Can a Ducati Scrambler be made into a comfortable light duty (i.e. pavement and maintained dirt/gravel roads) adventure bike good for longer trips and gravel roads? I had been asking myself that question for quite some time and have finally decided to investigate for myself. Those of you that follow us know that Kim and me just finished a trip from our home in Vermont to Eagle River, Alaska. We rode mostly on paved roads, although we did travel on some forest fire roads and unimproved roads. Kim’s Suzuki DR-650 performed admirably and carried her to Alaska easily. However, the DR is a fairly low powered thumper and riding it for long distances became somewhat of a tiresome experience for Kim. She said that although the bike did everything she asked and had a relatively lightweight feel, she felt under powered on those 75 MPH stretches of two lane roads common in the western US. Passing was more difficult that she desired, especially since I was traveling on a KTM 990 Adventure twin cylinder machine. She also wished that the bike was not a single because the thump, thump, thump of the single was tiring over time.
So I set about looking for a machine that was relatively small and light that we could turn into a light duty adventure bike. Since Kim is only about 5′ 3″ the bike could not be too high, nor could it be too heavy. She really wanted to get away from a single cylinder machine and frankly I don’t blame her. She never said a word during our over 7,500 mile trip to Alaska, but I had to ask myself, whether I would have enjoyed riding a single for that long a distance. My answer would be no, so I really shouldn’t expect her to feel any different. As I looked around the market, there really wasn’t much out there that fit Kim’s want list. She had already been on a V-Strom and felt it was too big and heavy. She had also ridden the BMW F650GS (twin) and F800GS extensively in Europe and South America, but she didn’t really like them because of their relative size and ride height. If she were to like a new machine, it would have to be about the size of her current Suzuki DR-650.
One of the few alternatives was the Ducati Scrambler. It’s a twin of approximately 800ccs and is actually very small in stature. Scramblers were created for dual sport, so if Ducati at least considered dual sporting, perhaps we could make this new Ducati into a light duty adventure bike. After doing some significant searching I found a number of bolt on parts that could potentially give her the utility of an ADV bike. So maybe, just maybe, we could adapt a Ducati Scrambler for ADV touring.
After a test ride and a bit of deliberation, we have taken the plunge. Kim is now the proud owner of a 2016 Ducati Scrambler Icon. The Icon is the base model of the Scrambler line and that suits us just fine. We’ve seen and tried Ducati’s own ADV parts and they fall far short of what we will need for our purposes. I’ve identified a number of parts that we are going to try and we’ll report on how well the fit our mission. So stay tuned for more updates as we attempt to convert a base Ducati Icon into an ADV machine Kim can love.
Just to entice you, here are a few pics of Kim’s soon to be converted Ducati Scrambler Icon which we will test out on a tour of the Canadian Maritime Provinces in early September.