the table puts it in a rather niche category, but Harley-Davidson has a handy competitor loaded up and ready to go; the carryover 2020 Sportster Roadster.

Harley-Davidson Roadster

2016 - 2020 Harley-Davidson Roadster
- image 932699

Cut from the same cloth as the Duc, the Roadster leads the way with a chopped-down front fender and blackout treatment throughout the front end. The Harley’s wheels are cast instead of laced, a point against the model in my humble opinion, but there’s always the aftermarket, right?

Bits of chrome contrast the predominant darkness throughout the Sporty’s design to set it apart from the Duc just a skosh. Dead-short drag bars are another contrast, and they will force the Sportster rider into a more aggressive riding position, something to keep in mind if you have a long commute.

An offset between pilot and pillion marks yet another departure from the Scrambler’s style, as does the chopped rear fender that finishes out the bodywork. Harley also claims to draw inspiration from the café racer quarter, but like the Nightshift, it’s arguably too subtle. One indisputable fact, however, is that the Sportster sports an air-cooled 1,202 cc engine that packs way more inches than the Duc mill, and so it cranks out quite a bit more torque with 76 pound-feet on tap against Duc’s 48.8 pounds of grunt in spite of its slightly lower, 10-to-1 compression ratio.

H-D surrenders a gear to Ducati with a five-speed gearbox that will get up to around 110 mph or so before the governor kicks in. ABS is a $795 option, so don’t forget to tack that onto the $11,499 starting price that’s a bit prouder than the Ducati’s sticker, and that goes up another $350 if you opt for one of the Sportster’s optional color packages.

Read our full review of the Harley-Davidson Roaster.

He Said

“It’s really a trade off. With the Roadster, you get a lot more engine, but miss out on the corner-optimized ABS and slipper clutch the Nightshift brings to the table, and you pay more for it. That said, the slipper clutch and fancy ABS will definitely enable a more aggressive riding style and safely too. Those features make it more appropriate for the entry-level market.”

She Said

My wife and fellow motorcycle writer, Allyn Hinton, says, “Since Ducati is dropping the Cafe and Full Throttle models from the Scrambler 800 line this year, it seems fitting to add a café-sorta-standard into the Scrambler lineup. The blackout look is stylish and the overall vibe of the Nightshift sets it apart.”

2021 Ducati Scrambler Nightshift 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: 48.8 lb-ft @ 5,750 rpm
Fuel injection: Electronic fuel injection, 50 mm throttle body
Exhaust: Stainless steel muffler with catalytic converter and 2 lambda probes, aluminum tail pipes
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 spocket 15, rear sprocket 46
Clutch: Hydraulically controlled slipper and self-servo wet multiplate clutch
Chassis:
Frame: Tubular steel Trellis frame
Front suspension/Wheel Travel: Upside down Kayaba 41 mm fork/5.9 in (150 mm)
Rear suspension/Wheel Travel: Kayaba rear shock, pre-load adjustable/5.9 in (150 mm)
Rake: 24°
Trail: 4.4 in (112 mm)
Total steering lock: 35°
Front wheel: Spoked aluminum wheel 3,00" x 18"
Rear wheel: Spoked aluminum wheel 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 as standard equipment
Rear brake: Ø245 mm disc, 1-piston floating caliper with Bosch Cornering ABS as standard equipment
Dimensions & Capacities:
Wheelbase: 1.445 mm (56.9 in)
Seat height: 31.4 in (798 mm)
Max height: 42 in (1,060 mm) (brake reservoir)
Max width: 34 in (867 mm) (mirrors)
Max length: 82.7 - 85.2 in (2,100 – 2,165 mm)
Fuel tank capacity: 3.57 gallon (13.5 l)
Fuel economy: 45.2 mpg (5.2 l/100 km)
Dry weight: 397 lb (180 kg)
Wet weight: 432 lb (196 kg)
Number of seats: Dual seat
Details:
Dashboard: LCD
Standard equipment: Steel tank with interchangeable aluminum side panels, headlight with DRL by LED light-guide and interchangeable aluminum cover, LED rear light with diffusion-light, LED turn indicator, LCD instruments with gear and fuel level indications and interchangeable aluminum cover, under-seat storage compartment with USB socket, ABS cornering, machine-finished aluminum belt covers, black engine with brushed fins.
Nightshift equipment: Low aluminum handlebars, double passenger seat, sport tail piece with dedicated turn indicator support, sports style front mudguard, dedicated logo, café racer rearview mirrors, spoked wheels, side flat track number plate, LED Ducati Performance turn indicators (EU Homologated)
Warranty: 24 months unlimited mileage
Color: Aviator Grey
Price: $10,995

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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