Here's how it works: Brand X creates new bike. Brand X hires young guys with cool hair and beards to make videos (examples 1, 2, 3, 4) to convince young people to buy said bike. Brand X gives models of new bike to "hip" builders to customize.
What was first a fun idea is now the standard operating procedure. Get used to it.
So, it comes as no surprise that Ducati gave a few builders a brand new Ducati Scrambler to customize. After all, hipsters everywhere are aching with lust over the new bike. The only thing holding them back is the fear that so many of their peers will ride them that they will cease to be original in their hipness and no longer cool. Bespoke is the answer!
If you read our review, you know I'm actually a big fan of the bike. It's a return to what made so many of us love motorcycling, minus a lot of the BS. If you read my semi-rant, you also know that this bike is — or should be — more than just some bike for hipsters.
But I digress. Let's take a look at the customs.
Classic by Officine Mermaid, Milan
The Classic by Officine Mermaid actually looks how I expected the official Scrambler to look, for the most part. The properly knobby tires and brushed aluminum are a nice look, though I would like to see a high pipe on this version. The side spotlight and 21-inch front wheel are also very nice touches.
Full Throttle by Deus Ex Machina, Milan
The Deus Full Throttle is easily the most polarizing of the three customs. While most of it isn't my cup of tea, I do like that they've solved my biggest problem with the aesthetics of the bike: the curve in the frame under the seat. Maybe I'm weird, but the lack of a flat seat makes the Scrambler look far more strange to me than the low pipe, mostly because adding a high pipe will be easy. I'm not in love with how the rear cowl tapers at the end in this version, but forming it to hide the rear frame of the bike is pure genius.
Urban Enduro by Mr. Martini, Verona
I'm surprised Ducati didn't release some sort of cafe version of the Scrambler. Why Mr. Martini chose the Urban Enduro to turn into a bullet-fairinged cafe is beyond me, but the result reminds me of the Moto Guzzi V7 Racer. This is easily my least favorite of the three. The height of the headlight and slight upward slope of the tank have it looking a little more upright than most cafe builds, and that flat bar almost looks like something out of Sons Of Anarchy behind that fairing. Also, how is this the one that got a high pipe?
Overall, these builds just feel a little half-assed to me. Star's Battle of the Bolts produced some really weird and interesting bikes that all felt like much bigger departures from the stock bike than these Scramblers. After last week's news about Moto Guzzi producing customizing kits for the V7 line, these "customs" basically look like something you could just get a kit for. Who knows, maybe they were rushed to get the builds done in time for the show, but with a platform this good I think we'll see a lot better.
As previously mentioned, I think the Ducati Scrambler is more than just a bike for hipsters, though I can appreciate the need to market to them specifically. I just hope Ducati doesn't place its hopes for this bike solely in their (our) hands, both because we aren't numerous enough to support a new model and because this bike deserves better than that.