Ducati Scrambler Sixty2 - First Ride!

Author: Roland Brown Photos Milagro Posted: 13 Feb 2016

There was some cool stuff going on back in 1962. The Rolling Stones were formed, Sean Connery starred in Dr No, the first James Bond movie, and a youthful Mike Hailwood won his first 500cc world title for MV Agusta. Meanwhile in Bologna, Ducati began production of the Scrambler, the versatile single that would inspire the firm’s latest and most popular family of bikes.

Fast-forward almost half a century, and Ducati is aiming to recapture some of that youthful 1962 vibe by naming the latest model in its reborn Scrambler family the Sixty2. With a capacity of 399cc and maximum output of 41bhp, which means it can be ridden on an A2 licence, the Sixty2 is even more firmly aimed at young riders and novices.

Roland Brown pounds the wet Barcelona streets on the A2 licence friendly 399cc Scrambler Sixty2

Its engine is a small-bore version of the 803cc, aircooled desmo V-twin that powers the bigger Scrambler models. It shares some bottom-end parts, and gets its capacity because 400cc is a popular licence class in some countries.

The rest of the Sixty2 follows the Scrambler format pretty closely, using the same tubular steel frame but keeping things simple with a steel tank that abandons the bigger models’ detachable side sections. It also has softer suspension at both ends, with conventional instead of upside-down front forks. And its single front brake disc is smaller, down from 330 to 320mm in diameter, and gripped by a twin- instead of radial four-pot caliper.

Riding position is identical, though, which means a wide, high one-piece handlebar, and a fairly thick dual-seat that’s 790mm off the ground, allowing average height riders to reach the ground easily enough. The view’s similar too: a single round instrument panel with digital speedo and a slightly hard-to-read tacho bar around the bottom.

Identical high one-piece handlebar as the 803cc Scrambler

Performance is respectable enough, provided you don’t want to ride too far or fast. The Sixty2 was happy on the streets of central Barcelona, where most of the launch ride took place. Its clutch action was light and the Ducati pulled away easily, picking up speed smoothly with a faint thrumming from the stubby, black-finished silencer on its right side.

The was a little bit of snatchiness on closing then reopening the throttle but the response was slightly smoother than that of the bigger Scrambler. Out of town the Sixty2 held its own without threatening to get particularly exciting. Acceleration at low revs was pretty flat. But the Ducati perked up at about 6000rpm, feeling reasonably lively from there until it reached its limit at about 10,000rpm, with a flash of warning lights and a slight buzz through the footrests.

Flat-out it’d get to an indicated ton or slightly more, and would cruise at the legal limit, which is about as fast as you’d normally want to ride for long given the upright and exposed riding position. Even so, that 41bhp output means it hasn’t quite got the legs of some purpose-designed A2-class bikes such as Honda’s CB500F, which make up to 47bhp.

Scrambler Sixty2 - not uncomfortable even for those measuring 6 feet 4

At just 183kg with fuel the Sixty2 is seriously light, which helped its acceleration and also contributed to its impressive agility, as did those wide handlebars. On a brief thrash along some twisty and hilly roads near Barcelona’s Olympic stadium it could be flicked into turns with barely more effort than it had required to avoid sharp-turning taxis in the city centre.

The Sixty2’s softened suspension had generally been welcome in town, where it had coped well with the occasional pothole or sleeping policeman. It held up pretty well on roads that never quite dried out fully, though the bike felt slightly vague in a few bumpy bends and is not really intended for traditional Ducati-style hard cornering. (In fact the Bolognese marketing gurus insist that it’s a Scrambler, not really a Ducati at all…)

It also braked with reassuring efficiency, despite that down-spec’d front stopper, although again the slightly damp road surface meant that the ABS cut in before the Brembo caliper could use its full force. Despite that, Pirelli’s chunky MT60 tyres did a decent job of gripping the frequently slippery looking road surface, although the 160-section rear is narrower than the bigger Scrambler’s 180.

The Sixty2 should also be reasonably practical, although I found the seat slightly too soft, and not as comfortable as its generous width suggests it should be. There’s plenty of room for a pillion, along with hand-holds below the seat. With a chassis the same size as the larger-capacity Scrambler, the Sixty2 is a reasonably roomy bike, and felt bigger than some A2 class rivals.

Available in three colours - Orange, Grey, Black

It’s a decent bike all-round, really. Ducati’s main problem is likely to be that although they’ve tried to economise in a few places, including leaving out the under-seat USB socket that comes as standard on the bigger models and is an accessory for the Sixty2, even this most entry-level of Bolognese bikes is still not especially cheap to produce.

The result of that is that the Sixty2 costs £6450 in either of its three colour options (orange, grey or black). That’s £800 less than the cheapest of the bigger Scramblers, but more expensive than similarly retro-styled rivals such as Harley’s Street 750 and Yamaha’s XSR700 – and over a grand more than useful A2 class rivals including Honda’s CB500F and Yamaha’s MT-07.

If you like its retro vibe and are looking for a simple, stylish, capable and rider-friendly roadster, the Sixty2 might well appeal. But the larger-engined Scramblers, which can be restricted for A2 use, provide much more go for the extra money. Meanwhile the cash-conscious younger riders that Ducati are chasing might conclude that there are cheaper alternatives that work just as well.

A single, round instrument panel, 320mm front brake disc and 399cc V-twin

Ducati Scrambler Sixty2 TECHNICAL SPECIFICATION

Engine type

Aircooled 90-degree V-twin

Valve arrangement

SOHC desmodromic, two valves per cylinder

Displacement

399cc

Bore x stroke

72 x 49mm

Compression ratio

10.7:1

Fuelling

Electronic fuel-injection

Maximum power

41bhp @ 8750rpm

Maximum torque

34N.m (26 lb.ft) @ 7750rpm

Clutch

Wet multiplate

Transmission

6-speed

Front suspension

41mm telescopic Showa, 150mm travel

Rear suspension

One Kayaba damper, 150mm wheel travel, adjustments for preload

Front brake

Single twin-piston Brembo caliper, 320mm disc with ABS

Rear brake

Single-piston Brembo caliper, 245mm disc with ABS

Front wheel

3.00 x 17in; cast aluminium

Rear wheel

4.50 x 17in; cast aluminium

Front tyre

120/70 x 17in Pirelli MT 60 RS

Rear tyre

160/60 x 17in Pirelli MT 60 RS

Rake/trail

24 degrees/112mm

Wheelbase

1460mm

Seat height

790mm

Fuel capacity

14 litres

Weight

183kg wet (with 90 per cent fuel; 167kg dry)

 


Does the Sixty2 appeal?