The Ducati Scrambler: The Past Updated?
In reviving their Scrambler from its forty year sleep Ducati seem have ripped up their usual business model.
Famous for producing high performance, high tech machines for high earners this bike is a major departure. It is all about reasonably priced, fun motor biking.
It may look like its dirt bike daddy that was tearing up the trails in the 60s and 70s but materially and mechanically this is a modern machine.
Ducati are very clear about this and speak of the new Scrambler as blending ‘tradition and modernity’ adding that it marks a return to the “pure essence of motorcycling”.
There’s no doubt that this major step change by Ducati is a shrewd business decision bred from an insightful reading of the modern bike market.
It’s an entry level bike in both price and ride-ability designed to appeal to a fast emerging breed of customers that want to ride something fun and good looking without being perched on top of a rocket- nose on the tank and arse in the air.
With its stripped down look it also owes much – and is a response – to the snowballing custom scene, and it is here that the new machine will meet some antagonism.
The custom purists out there are already wringing their oil stained hands about machines like this, from the big shops, jumping on their hard won, self assembled, bandwagon. Questions of authenticity abound.
Ducati’s marketing team, it seems, alert to this potential problem are being careful with their rhetoric. They describe the bike as ‘customisable’ (with some factory based options) but never use the words ‘custom’ or ‘authentic’ in their blurb.
Instead they describe the bike’s style as ‘Post Heritage’.
Subtle semantics. The OED defines heritage as: ‘That which has been or may be inherited’. So if this bike is post heritage it is a product that comes after the inheritance of the 1974 Scrambler. It is emphatically not the same bike.
Doubtful this will placate the men and women toiling in their garages and sheds with sweat, spanner and grubby Haynes manuals as they rebuild authenticity out of actual relics.
Still, the boys at Ducati might ask what is authentic about the Clark Kentish existence of many doyens of the custom scene. City boys and Ad execs during the week, then on the weekend dressing up as blue collar greasers like Brando in ‘On the Waterfront’
Is this just cos-play with machines?
Whatever the result of such blogosphere debate there is no doubt that this low cost, good looking piece of kit will be a hit with a new generation of road bikers as well as an inspired business move for Ducati.
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