First Ride Review: 2017 Ducati Scrambler Sixty2

Smaller doesn’t necessarily mean less with the 399cc Sixty2.

2017 Ducati Scrambler Sixty2
Ducati’s latest addition to the Scrambler family, the Sixty2.©Motorcyclist

Ducati Says: “The New Pop Icon.” Motorcyclist Magazine Says: “A pretty fun little take on modern classic.”

Ducati 's latest addition to the Scrambler family, the Sixty2, is essentially a smaller version of the 803cc model launched last year. With a bit less than half the displacement, 399cc, it still weighs nearly the same at 403 pounds wet. But has a simplified metal gas tank with a little extra fuel capacity, 3.6 gallons versus 3.7. To save money, the Sixty2 has a steel fuel tank without the decorative aluminum covers, a steel swingarm, a narrower rear wheel and tire, and a less expensive Showa non-adjustable 41mm fork up front (replacing the Scrambler's inverted fork) followed by a preload-adjustable KYB shock out back. A conventional-mount two-piston caliper from Brembo replaces a radial-mount four-pot job. At $7,995, the Sixty2 comes in just a little under the least expensive Ducati Scrambler, the Icon, at $8,895. (There are four other Scrambler versions that start at $10,495 and go up to $11,295.)

2017 Ducati Scrambler Sixty2 gas tank
The Sixty2 has a simple steel fuel tank without the decorative aluminum covers. Capacity is a tenth more than the 803cc Scrambler.©Motorcyclist

But those details seem to melt away when you look at the Sixty2’s purpose—a friendly but fun motorcycle meant to be nimble and maneuverable at low speeds but torquey enough to be fun. Why a 400? For Ducati it makes sense in that this is a global bike because some countries have compelling reasons (like taxes) for keeping displacement down. Also, the Sixty2 meets the European A2 licensing restrictions as is, so Ducati doesn’t have to develop parts to make it A2 compliant for only a few countries.

2017 Ducati Scrambler Sixty2 in Malibu Canyon
The Sixty2 does exactly what it's supposed to do: Provide a fun, friendly ride that's smooth and predictable.©Motorcyclist

It’s obvious to compare the Sixty2 to the larger Scrambler. Like that bike, the Sixty2 comes with dual-sport style tires that performed well on the bumpy California city roads, eating potholes for breakfast, and sticking firmly through the canyons of Malibu. Through Latigo Canyon, the Brembo brakes are responsive and smooth without feeling too aggressive—they aren’t grabby or touchy, but effective. The rear brake is responsive without being overly sensitive. Ducati says the Sixty2 makes 41 hp, which is a lot less than the Scrambler’s 75. Torque is 25.3 pound-feet at 7,750 rpm, just a bit more than half of the 800 Scrambler’s. And yet on the city streets and tight canyon roads where the launch was held, the Sixty2 didn’t feel slow. One of the improvements with the Sixty2 versus the 800cc version is there are no choppy throttle problems—the Sixty2 is smooth and predictable, just what newer riders want. You become almost instantly comfortable with the little machine even in low gears.

Higher bars and bigger mirrors make the Sixty2 a little more practical for city riding, which we put to the test during the Ducati Scramblergram scavenger hunt in Santa Monica and Venice Beach. After a ride through the canyons to lunch, they gave us our hints and photo challenges, split us into smaller teams of two and three, and sent us off with Polaroid style cameras. We had about two and a half hours to figure out where we needed to go, get to the locations, and complete nine separate photo challenges.

2017 Ducati Scrambler Sixty2 engine
The perky little V-twin displaces 399cc with a claimed 41 hp and 25.3 pound-feet of torque.©Motorcyclist

“The Jaguar” team, with Chris Brinlee Jr., Nicolas Stecher, and myself, took off down PCH, quickly finding ourselves weaving through tight Santa Monica rush-hour traffic. As we hopped from location to location, we forgot so much about testing the motorcycles that we actually used them for their true purpose… scrambling! Their light weight and maneuverability allowed us to park them in tight spaces, climb over curbs, and pass cars easily. Toward the end of the day, we were so comfortable on the bikes that we were all racing each other back to the hotel with smiles on our faces.

After spending a good amount of time on the KTM 390 Duke (which makes about 44 hp but less torque), I’d say the speed is comparable even though the Sixty2 is heavier. It doesn’t leave you thinking, “why won’t it go faster?” through twisties, traffic, and even on the freeway. The Scrambler Sixty2 would be enough to keep most new motorcyclists entertained and comfortable, especially those who are looking for something a bit retro with modern performance.

2017 Ducati Scrambler Sixty2 side view
Half the displacement of Ducati’s other Scrambler, but more than half as fun.©Motorcyclist

TECH SPEC

EVOLUTION
Just like the 803cc Scrambler, but with a smaller 400cc engine and slightly lower price tag.
RIVALS
[Honda CB500F][], [KTM 390 Duke][], [Moto Guzzi V7 Stone][], [Yamaha SR400][]
TECH
PRICE $7,995
ENGINE 399cc, air-cooled 90° V-twin
TRANSMISSION/FINAL DRIVE 6-speed/chain
CLAIMED HORSEPOWER 41.0 hp @ 8750 rpm
CLAIMED TORQUE 25.5 lb.-ft. @ 8000 rpm
FRAME Tubular-steel trellis
FRONT SUSPENSION Showa 41mm fork; 5.9-in. travel
REAR SUSPENSION KYB shock adjustable for spring preload; 5.9-in. travel
FRONT BRAKE Brembo two-piston caliper, 320mm disc with ABS
REAR BRAKE Brembo one-piston caliper, 245mm disc with ABS
RAKE/TRAIL 24.0°/4.4 in.
WHEELBASE 57.5 in.
SEAT HEIGHT 31.1 in.
FUEL CAPACITY 3.7 gal.
CLAIMED WEIGHT 403 lb. wet
AVAILABLE Spring 2016
CONTACT [scramblerducati.com][]
VERDICT
Half the displacement of Ducati’s other Scrambler, but more than half as fun.