People often think that all the neo-retro scramblers into market are just styling exercises for hipsters and that they are useless off-road. Another great video by the Bike Shed here below answers the question with regards to the brilliant Triumph Street Scrambler. I have taken mine off-road as well. Although not a real dirt bike, it definitely has the go-anywhere capabilities that I look for in this kind of bike. Fire roads, dirt tracks, forest trails, farm tracks etc… this bike can definitely do it. I would draw the line at single track, or more trials type off-road as for that the bike is just too heavy.
Check out this video of a young man about to attempt the world record of the youngest person to circumnavigate the globe by motorcycle. The weapon of choice : a Ducati Scrambler Desert Sled ! I wish him all the very best and have donated to his charity (Movember, a great choice). He will be setting off from the Bike Shed soon and you can follow his adventure on 35000miles.com.
I thought a share a good video from another happy Triumph Street Scrambler owner and he is none other than Dutch Van Someren, the founder of the Bike Shed Motorcycle Club in London. He loves it and has done some good mods to the bike. I know because I have done some of the same, notably the shocks and that great exhaust ;-). Check it out:
I have been a long time fan of Jamie Robinson and his MotoGeo channel. His enthusiasm for Adventure motorcycling and his always positive friendly outlook make his channel a joy to watch and I am a very happy subscriber to his YouTube channel. A little less than two years ago, he started an Indiegogo campaign to fund a longer film entitled “The Freedom Machine” about a trip on a Ducati Scrambler through Baja California and the people he meets along the way. That film has finally come out and I have just had the pleasure to watch it. It’s not a big departure from the typical MotoGeo fare just a bit more polished and produced (and obviously longer) but it’s absolutely worth the 2.99$ he charges for it. It will also definitely silence anyone who says the Scrambler isn’t a real scrambler :). Here’s the trailer for the film :
One of my favourite bloggers of all time, Horcamoto, has just embarked on a Ducati Scrambler adventure doing exactly what I hope one day to do too. For those of you who don’t know the site, it’s a blog/website that tells the tales of two true adventure riders, Paul and his girlfriend Pau. It’s one of the very best sites out there. I don’t think anything/anyone has inspired me more than they have. I particularly recommend their “The way we roll” video series which I have watched countless times but their articles are great too ! They have just embarked on a trip through Scotland on Ducati Scramblers and already have an introductory article and a pictorial up on the site. They will also soon be publishing an article in Motorcycle Explorer Magazine to which they’re both contributors. I can’t wait to read their thoughts and tales !
To build the Scrambler to it’s aggressive price, some compromises were made and the most glaring issues are woeful stock suspension and one of the worst seats I have ever experienced on a motorcycle. These two problems combined make the stock Scrambler only suitable for short rides and that is never my intent with any bike. I like to go out for the day and not come back broken ;).
This post is about suspension (more on seat later). The stock Kayaba front and rear suspension is very “brittle” and harsh. With no adjustability except for rear preload, there is not much to be done except change it all out. After 400 miles with the original suspension, I decided there was no alternative but to bite the bullet.
After some research on the internet, I found FTR suspension in Essex. They basically only do suspension work and are Ohlins specialists. I called them and they told me that they had already done quite a few Scramblers and their recommended solution was Andreani front cartridges and an Ohlins rear shock. I booked an appointment and had a beautiful ride over. FTR is located in some idyllic countryside. Some 3 hours of very patient and skilled surgery ensued (no way I could have done this myself) and my bike was transformed. In particular, the fully adjustable Andreani cartridges in the front made a massive difference, keeping the front much more planted and with way more feel. The rear Ohlins was also an improvement although less dramatic. The end result is a bike that handles much better whilst being more comfortable. Job done :).
I would like to also say that the guys at FTR Suspension were knowledgeable, friendly and efficient and that I highly recommend them. They did a great job and were an absolute pleasure to deal with.
Ducati has a big range of accessories for the Scrambler. You can find out all about it here. The ones I added to mine (for now) are :
- Belly pan, to protect some vitals when going off-road
- Heated grips, remarkably integrated on the Scrambler with no separate switches and three settings; they work very well.
- Fly-screen, tiny but again remarkably effective; makes high speeds much more bearable.
- Grill for headlight, I like the look…
- Handlebar bag, always useful…
There is more to come.