It’s a quintessential So Cal morning. The sun is already shining before 0800 and there’s a hint of sea salt mixed with organic, fair trade coffee in the air. Health conscious individuals partake of their morning runs – small dogs included – and the traffic along the PCH is starting to accumulate.
But what takes the ordinary out of this particular day is the congregation of various hued Ducati Scramblers – like Atomic Tangerine, Ocean Grey and Shining Black – who are perched in front of the swanky Viceroy Hotel. The ensemble of 399cc-equipped motorcycles are then fired up, and off the go to tear up the town, and show off just how cool they can be.
Let’s delve into its “cool” factor for just a moment. It’s no surprise that motorcycle brands are creating far more accessible bikes for riders joining the two-wheeled fold, or getting back into it. Just look at Honda with their Grom, CB300F, and CBR300R/500R, and Kawasaki with the Ninja 300. Even Harley-Davidson created their Street 500 and 750 to attract riders who don’t want all the heft of their traditional models. But what sets the Scrambler apart is the fact that it has great styling, delivers a premium product, and appeals to a wider range of individuals.
No, you don’t have to be a hipster to ride one. I’m far from it, yet I can thoroughly enjoy my time on both iterations. In 2015, Ducati brought us the reimagined Scrambler 800 with a tuned-down version of their 796cc engine – formerly found in the Monster 796. Now we get the Scrambler Sixty2, with a 399cc, air-cooled, twin cylinder engine.
Of course, you’ll find a few differences in the two models. The Sixty2 is 3 kg, has higher handlebars, and produces 41 horsepower and 50 lb-ft of torque. The tailpipe design is also different, along with a steel swingarm.
Let’s talk about the name for a moment. The “Sixty2” part of this Scrambler’s name pays homage to the cultural phenomena of 1962, which was the first year the Scrambler was launched in the United States. In fact, it was made in Italy but was specifically developed for the North American market. Other fun facts include the formation of The Beatles in 1962, along with the creation of Fender’s iconic guitar.
Cultural phenomena aside, how does this bike actually ride? The Sixty2 is light, tipping the scales with all its fluids at 183kg and for new riders or riders that want a bike that’s easy to move around in urban situations this Scrambler is idea. Think: lane splitting (but only in Cali) or trying to get around hazards in the city.
Sitting atop the Shining Black Sixty2 while ascending Latigo Canyon Road from the pristine cerulean coastline up into the hills is incredibly fun. The sinuous road with both increasing and decreasing radius corners, small bouts of lurking gravel and the occasional straight stretch showcases its ability to lean over easily and to move out of harm’s way without upsetting it.
Where the Sixty2 lacks is acceleration on straights, but give it a break. It’s not meant to be a speed machine and Ducati has plenty of other options for that.
Its suspension and gearbox are also noteworthy. Shifts up and down are seamless, while the suspension absorbs imperfections without being too abrasive for the rider/passenger. It comes equipped with a Showa 41mm traditional stanchion fork, though it’s non-adjustable. At the rear, the suspension consists of a Kabaya monoshock system with adjustable preload. Both provide 150mm of travel. The six-speed gearbox is smooth and easy to work with, though sitting in LA traffic and being on and off the clutch certainly doesn’t feel great on my left hand after a while.
For those who are vertically challenged, you’ve got some seat options to work with. The standard seat height measures in at 790 mm. There’s also the low seat at 770mm and a high seat, available as an accessory, at 810mm. The seat itself isn’t particularly wide so you don’t lose a lot of footing when you throw your leg over it.
After a day of riding, it’s easy to see why the Scrambler’s Kool-Aid is so enticing. It’s nimble, handles well, isn’t overwhelming in the power department, but still very engaging. Not to mention cool.
And as the CEO of Ducati North America, Jason Chinnock says, “It’s not a motorcycle. It’s a lifestyle.”
Anyone with a passion for riding, taking on the twisty roads, and a having a great time on two wheels fits into that category.
2016 Ducati Scrambler Sixty2
Base Price: $8,895
As Tested: $8,895 CAD
Notable Options: Plenty of accessories offered from Ducati to personalize this bike to your liking
Drivetrain: 399cc, air-cooled, twin cylinder, 41 hp, 50 lb-ft, six-speed transmission
VVUZZ Recommended: To anyone new to riding who wants a cool bike that isn’t intimidating or heavy. And to those who just want to have a lot of fun riding around.
Images courtesy of the author and Ducati.