When the Ducati Scrambler Icon was introduced in the Philippines in 2014, it rocked the local motorcycle market like a magnitude-10 earthquake. In a short span after it was launched, this entry-level, retro-style Italian breed became a big hit. Despite pricing that befits a premium European brand, the Ducati Scrambler's sexy styling and impressive performance gave the Italian icon the license to mark its territory in the motorcycle industry.
Two years later then came its 400cc version, the Ducati Scrambler Sixty2, which is also making waves in the local motorcycle scene. Not even the price adjustments on the bigger Scrambler drove away the retro fanatics, so Ducati continued to monopolize this niche segment.
Meanwhile, some motorcycle companies are now in a mad scramble coming up with their own version. Is it too late for them to join the fray?
Yamaha doesn’t think so.
Riding on the positive reviews from the international motorcycle media, the Yamaha Y-Zone dealership at the Greenfield District in Mandaluyong City unveiled its first batch of eight XSR900 retro motorbikes last Wednesday.
Like little boys who can’t wait to get hold of their priced toys, excited owners who were able to secure a unit queued up at Y-Zone during the launch, and wasted no time in processing their motorbike's documents to be able to immediately ride them home.
Dubbed by Yamaha as a “sports heritage motorbike,” the XSR900 shares the same 847cc, three-cylinder, water-cooled engine and platform with that of the Japanese brand’s MT-09 naked sportbike. With this, expect a tight match between the XSR900 and the Ducati Scrambler in terms of engine power, since the latter is equipped with an 803cc, L-Twin Desmodromic, air-cooled powerplant.
Compared to the MT-09, the tangible changes on the XSR900 include the new round headlamp, vintage-design seat, old-school tank shape, round instrument panel, handlebar, and round taillight.
A big plus for the Yamaha scrambler version is the slipper wet clutch for seamless gear shifting. Just like the MT-09, the XSR900 also boasts of three ride modes and traction control, and it is here where the Ducati Scrambler fell short.
With the Scrambler Sixty2 around, it is not a remote possibility that the XSR700, which is Yamaha's scrambler version of the MT-07, will soon come into the picture, too.
The new Yamaha XSR900 is priced at P579,000 vis-à-vis the Ducati Scrambler that goes for P720,000.
Do you think the Yamaha's sport heritage bike is ready to dethrone the Ducati Scrambler?