When you hear Ducati, chances are you think of its range-topping models like the beastly Panigale V4 R or the menacing Diavel 1260 S. What some people may not expect from the Bologna-based brand is a bike approachable enough for beginner riders.
Meet the Scrambler Sixty2, the smallest member of the highly successful Ducati Scrambler line. This mini-me of the typical 800cc Scrambler inherits the looks of its larger stablemate, shares the same frame, and carries the same premium feel, but in an easy-to-handle package.
Read on to find out what we think of Ducati’s ‘entry-level’ offering.
A big part of the Scrambler line’s appeal is the distinct style and aesthetic. The Sixty2 gets this right even with the lower price point, as Ducati has chosen to retain nearly all of the larger Scrambler’s styling cues. The only ways to visually tell the Sixty2 apart from its larger siblings are the right-side-up fork, the steel tank without the side plates, and the narrower rear tire.
Because it executes the Scrambler style so well, the Sixty2 is a very good-looking bike. Hand any rider a leather jacket and the keys to this bike and they’ll instantly be elevated to movie star status. The Atomic Tangerine paint job that our review unit came in is youthful and vibrant without being too tacky, and still looks good even when splattered with mud and grime.
The ‘BORN FREE 1962’ inscription on the fuel cap is a neat nod to the first Ducati Scrambler. The coolness of this little detail is debatable, but I personally find the corniness endearing.
Swing a leg over the Sixty2’s saddle, and you’ll be greeted with a low seat, mid-mounted footpegs, and a wide handlebar that makes maneuvering the bike through traffic a breeze. The riding position is scrambler-like in its versatility, and allows the rider to comfortably stand up and adjust their stance to suit the situation.
Engine heat here is noticeable, especially in traffic, with most of it emanating from the rear half of the L-twin engine. Due to the relatively small 400cc mill, you won’t have to worry about getting cooked the same way you would on a larger Italian bike.
The leather seat looks and feels premium, but isn’t quite comfortable enough for long-distance touring. Your pillion passenger gets sturdy footpegs, a wide seat, and neatly integrated grab handles.
One of my first concerns with the littlest Scrambler was the capability of its engine. The air-cooled 400cc L-twin mill’s 40hp at 8,750rpm and 34.5Nm of torque at 8,000rpm proved to be more than enough around the city. The bike is zippy around town, and darts around with ease with a twist of the throttle.
On the highway, however, the Sixty2 feels just slightly above adequate. Of course, you have to cut the bike some slack due to the lower displacement, but riders used to larger machines will miss the overtaking power and raw acceleration. That’s not to say that the bike isn’t fun on the expressway, but it does feel like a beginner-friendly ride that you have to really squeeze to get all the performance out.
Due to the lower-spec exhaust, you can’t expect a meaty growl, but the little L-twin sounds enough like a Ducati to ensure you don’t feel like you have a scooter between your legs.
Ride and handling
One of the qualities that makes the Sixty2 so beginner-friendly is how light and flickable it is. Thanks to that and its slim chassis, filtering through traffic and tight city streets is as easy as riding a small-displacement commuter bike. Look where you want to go, give the bars and pegs a push, and the Scrambler will turn in willingly, making it a great choice for a newbie rider to learn.
In terms of cornering ability, the Sixty2 does okay. The non-adjustable conventional fork and preload-adjustable monoshock are a tad soft, and won’t provide the same damping and road-holding ability as the kit on the bigger Scramblers. For use around town and occasional rides through twisties, this setup is more than enough to soak up road bumps and let you have some fun.
Braking is taken care of by single disc setups with Brembo calipers front and rear. Feel and response is quite good in the rear, allowing for precise control in tight situations. Bite is acceptable in the front as well, but lever feel is a bit spongy with around an inch of free play before you feel the caliper actually bite onto the rotor. ABS is found on both ends of the bike, and is a good safety net for inexperienced riders.
Pirelli MT60 RS tires provide great grip on asphalt as well as on light off-road sections. As good as the rubber is, just don’t expect too much from a bike without traction control, as giving it a bit too much throttle on gravel or dirt will result in wheelspin.
The minimalist LCD pod provides most of the things you need, such as engine revs, speed, time, and an odometer. What it doesn’t have is a fuel gauge, so you’ll need to plan ahead to avoid having to push your Ducati to the nearest fuel station. Also not included is a gear indicator, which would be nice to have for riders still getting the hang of manual transmissions.
This lack of extra features could be viewed as a more ‘pure’ riding experience, but one would expect more at this price point from a premium brand.
If you absolutely must have a premium motorcycle as your first big bike, then the Sixty2 is a good choice due to its Asian-friendly seat height and weight, fun handling, and standout style. Experienced riders should look elsewhere. however, as while the riding dynamics are good, the engine will probably leave you hanging.
Another thing the Sixty2 has going for it is the fact that it’s essentially a collector’s item now, as the model has been phased out. As of the time of writing, only three units are left in Ducati Manila’s inventory, so here’s your chance to own one of the last 400cc Ducatis.
Specifications: 2020 Ducati Scrambler Sixty2
Engine: Air-cooled 400cc L-twin
Transmission: Six-speed manual
Power: 40hp @8,750rpm
Torque: 34.5Nm @8,000rpm
Seat height: 31.1 inches
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