The Scrambler Ducati Desert Sled has a whole lot more presence than any scrambler before it. But, even though it belongs to the Scrambler family, it’s a completely different motorcycle than the other four variants of the Scrambler.
This Italian beauty is a proper retro off-road motorcycle, and it’s the only bike of its kind that’s available globally. There’s no other fully functional retro classic off-roading motorcycle currently in production, and that makes the Scrambler Ducati Desert Sled extra special. In fact, the Desert Sled is the first true homage to the Scrambler name.
The Desert Sled now gets a KYB suspension system. The front fork has been replaced by a chunkier 46mm one and the rear shock also gets KYB’s enduro aluminium unit. Both are fully adjustable and both get longer travel specifically for off-road riding. Ducati has also reinforced the frame and extended the swingarm. To further enhance its off-road capability and look, it also gets a new headlamp grill, new mudguards, a new posh exhaust system, a bash-plate, grippy pegs with removable rubber inserts, a new larger 19-inch front wheel, and both the front and rear tyre widths have been slimmed down to help the rubber cut through the rough stuff. The overall build-quality is also very good.
The engine is still the same 803cc unit, but the throttle response has been softened. It’s not an engine that will excite riders who like to go fast, but it’s got fantastic range. The refinement levels are also great, and it’s pretty nice to ride in the city.
It scores incredibly well in terms of design, and it’s got the ‘oomph’ for a good X-Factor score. But, the Desert Sled is focused on pleasing a niche customer base who want something exotic and purposeful for adventure riding. It’s certainly a special bike, but it won’t appeal to everyone.