Ducati has updated its popular Scrambler bike with some new goodies like daytime running lights, an upgraded dash, Bluetooth multimedia and Bosch's excellent Cornering ABS braking system. It has called this upgrade a "Joyvolution." Ducati, we need to talk.
The upgrades leave the Scrambler's iconic look almost unchanged. Side on, you'd struggle to spot anything new at all. But the handlebars are slightly higher and wider, the aluminum side panels on the tank a little "beefier," the seat a touch flatter and the suspension has been rejiggered in an attempt to make the riding position more comfy.
Bosch's Cornering ABS system is a worthy upgrade for any bike, allowing a much wider range of ham-fisted lever grabbing mid-corner without letting you lose the front or stand the bike up.
The hydraulic clutch now has a "softer" feel, and the lever is adjustable. The dash is also upgraded, with better switchgear, a gear position indicator and a fuel gauge – and since there's already an IMU in the bike now to inform the ABS system, the indicators are now self-canceling, as the bike now knows exactly what's happening in terms of lean angle, so it knows when you've left a corner.
The headlight is perhaps the most visible upgrade, since it's now got a big black X running through it (a nod, of course, to 70s-era race tape) and an angel eye-style LED daytime running light.
The multimedia system is a nice touch for connected riders, offering smartphone integration for media, phone call and intercom information and control. You can even read text messages on your dash. Mind you, the Bluetooth module is an optional extra.
Beyond that, it's seems the 803cc desmodromic V-twin engine is unchanged, making the same 73 hp (54 kW) it used to, although hopefully with a calmer delivery than the first Scramblers, which had a bit too much bite in first and second gear for our liking.
Together with this mild and sensible update, Ducati has doubled down on its hipster-focused marketing strategy with some exceptionally cringeworthy copy. Brace yourself.
"It's fair to say that it's no mere motorcycle, it's a veritable lifestyle. Free-spirited, go-getting and non-conformist, open to other cultures and styles, Ducati Scrambler has created a world – the 'Land of Joy' – where aficionados can share their experiences and ideals. A world in which the protagonists are not bikes or performance but people and their passions: music, cinema, art, photography, street food."
There's a hashtag – #joyvolution – where riders are supposed to start sharing pictures of their favorite fishbowl helmets, deconstructed lattes and pulled pork slaws. And a 24/7 stream of music custom curated for scrambling to, on the Scrambler Land of Joy website.
Now, it's fair to say the original ad campaign was even worse, and that the Scrambler's runaway success in 2015 was a gigantic boon for Ducati that nobody really saw coming. But boy, does this cheese and ham feel tired in 2018. And you can bet your bottom dollar anyone who owns one of these things is about to get texts from their riding buddies saying "how's the Joyvolution going, buddy? Joyvolving along nicely?"
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