DUCATI SCRAMBLER 800 Cafe racer (2017 - on) Review

At a glance

Power: 75 bhp
Seat height: Medium (31.7 in / 805 mm)
Weight: Medium (415 lbs / 188 kg)

Prices

New £9,305
Used £5,700 - £9,100

Overall rating

Next up: Ride & brakes
4 out of 5 (4/5)

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.

It's a rival to Triumph Street Scrambler, and of course the other Ducati Scrambler 800 models, and at the cheaper end of the spectrum, the Suzuki SV650X.

Buy tickets to the 2020 Carole Nash MCN London Motorcycle Show here

Ride quality & brakes

Next up: Engine
4 out of 5 (4/5)

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.

Engine

Next up: Reliability
4 out of 5 (4/5)

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 quality

Next up: Value
4 out of 5 (4/5)

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 rivals

Next up: Equipment
4 out of 5 (4/5)

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.

Equipment

4 out of 5 (4/5)

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.

Specs

Engine size 803cc
Engine type Air-cooled, 2v, L-twin
Frame type Tubular steel trellis
Fuel capacity 13.5 litres
Seat height 805mm
Bike weight 188kg
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 -
New price £9,305
Used price £5,700 - £9,100
Insurance group 13 of 17
How much to insure?
Warranty term -

Top speed & performance

Max power 75 bhp
Max torque 50 ft-lb
Top speed 130 mph
1/4 mile acceleration -
Tank range -

Model history & versions

Model history

2017: Model introduced, based on Scrambler platform.

Other versions

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

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

Read the latest report

Owners' reviews for the DUCATI SCRAMBLER 800 (2017 - on)

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