The Ducati Scrambler Icon is more than just another motorcycle to its creators. The Scrambler has proven a stroke of marketing genius, a corporate capitalization of a pop culture trend, and one that nicely bookends a period of the Italian company’s storied history with the U.S. market.
The Scrambler was originally the idea of the Berliner brothers, importers of Ducati to the North American market in the 1960s. It was a huge success and spawned three different models before being discontinued in 1975—that is until the modern iteration of the Scrambler was unveiled in 2014.
As we’ve previously covered, the bike that restarted it all gets a facelift for 2019. The Scrambler Icon gets a bunch of upgrades including Cornering ABS, new suspension settings, LED lighting front and rear, a reshaped seat, aesthetic changes including a blacked-out engine, swingarm, and new tank side panels as well as new controls in the brake, clutch, and gear shift levers.
Our chance to sample the fruits of Ducati’s labor came recently at the international launch in Tuscany, Italy. While the 803cc air-cooled L-twin—taken from the Ducati Monster 796—and tubular steel trellis chassis remain untouched, the Scrambler Icon’s new suspension settings provide a plusher and comfortable ride than previously. The new bench-style flat seat (the 2015 through 2018 editions had a defined step between rider and passenger) also affords the rider much more comfort, allowing room to move fore and aft like a traditional off road machine.
The single disc, four-piston caliper front brake setup is the same as the 2018 machine, but the addition of Cornering ABS is a huge bonus for the Scrambler Icon. For those who do not know, Cornering ABS allows you to lever on the front brake as hard as possible while cranked over in a turn and have the bike not upright itself, thus keeping you on line. It’s a brilliant system and one now featured on every Ducati. And before you ask, no, we didn’t test this out!
The Scrambler Icon deserves its place in Ducati history as a machine which has broken down barriers to motorcycling for a great many people. It’s priced extremely competitively at $9,395, rides beautifully, and represents a shift away from the racetrack for a company that made its name winning races and titles.