’66 Ducati 250 Scrambler
Back in 1981 I fell in love with a beautiful black and gold Ducati Darmah. This beauty was sitting on the showroom floor at Rissman Motors in Albuquerque, I couldn’t take my eyes, or drool off of it. I left the shop with a deep yearning in my heart for a black and gold Ducati. A few months later while wasting time in Rissman Motors, again, I wandered outside to look at used bikes. Mr. Rissman came out from the back of the shop wheeling an old Ducati Scrambler. It was in pretty good shape overall, well used but not abused. Around Albuquerque there were plenty of places to ride a ‘Scrambler’ off road. A ‘Scrambler’ is not a true off road motorcycle, generally they were designed as street bikes with a few modifications such tires, fenders, the seat and maybe suspension, to allow the rider to venture off on a dirt road somewhere. In the sixties many were modified for off road racing, I rode a Triumph 650 in the desert a few times (what a beast). Scramblers evolved into ‘Enduro’s and ‘Enduro’s’ evolved in what we now call ‘Dual Sports’.
Back to the Ducati Scrambler in Albuquerque. I was really interested in the bike. I asked Mr. Rissman lot’s of questions, walked around it half a dozen times, sat on it and was asking myself if I could convince the wife to let me add another motorcycle to the already too cramped garage. I had a good dirt bike, so I couldn’t use that as a reason, I had a couple of good street bikes so I didn’t need it for transportation, it didn’t need much in the way of restoration and I still had a project bike that I hadn’t touched in two years…so how was I going to do this?
The next day, I rode my motorcycle to work and while I was supposed to be out working, I stopped by the motorcycle shop to see if I could finagle a ride on the little Ducati. It didn’t take any more than asking to go for a short ride. “Ride it all you want, I close at 5”. I did the rest of my sales calls that day on that Ducati Scrambler. In all honesty, I didn’t do many sales calls and when I did have to go into the office to get a demo tape for a client I just happened to pull into the parking lot at the same time as my boss. He looked at the bike, looked at me, looked at the bike and said he liked this one better than my other bike and walked into the station. Whew…
Well, I didn’t buy the bike but have ridden a couple over the years and each time I do it brings back good memories and a small flicker of desire to look for one that needs some love. Today on ebay I found a really nice little ’66 that is in really good condition and just needs a couple of things to make it original. First the good stuff, the owner has put quite a lot of work and new parts on the bike; battery, chain, handlebars, fork seals and more. The bike has been painted correctly (the logo and stripes are painted on, not stickers), it’s got the correct tires and according to the owner “runs and drives very nice”. Here’s what is wrong, not really wrong, but if you want it to be original you will need to replace a couple of things. The head and tail light aren’t the originals (but they work) and you need the muffler. The muffler really doesn’t do much but it’s going to be easier on your ears and, your neighbors. The owner has posted a video of the bike starting and running on his ebay listing. I think this is a neat little bike that will either fit well into a collection or just be plain old fun to ride. Oh, one thing about these Ducati singles…change the oil…a lot and don’t forget to clean out the sludge trap. Click on the pics for the video and more info.