2019 Triumph Street Scrambler: Road Test Review
- Jun 22, 2019
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Is it the Ducati Scrambler or the Scrambler Ducati? Ducati says the Scrambler is not just an all-new iteration of the classic Scrambler of the 1960s and 70s, but it’s been developed as an altogether new brand. And this brand, Ducati says, offers not only performance and technology but also freedom of expression. The Scrambler then, is not just a motorcycle, but a statement, and a very important one for Ducati, particularly in India.
Ducati’s first tryst in India ended in divorce with the erstwhile local partner, which left more broken hearts than proud Ducati riders. And the new Scrambler will aim to make amends. But it’s also an all-new brand positioning – that of a complete lifestyle brand, including apparel, accessories and a complete Scrambler way of life, as is evident from the promotional material of the Scrambler. Marketing blitzkrieg or not, the Scrambler is going to be the single most important brand for Ducati as the Italian manufacturer prepares to win hearts in India, albeit for a second time.
The new Scrambler has the same values as the original iconic Scrambler of the 1970s, but is now a more contemporary interpretation of the legendary name. What Ducati calls the “post heritage” design of the Scrambler is a contemporary take on the iconic bike built back in the 1970s. And the new Scrambler is intended to be just how the legendary motorcycle would be today if Ducati had never stopped building it.
Designing the bike had its own challenges, and as young Scrambler designer Julien Clement explains, putting sketch to actual production had its own share of challenges with the design team and engineers coming to agreement. The classic round front headlight, with an LED powered light guide around the rim, tear drop shaped fuel tank, side mounted rear number plate make a handsome form of a motorbike. In fact, it’s an attractive motorcycle from any angle you look at and it can win many hearts just on looks alone.
The Scrambler will be available in four different models – the Icon, Urban Enduro, Full Throttle and Classic, each with distinct personalities shaped by specific logos and other design nuances. And a long list of parts and accessories, including different seats, tank panels, different number plates, different logos (and different t-shirts, hoodies and jackets as well, if you want to go the whole nine yards) promises lots of scope for the Scrambler ‘self expression’.
Each of the Scrambler models share the same heart – an 803cc V-Twin engine which used to power the Monster 796, but has been now retuned to 76PS and offers 68Nm of torque at 5750rpm. This doesn’t mean there’s not enough power or grunt. Torque comes low on the rev range, so there’s enough entertaining pull as you whack open the throttle on the wide and tall handlebar on the Icon model we are riding.
It’s not superbike quick, but the engine’s got enough juice to keep you entertained, whether accelerating through the gears or cruising at high speeds on a highway. There’s lots of low to mid range power, and a wide spread of torque that allows you to slow down and accelerate without downshifting too much. The six-speed gearbox offers precise and smooth shifts and will be a boon in traffic. Our police escorted ride through back roads of Thailand gave us plenty of opportunity to maintain triple-digit speeds and above, and the Scrambler certainly has more juice and speed than the road and traffic conditions permitted us.
Ergonomics on the Scrambler, despite a wide and high-set handlebar, are surprisingly pleasant. The slightly rear set feet position works well and for me, the tall bars were comfortable enough for quick steering inputs. Ride quality is taut, and the Kayaba suspension is on the stiffer side, and that’s a good thing, because it complements the tubular steel trellis frame, making for a great handling bike, at any speed. So, whether it’s taking a high-speed corner or a quick u-turn, you are confident and assured of the Scrambler’s sure footedness.
Pirelli MT 60 RS tyres on the 18-inch front wheel and 17-inch rear offer dual sport use, and on tarmac they performed flawlessly and offer a lot of grip and confidence. Braking is handled by a 300mm single disc up front with radial 4-piston caliper and switchable ABS, but together with the 245mm single disc at the rear, braking is more than adequate and confidence-inspiring.
The Ducati Scrambler is a good looking motorcycle, and it’s a lot of fun to ride, for short bursts around town or even the occasional weekend tour to the nearest twisties in the hills, if you’re so inclined. It is going to be the entry-level Ducati and assembled in Thailand for all Asian markets, including India, the Scrambler is expected to be pegged at around Rs 7 lakh. That will make it a very attractive proposition, and just on its looks, it will certainly attract a lot of attention and buyers. So, if you’re fashion conscious, or you are particular about making a style statement with your ride, the Scrambler is the perfect bike for you.
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