The Indian motorcycle segment is expanding unlike ever before as more and more people are warming up to the idea of a higher capacity motorcycle. The shift is evident, the sales suggest the same, and while there are several purpose-built middleweight motorcycles, what if you wanted to have something that is not extreme in any way and can do almost all those tasks well, which you would expect from your first middleweight motorcycle? Something that allows you to explore where your interests lie while not being a dud and coming with its own heritage and “badge value” that we Indians love?
Well, in that case, one of the motorcycles that would be on the top of your list is Ducati's Scrambler range of motorcycles. There are several Scramblers, yes, but your entry point into the series is the Scrambler Icon. But its current generation has been around for some time and to give it a whiff of freshness, Ducati recently launched the Scrambler Mach 2.0 at a price tag of Rs 8.56 lakh (ex-showroom). But is it more than just a visual update? We find out in this review.
Let's first talk about what is highlighted the most about this motorcycle – the fuel tank, or the paint stripes that you see on it to be precise. It's a throwback to the seventies as it is based on a helmet by Bell called as the Cross Idol, which was a part of the Ducati 2017 apparel collection. This helmet had a paint scheme meant to give you the feeling of the West Coast during the 1970s. And Roland Sands – a Californian designer – gave the same paint scheme to the fuel tank in the Mach 2.0. So basically, there is now an entire motorcycle that matches a helmet.
Should this matter to you? Well, that's subjective and so are the looks. For us, we'll just call it as a paint scheme and simply put, it looks rather nice. And one of the major reasons behind that is just the sheer attention to detail and the quality of work that the Italians put into their bikes – something that they are well known for. Like, the front fender has been given a contrasting finish and the striped design theme is carried on over to the rear fender as well. Other changes include blacked out parts on the engine and the exhaust and a different, Flat Track-style seat.
And well, that’s about all the change on this variant.
Except for one, which actually matters and should be the first thing that comes to your mind whenever you think about the Mach 2, which is the new handlebar.
The new handlebar is placed lower and it is wider, and that makes for a substantial difference on the experience that comes with the Scrambler Mach 2, as opposed to the Scrambler Icon, as it affects the rider’s triangle. Now, you are not so laid back while riding the motorcycle as the handlebar doesn’t reach out towards you. Your hands are now placed lower. The biggest advantage that this brings is that this results in the rider feeling fewer wind bursts and the motorcycle feels a lot more nimble and agile to ride. This allows for tackling city traffic a lot easier and taking it out on the highway isn’t any problem at all. Not to say that the Scrambler Icon didn't have these traits, but the Scrambler Mach 2 is just more fun to ride in almost all riding scenarios.
Other elements of the motorcycle remain the same and so do the traits that the Icon variant comes with. The throttle response, especially in lower gears at lower RPMs is still feeling twitchy. So much so, that you’ll pretty much stay a gear or two higher, and as a result, you can’t enjoy the torque-filled Ducati L-Twin engine as much as you would like. And yes, the right leg still faces the heat in traffic.
But then, the positives remain too, which outweigh the negatives by quite a margin. Like, the brakes, which are just fantastic and provide great bite as well as feedback. The handling has improved even further and the engine is still as lively as it gets in this segment. The chunky tyres may not be for proper off roading but they are not afraid to try out different terrains and you can stand on the foot pegs with ease. This allows you to explore your interest in off-roading while saving you the regret of investing in an all-out ADV and realising that off-roading may not be your thing. So, it is a good motorcycle to ride on the street, the highway and for some soft off-roading.
And when you combine all of this, you have the most important thing that a bike needs – character. And the Mach 2.0 has plenty of it, making other bikes in this segment seem a bit dull.
So at the end of the day, the Mach 2.0 has come out to be a bit of a surprise. We did not expect it to be that different from the regular Scrambler Icon, but, it is. And having ridden it, it does come across as a bit more versatile offering as well. But yes, there is no denying that it does charge you a premium for all of this. But it is a motorcycle that justifies itself only when you try it out, not on paper.
So, if you're looking for your entry into the Scrambler series of motorcycles, this one, is a safe bet.