Dear MOby,

Has anybody noticed Ducati’s new 399cc motorcycle? I guess I missed it if it was in the news. Ducati’s Sixty2 Scrambler only runs 399cc, yet the MSRP is at a lofty $7,995. What gives? I know Ducati offers a premium product, but I’ve heard bad things about their reliability and upkeep expenses. Why would I buy such a pricey bike that mimics the styling of its bigger siblings. Are they just hiding this bike for compliance reasons?

Also, do you guy have a review on the Sixty2? I know you reviewed the Icon model, but since they are differently equipped that might be nice.

Noah Johnson

We noticed the Sixty2 when it was introed at EICMA in November of 2015 as a new 2016 model, but we haven’t had a chance to ride one. It probably exists mainly because bikes bigger than 400cc in Japan are way more expensive to license and insure than smaller ones. Probably too, because in Western markets, many impressionable new riders are strongly advised to start small, whether that really makes any sense or not: None of the Scramblers are powerful enough to wheelie over backwards at the slightest provocation.

All Scramblers but the Sixty2 – the Icon, Cafe Racer, Desert Sled, Classic and Full Throttle – use an 803cc version of Ducati’s venerable air-cooled L-Twin, and the least expensive of them, the Classic, retails for $10,495. So while $7,995 may seem like a lot for 399cc, it’s all relative. Since it appears to use all the same parts as those bigger-engined Scramblers, the Sixty2 can’t be much less expensive to produce. Wait! I take that back: The base Scrambler Icon is only $8,495!

The 803 is rated at 75 horsepower, which translated to almost 70 at the rear wheel on our dyno. The 399cc is just a smaller-bored, shorter-stroked version of that L-Twin, which Ducati rates at 41 hp, which is probably 36 or 37 at the rear tire. That’s not much, but we can say that for people who aren’t insatiable speed demons, it’s plenty for riding around and having a blast. We’ve had all kinds of kicks on bikes like the Moto Guzzi V7 Sport, which made almost 41 horses on the dyno, and the Honda CB500F manages to be a staff favorite with just 43 hp. Then there’s Ducati’s claim that the Sixty2 weighs just 403 pounds to the Scrambler Classic’s 424.

Anyway, if the Sixty2 speaks to you, you might be perfectly happy bopping around on it as opposed to bombing around on one of the 803cc models, depending on your “riding style”. Most of the people you want to impress will probably never know the difference, and you know the kids will be “scrambling” these into trees and large rocks like crazy; the bone yards will be full of fresh 803 engines in a year or two which should slot right in…

Ducati’s bigger and more complex liquid-cooled eight-valve Twins can be pricey to maintain. We wouldn’t worry so much about the much simpler air-cooled Scramblers; they’ve had a lot of years to work the bugs out of them. If you really want the reliability skinny, do what we do: Ask an experienced Ducati mechanic or service manager.

Send your moto questions to If we don’t know the answer, we know who does, and if they don’t know we’ll make up something reasonable-sounding. What do you want for free?

  • Born to Ride

    Sorry John, article is incorrect. The icon is the cheapest 803 model and it’s only a 900$ premium over the gutless and undersuspended sixty2 model. I also have no clue what Ducati was thinking with this bike.

    • DickRuble

      It satisfies staggered license requirements in Europe. For instance, the A2 permit in France limits the power to 35KW, which is about 47bhp.

      • Born to Ride

        Yeah but why even import it here? That’s what I don’t understand.

        • DickRuble

          Because it doesn’t cost that much to import something you’re building anyway. If people buy 300cc (do they really?) why wouldn’t there be some hipsters to buy 400cc (bigger than yours), with an Italian name to boot? I agree it’s way too heavy for what it is, but to them, the marginal cost of building it is very small .. virtually no engineering required. The equivalent of bridled engines (which in France were the norm for decades).

    • john burns

      dammit do you have to be right all the time??

      • Born to Ride

        Hey, at least I’m not a Dick about it… *wink wink nudge nudge*

  • Jason M.

    The local dealership uses them as MSF bikes…

  • Val Demort

    Girly bike.

  • David Earl-Graef

    Not really a girly bike. There are those of us who have a powerful sport bike when the occasion is right but are looking for something that is easy to ride and you can do some light off road as well.