Ducati Scrambler Full Throttle Review
Full disclosure. I love the Ducati Scrambler. For those who don’t know, it’s an elemental, modestly-priced motorcycle (by Ducati standards), powered by an L-twin engine and adorned with heritage-inspired styling. The brilliance of the Scrambler is that it’s offered in a never-ending array of themes. One of the newest expressions of Ducati’s genre-spanning chameleon is the Scrambler Full Throttle.
First, the essentials. The 2019 Ducati Scrambler Full Throttle has an MSRP of $10,995. Mechanically, it’s comprised of a tubular steel Trellis frame, a 6-speed gearbox, a hydraulically-actuated slipper clutch, anti-lock brakes, and Kayaba shocks. Power comes from an 803cc L-twin engine making 73-horsepower and 49 pound-feet of torque. That 803cc engine is shared among the Scrambler lineup though an 86-horsepower, 1,100cc engine is also available.
With all that on the table, what makes the Full Throttle unique? In a word, style. In three words, flat track style. Inspired by a motorcycle ridden by California Flat Track racer Frankie Garcia, the Scrambler Full Throttle sports a black and yellow motif across its tank, passenger seat cover, and number plates. Adding to the racy vibe is a stubby front mud guard, a low handlebar, and a Termignoni dual-tailpipe exhaust. No, I don’t know how to pronounce “Termignoni” either. The collective visual effect is tasteful yet eye-catching. While riding the Full Throttle, neighbors waved, and strangers gawked. If you enjoy unsolicited conversations, this is the bike for you. Personally, I do not. Thankfully this is a motorcycle that likes to be ridden.
Motorcyclists adore massive horsepower figures but in the real-world numbers really don’t matter. If you have any kind of self-preservation instinct, it’s nearly impossible to fully exploit a modern sport bike’s power on the streets. With 73-horsepower, the Full Throttle’s output is right-sized for reality; swift enough to thrill but not frighteningly so. While conquering curvaceous Route 39 in the mountains above Azusa, California, the 2-valve, air-cooled L-Twin generated satisfying punch when exiting corners, complemented by a hearty exhaust rumble that the rider can both hear and feel. It’s a song that urges the rider to needlessly blip the throttle.
Speaking of, for those of us who struggle to perfectly blip the throttle during downshifts, the Scrambler’s slipper clutch keeps the rear tire from locking up. Hooray! At the same time, managing the 6-speed gearbox is a simple task supported by modest clutch lever efforts. As for the brakes, I had wondered if a single 13-inch front disc could confidently slow the Full Throttle during brisk runs through the San Gabriel mountains near Los Angeles. The answer is, yes. The rear brake however, demanded bizarrely intense pressure to create any meaningful deceleration; a helpful reminder not to skip leg day.
Tracing the Full Throttle through Route 39’s flowing corners proved a joyful affair. Sport bike clip-ons put their rider in an ideal tuck for track riding but on the streets, I prefer a handle bar. The Scrambler’s wide bar provided ample leverage to quickly flop the bike on its side. With that leverage quick left right transitions become a thing of wonder. Where grip is concerned, a truly advanced (or daring) rider might prefer a more street-oriented tire selection but, for my purposes, the Full Throttle’s Pirelli MT 60 RS on/off-road tires afforded perfectly adequate traction.
What truly distinguishes the 2019 Scrambler Full Throttle is its approachability. For instance, the low 31.4-inch seat height is perfect for a beginner or shorter ride (an even shorter seat is available as an accessory). It’s much easier for a budding motorcyclist to feel confident at a stop with both feet flat on the ground. Lift those feet onto the pegs however antd there are complications. From either side of the swing arm pivot extend beefy mounts for the rear pegs. At their base, those mounts jutted outward against the inside of my heels, forcing a slight pigeon-toed foot position. If I can request one ergonomic change, it would be more heel space.
If I wanted to push my luck and lobby a 2nd ergonomic concern, it would be the seat. Again, I love the seat’s height, and for short jaunts I’ve got no complaints about its shape. But on longer trips I’ve noticed pressure on…certain areas of my anatomy than I would rather not mention. Looking at the seat, it offers a wide perch for one’s posterior. For my body type though, the seat seemed to nudge me forward into the narrower, more pressure-prone zone in front. Of course, everybody is built differently but, for me, the seat ergonomics could use some finessing. Your results may vary.
During several Full Throttle commutes, I noted a firm but more-than-endurable ride. The Scrambler’s Kayaba shocks are not adjustable, aside from pre-load in the rear, but with my roughly 175-pound frame aboard they absorbed bumps competently. Meanwhile, the handlebar I love so much while cornering also positioned my hands for long-distance comfort. Surprisingly, despite the Full Throttle’s unfaired design, the wind blast at freeway speeds is totally manageable. That poor little headlight is clearly moving more than its fair share of air!
Speaking of the headlight, it features a ring of LED lights that create a distinct, even intimidating face. Disappointingly, the LEDs are merely position lights. True forward illumination comes from an old-school halogen unit. A proper LED headlight would look better and deliver superior visibility at night. Nonetheless, the halogen headlight generated a workable view forward when riding under cover of darkness.
Ducati has done a masterful job morphing the basic Scrambler package into a range of enticing motorcycles. Last year I rode the Scrambler Desert Sled whose reinforced frame, fully-adjustable suspension, and surplus ground clearance promised true off-road capabilities. That’s cool but as a father and workaholic with too many hobbies, escaping to the desert on a Ducati is pure fantasy. By contrast the Ducati Scrambler Full Throttle delivers a more grounded type of fun; blending slick style, daily rideability, and engaging real-world performance. It fits me and I fit it. The Scrambler family is truly lovely but if required to commit to a single member, it’d be the Full Throttle.
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