Ducati Scrambler Cafe Racer test


A more "sporty" version of the Scrambler with a neat look

The Scrambler V2, 803 cm3, 75 hp at 8,250 rpm, 68 Nm at 5,750 rpm, 172 kilos, € 11,290

About 2000 years ago, a guy was multiplying loaves of bread and it got him some notoriety. Since 2014, Ducati has multiplied the Scramblers and it has also earned them a certain notoriety: more than 35,000 copies have since sold, with a perfectly constructed brand universe where coolness is set up as a major art and which has even resulted in the construction of a space. restaurant in Bologna !

Since 2014, therefore, no less than 7 different versions of the Scrambler have come to enrich the range of the transalpine manufacturer: there are still 6 in the catalog, since the Urban Enduro has given way to the Desert Sled and the Cafe Racer. so is the last arrival.

Scrambler, we say; Cafe Racer, too. There is something contradictory in this name. A bit like "Bobber Adventure" or "Urban Speed ​​GT". But fashion is a mix of genres and after all, in the automotive world, what is a Nissan Juke Nismo RS or a BMW X6 if not a Scrambler Cafe Racer? A machine with green roots and an appetite, if not aptitudes, for vibrators…

Ducati Scrambler Cafe Racer review

You might still think it’s a funny idea, but when Ducati launched contests with dealers and preparers, it turned out that the cafe racer was a widely explored theme. And suddenly, Ducati said to himself that there was something to do and took the opportunity to resuscitate themes already seen on the 900 SD of the late 70s, with this black color with gold wheels..


54: the number on the side plate may appeal. This is a tribute to Spaggiari. Not Albert (1932-1988, known to have been the mastermind of the "heist of the century" at Societe Generale de Nice in 1976), but Bruno (born in 1933). Bruno Spaggiari has indeed won important races on the handlebars of Ducati (including a mono 350, engine which was used on the Scrambler of the 60s) and which carried the number 54. Ducati therefore continues to exploit its historical heritage and they would have well reason not to take advantage of it. And although Spaggiari also wore number 9, we’re not going to start confusing the thing either….

The scrambler is dressed with a # 54 plaque in tribute to Bruno Spaggiari

Of the Scrambler range as we know it, the commonalities are obvious: tank, rear shock absorber, headlight and dashboard, all are familiar. In addition to the color (there is no choice in the color chart, it’s black and gold), the Scrambler Cafe Racer imposes its own visual identity. Handlebars "like bracelets" but in fact positioned above the triple tree, brown leather saddle, removable seat backrest, large radial Brembo brake, Termignoni pots with double exhaust silencer, there is no doubt that this machine, overall well finished , imposes and will know how to value its owner when it is parked on the terrace of a cafe. Luckily, it’s part of the destiny of the Cafe Racer, designed to race from one bar to another..

The flagship of the Scrambler Cafe Racer

In the saddle

Compared to a Scrambler Icon, the saddle is 15mm higher (805 instead of 790). However, it is quite thin and from 1.70 m, motorcyclists should feel comfortable on the handlebars. Handlebars which are distinctly different from those of other Scramblers: 155 mm further forward and 175 mm lower than on a Scrambler Icon, the difference is not small. Despite everything, we will realize a little later that the position, although nicely typed, is not really restrictive..

Higher, the seat becomes thin and remains easily accessible

Once in the saddle, we discover an easy-to-grip side stand, as well as a generally readable dashboard (speed and time, minus the tachometer). We are ecstatic in front of the presence, in addition to the two trips, of an outside temperature indicator, while cursing, because it is thus, the human being is capable of contradictory and simultaneous emotions, against the absence of fuel gauge. The distance of the brake lever is easily adjustable with a dial: again, joy…

The counter of the Scrambler Cafe Racer

The two Termignoni pots are just waiting to be expressed … and we discover after a simple little pressure on the starter, that their sound is very timid. Too bad … even if the Scrambler Cafe Racer will be all the more comfortable in the city? Answer below…

In the city

There, welcome to the good news. Because, sometimes, the Cafe Racer are surprisingly uncomfortable in the environment from which they paradoxically draw their name: radical ergonomics and left handling are their lot, like the Yamaha XSR 900 Abarth. Do not be afraid of that with our Ducati Scrambler Cafe Racer, because as we said, the ergonomics are nicely typed without being the least bit radical, while in addition, the turning radius is good. Of course, we could fear damaging the special mirrors, mounted at the end of the handlebars, but if we did a little bit of interfacing in Bologna and on its urban highways, the smoothness of the motorcycle makes it possible to pass without sweating between the cars..

Dynamic Cafe Racer test

In fact, the Scrambler Cafe Racer will be able to indulge in its favorite game: show off on the boulevards. And this especially since the response to the throttle has been softened for 2017 on all versions of the Scrambler family..

Suddenly, we appreciate the flexibility of the V2 803 cm3. Round from the lowest revs, it is capable of purring at 50 km / h, at 3000 rpm in 3rd and if you are a player, it even takes 4th without really flinching … So let’s not be fooled by its look radical, the Scrambler Cafe Racer is very comfortable in the city, if only for the problem of transporting a lock. And the engine also gives off a little heat on the right side, which is more noticeable than on other Scramblers, because we are a little more leaning on the tank..

On highways and main roads

The Scrambler Cafe Racer purrs at 6,000 rpm at 130 km / h, in the last gear. The position a little more forward helps with the wind pressure and at this speed the stability is beyond reproach. From 5000 rpm, the sound of the Termignoni is a bit more present and the machine is sufficiently vigorous (we are also in the area of ​​maximum torque) to exceed without asking too many questions..

Even if this is not its vocation, the Scrambler can allow itself to exits on the motorway without any problem.

On the other hand, if he accepts the exercise, we obviously have more appropriate machines in the Ducati range and if you feel like a bitumen devourer and always drive, add € 2,500 and take a Multistrada 950.

On departmental

At just under 4000 rpm in sixth, the V2 purrs quietly. The bike is thin, compact, fairly light, quite agile. Besides, she has good tires. Suddenly, at a walking pace on good surface, all is well.

However, in Cafe Racer there is Racer. And there, alas, it is spoiled. Warning: the following paragraph could well look like a first-class funeral for this poor machine which, until now, had asked for nothing but admiration in front of its licked plastic. Let’s face it: in action and driven at a lightning pace, the Scrambler Cafe Racer is disappointing. Suspensions do not like bumps, on which they react without grace; and we will have to do with it since they are not adjustable (except the preload at the rear, that is to say not much …).

The Cafe Racer is frankly not at ease on small roads

In support, the structural rigidity is quickly put at fault. On the handlebars, you bounce from one bump to another, you look for your trajectory and when you insist on a nice piece of asphalt, you end up quickly rubbing the base of the exhaust silencer. In fact, the Scrambler is caught in the act of usurpation: Cafe Racer, no. Smoothie Decafeinato Racer, possibly, because in reality a normal Scrambler will go just as fast on small roads, if not a little faster. A shame, no ?

Back to the facts: run at a good pace by experienced riders, the content does not match the container and the price has no relation to the dynamic qualities. However, the scope must also be widened: Ducati has, with its Scrambler range, built a cool universe where relaxation is emphasized and aggressiveness banished. Aggression on the road and in the driving phases. The Scrambler universe is carpe diem and you have the coconut look. New relaxed and assumed ways of riding a motorcycle. In this case, it will. The Scrambler Cafe Racer has a look, a presence, a posture and that is the main thing. Easy to take, it can also give a lot of pleasure as long as you are not in the casting error.

The Scrambler Cafe Racer is above all a question of look

However, it looks like the Euro 4 standard hasn’t done all good ol ‘V2 good. Supple and round, it is, as we have said. A little sluggish and quite erased at low speed, it is too. In fact, to regain a certain dynamism, do not hesitate to whip it and stay in lower gears. On mountain roads, we will therefore stay more often in second (which breaks at 111 km / h) and in third … The tachometer is difficult to read, but on these slightly expressive engines we can drive by ear and a red indicator is displayed on the instrument panel when the switch approaches. The gearbox, in this case, lets itself be manhandled. It’s already that.


There has been a bit of work to make this Scrambler a Cafe Racer. Ducati didn’t just paint it black and put on new handlebars. If the travel of the fork and the shock absorber remain identical to that of a Scrambler Icon (150 mm at the front and at the rear), the composition of the fork tubes has changed and the springs are slightly hardened to reduce a little mass transfers, taking into account the new weight distribution which loads a little more at the front; especially since the rear shock absorber spring is 6 mm longer, which has the effect of tilting a little more forward.

Ducati has made many changes to transform its Scrambler into a 'Cafe Racer'

The front end is also different, with a tighter geometry: still compared to a Scrambler Icon, the caster angle loses 2.2 ° to 21.8 ° and the caster loses 18 mm to 93.9 mm. Wheelbase is 9mm shorter, at 1,463mm.

The tire fitment is also different, with the arrival of 17-inch wheels in this range, equipped with very good Pirelli Diablo Rosso II in 120/70 and 180/55.


Large 330mm Brembo disc with radial caliper and radial master cylinder. This is tough material! With such a thing, we say to ourselves that we are going to suffer from gonads the first time you brake hard. Well nay. Because in fact, the braking of the Scrambler Cafe Racer is smooth and progressive. We could say that getting such a result with so much good stuff is a bit of a waste. But this is to forget that the clientele of this machine will most certainly be made up of a large proportion of beginners and that the philosophy of the Scrambler family is cool. In fact, we understand that this excellent dosability was retained in the specifications.

Braking is smooth and progressive

And make no mistake: the Scrambler brakes, but not hard, not as you would imagine with its racer look and top-of-the-range equipment. We console ourselves with the rear brake, rather effective and the ABS, which does not trigger inadvertently. But the fact remains that the attack on the small road, we would have liked a little more…

Comfort and duo

This will not be the strong point of the machine, with a saddle that will make you prefer the accompaniment of small jigs, which will not really have anything to stand for. As for the pilot, he can deal with the driving position that is maintained to be bearable for a long time. On the other hand, the suspensions have nothing graceful in their operation and it only took a few short hours of driving to realize that the saddle was not that comfortable, not so much at the level of the seats, but rather edges.

The saddle leaves little room for the passenger

Consumption / autonomy

The Cafe Racer has the same tank as the other Scramblers: 13.5 liters. We know from experience that it is easy to stay below 5 l / 100 with this engine, which augurs well for 250 km of easy autonomy. The break will only be so much savored.

The tank gets a new color, but keeps the same base as the rest of the range


We can crack and it is perfectly legitimate, in front of its polished and atypical look and feel affinities with the whole universe conveyed by the Scrambler brand. In this case, the Cafe Racer will be appreciated by its ease of use, its correct turning radius, its small engine character in the turns and its daily flexibility. Perfectly at home in the city as well as during peaceful walks, it will be appreciated by its look and the prestige of the brand..

Appellation that should not be taken at face value: to "racer", we are still looking for the trace by the fault of a messy behavior as soon as we increase the pace and we find bumps and dings. ” a dissonance between the quality of the on-board equipment (brakes, tires, wheels, etc.), the level of dynamic services and the selling price.

But not everyone tries to throw themselves into the bends like a starving person and the motorcycle can also be appreciated by its aesthetics, by its history, by the image it conveys of yourself. The entire Scrambler range, if we are to believe the Ducati visuals and videos, is part of an "art of living" which features beach walks, water sports, evenings by the fireside, camaraderie, all dotted with a few small strokes of the motorcycle. Any Cafe Racer she claims to be, this Scrambler is no exception to this universe…

The Ducati Scrambler Cafe Racer

Strong points

  • Successful look
  • Smooth and easy motor
  • Ease of handling
  • Good turning radius in town
  • Rewarding finish and presentation
  • A2 license possible
  • Tire assembly (Pirelli Diablo Rosso II)

Weak points

  • Engine smoothed by Euro 4 at low speed
  • Sound of Termignoni
  • Big lack of rigor in the attack
  • Ground clearance in curve when attacking
  • Suspensions
  • Firm saddle (on the ridges)
  • Braking
  • Rev counter not very legible
  • Rate

Ducati Scrambler Cafe Racer technical sheet

Test conditions

  • Route: 180 km, mostly winding roads in the beautiful hills of Emilia Romagna, near Bologna (Italy)
  • Motorcycle mileage: 250 km
  • Problem encountered: none in absolute terms, but the opener deserves a place on the podium of the openers who are dragging themselves seriously (there must be an inter-manufacturer competition, because at the moment …), very happy that ‘he was racing at 70 km / h on the secondary roads or staying a quarter of an hour behind a truck without overtaking. Well, at the same time, we were able to enjoy the landscape … It’s pretty, Emilia-Romagna…

Competition: Harley-Davidson Roadster, Triumph Street Cup, Yamaha XV 950 Racer

The Ducati Scrambler Cafe Racer video test

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