DUCATI SCRAMBLER 800 Cafe racer (2017 - on) Review
At a glance
Overall ratingNext up: Ride & brakes
The new Ducati Scrambler Café Racer looks the part, is built to a gleamingly high standard and is simple to get on with for all riding levels.
It doesn’t offer the last word in engine or chassis performance, but it was never designed to be a racetrack refugee. It’s still hugely capable no matter how you choose to ride it, but all this caffeine-fuelled loveliness comes with a sugary price tag.
Ride quality & brakesNext up: Engine
The Café Racer is more than just a generic Scrambler with clips-ons and a black and gold 70s-inspired 900SS Darmah paintjob. The rest of the Scrambler range have off-road ready 18” and 19” front wheels, but the Café Racer has a more road-biased 17-incher. Fat, sticky Pirelli Diablo Rosso II tyres adorn each end.
To cope with the extra cornering forces the Café Racer’s non-adjustable forks have longer upper tubes for extra rigidity (but are the same overall length and stroke) and the front and rear damping is beefed-up.
Those new clip-ons aren’t too low and they’re spread nice and wide for maximum wiggle room. Pegs are rear-set, but still low, so won’t crush your knees. The seat is well padded and comfy for a few hours, but after that things get uncomfortable.
Weighing just 188kg full of fuel, the neutral-handling Café Racer takes little effort to flick from side to side, there’s loads of ground clearance and the brakes are up to the job of spirited riding. If you push it really hard you can soon find the limits of the chassis, but that’s not what this bike is all about.
The only gripes are the rear brake lever that’s positioned too high and while the throttle has been modified to give a softer initial opening, there’s too much lag and needs twisting a good few inches before anything happens when you pull away or search for drive mid-corner.
EngineNext up: Reliability
Just like its Scrambler brothers and sisters the Café Racer has an identical 75bhp, 803cc air-cooled, L-twin motor. It’s smooth, characterful and although modestly powered, still fruity enough to deliver big smiles. It features a new longer-throw throttle tube to smooth out the initial power delivery, the clutch and gearbox are light and the spread of Bologna-bred twin-cylinder power is wide and simple to tap into.
Our reviewer Simon Brown is currently testing a Café Racer with an aftermarket Termignoni silencer. You can read this thoughts on this, and how it compares to other non-standard cans, here.
Reliability & build qualityNext up: Value
This is a premium motorcycle. It’s not cheap but its quality shines through. Service intervals are every 7500-miles and it comes with a two-year warranty.
We're living with a Ducati Scrambler Café Racer during 2019.
Value vs rivalsNext up: Equipment
You could easily find a cheaper, more powerful naked roadster for the money, but the Ducati is a superb piece of kit and the reward of ownership is high.
There’s lots of nice attention to detail, from the ‘Born Free’ engraved filler cap, to the jewel-like Brembo master cylinder and brake lever span adjuster, a Brembo monobloc radial front caliper, classy fork tops and the simple multi-function speedo. There’s also a full range of Scrambler parts, accessories and clothing available, too.
It also has a new bar end mirrors, a swingarm-mounted number plate hanger, a removable Monster-look-alike single seat unit, a lower headlight position and new surround, a short front mudguard, new undertray and a black-painted engine with brushed-ali cooling fins.
And if you’re wondering what the No. 54 is all about, it’s a nod to Ducati racer Bruno Spaggiari, who, early on raced a machine based on the original single-cylinder Ducati 350 Scrambler and later finished just behind race winner Paul Smart in the famous Imola 200.
|Engine type||Air-cooled, 2v, L-twin|
|Frame type||Tubular steel trellis|
|Fuel capacity||13.5 litres|
|Front suspension||41mm KYB forks, non-adjustable|
|Rear suspension||Single KYB shock, preload-adjustable|
|Front brake||300mm disc with Brembo four-piston monobloc radial caliper|
|Rear brake||245mm single disc with single-piston caliper.|
|Front tyre size||120/70 x 17|
|Rear tyre size||180/55 x 17|
Mpg, costs & insurance
|Average fuel consumption||-|
|Annual road tax||£93|
|Annual service cost||-|
|Used price||£5,700 - £9,100|
13 of 17
How much to insure?
Top speed & performance
|Max power||75 bhp|
|Max torque||50 ft-lb|
|Top speed||130 mph|
|1/4 mile acceleration||-|
Model history & versions
2017: Model introduced, based on Scrambler platform.
2017 six-model Scrambler line-up includes:
Café Racer, Desert Sled, Full Throttle, Classic, Icon and the A2 licence-friendly Sixty2.
MCN Long term test reports
MCN Fleet: Simon meets another owner to swap Scrambler stories
One of the cool things about niche bikes like the Ducati Scrambler Café Racer is that owners tend to be real enthusiasts and there are a couple of really active Facebook groups where the Scrambleristi show off mods, share tips and discuss plans. Membership is global, but now and then you come across…
Owners' reviews for the DUCATI SCRAMBLER 800 (2017 - on)
No owners have yet reviewed the DUCATI SCRAMBLER 800 (2017 - on).