GO ROUGH WITH DUCATI’S BIG SCRAM­BLER

New Straits Times - - Cars Bikes & Trucks - AMIR HAMZAH cbt@nst.com.my Scram­bler is Ducati’s wild child, a rebel, non-con­form­ist that runs against Ducati’s sta­ple of fast, sporty sports­bikes, mus­cle bikes, nakeds and dual-purpose bikes.

THE

The Scram­bler is a laid-back and easy-go­ing retro-styled mo­tor­cy­cle that ap­peals to the closet Du­catisti who don’t need all the power and speed of the “other” Du­catis. And hark­ing back to Ducati’s iconic sin­gles of yes­ter­year is no bad thing. In fact, the Scram­bler is Ducati’s world­wide best­seller.

The Scram­bler comes in four ver­sions orig­i­nally - the Icon, Full Throt­tle, Clas­sic and Ur­ban En­duro.

Re­cently, there were two new ad­di­tions to the fam­ily - the CafÈ Racer and Desert Sled. All share the 803cc 2 valve desmod­romic, air­cooled L-Twin en­gine. The throb­bing twin de­liv­ers 75hp at 8,250 rpm and 50 lb./ft. of torque at 5,750rpm. There are six speeds driven through a wet (shame, not dry) clutch.

The chas­sis is shared as well; a steel trel­lis with up­side-down forks in front and a monoshock rear (ad­justable only for preload). They weigh around 170kg and fea­ture a low 790 mm (31.1 in.) seat height.

Ear­lier, I had the plea­sure of do­ing a re­con­nais­sance run for Rimba Raid 3 on a Ducati Scram­bler Six­tyTwo, the smaller 400cc kid brother of the Scram­bler fam­ily, but with the ac­tual event com­ing up, I was next en­trusted with the Ur­ban En­duro to thrash. err, ride at the event.

Ducati Scram­bler is the main part­ner for the Rimba Raid event.

The Ur­ban En­duro is char­ac­terised by its wire wheels, a ribbed brown seat (very, very com­fort­able), fork pro­tec­tors, sump guard, head­light grille, a cross­bar on the wide han­dle­bars, a high mount front mud­guard and comes in Wild Green colour.

The Ur­ban En­duro has a sin­gle Brembo 330mm disc and caliper up front and a smaller 245 mm disc on the rear, equipped with an­tilock brak­ing sys­tem (ABS). On the street, the ABS works as ad­ver­tised but to switch it off is a bit com­pli­cated. But af­ter a few tries, it be­came sec­ond na­ture.

The sin­gle dig­i­tal in­stru­ment is com­pre­hen­sive with two trip­me­ters, clock, tem­per­a­ture and re­serve count­down. The 13.5-litre tank will al­low the Ur­ban to cover at least 210km and the re­serve will see you good for an­other 60km.

Mod­ern touches on the Ur­ban are LED run­ning lights, LED tail light and a USB port un­der the seat.

Suit­ably shod with off-road tyres, the Ur­ban En­duro cer­tainly looked the part. Rid­ing to the event meant about 250km of high­ways and Bne­go­ti­ate. roads to The stan­dard Pirelli MT60s would have been a bet­ter tyre for this por­tion as the off-road tyres meant sta­bil­ity was af­fected at higher high­way speeds. Plus, they make the Ur­ban En­duro sound like a Land Rover.

The en­gine was more than will­ing, how­ever, and the ex­cel­lent han­dling shone through de­spite the tyres’ lim­i­ta­tions. The Ur­ban En­duro was both ag­ile and sta­ble through the cor­ners and had no pref­er­ence for slow or high speed cor­ners.

The only prob­lem on the high­way was the lack of wind pro­tec- tion but then the name gives you a clue of where the bikes nat­u­ral habi­tat is. The punchy en­gine and quick, sta­ble han­dling is a real boon in town.

Once on the slip­pery stuff of Kam­pung Mat Dal­ing (it rained and rained some more), the Ur­ban En­duro was easy to han­dle due to the low seat height and low cen­tre of grav­ity. The light weight helped those in­evitable foot dabs and the wide han­dle­bars al­lowed easy body English to be ap­plied. If only the mud was as help­ful.

The tyres loaded up badly and trac­tion was in short sup­ply. With the ABS switched off, it was only barely man­age­able. How­ever, the Ur­ban En­duro still made it to base camp af­ter an four-hour strug­gle. It was worse for the oth­ers; an abun­dance of av­oir­du­pois and high C of G on slip­pery mud does not mix well. I was glad that I was on the Ur­ban En­duro.

In the dry (the next day), the Ur­ban En­duro was a great com­pan­ion on dirt trails and river crossings. The easy and tractable power meant lurid pow­er­slides were easy and it jumps just as well as the Six­tyTwo (it only weighs 3kg more).

Speed was only lim­ited by the stock sus­pen­sion and those tyres (amaz­ingly for an off-road tyre they have a smooth cen­tre tread on the rear; se­verely lim­it­ing grip). Other­wise, the Ur­ban En­duro was as nim­ble as ever, ne­go­ti­at­ing ob­sta­cles of the non-ur­ban type like a champ. A pure en­duro bike would go faster, but wouldn’t be as much fun. And that is the gist of it, the Ur­ban En­duro is never too much work, but is al­ways fun (as long as you aren’t in a hurry).

If you are in a hurry, the Desert Sled is the one for you. But if you’re look­ing for fun in the ur­ban jungle (and a lit­tle bit of high-jinks in the real jungle), the Ur­ban En­duro is just the ticket. Test ride one at Next Bike in Naza­World. If you can wheelie or stop­pie, I sug­y­our gest you don’t bring chequebe book, it will def­i­nitely in mor­tal dan­ger. But then again, fun never hurt any­one, right?

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