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MCN Awards 2015: Best Retro/Retro Style

Published: 21 October 2015

Biking is becoming cool again and the retro scene is playing a massive part in this. With older styled bikes becoming a popular commodity, the Ducati Scrambler had a lot to live up to and prove that it’s not just a pretty machine. Its not just about the looks though, the Scrambler works well and is very sensibly priced, making it an important bike, and, for the record, it does live up to the hype.

This has been one of the busiest years for the MCN road test team in recent memory, and it’s been a long time since we’ve seen the thick and fast introduction of so many exciting new bikes. 2015 has seen the arrival of great new adventure bikes, cruisers, retros, 125s, A2 licence-friendly machines and scooters, while also being hailed as the return of the superbike. 

The MCN awards are our pick of the best metal to be released this year and covers multiple categories. Over the next week, we will reveal all the winners, so keep checking back.

Best Retro/Retro Style
Ducati Scrambler

 

‘An everyday, desirable, affordable versatile Ducati. Brilliant’

I can’t remember the last time a new bike arrived with so much hype, marketing and product placement. It’s safe to say Ducati used lots of clever imagery to create their Scrambler sub-brand.

There are four different models to choose from: Icon, Urban Enduro, Full Throttle and Classic. And there’s a whole host of official accessories and clothing available, ready for you to personalise your new machine.

The Scrambler generated huge interest from the start. Ducati stuck one in a container for private viewings at last summer’s World Ducati Weekend at Misano and the atmosphere was electric. And once it was all over social media and on show at the NEC show, orders flooded in.

Away from the hype the Scrambler is a cool-looking bike, is decent value and wears that all-important Ducati logo on the tank. I flew to California for the riding launch last December and immediately fell for its looks. I liked the authentic touches from the original 1960s Scrambler, which gave the new bike a retro feel. The clocks are a nice balance between new and old, then there’s the ‘Born Free 1962’ fuel cap inscription…the list goes on. These small touches are impressive given the price.

At the launch, the new Scrambler was friendly and a doddle to ride. It was light, had a low centre of gravity and a low, narrow seat. ABS came standard, but that was it for rider aids - they’re not needed on a bike like this. The single disc brake is strong enough (just).

The Scrambler’s 803cc air-cooled L-twin motor is based on the old 796 Monster unit. Power is a healthy 75bhp, with a lovely spread of torque, letting the Ducati pull from virtually any revs in any gear. Entry level riders will love the motor’s easy charm, but more experienced riders may find the power slightly lacking.

Handling is neutral, composed and forgiving, with the suspension on the softer, friendlier side of firm. The Pirellis look chunky and fun, but offer decent grip, too.

Testing the Scrambler back in the UK, it continued to impress, especially the fuel economy. It may have a tiny 13.5-litre tank, but returning 55mph gave it a potential 150-mile fuel range. Taller riders found it a little too small, but the Ducati’s dinky dimensions suited most.

Ducati has made a desirable, fun, functional, entry-level bike at a brilliant price. It’s perfect not just for trendy hipsters, but for regular bods like you and me. 

Specification

Engine 803cc (88 x 66mm), 4v, L-twin
Claimed power 75bhp@8250rpm
Claimed torque 50ftlb@5750rpm
Frame Steel trellis
Kerb weight 186kg
Tank size 13.5 litres
Seat height 790mm
Rider aids ABS
Price Icon: £7250-£7350, Urban Enduro, Classic, Full Throttle: £8395
PCP (Icon): £1410 deposit, 36 monthly payments: £95, final payment: £3369

Click here to see our review of the Scrambler 


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