Short and simple version: The Scrambler Ducati Sixty2 is an air-cooled, 399cc of L-twin engine configuration brilliance and quite nimble for use in twisty tarmacs aside from having an experience in handling akin to motorcycles of yesteryear in the process. Absolutely fun to ride too.
That’s the short and simple version above.
Not convincing? Then read on for the lengthy version below.
I rode the first Scrambler Ducati, known as the Icon, on public roads when the Italian brand held an Asian region-wide launch in Thailand back in February 2015. Unlike the Panigale 899 which had a track day during its global media unveiling two years earlier that was held at the Imola circuit in Italy, the Icon media test ride was done convoy style on public roads in Hua Hin province, one of the tourism sections of Thailand.
A convoy ride on public roads and supervised by traffic police is more to my liking as opposed to a track day test ride. But the convoy speed wasn’t that fast – we were going approximately 90-120km/h depending on the traffic situations encountered, and a media rider from Vietnam went wide and into the ravine opposite as the convoy picked up speed upon reaching the twisty segment along the routes. He escaped injury and there’s no damage to the Icon other than some scratches and dents.
Back home in Malaysia after that convoy test ride, I never had the opportunity to ride the Icon again, and although the other models in the Scrambler line-up has already been introduced to the market, this newest segment by Ducati hasn’t really stirred my interest.
Part of that had to do with my recovery from a left leg injury sustained while reviewing a 150cc scooter approximately 2 months after my return from the Icon test ride in Thailand. The process took me another 3 months to recover to be able to walk again albeit with a walking cane. But a return to riding was just a week after I began walking with the said cane. However, the return to full riding speed (for bike reviews) took me another 3 months to boost up the confidence again.
There were too many bikes of various makes that took up my time to have any for a second review on the Scrambler Ducati Icon. And then Ducati Malaysia launched the Scrambler Sixty2 model sometime in May of 2016, complete with a test ride within the launch area for the media, held at the resort of Bukit Tinggi in the state of Pahang.
Prior to collecting the Sixty2 for this review, my knowledge about this Scrambler bike is very little or should I say, near zero. What little facts I know of the Sixty2 were it has a smaller engine capacity than the original Icon, and it retains the overall look and nearly identical shape of all the Scrambler Ducati family.
As its designation goes, I thought the engine capacity would be 621cc as opposed to the 821cc used on the Icon. To my surprise, the Sixty2 is just a 399cc engine configuration, with conventional Showa forks for the front and Kayaba (KYB) for the rear used for the suspension.
According to its brochure, the Sixty2 is a Scrambler Ducati inspired by the youth culture of skateboarding, surfing and pop music. That’s why Sixty2, the most “popular” Ducati Scrambler of all time, described as the new “pop icon”. The design is by itself, a highly expressive version of the Icon, albeit with a slightly new form in its steel tank with integrated fuel tank cover. The graphics and the dedicated logo make it immediately recognizable too, as well as the 3 exclusive colors: Atomic Tangerine, Ocean Grey and Shining Black.
The Sixty2 unit I had for this review is of the Atomic Tangerine color, instead of the yellow which the Icon has. I guess this is Ducati’s way of identifying each of the Scrambler line-up it has. The Sixty2 for the most part, is enjoyable and fun to ride, including the strange “clunky” sound which I started hearing quite soon after leaving Ducati Malaysia upon collecting the bike from there.
At first, I put that noise as being part of the classic styling. After all, BMW Motorrad’s RnineT has vibration all over to mimic the style and handling of an old café racer so I initially thought this was part of the Sixty2’s features. It was much later on the second day of riding the Sixty2 that the clunky noise isn’t part of the bike’s iconic features but a loose part – the outer muffler cover had come loose from the various test ride demonstrations the Sixty2 has been subjected to when the bike is used for test ride purposes for potential buyers.
The loose part isn’t issue with me but it made a cringing howling sound whenever I had the Sixty2 overtaking a slower vehicle in front. In the process of overtaking, the clunky sound’s echo from the wind bouncing off the slower vehicle being overtaken created a noise that’s akin to slicing a metal object apart, making it like I was cutting the shocked driver’s car with a chainsaw instead. That was unbelievable funny, to say the least.
Engine performance-wise, riding the Sixty2 is similar in handling of a single cylinder 300cc naked sports, there’s not much in acceleration to brag about, and it’s quite lengthy of time to reach from 0km to 125km/h even when trying hard to max it out on full throttle riding on a near empty, wide open straight road.
Despite that, the Sixty2 is not a slouch as it did outrun most kapchai and 150cc 2-stroke bikes including 150cc scooters in the process. But where overall comfort is concerned, there’s a bit of both sides to it. The front Showa forks make going over bumps and uneven surfaces a breeze but the rear KYB absorber seems to rattle stiffly over the same segments. The result means the rider will be quite comfortable on the Sixty2 but the pillion would feel otherwise.
Its fuel tank has a capacity of 14-litre, with 3-litre remaining once the low fuel icon lights up in the tachometer. For cruising ride, the Sixty2 has a consumption mileage of approximately 24km per litre which is adequate for the Scrambler to push towards 250+km distance before the rider has to start looking for the nearest station to refill.