In the pantheon of American motorcycle badasses, sitting high amongst the crowd are Steve McQueen and Evel Knievel. In 2006, our very own Gabe Ets-Hokin and Pete Brissette set out to pay homage to the two legends, riding the marques that McQueen and Knievel are most associated with. So for this week’s Church feature we revisit the McQueen vs. Knievel Road Test, pitting the Triumph Scrambler against the Harley-Davidson Sportster. The test location was special as well: San Francisco, a city both men have a connection to, as the story goes on to explain. Read on to see the antics Gabe and Pete got themselves into in their quest to emulate two of America’s motorcycling icons.
Standing in “The Land of Joy,” a makeshift beach party Ducati set up inside the Ace Hotel in Palm Springs, California, to serve as its central command post for the 2015 Scrambler launch (the first time a new Ducati model has been introduced Stateside), it was quickly apparent this wouldn’t be like any prior Ducati launch.
Today we’re getting our first crack testing Ducati’s new Scrambler, one of the most talked-about motorcycles of 2015. Some say its all-purpose design perfectly suits their requirements for a retro-themed-but-modern motorcycle, and Ducati tells us initial demand has been huge. Naysayers, however, deride the new Scrambler’s inadequacies for use on dirt trails, asserting that its 800cc V-Twin makes it too heavy when compared to Ducati’s single-cylinder Scramblers from the 1960s and ’70s. So, as we enter a new era of Bologna-built Scramblers, we’re taking a look back at the first-generation models to gain some historical perspective. -Ed.
Milan, Italy, hosts the world’s largest motorcycle show, EICMA, in November each year, where the latest and greatest motorbikes are on display, most of which are receiving their first public display. The Esposizione Mondiale del Motociclismo, as it’s officially called, celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2014, and I was pleased to be one of the 6,945 journalists attending the November 3-8 event.
Alongside the new 701 Supermoto production model comes a pair of scrambler concepts from Husqvarna. Dubbed the 401 Svartpilen (Swedish for “Black Arrow”) and 401 Vitpilen (“White Arrow”), the two concepts draw upon the company’s past while still offering a futuristic styling.
The new Scrambler is the first new-model announcement from Ducati this year, a stripped-down, retro-hued roadster that will cut a broad swathe of demographics, from hipster 20-somethings to nostalgic Baby Boomers. It’s also the platform that will ensure Ducati’s air-cooled V-Twin powerplant a life beyond 2015.
The stage is being set for the most important motorcycle exposition of the year, the EICMA show in Milan, Italy. EICMA is so large and so important that we’re making the trek to the Continent to give it our full coverage, including video updates from the media-only days, November 5 and 6.