2019 HONDA SHADOW PHANTOM
Ducati's Scrambler line of air-cooled motorcycles has spawned some extremely lovable, beginner-friendly bikes. Previously, I'd experienced the 1100 version, which costs a lot of money, but comes with some high-end safety tech to justify its heftier price tag.
I liked that bike a lot, but this new Cafe Racer is a package that's almost too good to pass up.
The Scrambler combines the 1100's tech upgrades with the original bike's smaller, 803-cc engine. Plus, all 2019 Scramblers get the 1100's lean-sensitive, dual-channel, anti-lock brakes. That makes this an incredibly compelling package.
Usually, these bikes have low-mounted clip-on handlebars, high-mounted rear set foot controls and a long leaned-out riding position - that's the cafe racer style. Sure, this makes the bikes look sleek as all hell, but it's a very physically taxing design to ride.
The added weight on your wrists is useful for handling, keeping the front tire biting in a corner, but it also hurts after about 45 minutes. The high-mounted foot controls are great for providing more lean angle and getting your body weight down on top of the tank, but crampy legs are no fun when riding in traffic.