Ducati Scrambler 800 Icon review

The first thing I need to say is that I love V-twins, or more correctly in this case L-twins. I know that they can be a bit “Marmite” but I fall firmly into the love them category.

With this in mind I was really looking forward to riding the Scrambler.
This particular one was a 2018 model 800cc Icon in bright yellow kindly lent to me by P&H Motorcycles in Crawley.

We are looking to buy a new bike for Ridetalkshare and having owned several V-twins, including a Honda VTR 1000 and an Aprilla Mille, the Scrambler is high on a quite short, short list.

I really like the Scrambler’s retro styling and I am looking for something a little less focussed and less licence threatening than the Mille.

Turning the key the simple single instrument display performs the usual start-up dance with flashing leds.

The speedo is the now usual digital numbers with the engine revs displayed running from right to left around the bottom half of the circular display.

I would prefer a needle for the speedo, as you know with just a quick glance roughly how fast you are going and anything past twelve o’clock usually means keep a good lookout for cameras etc.

The tacho is also quite hard to read as the LCD segments are quite small, but to be honest with this bike it doesn’t really matter as you ride it much more by feel.

Sitting on the bike the seat height is nice and low and great for shorter riders or ones like me with short-ish legs. The Scrambler immediately feels light. Thumb the starter and the engine bursts into life with the lovely V-twin sound. The starter button is slightly awkward to reach with your thumb as the throttle body gets in the way just a little bit, but this is only a minor niggle.

Load up my pillion, into first and we’re off.

The bike feels immediately familiar. The Scrambler has lots of nice low down grunt as we trickle along through the Crawley mid-afternoon traffic. It is light and easy on the bars and filtering is a breeze. The bars are possibly a bit wide for tight town filtering and I think they could also do with being lowered or replaced with slightly flatter bars, but it’s not a big issue.
I found the indicator switch to be a bit fiddly. Left turns were not a problem, but I found when pushing the switch to the right that it had no feel and I wasn’t sure that the indicator was on until I looked for the green arrow on the instrument panel. Again not a big problem, but it would have been nice for Ducati to spend just a little more money on the quality of the switches. Italians eh?

We were soon free of the traffic and on the more open roads towards Box Hill. I took the opportunity to see what the engine had to offer and was rewarded with a nice building surge of very useable power. If I was to quantify it then I would say that the Scrambler has “enough” power, it’s not crazy like a litre bike but no slouch either and overtaking cars on Surrey A roads was no problem. It’s enough to keep experienced riders happy and entertained (for a while at least) and is not too much for a relative newbie. The lack of a fairing gives you the raw motorcycle experience and makes you less likely to maintain speeds that will get you in trouble with the officers of the law, while still having massive grin factor.
When we arrived at Box Hill It was very quiet, with just a few classic bikes including a lovely Norton Commando and  a Jawa two stroke. The Scrambler did not look at all out of place in this company and the owners of the classics made favorable comments.

A quick cup of tea from Ryka’s Cafe then off towards Dorking on the A24 and a reasonably fast ride down to Horsham then back to Crawley.

In most circumstances the suspension did a good job considering that it is built to a budget. The only thing being, crossing raised white lines or other small bumps which resulted in a very bone shaking experience with every bump being strongly felt. Upgrading the fork internals and an Ohlins or similar rear shock would no doubt sort this small niggle out.
The ABS brakes do a great job of stopping the scrambler and the balance of braking power from front and rear discs is just about perfect.

My pillion said that the rear seat is comfortable, but could possibly do with being a bit longer. However that is probably me taking up too much of the front part!! Also she did not slide forwards too much under braking and the wide bars let you as a rider take the extra pressure.

If we end up getting one she will be riding it too and as you can see from the photo it’s a perfect fit.

In conclusion the Scrambler is really fun to ride and after a very short time you almost forget about the bike under you and just enjoy the open road and delicious bends. It’s an old cliché but the small size of the bike and its low weight seem to make it almost disappear and allow you to just relax and enjoy the ride. Safe in the knowledge that the machine under you will do pretty well all you ask of it as long as you don’t ask too much.

If a museum existed that had just one example of everything man made. Under “Bus” there would be a Routemaster, for “Aeroplane” a Spitfire and under “Motorcycle” you could put a Ducati Scrambler, because that is exactly what it is. No frills, bells or whistles, just a pure, simple, totally enjoyable “Motorcycle”.

 Now, where’s my cheque book?


Engine Displ. : 803 cc    No Of Cylinders : 2   L Twin   Torque : 67 Nm @ 5750 rpm        Power : 73.41 PS @ 8250 rpm     Top Speed : 193 Kmh     ABS : Dual Channel      Head Lamp : With glass lens LED light-guide                       Tachometer : Digital                                                                                                                                                                 Tyre Make : Pirelli Angel ST

Chassis Type : Tubular Steel Trellis Frame

Suspension-Front : Upside Down Kayaba Fork

Suspension-Rear : Kayaba Rear Shock, Pre-Load Adjustable,Aluminium double-sided swingarm

Length*Width*Height : 2165*845*1150 Wheelbase(mm) : 1445 mm

Fuel Capacity (Litres) : 13.5 Ltrs

Kerb Weight : 186 Kg