Ducati's latest addition to their Scrambler line is the strangest yet.
The bike itself isn’t the big story here. You’re looking at a blacked-out re-hash of the 399 cc Scrambler Sixty2, with orange stencil logos and a Desert Sled-style seat. When I heard this bike was coming, I feared Ducati would roll out something less… tasteful. I’m almost disappointed that the bike doesn’t have “SCRAMBLER HASHTAG” dashed across the tank, or “#” motifs everywhere (not offering a headlight guard like this as standard is an opportunity missed, in my opinion). No hashtag branding means that, as a motorcycle, this is just an existing model with a few changes and a really unfortunate name.
The more interesting part of the Hashtag isn’t what Ducati’s selling, but how they’re selling it. According to Ducati’s latest video, the Scrambler Hashtag is only available online.
Plenty of OEMs allow you to custom-order a bike online, starting with a base and choosing options. But the Scrambler Hashtag aims to to make buying a Ducati as easy as possible for digital natives. Sure, it’s not quite Amazon’s 1-Click Ordering, but securing the bike with a voucher, selecting a dealership, signing some papers and picking it up when it arrives sounds dead simple. Then again, buying a motorcycle from a dealership doesn’t have to be very hard, either. So what’s the deal?
Buying a Scrambler Hashtag has a few advantages. Potential riders who are intimidated by the dealership experience can skip right to the saddle. This dovetails nicely with Ducati’s decision to base the Hashtag on the most beginner-friendly of the Scramblers. Hashtag owners also get a 20 percent discount on Scrambler Sixty2 accessories and all Scrambler apparel. If that extends to parts, that’s a nice perk. And for those who just love the way that Midnight Black looks on the Sixty2, there’s only one way to get it.
Ducati’s new plan isn’t without its disadvantages, however. I’d be hard-pressed to throw down €500 (about $620) on a bike I’d never even seen in person. Sure, I could test-ride a Scrambler Sixty2, but I’d want to at least try the new seat before handing Ducati €6,990 ($8,675, just a few hundred less than a Scrambler Icon!). And finally, there are some people who will never buy a bike called a Hashtag. That’s all I have to say about that.
American riders, you don’t have to worry about any of this, for now. The Hashtag is only available in Italy, France, Germany, Spain and Portugal, with deliveries starting in March. If it catches on, Ducati might bring the Hashtag to America, which could be the first of many special online-only models. And if the Hashtag fails to trend? Well, Lance tells me that in the old days a triple hashtag — "###" — was used to mean "the end."