Not everyone can afford a $20,000 Ducati, let alone ride one. On the other hand, this $7995 Scrambler Sixty2 you certainly can. Introduced earlier this year, the Sixty2 is the smaller, more affable brother in Ducati’s ever-growing Scrambler family.
An instant hit when the new-for-2015 Scrambler rolled onto American streets, the Sixty2, whose name is coined from the original Scrambler 250 released in, you guessed it, 1962, is positioned toward folks looking to experience real Scrambling thrills, only in a more manageable package.
Some may look at the Sixty2— especially in its Ocean Grey paint, and think, ‘that’s not a Ducati, it’s a girl’s bike’. But I dare you to ride it for a week, then tell me how you feel…
Even though this Scrambler is positioned toward entry-level riders, it’s a hoot to ride if you have more miles notched under your belt.
Where the bigger, badder full-size 803cc Twin is a handful in more than a few situations, the Sixty2 is anything but. In a newbie’s hands it’s certainly more friendly — even if the curb weight (404 pounds), seat height (31.1 in. standard configuration, with optional 30.3 in. and 31.9 heights available as an accessories), and exterior dimensions (57.48 in. wheelbase) are all nearly identical to the Icon.
With a low, asphalt hugging stance, the Sixty2 is light and maneuverable whether you’re negotiating in, or out, of tight parking spots, or carving up turns on the road. A wide handlebar amplifies handling response making it even more apt to turn. Its position can also be adjusted (rolled forward or backward, just like a dirt bike) depending on preference (I prefer a more upright bend). Ducati also offers accessory handlebar bend options as a direct replacement. Or you can opt for a 7/8-inch aftermarket option from Renthal or ProTaper.
Since it has half the engine capacity (399cc) of its big brother, the powerband is softer and less jumpy when the throttle is twisted. This makes the engine easier to wield — especially during launches from a stop light. Clutch lever pull isn’t too stiff, nor to wispy, instead feeling just right. It would have been nice if Ducati had added lever position adjustment so you can tailor fit like you can on its other motorcycles. On the other hand, the position of the front brake lever can be adjusted with a recessed flathead screw.
Equipped with fuel-injection and electric start, the engine does take 30 seconds or so of idling before it runs cleanly without any hiccups even on warm days. An aftermarket fuel controller could be a great way to get it running tip-top and crisp for immediate getaways.
Nevertheless, go ahead, spool up that L-Twin and let it sing. Rowing through the six-speed gearbox proves that shifts are smooth, and there’s enough pep at high rpm to keep you grinning. On flat roads it flirts near triple digit speeds in top gear— it just takes a bit to get there.
At these speeds though, you’re only getting 41 mpg. Dial it back and nearly 50 mpg can be expected. We averaged 44 mpg with city and a fair amount of highway riding equating to just over 160 miles given the 3.7-gallon capacity of the steel fuel tank. Yes, there is some natural engine vibration but it doesn’t feel out of place.
Those that spend more time riding in the city, rather than the highway, should think about fitting a smaller countershaft sprocket (15-tooth is stock) for some extra pep around town at the compromise of a lower top speed.
A true head turner, the Sixty2 appears nearly identical to its big brother. From the bright LED ringed headlamp to the 10-spoke 18/17-inch combo wheels shod with asphalt-friendly Pirelli MT-60s, smaller displacement doesn’t mean skipping on aesthetics.
A simple yet modern-looking digital gauge pod displays motorcycle vitals. It looks clean and is easy to read day or night. The “side stand” down readout is also handy especially for those just getting into the swing of riding. Added styling points come in the form of the fuel tank lid’s “Born Free” emblem and machined engine case covers. For a motorcycle built in Thailand, assembly quality is every bit as good as its Italian-made superbike sibling. Plus, it’s backed up with a two-year, unlimited mileage warranty.
Keen eyes might notice the lower-spec telescopic fork (versus inverted), swingarm (stamped from steel instead of cast alloy) and twin-piston front brake caliper (instead of a racy monobloc Brembo), but you’ll be hard pressed to note any difference behind the handlebar. Yes, the suspension is more softly sprung, limiting ground/cornering clearance if you’re a 180-pound person, however, smaller, lighter riders will love the more forgiving ride this Ducati is capable over bumps and beat up pavement.
The seat is cozy for day ride’s and has plenty of room for an adult-sized passenger, or if you want to strap on a gear bag. Though to be fair, the soft-ish shock spring, along with the engine’s smaller capacity make it tough for two-up long hauls. The shock does offer preload adjustment and you’re likely going to want to max out this setting.
Curiously, the underseat USB charging port that’s standard on the big bike is available as an accessory. Thankfully Ducati didn’t skimp on ABS, plus you can disable it if you’d like, say if you’re riding on dirt.
Whether cruising or hard charging on your favorite back road, the Sixty2 delivers real exhilaration: It makes the same titillating sounds Ducati Twins are known for, handles great, is cozy around town, and maintains the Italian brand’s true Scrambler dynamic to a tee. Even though it doesn’t have the acceleration pep of its big brother, it’s $1000 cheaper, plus your girl, or boyfriend can ride it, making it the more versatile bike in the Scrambler family.