2017 Ducati Scrambler Desert Sled Fast Facts, Photos & Video
For 2015, Ducati introduced the Scrambler, and it seemed to be the penicillin shot that the motorcycle industry needed. Relatively affordable, manageable, and approachable, the Scrambler satisfied a huge amount of riders, and even better, potential riders.
But there was something missing–a Scrambler that tuned into the off-road Scrambler lifestyle that came out of the 70s, and wore the Scrambler title with pride. Ducati has seemingly answered that call with the Desert Sled, a true to form on- and off-road machine. Pricing is a bit higher than the others, the MSRP set at $11,395. Until we get our grubby hands on it, we’ll hit you with the fast facts.
1. It’s the real deal – the Desert Sled is ready to shred off-road with spoke wheels. A key component to the Desert Sled’s looks and off-road potential are the wire-spoke wheels, 19 inch in the front and 17 inch in the rear. That’s a far cry from the wheel that we’ve seen in the piror Scrambler line, but a larger diameter front wheel should allow a lot more stability off-road, while also dealing with ruts, rocks and gullies. When it comes to looks, I think this is where Ducati knocked it out of the park; the gold rims give it a classic vibe that is still completely relevant today.
2. On or off-road, you’ll be ready to go with suitable tires. Off the showroom floor, the 2017 Ducati Desert Sled will arrive equipped with Pirelli Scorpion Rally STR 120 front, and 170 rear tires. You’ll be able to ride your favorite canyon road, and hit some trails if you suddenly feel the need to become closer to nature.
3. More than paying homage, the Desert Sled has all the hallmarks of 60s and 70s Scrambler style. Between the classic front mudguard, headlight grill, and skid-plate, it seems that Ducati designers did their homework and tapped into that Steve McQueen mojo that permeated Southern California popular culture in days gone by. All of that is accentuated by the white, red and gold trimmings found on the Ducati Scrambler Desert Sled.
4. Suspension woes be damned–the Desert Sled has travel and adjustability to match. Featuring 7.9 inches of front wheel travel, the Desert Sled with feature 46mm, fully adjustable forks. That’s noteworthy because previous scrambles didn’t allow for such adjustability, and off-road minded machines need all the help they can get when it comes to suspension. In the rear the Ducati Scrambler Desert Sled has a Kayaba rear shock, complete with pre-load and rebound adjustment.
5. The engine remains the same, but that’s not always a bad thing. The 2-valve, air-cooled, 803cc powerplant is arguably one of the most accessible twin engines on the market. Producing a reported 75 horsepower @ 8250 rpm and 50 ft/lbs. of torque @ 5750 rpm, the loveable 803cc has more than enough power to scoot around town or carve some canyon roads while doing a bit of traveling in between. Though the 803cc engine remains unchanged, it should be more than enough to get your heart racing.
6. Familiar chassis dimensions will be found on the Desert Sled. Sometimes hopping from one bike to the next can be a bit of a shock to the system, but despite the Ducati Desert Sled’s renewed focus, there are many similarities to the Scrambler Icon in terms of chassis dimensions. Both bikes share the same 24° of rake, and 4.4 inches of trail. However, the Desert Sled’s wheelbase is substantially longer, coming in an 59.3 inches compared to the Icon’s 56.9 inches.
7. Stopping power will be available when needed. Borrowed from the Scrambler line will be the same single 330mm rotor, and 245 mm rotor in the rear. Adequate? Completely, if other Scrambler’s are a point of reference.
8. The little scrambler has grown; both in height and weight. In stock trim, the Desert Sled will have a seat height of 33.9 inches. Shorter riders shouldn’t fret; this is a narrow twin motorcycle we’re talking about so it still should be accessible, even if you happen to have a shorter inseam. Most likely thanks to its off-road trimmings, the Desert Sled now sits at a claimed wet weight of 456 lbs.
Ducati seems to be focusing in on the potential of the Scrambler with the Desert Sled, providing a bike to match the personality and needs of every rider out there. And if this particular reviewer is honest, I’m quite enamored with the looks, as well as the potential of the sporty little Desert Sled. But let’s put it to the reader–you’ve heard what we think, what are your thoughts?
2017 Ducati Scrambler Desert Sled Photo Gallery