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Since 1999, the #1 Motorcycling Magazine for Women and the Men Who Ride with Them









Riding Italian in Harley Town—This Milwaukee Rider is Ducati Proud

Going from a Honda Rebel 250 to a Scrambler 800 Café Racer

By Meghan Stark, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
5/5/2018

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riding italian in harley town this milwaukee rider is ducati proud meghan stark
My dream bike turns out to be this 2017 Ducati Scrambler Café Racer. I love its performance, riding position, and classic look.

It took a lot of searching for me to find the right motorcycle.

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It had to be stylish, it had to be powerful, and it had to be lightweight. I wanted an aggressive riding position that would make me feel more in control of the bike. And I didn’t want to sacrifice the classic moto look for the sake of a high performing, nimble sportbike covered in fairings. I knew there had to be something that had everything I was looking for in a motorcycle.

Finally, I saw the 2017 Ducati Scrambler Café Racer, and I was sold from that moment on. 803cc, a svelte 414 pounds wet, and that sweet retro café racer style right off the showroom floor.

riding italian in harley town this milwaukee rider is ducati proud honda rebel
My first bike was this 2007 Honda Rebel, a classic little 250cc machine to get comfortable riding on the street with. Many beginning rider courses use these Hondas because they are so easy to ride.

The Rebel is light, low to the ground, has the right look, and fellow riders would get incredibly sentimental around it! Lots of people wondered why I didn’t go for a Harley-Davidson for my first bike, especially since I live in the heart of Harley territory: downtown Milwaukee.

Other than my preference for a more aggressive riding stance, the major reason I’m not calling a Harley-Davidson Sportster Iron 883 my ride is simply because of the bike’s weight. Harley makes beautiful, powerful classics, but a 564-pound motorcycle is the last thing I can imagine riding every day. Maybe in a few years I’ll be ready for a heavier machine, but for my third season, I love my Ducati. I’m still welcomed with open arms at all the bike nights around town, from the Harley Museum, Iron Horse Hotel, Garage Bar, and beyond.

riding italian in harley town this milwaukee rider is ducati proud scrambler
This is my usual stance before mounting my Scrambler—I gear up before every ride.

Now that I’ve bought my dream bike, what’s a girl to do? Make it my own. After hours of researching aftermarket parts, watching video tutorials, poring over message boards, and looking at custom bikes, I’m finally making tweaks to my own.

riding italian in harley town this milwaukee rider is ducati proud taillight
So far, I’ve streamlined the back end of the Ducati with an integrated taillight, and have brought the tank into “incognito mode” by removing the decal.

I’m looking forward to doing so much more to making the dream a reality, with a ride that is becoming an extension of my own personality. I’m becoming renowned for this bike, and I love it.

I think that’s the major distinction between a car and a motorcycle. They both get you places, but most cars are tied to your basic value system, or your “realistic side.” A motorcycle is a manifestation of your dreams, a metaphor of your identity, a symbol of optimism, and an amazing way to connect with the people and world around you.

riding italian in harley town this milwaukee rider is ducati proud scrambler 800 woman
No matter what your two-wheeled dream machine is, there’s nothing more real than the wind pushing your body and your tires pushing the pavement.

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