Ducati has lately done an impressive job penetrating new market segments with sophisticated (and expensive) models like the Multistrada and Diavel. The Italian manufacturer’s next major growth strategy, however, will likely target the opposite end of the price and performance spectrum with a new generation of inexpensive and accessible Scramblers.
The company’s intentions have been revealed by its recent application for a new trademark on the “Ducati Scrambler” name. The application in Europe petitions for rights to use the name on everything from bikes to clothing and toys, suggesting that Scrambler will become another of the company’s model “families” alongside the six that already exist: Monster, Multistrada, Hypermotard, Streetfighter, Superbike, and Diavel.
Of course, there is a historical precedent for this name: Ducati produced single-cylinder Scramblers in many displacements in the late ‘60s and early ‘70s, and these originals retain a loyal cult following today. While the idea of a new, single-cylinder Ducati is appealing, the reality is that the firm is more likely to use one or more of its existing V-twin motors to power any new model. The less-powerful, air-cooled motor from the Monster 696 would be a logical choice, distinguishing the new bike from higher-performance Multistradas and Hypermotards. With 60 horsepower, it could be ideal for a lightweight, versatile all-arounder. In terms of appearance, Ducati is expected to combine the cutting-edge technology that recent Ducatis have favored with only subtle retro styling cues, rather than an all-out aping of the original Scrambler’s style.
Ducati has long harbored hopes of reviving the Scrambler concept, but while the idea has been discussed in the past, the new trademark application is the first sign of action. And given that recent Ducati trademark applications have been where we first learned the names Diavel, Panigale, Superquadro, and Skyhook, there’s good reason to believe that the bike carrying the Scrambler name will be revealed within the next few months—likely at the EICMA show in Milan this upcoming November.
Not A SportClassic
Although the Scrambler nameplate has obvious retro appeal, don’t expect Ducati’s new-generation Scrambler to be an all-out plundering of the past like the now-deceased SportClassic lineup. First offered for sale as 2006 models, the Pierre Terblanche-designed SportClassic lineup—consisting of the naked Sport 1000 (above), half-faired Sport 1000S, and the upright GT1000—was brilliant-looking but too aggressive and rough-edged for the new and re-entry riders these retro standards usually target. Expect the Scrambler instead to offer more modern looks and more polished performance both, to capture the attention of an even broader spectrum of the bike-buying public.