Best Standard Motorcycle of the Year: Ducati Scrambler
Ducati’s selection of Scrambler models (Icon, Urban Enduro, Classic, Full Throttle) are modern interpretations of scramblers from Ducati’s past, but if you compare the now with the then, the new bikes bleed their heritage from most angles, with the V-Twin engine being the most obvious difference. The 803cc, air-cooled Twin provides the perfect amount of go power (69.6 hp at 8500 rpm and 46.5 lb.-ft. at 7000 rpm) for this retro-modern moto, easily spanking Triumph’s Scrambler offering.
At $8,495 for the red model ($8,595 for the yellow), the Icon is very affordable, and a quality we considered important enough in the Standard category to help it defeat the category’s runner-up, BMW’s much more expensive R1200R. Even the other three model Scramblers, at $9995, are well under the Beemer’s price tag.
The Scrambler offers affordable pricing and respectable engine performance combined with standard ABS and slipper clutch technologies, and the bike’s light curb weight (410 lbs) and short wheelbase (56.9 in) make it a hoot around town or in the twisties. Throw in its retro-cool styling, and you’ve a recipe for success among new-breed hipsters as well as originals. It’s not the first time, but it’s good to see Ducati reaching into its own past and bringing an affordable modern version of a defunct model to the masses. Diana anyone?
Honorable Mention: BMW R1200R
For BMW, only one engine configuration could be the ideal for its line of standard motorcycles. The Boxer Twin has been around as long as BMW motorcycles. So, when the company started working its way through its air-cooled Boxers, converting them to water pumpers, we knew it was only a matter of time before the versatile R1200R received the upgrade. However, nobody was prepared for how much the massive makeover would improve the utility and performance of this visually unassuming motorcycle.
What you get when you twist the right grip is massive, tractable torque – the kind that makes riding around town – or anywhere, for that matter – more fun than humans should be allowed. The R1200’s liquid-cooling and improved breathing uncorked more ponies, but the torque is where you’ll live with the R1200R. Then toss in available features like power modes (Road and Rain), Dynamic Traction Control, and Gear Shift Assistant Pro (so you can learn how quickly you’ll come to understand what a bother it is to use the clutch for downshifting), and you’ve got the makings of a road burner in
sheep’s … in no clothing.
The other major change for the R1200R was the passing of the Telelever front end. In its place is an inverted fork with optional Dynamic Electronic Suspension Adjustment tuning the suspension on the fly to the road and speed being traveled – vastly improving the R1200R’s composure. The R1200’s base price is $13,950, but a BMW without options is typically hard to find. Besides, you know you want the $1,600 Touring Package that brings in Dynamic ESA and cruise control. The sexy Gear Shift Assistant Pro adds $475. Most importantly, the upright riding position and available windshield and saddlebag options mean that the R1200R is a blank slate for a rider to fashion into their ideal roadster – one exciting enough to be MO’s Best Standard Motorcycle of 2015 Honorable Mention.