Srambler vs Scrambler
In the 1950's, motorcycles took a vital role in mobilising the war torn masses as it was a cheap form of transport. With the excess of war engineers and young apprentices, customisation also soon became a core part of the motorcycling scene. Often people would convert road racing machines into off road scramble bikes, a sport that was popular at the time, most racers of the age would race both road and dirt. As with all fashions and history the custom scene has come around into vogue again but this time the big factories are involved. Manufacturers have created basic motorcycles styled from their past, offered at a decent price and provided a platform for customers to customise their bikes. In 2017 we rode two of these such machines, the Ducati Scrambler and the Triumph Scrambler. Each were ridden around some of the wolds best roads and whilst its hard to split the locations, each supplying breathe taking scenery and roads straight out of motoring utopia, the bikes were very different indeed.
In October we rode the Ducati Scrambler around Tuscany, Italy. Immediately it was obvious that this bike has no frills with its comfy seat, wide bars and one little dial. Very well designed aesthetically and ergonomically the Ducati is sharp looking and roomy which easily allows you to find your best position. A few months later we rode the Triumph Scrambler around the Southern Cape of South Africa. This time we noticed the bike had more of everything but was that necessarily a good thing ? With the Triumph, its clear that the companies old fashioned styling whilst quirky looking, gave the bike a more industrial feel and therefore more weight. The spoked wheels for example are lovely to look at but they must weigh a considerable amount more then the Ducatis forged units. With this added weight the Triumph packs another 100cc and a touch more low down power. Once onboard the triumph gives you lots of room to be able to find a suitable riding position. With the weight difference you find your self adopting a more supportive position whereas on the Ducati you can attack a bit more on the front end. Its not a 250 racer but it is comparibly light and willing. Aesthetics as usual are subject to the beholder and whilst the Ducati is neatly packed the Triumph causes a bit more of a stir to the eyes, mainly with that exhaust pipe location. In any case both of these bikes are just a platform for owners to go wild with aftermarket add ons and restyling. There are some great looking modified Scramblers out there so lets not get hooked up on looks.
Handling wise the Triumphs weight and low ground clearance began to expose itself as more of a cruiser machine which packs enough hustle for the twisty sections. The power on the Triumph is loaded to the lower middle of the revs so it can boot itself along well enough yet when on motorways you find your self looking for more. The Ducati certainly handled better out of the two with its light weight flickable front end that gave you good mid corner feeling and the power is spread through out the revs which makes you chase it all the time, grabbing more and more throttle which can be a lot of fun.
Ultimately these are two very competent, fun motorcycles that have open up the possibility of bikes and biking to a wider market, which is always good. They are not super sports or cruisers but fit neatly in-between, great smiles per mile, look good out of the box and great ability to be customised. Low cost and maintenance they are two winners.
Triumph: 7/10. Fun but weighty.
Ducati: 8.5/10. Italian whippet
Ducati Scrambler Triumph Scrambler
PRICE Less More
DRY WEIGHT. 393 lb/ 178kg 499 lb/ 226kg
WHEELBASE 56.9 in /1.44M 59.4 in / 1.50M
SEAT HEIGHT 30.8 in / 78cm 31.4 in / 80cm
FUEL MILEAGE 43 mpg 44 mpg
1/4 MILE 12.02 sec. @ 109.35 mph. 13.76 sec. @ 95.18 mph
0-60 MPH 3.4 sec. 4.8 sec.
TOP SPEED 120 mph 109 mph
HORSEPOWER 69.7 hp 51.6 hp
TORQUE 46.9 lb.-ft. @ 5570 rpm. 46.2 lb.-ft. @ 2810 rpm
BRAKING, 30-0 MPH 30 ft / 9M 35 ft / 10M
BRAKING, 60-0 MPH 123 ft / 37M 143 ft / 43M