2018 Ducati Scrambler 1100: Likes and Dislikes
The Ducati Scrambler 1100 is the new bike on the block from the Italian manufacturer. It's a larger motorcycle in dimension than the Scrambler 800 and it intends to be the luxurious, calmed-down flagship for the popular Ducati line of retro-bikes. See our exhaustive first ride story for all the details on the Scrambler 1100. In sum, the Scrambler 1100 uses a 1,079cc 90-degree V-twin (or L-twin if you prefer) that is based on the Monster 1100's engine with small but important changes. The ride-by-wire engine makes 86PS and 88Nm and Ducati has designed the torque to peak early and stay abundant. This changes the nature of the 1100's performance from the 800 and brings more of it. But they didn't stop there. The frame is all-new, every model has an adjustable suspension and all of the equipment is of a higher order, material and finish. The truly impressive bit is the Scrambler 1100's electronics package. It begins with three riding modes and four levels of traction control. But then Ducati endowed the Scrambler 1100 with an IMU and the Bosch 9MP ABS system which means it now has cornering ABS. I got to ride this new Ducati briefly at media preview and here are the things that I loved and didn't like so much.
Like: The feel of the Scrambler 1100
It's very hard to describe the feel of the motorcycle. But the Scrambler 1100, even for a short ride, has a distinct taste. It's isn't slow and the power delivery is, at the very least, robust. But it always feels like it isn't working very hard. Or like it has the luxury of being able to perform well without having to work for it. You know, like that annoying kid in class who left the play field last even on exam days but finished first in class anyway. Except for the fact that the Scrambler 1100 is, through and through, your friend.
Like: Equipment levels
When Ducati set out to make a flagship Scrambler, they didn't hold back. But there is a challenge. The naked, simple, retro format doesn't allow for much room. You can't use carbon fibre, a Ducati staple, because it isn't retro. You can't put screen, stickers and many other farkles either. So Ducati upped both, the hardware and software spec and they did it rather well. So adjustable suspension, Brembo monoblocs, riding modes and ABS? Oh very yes. And cornering ABS too? Well, yes. That's one astutely specced motorcycle, the Scrambler 1100.
Like: Design and finish
But even the specification cannot complete the package because the idea of the Scrambler 1100 is a very specific one. To take the best parts of the 800 and turn it up to 11. And that includes styling. I think they've nailed it. The 1100 looks like the Scrambler for sure. But while on the Milan show floor I wasn't very impressed. Out in the real world, it looks great. The rounder, fatter tank, a more generous seat, fatter forks and tyres... it adds up. Like a scrawny teen that fills out and grows up into a handsome/beautiful adult. The touches of aluminium (Special) or painted bits (Sport) complete a very handsome retro-naked look.
Dislike: Stock suspension setup
Unfortunately, this Scrambler 1100 trades in the one facility that's available to an extent in the Scrambler 800, and is the core focus of the Desert Sled - off-road cred. The 1100 likes good roads to be under its Pirelli MT60 tyres and the suspension setup is surprisingly stiff. After some initial arguing with it, I actually preferred the Sport model's Ohlins to the other two's Kayaba forks, all three bikes have a fully adjustable front suspension. The Ohlins is able to suppress smaller, sharp bumps better than the Kayaba unit. The adjustability is crucial because as stock, the ride is pretty stiff and on really bad roads, while the forks absorb big hits well enough, they don't do such a great job of the smaller bumps and lumps.
Dislike: Perhaps it's a little too calm for Indian customers
The Ducati Scrambler 1100 gets underseat exhausts and a new trellis frame along with a sportier riding position as compared to the smaller Scramblers
My only worry about the nature of the Scrambler 1100 is that this is a mature rider's motorcycle. As Ducati likes to say, for those who want it all, but have had their fill of ultimate performance. We don't have too many of those in India, I think. We are a young market, still discovering the joys (and pitfalls) of ferocious motorcycle performance. The Scrambler 1100 might be a bit too mild for most of us from that perspective, although it surely is a stellar retro-naked.
Dislike: It's expensive!
And one of the reasons for that feeling will be the price. The bike is fully-featured but with the base model starting at Rs 10.9 lakh and the top model sitting at Rs 11.42 lakh, both ex-showroom, the Scrambler 1100 promises a mature flavour of a simple joy for a rather high price tag. Ducati themselves have, for example, the 939 Hypermotard which is considered too skinny and perhaps too tall by many, but it certainly is the zesty, youthful performance package that is more our flavour.
Also see: Ducati 2018 Scrambler 1100 first ride review