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Ducati Scrambler: The Birth of a Lifestyle Brand Continues at Huntington Beach, California

While nearly everyone in the industry is wringing their hands in worry about the future of motorcycling, and the seemingly dim prospects of bringing Millennials into the fold, Ducati is busy pursuing its own strategy.

That strategy seems to be working. Ducati Scrambler is now a brand of its own … by intention.  It may sound a bit corny, but here is the description on the Scrambler web site:

The Land of Joy – Creative, youthful and spirited, the new Ducati Scrambler is more than just a motorcycle, it is a new brand that enhances creativity, self-expression and the sharing of positive emotions. It is a universe of fun, joy and freedom made of motorcycles, accessories and apparel.”

The Super Hooligans race on a tight oval.

Last weekend, the Land of Joy spilled over into Southern California.  Specifically, Ducati Scrambler was an active, and prominent, participant in the Surf City Blitz punk rock festival, held together with the Moto Beach Classic. In some ways similar to the Wheels and Waves festival held in Europe, the Moto Beach Classic combined motorcycling events and exhibitions with the surfing lifestyle.

While Ducati offered test rides on Scrambler models near the Pacific Coast Highway, behind the paid entrance to the event it set up shop to interact with attendees … creating custom bandannas and showing off Scrambler models, including one recently used in the Venom movie. The 40,000 attendees were an eclectic mix, including young surfers, aging punk rockers, and everything in-between. The in-between included motorcycle enthusiasts of all ages, shapes and sizes.

This Ducati Scrambler was featured in the movie Venom

Several custom bikes were on display, both Scramblers and other brands.

In addition to test rides available from Ducati Scrambler and other brands, the motorcycle aspect of the event included Super Hooligan flat track racing, drag racing, mini bike racing, stunt shows and custom motorcycle exhibitions.

If this seems like a mishmash of loosely organized activity, that would be in keeping with the punk rock/surfer/motorcyclist vibe that permeated the whole weekend (yes, it was two days).

Ducati’s participation with Scrambler in events like these is part of the arc it is following since the birth of the Scrambler brand in 2015. This is about aligning Scrambler with fun and … yes, joy. Sharing the stage, so to speak, with the irreverent punk rockers from Pennywise, Bad Religion and Social Distortion, among others, was deliberate in the sense that Ducati appears to be positioning the Scrambler brand as an expression of rebelliousness, i.e. f*!k it all, we’re just going to have fun.

Ducati’s North American Public Relations Manager Scott Shaffstall demonstrates how to live in the Land of Joy.

Whatever the case, Scramblers are selling, and selling well enough to encourage Ducati to push onward. It turns out the Land of Joy will also include restaurants, riding schools, podcasts and Scrambler customs events and competitions. Fortunately for motorcycle enthusiasts, the bikes are good and, indeed, quite fun to ride. Take a look at our recent review of the revised 2019 Scrambler Icon, as well as last year’s Scrambler 1100.

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15 Comments

  1. Grover says:

    Lifestyle used to be how riders classified one another.You know, cafe racer, squid, biker, motorcyclist etc. Now the manufacturers are trying to create new classifications and hoping you’ll be attracted to it. Synthetic categories that do all the thinking for you.

  2. hh says:

    These look like nice bikes but a stop gap. The current performance edge of what are called electric bicycles are speeds up to 50 mph and range of 120 miles. When that edge moves just a bit further and the bulk of bikes behind it come in at a lower cost then there is the future…unless governance steps in and says you will be hobbled by difficult permit tests and insurance…

  3. Peter Harris says:

    If you look at the bike with the gold frame, and the actual scrambler, ..there seems to be a problem. One of these is not like the other.

    When I think of freedom, I always think of “accessories”. Like wearing black, freedom is so wonderful for accessorizing. Thank you ducati and other people who will say anything for a few bucks.

  4. Mick says:

    That ad copy is downright creepy.

  5. oldjohn1951 says:

    Okay, so the “Land of Joy” sounds like a hookah party but it’s doing the job of bringing in the people and their wallets. Ducati restyles the bikes every year to some degree and the tanks alone are pallets for everyone’s imagination. The performance is great, the prices are not astronomical and the ” oh yeah–come on along with us” sales attitude sells the machines. Hopefully the target market is young enough to keep buying and growing.

  6. Stuki Moi says:

    “… enhances creativity, self-expression and the sharing of positive emotions. It is a universe of fun, joy and freedom…..”

    Reads like an LSD ad….

  7. Doc says:

    The Land of Joy slogan reminds me of something out of pre war Germany.

  8. Stan says:

    I consider the marketing of motorcycling to new people has been dismal for many decades.
    If Ducati can successfully bring new riders to motorcycling – they deserve a tremendous applause.
    Motorcycles represent discovery, freedom, exhilaration, as well as practicality and economic benefits.
    These attributes are not being promoted adequately and this must be remedied.
    Otherwise, we will lose more generations to video games, social media and cages.

  9. CrazyJoe says:

    You have to think it ain’t to expensive to set up a track and attract people to participate or spectate. To simple for some that need a 25k race bike with slicks and another 5k in track spectate bug It’s accessible. Why not street to track?

    And when are the Japanese companies going to compete. I really don’t see paying extra for an adventure over a standard. A scrambler shouldn’t cost more except like other bikes it has to keep the price of liter bikes low.

  10. Anonymous says:

    “Land of Joy”? Cirque du SoGhey.

    Look Ducati, Scramblers and Enduros were the hot ticket in the 60s and 70s because they were not only affordable but FUN. They didn’t become “cool” until people discovered them for the aforementioned reasons (see “affordable but FUN”).

    Your ad copy of “Land of Joy” reads like a bad Japanese owner’s manual from the 60s, i.e., well meaning but really stupid.

    And just in case you missed it, your Scramblers have been completely eclipsed by the new (and vastly superior) Triumph 1200 Scrambler Twiins. How did this happen?

    Triple disc brakes, longer maintenance intervals, a bigger fuel tank and TUBELESS wheels. I can guarantee that once an owner of a Ducati experiences an expensive service, there will be no more Land of Joy for them.

    • Nick says:

      While I certainly agree that the ad copy is little short of nauseating, I don’t think that Ducati’s promoting of day-to-day bikes that demand much less commitment to ‘performance’ over pleasure is a bad thing. Calling them scramblers is a bit of a misnomer, since I’d expect that very few will see dirt: something no Ducati has been suitable for since the old singles. You only have to look at the complete absence of protection for that expensive engine to realise that it never rains or gets dirty in Ducati-land!

      So, to compare the Dukes with the lardy Triumph is hardly valid apart from the name because they are intrinsically different beasts. Personally, I’d go for the Italian version every time and I’m British!

  11. Anonymous says:

    I hope they can wring as much out of that “lifestyle” as they can before the Scrambler fad wanes. That being said, they’re putting a lot of eggs in a basket whose integrity is subject to the whims of fashion.

    • Jabe says:

      HD survived this way for decades. Granted, they area struggling now.

    • PatrickD says:

      I don’t see Ducati putting ‘a lot of eggs in one basket’. Have a look at their product range and how they approach several market segments before dropping lazy clichés.

      They have an ongoing racing heritage keeps them at the cutting edge of motorcycle technology, whilst they also have a cool factor beyond any other mass manufacturer.

      Ducati keeps Monsters, Multistradas and Diavels at or near the top of their classes, and the Scramblers have tapped into a growth sector.

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