Large Capacity Ducati Scrambler Comes Closer to Reality

Last February we reported on information from our sources both in European dealers and the factory floor in Thailand that Ducati was planning on expanding its Scrambler range to include a sub-500cc version as well as a circa 1,200cc model. The former rumour proved true with the announcement of the Scrambler Sixty2, and now there’s evidence of a big sized bike to join Ducati’s Scrambler lineup.

At the launch of the new Scrambler Sixty2 this week in Spain, project manager Federico Sabbioni stated to British mag Visordown that “We’ve got the engines, there is room to make something bigger. We’ll see, we have a number of ideas and we’re thinking about it… there is a volcano of ideas.”

“I think we will continue to apply this kind of engine, we have in the past made a number of different displacements of this engine so we have experience and room to do a different version in terms of engine sizing. There’s great possibility to stretch the brand with the 800cc engine, then of course there’s also the possibility to make the bigger engine.”

That engine is likely to be from the now discontinued Desmodue Evoluzione motor,  last used in the Monster EVO and discontinued in 2013.

Ducati have been at lengths to emphasize that the Scrambler is a brand unto itself and will no doubt look to capitalize as much as possible on the early success of this retro machine. In addition to engine variants, don’t be surprised to see completely different bikes that trace their roots back to Ducati’s of yesteryear as well, including from what we hear some semi-faired motorcycles.

Source: Visordown

4-29-DUCATI-SCRAMBLER-SIXTY2

Ducati Announces Finalists for “Custom Rumble” Contest

Ducati has announced the five finalists of its ‘Custom Rumble’ competition which saw official Ducati dealers from across the world design customer looking Scramblers. There is a Scrambler for each continent (Antarctica as usual is ignored) and were selected via the very democratic method of ‘likes’ on Instagram.

The five finalists are ‘Iron lungs’, produced by Warsaw Liberty Moto (Poland) in collaboration with two “customisers”; ‘Ice Track Pro’, coming from Canadian creative workshop Bow Cycle North; ‘Scrambobber’ Made in Thailand by Ducati Vibhavadi; ‘ScramblArabia’ built by Wheels of Arabia from Bahrain, and ‘Scramblegale’ created by the Canberra Motorcycles Centre, dealer in the Australian capital.

 All dealers taking part in the “Custom Rumble” contest started work on their specials last September, with online voting getting underway in late October and continuing until January. From 1 to 3 July, during “World Ducati Week”, the world’s largest gathering for motorcyclists and Ducatisti taking place at Misano Adriatico, the best-looking custom Scrambler will be selected from among the five finalists. A special jury of experts, composed of designers, motorcyclists and customisers, will decide on the winner.
The dealer finalists will attend WDW 2016 together with their magnificent “Custom Rumble” entries.
2-Ice Track Pro 1-Iron lungs 4-ScramblArabia 3-Scrambobber 5-Scramblegale

Ducati Shows off Three Scrambler New Scrambler Concepts

In addition to showcasing their draXter concept, Ducati displayed three new Scrambler proposals at the Verona Bike Show – the Peace Sixty2, Revolution and Artika. Each bike has been crafted by Italian custom builders and is Ducati’s attempt to show the customization possibilities for their smash hit Scrambler.

The Peace Sixty2 is the second major Scrambler from Verona-based builder, Mr Martini (the first being his Cafe Racer Scrambler). It’s probably the most distinct of the three on display thanks to its 1960’s inspired fairing with plexiglass nose and handcrafted leather seat.

 

2-Peace Sixty2_02 1-Peace Sixty2_01 3-Peace Sixty2_03

 

The Artika (because it’s pictured in the cold, get it?) is supposedly a throwback to the Ducati Pantah Ice project of the late 70’s. That bike was involved in a race, the Ice Trophy, that only the Pantah could enter. Ironically, the Peace Sixty2 actually resembles the Pantah more closely than the Artika which if we’re being frank, looks like a standard Scrambler with chunkier tires.
7-Artika back_02 8-Artika_01
Lastly is the Revolution – a Scrambler based on the upcoming smaller capacity Sixty2 and has been modified to look (and ride) more like a bobber. The Revolution gets a leather rider-only seat as well as new fork yokes and a new plate holder. As the style requires, the front fender is eliminated and the rear seat gets chopped down to size – it’s a style that really suits the compact Scrambler.
4-Revolution_01 5-Revolution_03

Ducati Shows off the draXter, a XDiavel Concept

The upcoming XDiavel is Ducati’s attempt to make a more traditional cruiser while remaining an exotic Italian machine and for that reason it gets foot forward pegs and a belt drive. But Ducati obviously can’t help themselves when it comes to their sportsbike heritage and have shown off the draXter – a XDiavel with a more sporting influence.

That somewhat makes it more like the standard Diavel, but we digress. The project was developed by the Ducati Design Center’s Advanced Design area, a section dedicated to exploring the future style and design concepts of Ducati motorcycles. We’ve got to say though, there’s more than a hint of MV Agusta Dragster here – not least is the name.

The Ducati draXter not only looks like a beefy sportsbike, it has the componentry to match. That includes the suspension and brakes which are taken directly from the Panigale. The footpeg placement is more torture chamber inspired than practical and are placed close to where the pillion pegs would go – it would nonetheless make for an interesting riding position. The number 90 on the side of the Ducati draXter recalls the racing world, yet also pays homage to Ducati’s 90th anniversary, being celebrated this year.

If you’re in Verona this weekend you can see not only the new draXter, but the soon to be released XDiavel and XDiavel S, along with Ducati’s new range of cruiser merchandise, although we’re unsure if Ducati branded chaps or tassels are available.

Ducati Shows off the draXter, a XDiavel Concept
Ducati Shows off the draXter, a XDiavel Concept

 

 

Ducati Sells Record Amount of Bikes in 2015

It has been another highly successful year for Ducati in 2015 with the Italian marque selling a total of 54,800 machines – a sizable increase of 22 per cent over 2014. And it’s not going to stop there with Ducati poised to release the highly anticipated XDiavel, plus a learner approved version of the Scrambler.

“The record sales of 2015 are the result of our company’s courage and skill”, stated Claudio Domenicali, CEO of Ducati Motor Holding. “Ducati closes 2015 with record volumes and also a substantial growth of 22% over 2014. During the year Ducati not only launched successful new motorcycles, but also a new brand, Ducati Scrambler,
which immediately won global acclaim with over 16,000 sales worldwide.”

“This impressive performance, a landmark one for Ducati, confirms the soundness of the strategy of expansion and consolidation in global markets and highlights the energy and professionalism of the over 700 dealers who cover no less than 90 countries”, commented Andrea Buzzoni, Global Sales and Marketing Director of Ducati Motor Holding. “Such growth confirms, in the vast majority of countries, the validity of both our products and our strategy: indeed, for the first time in Ducati’s history, one of our bikes, the Ducati Scrambler, made it into the ‘Top 10’ list of the world’s best-selling bikes”.

China was the biggest growth market for Ducati with an increase in sales of 54%, although that was coming off a moderately small base. But even traditional markets of Europe and the US saw big sales boosts with a whopping 53 per cent jump in Italy, 37 per cent in the UK and 24 per cent in Germany – BMW’s home field. In Australia, sales rose 10 per cent and an impressive 26 per cent in New Zealand.

Not surprisingly, the biggest seller was the all new Ducati Scrambler, with the firm struggling to keep up with demand initially – a total of 16,000 Scramblers were sold or nearly a third of total Ducati sales. That would suggest a bit of cannibalization of Ducati’s own product – particularly the Monster range of bikes, although the new Monster 821 still managed to sell 6,500 units.

Ducati Sales 2016

Ducati Multistrada S vs BMW S1000XR vs Aprilia Caponord – Sports Adventure Comparo

If you want to go on a long range ride in comfort with the occasional blast down dirt track but without sacrificing copious amounts of power and razor sharp handling then there’s never been a better time to own a motorcycle. The ‘sports adventure’ segment as it has become known has exploded in recent years and the bikes represented here actually at times compete with superbikes when it comes to technological prowess. We’re taking a look at what we think is the cream of the crop in the form of the Ducati’s top of the line Multistrada S, BMW’s brand new S 1000 XR and Aprilia’s severely underrated Caponord.

You might be wondering why we didn’t include the brilliant KTM 1290 Super Adventure in this comparison. The only reason it’s not here is that despite it’s absurdly powerful engine and huge size, it’s actually more off-road focused than the three bikes we’re looking at here. This comparison is more about sportsbikes with upright ergonomics than ADV bikes with sportsbike features and performance. There’s of course quite a lot of cross-over between the the bikes and you could easily mount an argument for the KTM’s inclusion, but perhaps the soon to be released 1290 Super Duke GT is more in line with our focus here.

Our comparison will use the base Multistrada S, the base Caponord 1200 Touring and for the BMW, it will include both the touring package and dynamic package – which is pretty much the main configuration BMW sells this bike in anyway.

While these three bikes roughly inhabit the same market, they do approach it slightly differently. Out of the three, the BMW is the least tourer and most sporty. In fact as we stated in our review, it’s virtually a superbike with an upright riding position and a more comfy seat. At the other end is the Aprilia Caponord. It’s the least powerful of the three bikes here and definitely looks the least aggressive, but it’s looks don’t tell the full picture. The Multistrada sits in between – it’s still got that Ducati aggressiveness about it, is powerful and agile but at the same time has more touring qualities than the BMW with longer travel suspension.

Performance

Both the Multistrada S and S 1000 XR put out 160hp, the Italian using a L-twin while the German uses an in-line four but of the two, the BMW feels faster – quite a bit actually. We’re not sure why that is given the power to weight ratios are so similar, but perhaps it’s because the S 1000 XR’s engine is plucked from the incredible S 1000 RR whereas the Multistrada’s new engine was purpose built for this machine.

That’s not to say the Ducati is a slouch by any means, but it feels less manic. That’s no doubt thanks to the use of variable valve timing which transforms the previous Multistrada engine into a thing of beauty. It’s smooth, the power is linear and it saves on fuel consumption. But for all that, it does feel sedate in comparison to the BMW. Ironically, it produces more torque than the BMW so you’d expect it to feel quick down low, but this is a case where numbers on paper just don’t tell the full story.

To us, this was a surprise. The styles of engine here – an L-twin and an in-line four – should have made for the opposite. The Ducati should have roared from low speed and tapered off slightly while the BMW should have felt more controlled down low before exploding at higher RPM’s. There just feels like a dull point at the bottom end of the Ducati’s motor. Whether this was done on purpose to make the Multistrada feel more refined we’re not sure, but it means it falls second to the S 1000 XR – but only just – when it comes to the smile it puts on your face.

BMW S 1000 XR

The S 1000 XR’s engine is amazing. No wonder, seeing as it’s a detuned version of what’s found in the S 1000 RR rocket ship.

The Caponord trails by a significant margin when looking at the spec sheets, putting out (only) 125 hp from its V-twin engine. Yes, it does feel slower than the other two bikes tested here, but even so the V-twin is perhaps one of our favorite motorcycle engines around today. It just hauls no matter what gear you’re in or what speed you’re going. That’s is probably helped by the fact it produces 115 Nm of torque at 6,800 rpm – and actually makes the majority of that 115 Nm below 3,000 rpm – this bike is ballistic from a standing start and loves overtaking.

Then there’s the sound. We’re pretty sure Aprilia has an entire team whose sole job is to ensure their bikes sound incredible and they’ve done a wonderful job on the Caponord. No adventure bike – even a sports focused one – should sounds this good.

But it’s still not enough to dethrone the BMW S 1000 XR here. That extra bit of grunt coming out of what is essentially a tamed superbike engine is really a special thing.

winner bmw s 1000 xr

Handling

All three bikes perform beautifully and pretty much will handle anything you throw at them that you can realistically achieve on the open road. Take them to a racetrack and the very sporty S 1000 XR would reign supreme, but we’re only interested in what you can do on the street for this comparison.

Being ‘sports adventure’ bikes, there is a compromise to be made between razor sharp handling and comfort – although all three bikes make use of the latest in semi-active suspension technology to blur the lines as much as possible. The BMW S 1000 XR takes the most aggressive approach, with front and rear suspension travel closer to a sportsbike or a roadster than an adventure bike – 150 mm at the front and 140 mm at the rear. It therefore handles aggressively, sharply and quickly. It loves corners and combined with its gearing and engine characteristics, would probably be quicker in tight twisty terrain in comparison the S 1000 RR.

3-21 MULTISTRADA 1200S

The Multistrada S handles beautifully and is probably the best compromise between sportsbike tracking and long range comfort.

The Multistrada S goes the other way and while not offering true ADV levels of suspension travel, is close to knocking on the door with 170 mm of movement both front and rear. Despite this longer stroke, you’d be hard pressed to say the Multistrada doesn’t handle as well as the BMW. In fact, one could argue that the BMW’s suspension is a little too firm – yes, this is a ‘sports adventure’ comparison but when you’re doing an all day stint, most are willing to sacrifice a few percentages of handling points to keep their bottom end from going numb.

At the other end of the spectrum, the Caponord is perhaps a little too soft. Suspension travel sits in between the German and the other Italian with 167mm travel in the forks and 150mm travel at the rear shock. It feels wonderful on the straight stuff but slightly floaty when pushed really hard in the corners.

In the end though, the BMW gave us the most confidence. We’d love to take it on a racetrack as it would no doubt put some supersports machines to shame.

winner bmw s 1000 xr

Comfort

The Multistrada S’ comfort is really going to come down to your height. The taller you are, the more cramped and uncomfortable you’re going to feel. Ducati has placed the pegs closer to the seat than the other bikes here and in fact has the most aggressive seating position of all sports adventure bikes on the market. That means that those over six feet in height will begin to feel sore after a long day of riding – or even a few hours On the flipside, those a few inches shorter will feel right at home and have the advantage of great ground clearance when in the corners.

Unfortunately for BMW, they’ve snatched defeat from the jaws of victory here – their seating and ergonomics are overall more relaxed than the Ducati’s, but this is a machine that suffers from vibrations. It’s most notable around the 7,000 to 9,000 rpm range and depending on your particular bike, you’ll feel it through the bars, the seat or the pegs – or all three if you’re really unlucky. It’s fine when you’re only riding for an hour or two but if you’re travelling all day it’s really going to fatigue you.

cap 1200 002

The Caponord has none of these problems. It’s virtually vibration free (though you’ll notice slight vibrations at higher rpm), its ergonomics offer a great compromise between tall and shorter riders, the seat is very comfortable and the suspension is the softest of the three bikes here. While the riding position is definitely the least sporty in our comparison, those wide bars still give great leverage to turn in hard when riding through the twisties.

winner aprilia caponord

Farkles

Does he or she with the most toys win? If gadgets and the latest in technology are what you’re after it’s hard to go past the Multistrada S. If you want, it has it. Cornering ABS, a colour TFT display, an app that links your bike to your iPhone, the Ducati Multimedia System, 5D inertial measurement unit, cornering lights, hands free ignition, cruise control and more. It has more features than most family cars have. A lot it is unnecessary but at the same time, you won’t complain that you’ve got it.

BMW S 1000 XR

Heated grips, cruise control, cornering ABS, quick shifter for both up and down shifts – the S 1000 XR is a technological tour de force if you’re willing to pay for it.

The BMW comes close gadgets wise but does miss out on a number of fancy bits the Italian gets – such as no interface to your phone and hands free ignition. But it has a trump card – a brilliant Gear Shift Assist system that allows for both clutch-less upshifts and downshifts. It’s an electronic system as used by MV Agusta and it’s brilliant – you’ll grow to love it. It also gets heated grips which are great for cooler climates.

The Caponord is hardly a simple machine with the tech is features; it’s just not quite as cutting-edge as its competitors. It critically misses out on cornering ABS which the other two get and there’s no quickshifter or slipper clutch as found on the BMW either. It does get a fancy phone interface, a selection of engine modes and traction control settings, but in the end the BMW comes out on top.

winner bmw s 1000 xr

Interface

If it seems like Aprilia dedicates an entire team to create the most intoxicating exhaust note from their bikes, they must then use a single person to design the interfaces for their bikes. Quite frankly, changing settings, modes and even engaging the cruise control is all frustrating and cumbersome on the Caponord.

Cruise control is especially annoying, as you have to try and engage it with your thumb while holding the throttle still – not an easy task. There’s also no button to change the speed up or down – you instead have to get the the speed manually and reset it – not precise and not user friendly.

That’s in direct contrast to the Multistrada S, which despite having more settings and options than the Caponord, is much easier to manage. The S 1000 XR isn’t far behind, though it’s dash is now looking quite dated and is just that little bit harder to learn than the Ducati’s.

winner ducati hyperstrada

Off-road

We ummed and ahhed about whether to put this category in or not. Let’s be honest, these aren’t true off-road machines. They all use sportsbike sized cast wheels, the suspension travel while not superbike short isn’t made for tackling big ruts and rocks and despite their numerous engine modes on offer, don’t come with settings for the dirt.

But despite that, the three manufacturers do like to show pictures of their bikes off road and given that they are sports adventure bikes, it seemed fitting to at least look at their capabilities in passing. Are they capable off road? Yes, just like any motorcycle with road tires are. That means they’re fine on hard packed dirt roads and a small bit of gravel. They can handle slipperier stuff as long as you’ve got the skills to manage it.

1-24 MULTISTRADA 1200S

Should you decide to get your wheels dirty, the Multistrada S with its decent suspension travel will do the job respectably.

Oddly, despite having the least adventure bike like geometry of the three machines, the BMW performed quite well when we took it off-road, as did the Multistrada S. The Caponord probably was the least happy when not on the bitumen, which is probably due to its weight – at 247 kg without fuel, it’s the heaviest here by a good margin. The Multistrada S weighs 212 kg sans fuel while the BMW S 1000 XR comes in just below that at 208 kg. The Caponord is a big bike and it feels it at times.

The extra suspension travel on the Multistrada S, coupled with the wonderful skyhook suspension means that it feels most at home when not on the black stuff and it’s more refined engine helps too.

winner ducati hyperstrada

Value

There’s really not a contest here – the Aprilia is just incredibly good value. At $15,695 you get an incredibly well put together machine with a wonderful engine, fantastic handling and semi-active suspension. Yes, it’s not as fast as its European counterparts here, doesn’t have quite as many features and the dash is a pain in the neck to navigate but you still get a lot of bang for your buck.

The S 1000 XR starts at $16,350 but when you add the touring and dynamic packages on top as tested here, it blows out to over $18,000. That might sound expensive, but the Ducati creates an even larger dent in your mortgage at $19,695. There’s definitely some cheeky badge pricing going on there as there’s no real justification for the price premium over the S 1000 XR.

winner aprilia caponord

Overall

From a straight points perspective, the S 1000 XR is our winner. Its performance, technology, handling and features are all first class, with the Multistrada S close behind. But it’s hard to give the win to the BMW that easily. Despite all its wonderful qualities, those engine vibrations are an issue.

While the S 1000 XR feels much more exhilarating to ride, if you’re out on the road for days at a time, the refinement of the Multistrada S is hard to get past – if you’re the right height for it. If you’re too tall, it’s not going to be a pleasant place to be.

The Caponord avoids these issues. It’s not as quick as the other two bikes, nor does it have quite the same number of features but almost everything it does it does very well – save for changing modes and engaging cruise control. And despite that, the money you save in comparison to the Ducati and BMW is really impossible to ignore.

For outright performance, the BMW wins, but for a bike you need to live with every day, the Aprilia gets our vote.

cap 1200 001

Is the Caponord the best bike here? No, but for the price it’s very, very difficult to overlook.

1,077 Ducati Scrambler Independents to be Created

Ducati is really ramping up the lifestyle division of its company and has teamed up with fashion house Italia Independent to not only produce co-branded fashion items such as sunglasses, but also a ‘limited’ edition run of 1,077 Ducati Scramblers. Why 1,077? We don’t know. Why sunglasses? Shrug.

According to Ducati, The Ducati Scrambler Italia Independent is inspired by the world of the “cafè racer” and stands out thanks to a series of hand-crafted details developed together by the creative teams of the two companies: a black engine with brushed cylinder head fins and visible machining, black full exhaust unit with Termignoni silencer, low handlebar with variable section and aluminium rear mirrors mounted on the ends. The short front mudguard, the essential nose fairing, the frame and the wheels painted “Night Copper” (colour designed for this special edition), the seat with stitching in the same colour with the embroidered Italia Independent logo on the back further embellish this version. The “Matte Black” colour of the entire bike and the side panels of the tank, created by an artisan brushing process reminiscent of the “Night Copper” of the wheels and chassis, emphasise even further the “café racer” soul of this new bike.

The sunglasses are a few cents worth of plastic which will probably cost a few hundred dollars. It’s expected the the Ducati Scrambler Italia Independent will be priced at the top of the Scrambler range. No word on if you get a free pair of sunglasses with it.

In other Ducati news, the first XDiavel has come off the production line in Italy, with deliveries expected to commence in February depending on where you are in the world.

Ducati Scrambler Sixty2 is Smallest Ducati in Decades

We heard on good authority that Ducati was going to make a learner friendly version of the Ducati Scrambler a long time ago and that rumor has come true in the form of the Ducati Scrambler Sixty2. Effectively, the Sixty2 (named after the year in which Ducati premiered the original bike) is just a standard Scrambler, but the 803cc engine has its displacement effectively halved to 399cc via 72mm x 49mm bore and stroke.

Engine output is now 30.1 kW @ 8,750 rpm and 34,3 Nm of torque @ 7,750 rpm which again is roughly half of the original model. That puts in in the performance realm of the various learner sport and naked bikes from the Japanese manufacturers like the Kawasaki Z300, Yamaha MT-03 and Benelli BN302. Don’t however expect the price of the new Scrambler Sixty2 to be halved though as Ducati will be playing this bike off as a premium learner machine.

Curiously (and no doubt as a cost saving exercise), the standard 330mm front rotor with its radially mounted four pot caliper has been replaced by a 320mm, two piston floating caliper. We’ll be interested to see how much this affects braking performance as despite the reduction in engine capacity, the weight is only fractionally less. The swingarm is now made of steel and the inverted forks have been loss to standard ones.

Colors are another mark of differentiation between the new Sixty2 and the standard Scrambler, with “Atomic Tangerine”, “Ocean Grey” and “Shining Black” available. The new Ducati Scrambler Sixty2 is expected to hit dealerships worldwide around January. At this stage, only pricing in Australia and the UK has been confirmed, with the Brits getting it at £6,450 and Australians at $11,990 and will be available within their respective tiered licensing systems for new riders.