Ducati Scrambler Icon Review
What Is It?
The 2015 Ducati Scrambler Icon is a retro style bike and the base level of the many Scrambler variants. It saw a minor update for 2019.
Engine: 803 cc V-Twin, 75 bhp
Economy: 45 mpg, 130 miles
Seat Height: 790 mm
Wet Weight: 186 kg
What Is It Like?
|✓||Small and easy to handle, looks great, lots of torque|
|×||Jerky throttle at slow speeds, seat comfort, suspension|
My Riding History
I did my full bike test 2002 and have since progressed to RoSPA gold and a blood biker. Owned a few bikes, Honda Hornet and CBF 600, Suzuki SV650 and V-Strom 1000, Moto Guzzi V7, Ducati Monster, SS1000, 1100 Multistrada, Yamaha FZ1, FZ6, XJ6 and ridden lots more as demos! Currently have a Bonnie, Tiger 800, Scrambler and XJ6 in the garage.
The 2015 Ducati Scrambler Icon, Bought Used in February 2018
I first saw this bike in 2015 at the Scottish bike show when me and the missus were looking for a weekend bike that we could both ride. She has a 2014 Bonnie and the Scrambler looked like the perfect accompaniment for weekends on Yorkshire roads looking for tea shops. We finally bought one used, but with only 900 miles in two years it had not been used much.
What a lovely little bike, light and easy to push around the garage and not too tall for a small lady was a good start. Thumb the starter and the V-Twin engine starts up with a charismatic thump, immediately making the Scrambler feel special. Handlebars and foot pegs are well placed for it to be upright and comfortable. The engine is a de-tuned version of the SOHC, 90-degree desmo unit from the discontinued Monster 796 with 75bhp. No power modes or traction control but a broad power delivery that helps make the Scrambler both quick and flexible to ride. It is not keen on low revs in higher gears and will bog down and sound very uncomfortable.
The V-Twin advantage is plenty of torque, peaking at 5,500rpm which is right in the middle of the rev range and makes riding the Scrambler easy. It picks up pace without difficulty almost regardless of gear and overtaking is as simple as flexing your right wrist. It has enough performance to make light work of slow traffic but never feels dangerous or difficult to control. The wide bars make turning into bends intuitive and a piece of cake, while the brakes are fine despite the relatively simple single disc arrangement up front.
Straight-line performance is brisk, the engine happy to pull strongly from almost any revs. The round instrument panel features a large central digital speedometer but a slim and less than legible rev-counter bar running around its lower circumference. The minimalist, alloy-rimmed console is attractive but lacks a fuel gauge or gear indicator. It is a simple motorcycle with two wheels and an engine but it delivers a characterful experience that most certainly will make you smile. If you are coming from smooth Japanese 4 cylinder bikes you may not like the air cooled V-Twin vibe and perhaps a ride on an ER6 would be a good half way house first. I have had a few air cooled Ducatis so knew what to expect.
I have added a "Dart" flyscreen which makes no difference to air on the body but helps keep flies off the back of the instruments and I have also added a Ducati rack for a top box so that day to day shopping trips are a good way to use the bike. Not the best way to look cool but mounted on a Givi plate so that easy removal restores hipster cool.
Test ride before you buy and if you are happy that it is not a smooth 4 cylinder you will enjoy it more and more with every ride.
- Paul S, 2018
How Does It Compare?
The Second Opinion
2015 Ducati Scrambler
Back in May 2015 after I sold my big mistake Harley 48 (boy did that vibrate) I was looking for a cafe hopper for me and the wife to enjoy for summer weekends. I looked at Triumphs, Monsters, Guzzis etc but nothing quite fit the bill until the wife pointed at a picture of a scrambler in a magazine, the bike had only been out a few months and looked pretty cool. I rang the local Ducati dealer but was advised the waiting list was 4 months long and growing, so I had a look on ebay and nothing so looked on Autotrader and one was for sale in Harrogate 12 miles away!! Me and the wife drove across and fell in love at first sight, we struck a deal at £5900 (cheap) and rode it back home the next day.
We rode that bike to every local cafe we could find, it always drew a crowd whether I was filling up with petrol or parking up for the morning paper (I felt very proud) over the year the bike had lots going for it but also had a few issues:
- Fast enough for our roads, I always came back with a smile on my face when I went out for a fast blast
- Handles really well for a retro
- It's small and light (feels like a BMX) but not for tall riders
- Looks to break a neck!
- Not bad 2 up
- Tyres look ace and grip really well
- The suspension is harsh but not horrendous
- The seat is uncomfortable
- Throttle is jerky
- Servicing is expensive.
- Tyres wear quick (3500 miles)
I had an issue with the fuel pump pumping petrol all over my leg and red hot engine just 15 miles after it had been in for a service , not really the bikes fault but I ended up stranded for 3 hours in the middle of nowhere.
After the above incident plus we'd had it for 12 months we decided to sell it. Once gone we soon realised we should have kept it! So back in search of another scrambler but this time we found one 220 miles away! I borrowed the works van and picked it up a week later.
Now this scrambler was different as it had the following upgrades:
- Maxton front and rear suspension
- Termignoni exhaust
- Comfort seat
These upgrades make a good bike great and we can now cover more than 50 miles without numb bums and the sound from the exhaust is awesome also the ECU upgrade smooths out the jerky throttle.
We've had this scrambler for over 2 years and still love it, it's now totally different apart from the suspension as I've added the following:
- Woodcraft bars
- Cafe Racer tank
- Leather independent saddle
- Spoked wheels
- Sport fairing
- Zard exhaust
- Custom indicators
- Crash bungs
- Mudguards different colour
I currently have: x2 sets of wheels, x2 tanks/mudguards, x4 saddles, x2 mirrors, spare bars/indicators/shock/levers etc upgrades are addictive :)
The bike has now covered 8500 miles and still feels tight and fresh with no real issues other than a new front disc and resonator (covered under warranty). I genuinely don't think I'll sell it as its taken us to places we wouldn't go on other bikes, I've had GSXRs, 1000cc missiles and found them boring once I'd hit 150 mph and nearly killed myself a dozen times.
The scrambler does the opposite, you feel like you are flying at 80mph even though it does 124mph tested on a private road but also encourages you to ride slower and enjoy the ride without near death experiences. The bike now looks the dogs and still draws the crowds everywhere we go and still puts a smile on my face (and the wifes) every ride. If you are considering a scrambler don't let the suspension put you off and try, get a bike with all the upgrades and don't worry too much about mileage but do insist on service history and mint condition. Enjoy the ride! I do.
- Armo, 2018
More Ducati Scrambler Icon Reviews
- Looks good, nice paint finish on tank.
- Great fun to ride, light and flickable, pulls well, responsive, good in traffic (once you're used to the snatchy pick up); it's a Sunday afternoon back lane scratcher really.
- Good brakes, plenty of feel and power.
The Not So Good
- The standard icon seat is very uncomfortable, hardly any padding due to the tool recess in the seat pan being directly under where you sit, this means that there is very little foam above it. Most owners manage about 20 miles before it starts to hurt, I bought the Italia independent leather seat (£240) which is better but still gets uncomfortable after 50 miles.
- The front suspension is poor, compression damping is way to firm giving a "Jarring" harsh ride on bumpy tarmac.
- The paint started lifting off the back of the engine after 4 months.
- The zinc coating on the footpegs / brake lever is corroding after 8 months even though the bike has hardly ever seen a wet road.
- The indicator cancel button isn't ideal, being very easy to leave your indicators on even though you have pressed the button to cancel them.
- The throttle is snatchy at low speeds.
I love mine, I'm out on it now! It's just a shame that Ducati cut corners on the suspension/seat/zinc plating etc but it's cheap for a Ducati so some of the negatives are to be expected.
- Mark, 2017