2023 Ducati Scrambler Icon review, first ride

Christopher Chaves Updated: December 14, 2023, 11:59 AM IST

When the first generation Ducati Scrambler Icon, that's the 800cc model, came out in India back in 2015, anyone and everyone who rode that bike, including me, were completely blown away by it. Although it was minimalistic by way of its styling, it looked like a proper Ducati and rode like one too. That awesome power to weight, the handling, the dynamics, everything was really impressive. Now it's taken almost eight years for Ducati to come up with the second generation model, and now, it's time to see what this bike brings to the table.

Now although the second-gen Scrambler Icon may resemble the older model from afar, step closer and all the changes that Ducati have made on this bike become evident. The Italian bike maker says that it's around 70 percent new, so let's get into it.

2023 Ducati Scrambler Icon: Design

Up front, the LED headlight with its DRLs and that X design smack in the center - all new, the tail light and the indicators are all LED now as well. The bike gets new Kayaba suspension at both ends. Up front, you have an upside-down fork which is non-adjustable, while at the rear you get a preload-adjustable slightly offset monoshock, both units offer a good 150mm of wheel travel. The knobby Pirelli MT 60 RS treads with the Y-design 18 and 17-inch cast wheels enforce the rugged, -bare-bones look of the bike. The display is now a 4.3-inch colour TFT screen which makes the older LCD unit completely outdated.

There's a ride-by-wire throttle on there now which gives you two customizable ride modes. You have two power modes and four levels of traction control settings to set things up the way you like and you can even switch the TC off completely. ABS can't be switched off at the rear which isn't really ideal for when you venture of the beaten path, but there is cornering ABS thrown in there for good measure when you're out on paved surfaces. The Icon also gets a slipper clutch which makes the left lever nice and light. Put in some more money and you can also have the multimedia system on there and even a quickshifter is available as an accessory.

Moving on, there's improved switchgear, the flat bench seat and those quarter panels under it are all new too. I absolutely love the way the rerouted exhaust pipe now wraps around the engine and with that short end can, man not only do these things help make the bike look brilliant in the flesh, but with the new heatshields there's some functional sense to it all as well. Lastly, the number plate has been relocated to the tyre hugger compared to the older model. All said and done it looks a lot neater than the first gen model with no wires poking out at you. But it doesn't end just there. This gen-two model even has neat party trick up its sleeve.

Now a really interesting bit about this motorcycle are all these yellow plastic panels that you can see on here - from the mudguard up front, the small bits around the headlight, the tank and at the tail section – they can all be interchanged with different coloured panels that Ducati have in store and you can mix and match them as you fancy as well. That's really cool and quirky, right?

Although this is one of the most simple looking Ducati motorcycles you'll come across on Italian manufacturers latest menu, with its impeccable fit and finish, it looks and feels like a proper modern-day Ducati motorcycle. But besides their stunning looks, Ducati motorcycles are known for something else. Performance. And just like before, with one flick of the throttle you'll find this bike full of character in true Ducati fashion.

2023 Ducati Scrambler Icon: Engine and Performance

Now a real treat of this motorcycle has to be its 803cc L-twin. It puts down a maximum power figure of 75PS at a little over 8,000rpm and max torque is rated at 65Nm at 7,000 revs. Yes it is air cooled so it's a bit given in Indian traffic conditions, but once you hit that open stretch of highway, whack the throttle open, from low as around 3,000 all the way to 7,000rpm, this thing just flies. There's a great amount of power delivery there. Now it gets a ride-by-wire throttle with lovely fueling. And then there's that lovely power to weight ratio – this bike weighs about 185kg with all the liquids in, which is around the weight of a RE Himalayan 411, so considering that and the amount of power on tap, this thing is just ballistic out on the road.

This motor gives you a good taste of Ducati-esque performance. Revving hard through the gearbox is an absolute delight and the motor can be quite tractable at low speeds as well. There's a good amount of vibes to be felt through the bars and the pegs, but it bodes well with this bikes character and never feels intrusive over a long distance ride.

2023 Ducati Scrambler Icon: Ride and Handling

Swinging a leg over the bike isn't a problem at all with its 795mm seat height. There are higher and lower seat options as well for an additional fee of course. And when it comes to the aspects of ride and handling, this second-gen Icon being 4kg lighter than before thanks to the lighter steel trellis frame qith bolt-on sub-frame, engine and new swingarm, feels really light and extremely easy to manage as soon as you set off. It feels quite narrow and compact once you are aboard, unlike most other 800cc motorcycles out there and the seating arrangement for two up feels very adequate. The suspension is slightly on the stiffer side of things, which isn't a bad thing at all considering this bike's ferocious performance.

Twist the throttle lightly and it isn't as snatchy as it was before and if you want to ease off and enjoy a more relaxed ride, this bike let you go about it very nicely. The fueling is so spot with the ride-by-wire system on there, and you can maintain a certain speed a lot easier than before. Once you hit an open stretch and let her rip, you'll hit silly speeds in no time, but what's better are the four-pot calipers biting down on the 330mm single front rotor. Phenomenal stopping power, and great balance.

Lean into corners the tyres grip the road surprisingly well considering their pattern but the front end does feel extremely light, and if you hit a bump mid-corner, things get a bit unsettling. Encounter some rough terrain, no problem once you brace yourself because the current suspension setup isn't going to give you the magic carpet treatment. It does give you a real good feel of the terrain you're on, quite frankly, that's the way this bike was designed to be, and if that's your scene and fancy, know that it does this well.

Thanks to the wide handlebar you have a good command of things when the road gets rough, even  standing up on trails isn't a problem with the Icon, and if you want to have some fun off-road, this bike makes it so easy with all that power and minimal weight.

Though the Scrambler Icon was always seen as an entry-level motorcycle, to the Ducati brand so to speak, but still this new bike is a motorcycle that will welcome you to the true Ducati ownership experience in laudable style, and this time around, it's got some delightful second-gen sprinkles by way of features.

2023 Ducati Scrambler Icon: Verdict

For Rs 10.40 lakh (ex-showroom, India), the Ducati Scrambler Icon is the most affordable Ducati bike that you can currently get your hands on in the country. And for that cost you get a thorough package in terms of styling, features and performance. This is the most affordable variant of the Scrambler 800 that we have out here, there is a higher spec Full Throttle and Nighshift models to choose from as well. The Full Throttle has a smaller flatter, flat-track style handlebar, a Termignoni exhaust in addition to some other features, while the nightshift can be had with spoke-wheels in addition to some other nice bits on there. Now both the other models retail for 12lakh ex-showroom, but this one as a base model package certainly sets a strong starting point for Ducati ownership out here.

Price (Ex-Delhi)
Starts Rs 7,99,000
Max Power(ps)
Max Torque(Nm)

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