The funny thing about custom motorcycles is how often they end up looking so similar. When MotoCorsa, the top selling Ducati dealership in the nation, was asked to be a part of Ducati’s Custom Rumble contest, they wanted to put the “custom” back in custom. Meet the Hello Kitty-themed Scrambler, and boy is it... different.
Portland might seem like a funny place for the best selling Ducati dealership, but the Hello Scrambler is just the latest piece of evidence that their team does things a little differently. I caught up with the guys for the full story.
Originally I’d just planned to write about the bike but, as should have been no surprise, a bike with this much character has some real characters behind it. I knew I’d be printing his answers as an interview after he answered the first question.
Sean MacDonald: First things first, WHY DID YOU DO THIS TO A SCRAMBLER?!
MotoCorsa’s Shahin Alvandi: Because motorcycling is inherently a spirited lifestyle, which tends to draw in the outlaw, color-out-of-the-borders, free-spirited side of those of us who pay our dues by riding in the hectic world of day-to-day commuting. Yes, it’s a choice for most of us, but no
part of it dictates that it ought to be a boring one. While we understand the innately attractive draw of the shiny black paint atop mounds of chrome powered by super-turbo-nitro shot fire breathing engines (we feel it too!), we also completely get the desire to stand the fuck out.
That’s our specialty: standing out.
Why pink? Because fuck you; that’s why. Have you seen the visceral reactions the bike gets from everyone, both good and bad? It’s mouth-watering. We’ve seen people give it the thumbs up and seen people flip it the bird. Good! We like it that way! Your matching Klimgear mounted on top of the latest ADV-SUV asphalt guzzler gets lost in a sea of knobby tires while our beloved Hello Scrambler stands out like a pink beacon of hope that there’s still a chance you can be a rebel on a motorcycle.
SM: How’d you guys come up with the idea?
SA: Arun Sharma, the leader of this motley crew at MotoCorsa, had the idea of a pink bike first. It got shit-canned as soon as it was suggested, too. That’s how neck-deep most of us were in the shiny/carbon fiber/titanium/blackpaint mindset.
“Let’s do plaid surfaces with organic sustainable paints and rubber made out of reused rubbers that were once recycled,” or so the suggestion polls went in the initial meetings. The idea of making a bike look as Pacific Northwestern as possible was tossed around for a week or two. Then it just seemed boring.
“Let’s do a hill climber! That’ll do it!” “Let’s do a side-car rig!” and so it went on and on, in circles. Arun stood by, watching the hurricane of brainstorms clash and smash our heads back and forth until it came full circle back to the pink bike. There was a bit of worry about the motorcycling community pulling a full on Frankenstein story, regaled with pitchforks and fires ready to burn us down the ground for defacing the very dream of motorcycling, by painting a Ducati pink!
There were many late night after-work hours which were contributed by the boys and girls of the parts and service department, along with their better half partners who contributed to every single detail. Ultimately, we wanted the Scrambler to look like it was designed by a committee of a major toy manufacturer that wanted it to be sales-ready at the local Toys R’ Us, and we hit that nail right on the head.
SM: What’s the Custom Rumble contest?
SA: Ducati Scrambler team came up with the Custom Rumble contest to get Ducati dealerships across the country to compete for the title of “Best Ducati Scrambler Custom” via their social media’s specialty built Instagram site @CUSTOMRUMBLE. We think ours will stand out a bit.
SM: Now that it’s all done, do you wish you’d done something a little less garish or did the feedback cement this as the right choice?
SA: A customer walked in with his 2 year old little girl and she lit up and ran to it and just HAD to climb up on the thing. She loved the loud squeeze horn on the handlebar and the training wheels on the back and everything she came into contact with on the bike.
I think there’s a long line of Corsa Crew who want to ride the thing. We all have aspirations of grandeur on the bike. One wants to do a rolling burnout. One wants to wheelie it up and down the fashionable NW 23rd St in Portland’s shopping district. One wants to ship it out to Florida, this coming March, and take it to Daytona Bike Week.
Mostly, we all want to be around it because it gets such strong reactions from every single pair of eyes that lay on it. It’s an ice- and mold-breaker and, in typical MotoCorsa and Arun fashion, it blew everyone’s idea of what a motorcycle ought to look and behave like out of the water—and that’s exactly what we were trying to achieve.
So, while everyone else touts high-power, low weight machines that dazzles the wanna-be cool guys out there, we are making the true believers giggle and the non-believers shake their heads in ridicule – and isn’t that exactly what motorcycling has always been about? Nonconformity!
SM: I love it, if I make it up to the One Show this year, save me a ride on it.
If you don’t like this bike, you hate fun.