The International Six Day Trial was established in 1913 as an endurance competition for motorcycles over several days and thousands of miles. As the first event was held in England on several different surfaces, this solidified the discipline of off-road racing on two wheels. From that moment onward, riders began to demand bikes capable of traversing increasingly more difficult terrain. The Scrambler 250 stands as one of the early examples of a motorcycle manufacturer building a dedicated bike with off-roading in mind. Common for the period were kits available for purchase to increase the abilities of the bike over rough ground, so motorcycle companies began to recognize the need to offer something from the factory.
Ducatis efforts to adapt the 250 platform for this hardy purpose involved several chassis modifications. To increase the robustness of the frame, various components are beefed up with an additional bit of frame connecting the two rails on either side of the rear wheel. Additionally, the open belly of the bike was capped with a rudimentary skid plate in order to protect the motor from being gashed by rocks. Another interesting aspect that displays how early this bike is in the overall development of offroading is the low slung exhaust. The engineers involved clearly did not envision this bike entering a body of water with any sort of depth. There was still much to learn and adapt for Ducati, and this is apparent within their first attempt here, but it makes for a fascinating display in the progression of off-road bike development. It is also important to keep in mind that in this period motocross was non-existent and the primary goal was to adapt a bike for terrain and woods navigation. That being said, the smaller stature of this bike and its single-cylinder motor serves as a direct early precursor to the motocross bikes that would later be developed.
Fitted with the venerable single-cylinder “narrow case” motor, this advanced little unit features a single overhead cam. Nevertheless, the motor makes a more than respectable 18hp at 7,500 rpm and is fed into a 4-speed transmission. Both wheels are fitted with sizable drum brakes that are more than capable of slowing down this 240lbs Ducati.
The 1964 Ducati Scrambler 250, #84653, offered here is a fine example of Ducati’s early foray into the off-road marketplace. A recipient of a thorough restoration, it appears in remarkable condition today. What can be described as a 100 point effort, little was overlooked in returning this bike back to showroom new condition. Highly accurate, one can notice the use of proper hardware, an off-road air cleaner, an external choke on the handlebar, and an adjustable steering damper. Further illustrating the singular focus of the motorcycle, the bike lacks any sort of instrumentation. The overall finish has a jewelry-like quality. There is little evidence that the bike was modified over the years and positively, there is a lack of gussets for passenger pegs. This Scrambler is received out of long-term ownership during which the meticulous restoration was carried out. Post restoration, this scrambler was started up and ridden around the owner’s neighborhood to check proper functioning at which point the tank was drained and dried out for storage. Getting this beautiful little scrambler running and riding again should be as simple as filling the tank with gas and few kicks of the starter.
Seldom seen at vintage offroading events, it would surely be well received at any such gathering. Being Italian, the bike does not suffer from a lack of style and will surely draw the attention of those in and outside of the hobby. Such a finely restored Ducati will make for a fine addition to any collection.
- Exterior Colour Blue