2019 Ducati Scrambler Icon Review – First Ride

Ryan Adams
by Ryan Adams

A #Joyvolution in the Land of Joy

I’ve owned class-leading motorcycles with plenty of tech and performance for many years, but my time at Motorcycle.com has taught me how much fun middleweight bikes can be. Like every other member of the staff here, I too get all hot under my leathers waiting for the latest technology to trickle down from MotoGP into production sportbikes or monstrous 1200-plus cc naked bikes that have enough torque to dislocate your arms. But sometimes riding a bike that’s not so extreme can be relieving and an absolute blast to scoot around on.

2019 Ducati Scrambler Icon

Editor Score: 88.25%
Engine 18.0/20
Suspension/Handling 12.75/15
Transmission/Clutch 9.0/10
Brakes 8.75/10
Ergonomics/Comfort 9.25/10
Appearance/Quality 9.0/10
Desirability 9.5/10
Value 8.5/10
Overall Score88.25/100

2018 Ducati Scrambler 1100 First Ride Review

The 2019 Ducati Scrambler Icon and the Land of Joy harken back to a place in time where motorcycles were just fun, rules were more like guidelines, and nobody worked, they just surfed, had beach parties all day, and listened to music while using their bikes to connect the roads of their lifestyle.

It’s not all fun and games, but it is sometimes.

At least that’s the message Ducati’s Land of Joy portrays. It’s easy to brush off the Land of Joy marketing campaign as hipster fluff when seeing the displays and events in the States, but when listening to the idea behind the Scrambler described passionately and thoroughly by Ducati staffers from Bologna, the message is conveyed clearly and genuinely. For Ducati, the Scrambler stands for free-spirited attitude, positivity, and nonconformity while being open to other styles and cultures.

The Bologna-based manufacturer has made subtle aesthetic tweaks that elevate the look and feel of the 2019 Ducati Scrambler Icon while adding other crucial elements to make the Icon easier and safer to ride. Follow me into the Land of Joy to see what changes were made to the 2019 Scrambler Icon. #Joyvolution

True Ducati Aesthetics

The 2019 Ducati Scrambler Icon has received some choice upgrades in the looks department. Starting from front to back, the ’19 model year Icon receives a new DRL (Daytime Running Light) which can be switched off at the press of a dedicated button on the right side switchgear. The headlight has also been stylized with the black X which has become a Scrambler branding signature of sorts. The edges of the “X” are carried over into the headlight trim to further accentuate the accent.

New wheels are quite similar to the outgoing model’s, however the 2019 Scrambler Icon’s have a two inch strip of machined surface on both the 18-inch front and 17-inch rear wheels’ spokes. The exhaust headers have also undergone a new surface treatment. Whereas the previous Scrambler’s exhaust pipes were raw metal, the 2019 model has a more uniform look with a sandblasted finish.

Styling changes, when viewed side-by-side with the previous model, really help to elevate the premium look of the 2019 Ducati Scrambler Icon.

Coatings on the engine are perhaps one of the most noticeable styling changes, next to the DRL. The engine cases now have a gloss black finish while the cylinder jugs themselves are matte black with machined fins. The goal here was to have a darker and more uniform look throughout this area of the motorcycle. The frame has also undergone an ever-so-slight change from the black hue it was before to better tie in all of the dark stylistic accents. Other small touches such as the thick black line around the aluminum side panels on the tank, as well as the gray trim on the seat and new exhaust heat shields, all come together to create a motorcycle with a true premium look for $9,395, only $200 more than the outgoing model.

Looks are great and a large part of choosing a motorcycle for some, but the 2019 Ducati Scrambler Icon receives a few crucial upgrades that make the bike easier and safer to ride as a whole.

Internally grateful

The Ducati Scrambler has always meant to be a straightforward uncomplicated motorcycle that enthusiasts could easily integrate into their daily life. The 2019 model has rethought the user interface as well as how the motorcycle interacts with its environment. Though some of the components look the same from the outside, the biggest changes to the actual performance of the motorcycle are completely internal.

The display is the same, but the software is all new, adding gear indication, fuel level, and the option to use Ducati’s Multimedia System.

The LCD display has not changed visually, however the software used offers much more information than before. The dash now displays gear position and fuel level, two important and welcomed additions for most riders. Do you need those? No. Is it nice to have? I sure think so. The switchgear, both left and right, have also been revised to be more ergonomic and easier to use, though it took me a bit to get everything figured out. But wait, there’s more!

Ducati has also managed to pack into the Scrambler’s small display the Ducati Multimedia system which allows riders to connect their phone via Bluetooth, though you’ll need to purchase the Bluetooth receiver unit which is installed under the seat. With the Ducati Multimedia System users can view incoming calls, switch between songs, and see incoming messages. The Bluetooth system is able to connect up to five systems: rider phone, rider headset, passenger phone, passenger headset, and GPS (though the display is unable to show directions from the GPS).

The same IMU and cornering ABS technology used on the Panigale is now included on the 2019 Scrambler Icon.

A new six-axis IMU is being used to control the Bosch-developed cornering ABS which is now included on the 2019 Scrambler models. The system is the same technology that is in all of Ducati’s lineup, including the Panigale V4. The inclusion of cornering ABS on a sub-$10,000 motorcycle is a welcome touch and adds a safety net for its rider. Unfortunately, the ABS system can not be easily disabled, a bummer when you consider the Scrambler moniker and that it usually carries with it grand visions of fire road blasts or riding desert trails into the sunset on any Sunday. I would liked to have seen the dedicated on/off button of the DRL being used for turning the ABS on/off.

The 803cc L-Twin engine and EFI provide smooth torque delivery that’s easily controlled via the rider’s right hand. Which is good, because there is no traction control included on the ’19 Scrambler, something none of us seemed to miss as we roosted around on our few gravel sections.

The 2019 Scrambler Icon also sports new levers both top and bottom. The hand levers are now both adjustable whereas before only the front brake could be adjusted, and the clutch actuation is now hydraulic. The shift lever has been brought up and elongated slightly for easier use while standing or sitting and the rear brake lever has been brought closer to the footpeg for easier use while standing. I will say, if you plan to be standing much on the Scrambler, new footpegs and a new muffler may be in order, as the footpegs are slim street-style components and the muffler crowds the boot heel quite noticeably.

The suspension settles into the stroke nicely when hustling through a set of curves, while the progressive springs provide a cush ride through town as well.

Suspension has been revised both front and rear on the 2019 Ducati Scrambler, with progressive springs to help provide smoother touring and around-town comfort; better damping and bottoming resistance come into play when riding at a faster clip. The oil level and pistons used in the fork have been changed to help accentuate the same ride characteristics as the new springs. These same changes can be found in the rear shock.

Riding the Scrambler throughout the roads and villages of Tuscany gave us a chance to test the suspension on beat-up roads in the towns we passed through and while hustling through twisty bits of pavement in the countryside. My initial thought was the suspension was a bit soft, but after the full day of riding, considering the $9,395 price point and goal of engineering a one-fits-all suspension set up (preload on the rear is the only adjustment), I think Ducati did a fantastic job of finding a nice goldilocks setting for the Scrambler’s suspenders.

Apart from finishes, the engine components remain unchanged from the previous model year.

The oil-cooled 803cc L-Twin engine remains unchanged from the previous model. We predict the same performance numbers from the last time we put the Scrambler on the dyno which showed the Desmo engine producing 69.6 horsepower at 8500 rpm and 46.5 lb-ft of torque at 7000 rpm. For what the Scrambler is, a well-priced middleweight motorcycle, I was never underwhelmed with the power and was actually quite happy with the linear performance of the motor.

Aside from new levers and cornering ABS, the actual braking hardware remains the same as well, with a single 330mm disc and four-piston Brembo caliper up front and 245mm disc and single-piston caliper in the rear.

This was about as dirty as we were able to get during our ride, but Ducati says, like the original model from the ’60s, its Scrambler was never meant to be an off-road motorcycle.

Tires are still the flat track-esque Pirelli MT 60s that hook up surprisingly well on and off-road.

The 2019 Ducati Scrambler Icon is a fantastic all-around motorcycle. For 2019, the discernible enhancements to the bike’s aesthetics are subtle, but create an overall premium finish when parked next to the outgoing model. Of course, it’s what’s inside that counts, right? Cornering ABS, reworked suspension, a hydraulic clutch and more information via the display all work together to make a safer and easier to ride motorcycle.

Expect to see the 2019 Ducati Scrambler Icon in dealerships around January, 2019, priced at $9,395 in ’62 Yellow and $9,595 in Atomic Tangerine. Keep your eyes peeled for similar submodels to be announced as well, possibly at one of the European trade shows coming up this fall.

2019 Ducati Scrambler Icon

+ Highs

  • Linear power delivery
  • Low seat height makes the bike accessible for a wide range of riders
  • Styling updates add a premium feel that wasn’t quite there before

– Sighs

  • Suspension is fairly soft and only adjustable for rear preload
  • The display has a lot going on in a small space
  • Interstate speeds for any amount of time may be a bit brutal for those accustomed to any kind of wind protection

2018 Ducati Scrambler Icon Specifications

Engine TypeL-Twin, Desmodromic distribution, 2 valves per cylinder, air cooled
Displacement803 cc
Bore x Stroke88 x 66 mm
Compression Ratio11:1
Power73 hp at 8250 rpm (claimed)
Torque49 lb-ft at 5750 rpm (claimed)
Fuel injectionElectronic fuel injection, 50 mm throttle body
ExhaustStainless steel muffler with catalytic converter and 2 lambda probes, aluminum tail pipes
EmissionsEuro 4
Gearbox6 speed
Primary DriveStraight cut gears, Ratio 1,85:1
Final driveChain, front spocket 15, rear sprocket 46
ClutchHydraulically controlled slipper and self-servo wet multiplate clutch
FrameTubular steel Trellis frame
Front SuspensionUpside down Kayaba 41 mm fork, 5.9 inches travel
Rear SuspensionKayaba rear shock, pre-load adjustable, 5.9 inches travel
Front Wheel10-spoke in light alloy, 3.00″ x 18″
Rear Wheel10-spoke in light alloy, 5.50″ x 17″
Front TirePirelli MT 60 RS 110/80 R18
Rear TirePirelli MT 60 RS 180/55 R17
Front BrakeØ330 mm disc, radial 4-piston calliper with Bosch Cornering ABS as standard
Rear BrakeØ245 mm disc, 1-piston floating calliper with Bosch Cornering ABS as standard
Wheelbase1.445 mm (56.9 in)
Trail4.4 inches
Total Steering Lock35°
Fuel Capacity3.57 gallon
Fuel Economy46.1 mpg
Dry Weight381 lb (claimed)
Wet Weight417 lb (claimed)
Seat Height31.4 inches (30.6-inch low seat available as accessory)
Max Height45.3 inches
Max Width33.7 inches
Max Length82.7 inches
SeatDual seat
Standard EquipmentSteel tank with interchangeable aluminum side panels, headlight with DRL by LED
light-guide and interchangeable aluminum cover, LED rear light with diffusion-light, LED turn indicator, LCD instruments with gear and fuel level indications and interchangeable aluminum cover, under-seat storage compartment with USB socket, ABS cornering, machine-finished aluminum belt covers, black engine with
brushed fins.
ICON EquipmentDedicated logo, dedicate handlebar, matching mudguards, aluminum muffler cover
Warranty24 months unlimited mileage
Maintenance7,500 miles / 12 months
Valve clearance adjustment7,500 miles
Ryan Adams
Ryan Adams

Ryan’s time in the motorcycle industry has revolved around sales and marketing prior to landing a gig at Motorcycle.com. An avid motorcyclist, interested in all shapes, sizes, and colors of motorized two-wheeled vehicles, Ryan brings a young, passionate enthusiasm to the digital pages of MO.

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Join the conversation
18 of 26 comments
  • Dain Bramage Dain Bramage on Sep 25, 2018

    I was really interested in a slightly aft detailed view of the left side shock absorber. I am very upset it wasn't included. Also, why wasn't the underside of the engine included? Who doesn't post a shot of the underside of the engine? This is considered a professional motorcycle review site, right?

    • See 11 previous
    • Kevin Duke Kevin Duke on Oct 03, 2018

      I'll send you an invoice for my fee!

  • Old MOron Old MOron on Sep 25, 2018

    "I would liked to have seen the dedicated on/off button of the DRL being used for turning the ABS on/off."

    That's speaking truth to power, Ryan. Good onya. If Ducati are so passionate about "nonconformity while being open to other styles and cultures," they'd allow the pilot to brake-slide while riding offroad.