There’s a line in Apollo 13 that I will never forget: “I don’t care what it was designed to do. I care about what it CAN do!” (I’ve probably mentioned this before… maybe a few times…) I don’t know if it’s the engineer in me or what, but I have this crazy drive to find the sweet spot of efficiency; constantly searching for the ability to accomplish the most with the least amount of “stuff” or effort. There’s no one bike that can do everything you want it to do, but a few come close. Enter the Scrambler.
I caught this article this morning, an excellent match-up between two Italians and a British classic; all of which I have spoke of recently. Pitting the three off-the-shelf scramblers in a head to head competition is what many of us gear heads have been waiting for since Ducati released images of their new Scrambler. Ultimately I’m not surprised by the reviewers’ opinion of the Moto Guzzi V7, it’s good looking, and is fun around town, but overpriced for what you get. Despite the limited presence of Moto Guzzi in the U.S., they still command some respect in my book as I contest they may be considered the motorcycle manufacturer with the longest unbroken history of production (emphasis on “may”). That aside the comparison gets a bit more interesting as the review compares the seasoned Triumph against the hot new Ducati; where in lies the rub, the Ducati clearly out performs the Triumph, but at what cost?
The scrambler obsession runs deep for me; from “On Any Sunday” where Steve McQueen is competing in the dirt on otherwise street legal machines, to modern dual sport bikes, I just want a “Do-it-all” bike to handle all my local riding. We got a 1982 Honda Nighthawk from a relative recently so my wife could practice riding on. I’ve been heavily debating carving it down to a 650 scrambler, just because I can. I don’t have any big plans to take a bike older than me across the country, but for a blacked out semi-dirt worthy bike it’ll be perfect for taking to work, especially on the rainy days in the summer. At the moment the sticking point has been cost and time versus payoff; maybe someday…
I’ll let you enjoy the article for yourself, especially as I’ve ridden none of these bikes. Ultimately this is my afternoon commentary on an excellent match-up.