‘LAND OF JOY’ ON A SIXTY2

New Straits Times - - Cars Bikes And Trucks - AMIR HAMZAH HASHIM cbt@nst.com.my is not switch­able. Brakes are Brem­bos all round, a sin­gle disc up front with a smaller rear back­ing it up. More than enough power and feel for any­one.

THE Sixty2 is sup­pos­edly rem­i­nis­cent of Du­cati’s first Scram450 bler, launched in 1962. While that may have been a 450cc desmod­romic sin­gle, the Sixty2 is an L-Twin of 399cc. Where it re­sem­bles the older sib­ling is in looks and sim­plic­ity. Its big­ger brother, the 803cc Scram­bler, has more mod­ern un­der­pin­nings. Hence, the Sixty2 is aptly named, be­ing as sim­ple and as pure as the Scram­bler.

Du­cati has seen fit to cre­ate the Scram­bler as a (al­most) stand­alone mar­que, cre­at­ing a life­style around the ‘Land of Joy’ slo­gan. In their own words: “cre­ative, youth­ful and spir­ited”, the new Du­cati Scram­bler is more than just a mo­tor­cy­cle, it en­hances cre­ativ­ity, self­ex­pres­sion and the shar­ing of pos­i­tive emo­tions. It is a uni­verse of fun, joy and free­dom made of mo­tor­cy­cles, ac­ces­sories and ap­parel.

The Sixty2 is the small­est ver­sion of the Scram­bler fam­ily. It shares the same frame, but makes do with or­di­nary 41mm tele­scopic forks and non-ad­justable (ex­cept for preload) monoshock rear sus­pen­sion. It has a steel tank in lieu of its big­ger brethren’s alu­minium clad ones. And it is none the worse for it.

The Sixty2 is de­signed to ap­peal to the more cost-con­scious Scram­bler fa­nat­ics. It gives away a few horse­power (it makes 40 horse­power) and weighs more or less the same (183kg), but the power is more than ad­e­quate. It makes steady power be­tween 8,000rpm and 10,000rpm. The torque (30.1 kW) is more than ad­e­quate to see off nor­mal traf­fic and makes you for­get it is “only” a 400cc bike. Even the gear ra­tios are spot on for city traf­fic. Sixth is an over­drive for cruis­ing.

The ba­sic sus­pen­sion is ac­tu­ally ex­tremely good, be­ing com­pli­ant while be­ing firm enough for any surprises you may en­counter on the road, such as pot­holes or speed bumps. Stan­dard is­sue tyres are tube­less Pirelli MT60RS and they per­form ad­mirably, giv­ing good grip in the cor­ners and stay pre­dictable through­out. The rims are light-al­loy 10 spok­ers in dirt-friendly 18 and 17 inch sizes. Sur­pris­ingly, the Sixty2 comes stan­dard with ABS, al­though it And thus, the Sixty2 is a ca­pa­ble ur­ban war­rior but be­ing named Scram­bler, it should be able to han­dle some of­froad ac­tion, right? Af­ter all, its pre­de­ces­sor was mod­elled af­ter the pe­riod’s mo­tocross bikes. So it was that I took the Sixty2 to a far­away place called Kg Mat Dal­ing. Lo­cated close to Ta­man Ne­gara, it is the cur­rent favourite haunt of big­ger du­alpur­pose bikes as well as larger cc en­dure bikes.

Mat Dal­ing is fairly open, be­ing un­der con­struc­tion for a high­way.

But it also has tighter, tech­sec­tions nical as you leave the con­struc­tion area and head for the Ulu Tem­bel­ing river.

One par­tic­u­lar climb is called “Bukit Ner­aka”

(Hell Hill) where even full-blown 4x4s get stuck when it rains.

For­tu­nately, we were spared the rain when our group were there.

This is where it gets sur­pris­ing. I was not ex­pect­ing the

Sixty2 to be a ca­pa­ble off-roader.

This exwas er­cise sim­ply to prove that the

Sixty2 will sur­vive an off-road ex­cur­sion. But the Sixty2 lapped it all up and begged for more. Of course, in the heav­ily-rut­ted con­struc­tion area, the lack of sus­pen­sion travel meant I couldn’t keep up with the large dual-pur­pose bikes (they had more power and sus­pen­sion), but I never felt that the Sixty2 was slow. The sus­pen­sion was su­perb within its lim­its, the on-road com­pli­ance trans­lat­ing di­rectly to off-road. The MT60s also pro­vided more than enough grip in the con­di­tions (more or less pure tal­cum pow­dered dust).

The tech­ni­cal sec­tions (slow and rain-rut­ted, some­times slip­pery clay) were more sur­pris­ing. The Sixty2 only some­times needed first gear and mostly utilised its 30 kW in sec­ond gear, grunt­ing up steep hills, find­ing trac­tion eas­ily. The rid­ing po­si­tion felt off-road nat­u­ral and I could eas­ily move around to trans­fer weight where it was needed. The wide cowhorn han­dle­bars ab­sorbed any big shocks and al­lowed easy han­dling. Only the foot­pegs were found want­ing, be­ing fairly smooth. If it was raining, cleated foot­pegs would have been nice to have.

It would have been easy to sim­ply test the Sixty2 in an ur­ban en­vi­ron­ment and pass it off as a suc­cess­ful styling ex­er­cise. But the lit­tle Sixty2 proved its met­tle off-road as well. Well played, Du­cati.

If you sim­ply must have an en­trylevel Duke, this is as good as it gets. And first-timers will love its friendly, easy­go­ing na­ture and flex­i­ble power. Du­cati got it right with the Sixty2 for sure. I can’t wait to test the Scram­bler Desert Sled. That one will def­i­nitely rule

Mat Dal­ing.

The Sixty2 is a throw­back to Du­cati’s first Scram­bler, launched in 1962. The tube­less Pirelli MT60RS per­form ad­mirably, giv­ing

good grip even in the dirt.

On heav­ily rut­ted sec­tions, short sus­pen­sion travel takes a toll, but doesn’t slow down the Sixty2. Smooth foot­pegs are

a weak link. The Sixty2 does wa­ter cross­ings

as well.

Sus­pen­sion is com­pli­ant while be­ing firm enough for any surprises you may en­counter on the road.

The Sixty2 is the small­est ver­sion of the Scram­bler, shar­ing the same frame but mak­ing do with or­di­nary 41mm tele­scopic

forks and non-ad­justable (ex­cept for

preload) monoshock rear

sus­pen­sion.

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