Impossibly good-looking guys and girls cruise around on retro bikes under a beating sun. They stop for a spot of skateboarding then park near the beach, set up camp and hit the surf. It can only be one of the promo videos for Ducati’s Scrambler, luring people into Ducati’s Land of Joy.
Well, that’s the idea anyway but how does it measure up to reality? The Scrambler has been a huge sales hit and if the marketing is to believed, the surf lifestyle should be drawing them south west so their owners can ride the waves off the north Cornwall coast.
Newquay was the obvious destination for further investigations. The place must be awash with Scramblers, right? Well, no. Navigating the holiday crowds on a late summer morning I couldn’t find a single Scrambler. Disappointing.
Time for a change of tack – park the handsome Ducati on the beach at Porth and see if we can attract attention. This time it’s a mixed bag. A group of wetsuited women wander by and give the Ducati an admiring glance. “Nice bike,” says one. The only catch is that they are, let’s say, slightly closer to retirement age than the folk in the slick marketing video.
Next up, a guy with a boogie board stops to talk bikes. He’s Matt from Hertfordshire and he’s impressed by the 803cc V-twin. “Love the 60s cool,” he says. “Not too much plastic either. Like it. How much are they?” I should be on commission here… But again, in terms of our experiment, there’s a catch. Matt has owned a CBR600 and done enduro in the past and he’s going surfing with his lad on holiday rather than being a surfer as such.
My back wheel is starting to sink into the sand, so it’s time to go. Later on in the evening I log onto the UK Surfing Community group on Facebook, post some pictures of the Scrambler and ask what people reckon to it. Reactions are positive – some were even aware of the bike already – but the general feeling was that the marketing was a bit on the corny side. And while you can indeed strap a surfboard to the side of your Scrambler, California-style, it’s not that practical on a windswept M5 is it?