First ride: Ducati Scrambler Flat Track Pro
Here’s a flattracker you can ride every day. The £8995 Ducati Scrambler Flat Track Pro is the latest addition to the Scrambler family. Ducati’s Scrambler range has been a phenomenal success, from the moment the first one arrived in UK dealers from ‘The Land of Joy’ (that’s the factory in Bologna to me and you) last year.
The Scrambler oozes the style and quality you’d expect from a Ducati, is fun to ride and features bucket-loads of snazzy design touches. Best of all it won’t break the bank. An entry-level Scrambler Icon Red costs just £7250.
Last year there were four Scrambler models to choose from, each styled a little differently, but all basically the same machine: a tubular steel trellis frame wrapped around a 75bhp, 803cc air-cooled L-twin motor in retro clothes.But for 2016 the Scrambler range has expanded to seven bikes, including the Flat Track Pro (and even a 41bhp, 399cc ‘Sixty2’ version for restricted A2 licence-holders, costing £6450).
Costing nine grand the Flat Track Pro is no longer a cheap ‘n’ cheeky naked, so you certainly wouldn’t risk flinging one around an actual dirt track. But for the price you get a flattrack-style paintjob, racing side number plates, headlight fairing, short front mudguard and seat, yellow wheel rim decals, ali mirrors, flattrack-style handlebars and grips, a CNC machined ali sprocket cover, master-cylinder reservoir, footpegs and rear light cluster brackets. The icing on the cake is a fruity-sounding Temignoni slip-on silencer.
The Flat Track Pro oozes quality, looks the part and is sensational to ride slow or at speed. Blip the light action throttle and the Termi responds with a throaty thrap. It delivers easy-to-manage power, but as the revs rise the engine note hardens; the Ducati is seriously fast for something with ‘just’ 75bhp. With its wide bars, low pegs, slim body and knobbly tyres the Ducati has the feeling of flattrack racer. Close your eyes and you can’t help but conjure up a California-tint image of being in the thick of a race, steel shoe on, elbows out and rubbing elbows at full lock.
Unlike a real flattrack racer the Ducati has a front brake. Flattrackers only brake with the rear (so don’t bother fitting a front), sending the bike slewing sideways into dusty turns. But the Scrambler Flat Track Pro has a powerful four-piston Brembo caliper biting a huge 330mm front disc. But switch the ABS off and you can still skid the Ducati into turns like a racer with the rear.
Dropping the pace, the Flat Track Pro is happy cruising around town and thanks to those wide bars it’s agile, too, but it handles like a Ducati should. Its forte is long, fast, high-speed sweepers where you can lean and lean with complete stability and confidence. But with such an upright, exposed riding position there’s a lot of windblast, so sustained motorway speeds can be tiring after a while.
Ducati has timed its Scrambler range to perfection. The Italians have tapped into our current love for retros and this Flat Track Pro piques our rising fascination for flattrack, UK Shorttack and the glamourous worlds of the Superprestigio and Rossi’s VR46 Academy ranch.
The Flat Track Pro might be achingly cool, but it’s a proper Ducati. It’s huge fun to ride fast, easy around town, rewarding to own and will make you feel special every time you jump aboard. But for £1749 less you can have a Scrambler Icon that’s just as cool and rides the same. Then you can buy a real flattrack-modified 450 motocrosser with the change…