While it looks quite radical, it’s actually a sporty casing hiding a very relaxed motorbike. The 800cc engine isn’t going to be impressing too many passing Panigales, but 75PS (54kW) is available pretty easily and is perfectly acceptable on a bike ready to be used by those who want a taste of the Ducati life without outlaying any serious money. The power is usable, with a decent amount of torque low down should you stay in an unnecessarily high gear. Peak power and 66Nm (49lb ft) of torque come at relatively low levels (8,250rpm and 5,700rpm respectively) so there’s no need to absolutely rag the engine to the absolute limit. In fact if you keep the throttle pinned without shifting up there is a feeling of tailing off toward the top, so it’s much better to keep it in that idealised range of 5-8k and just use all the torque.
Helpfully the twin exhausts also sound much better in this range too, with a slight drone beginning to creep in as you move toward the higher levels. Stick in the sweet spot and it’ll sound much more meaty than it actually is (matching the performance-defying looks), a nice low rumble rather than the drone at higher levels from the L-twin motor.
The Pirelli tyres give decent amounts of grip through both wet and dry and the bar-end mirrors are actually surprisingly good, although the wide and semi-low nature of the handlebars does leave a taller rider feeling a little awkward. The handling is also a little compromised by the cramped positioning, meaning some more effort goes into a turn than you might hope for. However it’s nothing that can’t be overcome, and anyone shorter than my 6’2” shouldn’t find the same issues.
The suspension has been softened from the old Scrambler, and while I never rode that bike it does feel like it rides bumpier roads with a sufficient amount of ply. At times this means it reacts to a bump for longer than you might hope for, but in reality just helps it to be a comfortable around town or long trip cruiser.
The single brake at the front is more than sufficient on such a light bike (179kg) that isn’t ever going to be arriving to corner entry at significant speeds, and the ABS is unintrusive, and designed to modulate it’s interference for the situation, so welcome for an early rider or someone returning to a bike after time away.