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.

Scrambler Slam: Ducati Vs Triumph + Video

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.

2015 Ducati Scrambler First Ride Review

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.

2015 BMW R1200R First Ride Review + Video

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. Best of 2015 Categories

  • Ser Samsquamsh

    There you go; something wikkid, stylish and affordable. Impossible.


    Great choices. I’ll have one of each.

  • Old MOron

    This is my favorite kind of motorcycle, and this is the MOBO announcement I’ve been savoring.

  • John B.

    Last year, a competing publication chose the KTM Super Duke as best street fighter and the BMW S1000R as best standard. Since then, I have been confused about what constitutes a standard bike, and the difference between a standard and a street fighter. The Ducati Scrambler and Triumph Scrambler seem like they should not be in the same category as the BMW S1000R and the BMW R1200R.

    • Old MOron

      Ahem, that’s what you get for reading a “competing” publication.
      Oh well, never mind the labels. Enjoy the bikes!

      • John B.

        I agree this is a really fun category. Pure motorcycling.

    • Kevin Duke

      Categories are just ways of organizing things. We have more Best Of categories than our competitors, so, for example, we don’t state that a Duc Multistrada is winning of a Touring category, but slicing them up precisely is a bit nebulous. Put a factory windshield and bags on an R1200R, and that might be someone’s ideal sport-touring rig, etc.

  • Ulysses Araujo

    Was the FZ-07 considered for this class? We know it doesn’t look like a standard, but…
    I wonder which one (Scrambler vs. FZ) you MO guys would pick in both an objective assessment and from a price/value perspective.

    • Kevin Duke

      The FZ-07 makes a great value case in this class, but the Ducati makes a better style case and the 1200R makes a better functional case. The FZ was runner-up Best Standard last year and also Motorcycle of the Year, plus the Value winner in 2014, so our affection for it is quite strong!

  • Ducati Kid


    Suggested Akrapovic revise their ‘Scrambler’ Exhaust component for aesthetic and functional (Emissions) reasons as depicted below.

    This revision could also be applied to other DUCATI models.

  • scott

    so, when was a street scrambler a standard, did i miss something here- a street scrambler has always been a compromise of street and fire road bike—wtf is wrong with you guys—-a standard bike has a total upright seating position and does almost everything just right plus its comfortable enough to go across town or across the state and further–just add luggage and a windscreen and your there–this duc should be classed with the triumph and other like machine for their own catagory—-you guys need a ‘do over’ !

    • Kevin Duke

      The term “scrambler” is nearly as nebulous as the term “standard,” and definitions for each vary greatly If you think the Duc doesn’t belong here, which category would you put it in? It ticks all the boxes you say a standard must tick.

  • scott

    NEGATIVE- there is STANDARD then there is SCRAMBLER two different ‘style’ and types of machines-look back into triumph bsa honda kawasaki suzuki yamaha….virtually ALL manufacturers had some type of scrambler..AND they had their ‘standards’..again the scramblers had the higher style pipes while the standards
    all had low standard street pipes, -so perhaps ‘NEXT’ year you’ll have a ‘scrambler’ class and a real ‘standard; class-

    • Kevin Duke

      I agree with you: “the scramblers had the higher style pipes while the standards all had low standard street pipes.”