2016 EICMA Milan saw a lot of revelations that is going to change the way we bike. Modern and sophisticated packages that is one above the other. Ducati’s stable was also a busy bee with it showcasing the lineup for 2017 and included are two models that will join their badass Scrambler series that add the missing pieces to the puzzle. A gleaming and stylish Café-Racer and an off-road capable Desert Sled that we couldn’t help but get obsessed with them already. “Scrambler is no longer just a model, but now it is a brand,” announced Ducati CEO Claudio Domenicali.

Till today, Ducati has been making Scramblers which could have been abused but it pleased the urban way and masses and hence they became glorified street bikes. With five models in the lineup, this Desert Sled is finally the machine that is ready to get its feet properly dirty. Reinforced for off-road duty, this Desert Sled is most certainly a Scrambler-esque iteration of the South-West California and the Mexico’s Baja scenes in the ’60s and ’70s. They were fitted with engines displacing upwards of 500cc and stripped off anything that is nonsensical to run on roads or no roads. Featured on these were off-road tyres, wheels and spokes and were given modified suspension systems and engine skid plates; a trademark indispensable in shielding the bike from rocks, stones and the unforgiving desert terrain – that gave the Desert Sled its name.

STYLING

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Giving away the off-roader style is the marauding frame and suspension along with the 19 inch spoked wheels. Evidently the bike is surrounded with features that highlights the bike’s capability such as type-approved headlight mesh guard, the high mudguards, chain guard and, of course, the engine skid plate. The ground breaking body trim is basically just the teel teardrop fuel tank with interchangeable side panels sporting the Urban Enduro inherited logo. The fact that the engine, exhaust with dual tail pipe and the suspension is totally exposed is why this Scrambler gets the raw factor from the design team. Kudos to them.

Overall Dimension

Length2200mm
Width940mm
Height1213mm
Wheelbase1505mm
Seat height860mm
Wet weight207kg

POWERTRAIN

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It is really a commendable job done by Ducati to have managed to spin the same engine and create that many Scramblers each having their own character. The loveable air cooled 803cc motor is bolted on the steel trellis frame and the Euro 4 compliant engine develops 75bhp at 8,250 rpm and 68Nm of peak torque at 5,750 rpm. Although it is the same motor, riders can expect this Desmodue engine to deliver simple and accessible bands of power on any terrain. It promises smoother delivery of power and faster throttle response, especially at lower rpm, than ever before.

Specification

Capacity cc803
Bore/ Stroke mm88/66
Output75bhp@8250rpm
Torque69Nm@5720rpm
TypeAir-cooled, 4-stroke, L Twin-cylinder, DOHC
Valves per cylinder2
Clutch typeAPTC wet multiplate clutch with mechanical control
Transmission6-speed

RIDE AND HANDLING

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Let us now get to talking about the business end of this motorcycle. Fairly high saddle of 860mm, the wide tapered bars of motocross style, suspension with extended travel and footpegs positioned higher for clearance gives the ride a new and demanding position which one needs to get used to. Holding everything together is the beefier frame which is reinforced to cope up with demanding stresses caused due to aggressive riding which makes this bike unique.

Worthy of its attributes, the Desert Sled gets a tough 46 mm upside-down Kayaba fork that is fully adjustable with greatly increased travel of 200mm with preload and rebound damping. The highest suspension travel possibly on any street scrambler on the market. The rear also gets Kayaba shock with fully adjustable preload and the same 200 mm travel which makes this a versatile piece of suspension equipment giving you oodles of comfort and control, even when you decide to leave the asphalt behind.

Perfect for soft off road adventure riding, the spoked wheels of the Desert Sled is pressed to rubber by Pirelli Scorpio Rally STR tyres that is designed for performance of an all-terrain mode setup with that of an endure street one. Beefy 120/70 R19 at the front and 70/60 R 17 at the rear gives you a confident ride across anything you can possibly ride on.

Braking system mounted on this bike is the promising 4-piston Brembo M4.32B monoblock calliper with radial attachment that bites the single 330mm disc at the front and a 245 mm at the rear. Bosch 9.1 MP ABS system with pressure sensor will provide you enough punch and tech to keep you safe.

PRICE

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You can get your hands on this Scramblers for a price tag of close to ? 8 lakhs although it is not official. Ducati India will bring this bike to India as a completely built-up (CBU) units from their Thailand factory. The Desert Sled is available in two colours, Red Dusk and White Mirage.

COMPETITION

When this enter the market, the Desert Sled will be locking horns against the Triumph Street Scrambler. Triumph has tried very hard in making this Scrambler the only scrambler you will think of, for the time being atleast. The Street Twin has laid excellent groundwork for this Scrambler to be a success especially catering to the new breed of riders wanting a little more adventure up their sleeves.

Triumph Street Scrambler

1. Triumph Street Scrambler

The mill remains similar to the Street twin models including the Street Cup that boasts a ‘high torque’ 900cc motor capable of 54bhp @5900 rpm. Not much one would say but is enough to wind around in the urban city more comfortably. The torque figures are in the range of 80Nm at 3230 rpm which is significantly higher compared to other scramblers around. The firing interval with this charismatic 2700 is optimized for smooth and linear power delivery and is specifically tuned to provide the rider a better power band to play with.

VERDICT

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Coming to think of it, judging it will not be fair unless we get to ride it. It was surprising really for the fact it took this long for Ducati to come up with a proper Scrambler. It was the missing spark in the lineup and hopefully will give other manufacturers a serious considerations to their scrambler instincts as these bikes are the reminiscent to the way motorcycling was all about – freedom.