The Ducati Scrambler is not a tourer by intent. But Indian riders are capable of bending any motorcycle to their will with grit, determination and a few choice mods. The Ducati Scrambler has five pressing problems when it comes to going highway riding. All five, we believe, are fixable. Here’s what we would do to the Scrambler – this is the minimum list, not the dhobi list – before we headed for a long ride.
A different rider’s seat
The Ducati’s rider’s seat is amongst the worst we tested in 2015. It’s too soft and squishy and it will reduce your bum to tears. We extensively rode at least three different Scramblers with the same aching and numb results. Luckily the fix isn’t hard. I’d go to a seat guy and ask him to carefully replace the soft rider’s foam with something stiff like the KTM’s seat foam. Stiff foams require acclimatisation but work vastly better than gels and softer foams in my experience.
Cost: Rs 500-600
Tip: Do not tell the seat guy it’s a Ducati seat – it might cause costs to escalate
The Ducati runs hard to almost 170kmph and by 120-130kmph, you’re in considerable wind blast. You will need a screen to take the pressure off your chest and head. I cannot find a single good looking screen for the Scrambler. Nor can I find a screen minimalistic enough to disappear entirely. But it’s a vital mod so persist.
Cost: Rs 2,000-Rs 14,000
Tip: Don’t be afraid to look at screens not meant for the Scrambler – plastic screens can be worked upon
Lower, flatter handlebar
The Scrambler’s bars are great in town and when you’re stood up on the pegs. But they’re a bit too tall
for highway work. Your forearms reach upwards to the grips and that’s not right for a seven hour ride. The options are many. Get a flatter bar off the Yamaha FZ16, KTM Duke or order a Renthal Fatbar (Suzuki dealers might help – the GSX-S1000 uses them).
Cost: Rs 1,500-Rs 5,000
Tip: See what the diameter of the Ducati bar is at the grips. If you want OE switches and grips to fit, the replacement bar must be this diameter
The Ducati Scrambler Classic is woefully under-equipped when it comes to mounting luggage. But the fix isn’t hard. You can opt for on-seat systems like ViaTerra’s Claw, Dirt Sack’s Gypsy or Kriega’s modular US series of tail bags. Or you can add a removable luggage rack to which you can add hard/soft bags depending on how serious you are about touring. Or purpose-built panniers like SW-Motech’s Blaze line
Cost: Rs 3,000 to Rs 30,000
Tip: Under the pillion seat is a small gap. In the exposed tube that runs along the top of this gap are two blanked out screw holes. Add two bolts with lock nuts to make near-invisible effective bungee points
A gentler, slower throttle
One of the things that really irked me was how sensitive the Ducati’s throttle proved to be. It created involuntary throttle inputs over bumps and made riding in off-road or soft-road conditions much harder than it needed to be. The solution is a throttle tube that offers more travel (and more modulation) between closed and wide open throttle. Two vital things to note though. First, this is a mission critical mod so don’t rush into DIY, go to a competent mechanic. Second, this can potentially void your warranty – check with your dealer. Ideally, order a slower throttle tube off another Ducati model so that you can enjoy a slower throttle without warranty issues.
Cost: Rs 3,000 to Rs 10,000
Tip: Marginal changes in throttle travel can make dramatic changes in the feel of the engine’s power delivery. Don’t look for a very drastic change, a small change might be enough
Images by Rohit Kumar (Motoziel) & Shubhabrata Marmar
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