★★★★★ | Ducati 1100 Scrambler Sport
With the decline is sports bike sales, manufacturers have had to look elsewhere. They have had to find more creative ways to sell motorcycles and one of the ways has been to develop categories such as adventure and retro bikes. That’s brilliant for me, I love both.
Ducati has arguably one of the most distinctive retro models on the market at the moment with the scrambler range of motorcycles. They have created a stylish, alluring range that is modern with a provenance that can be traced back to the Ducati Scramblers of the ’60s & ’70s, for many of us these were the bikes of our youth. It’s all in the genes.
The Scrambler 1100 range consists of; standard 1100, the Special and the Sport. Our test bike was the sport which means it had fully-adjustable Öhlins suspension all ‘round, very sexy.
Ducati has fitted fully adjustable 48mm USD forks at the front and a fully adjustable Öhlins unit at the rear. Both are superb and needed little or no adjustment apart from a sniff more preload at the rear as I am probably best described as ‘well built’.
For the Sport, Weight is up very slightly from the standard bike’s 186kg to 189kg, probably due to the Öhlins suspension which is well worth it.
Brakes are excellent, very progressive and incredibly capable. They lack a bit of initial bite but this is typical of modern bikes with ABS. Ducati has fitted twin 320mm discs with Brembo radial monobloc callipers at the front and a 245mm disc, with single-piston at the rear. As you would expect, cornering ABS is standard equipment.
Styling is a real focus of this bike, we’ll come back to this point shortly. A steel teardrop fuel tank with interchangeable aluminium side panels dominates your view. It’s unique and looks great in my opinion. Wheels are machine-finished 10-spoke, flat-track style and really work for me.
With the comfortable, flat seat, wide bars and retro styling, the Scrambler is gorgeous. It’s thoroughly modern but beautifully retro. Simply, the best of both worlds.
I even found myself wearing different riding gear to suit the style of the bike. Tucano Urbano Sneaker Marty motorcycle boots, Richa Infinity 2 jacket and Richa black motorcycle jeans. This definitely suited the style of bike and riding and was really comfortable.
Ducati has used the 1100cc (1,079 cc) air-cooled L-twin engine which has been around for a while now but is dripping with character and is a punchy engine.
As is usual with modern motorcycles, there is a full suite of electronics to keep us safe. Traction Control, 3 Riding Modes (Active, Journey and City), Ducati Safety Pack (Cornering ABS + DTC- traction control), RbW (fly by wire throttle).
I never changed the rider modes. It doesn’t make crazy power so I just left it in the top mode, Active.
Off-road I think it might help to soften the power to gain traction. By the way, the underside of scrambler sport is completely unprotected, so if you do go off-road, be mindful.
Power is a relatively modest 85bhp and 88Nm of torque. This coupled with the retro styling did concern me a little before I picked the bike up. I was worried it could be a little form over function. I didn’t need to bother, it’s a great bike.
I’m not sure how Ducati have done it. Or even if it is intentional, but the Scrambler is dripping with character. In the morning, when you first fire it up, it has a reluctance that our bikes of old used to have. After a few moments it’s perfectly on song but, first thing, it’s like waking a grumpy teenager. This is not a complaint. In a world where everything works perfectly all the time, it’s a welcome characteristic and makes the bike feel alive.
While we’re on the subject of character, Ducati has done a great job with the standard exhausts. They bark and pop and generally make a lovely noise. I don’t know how they have done it with ever-tightening legislation, but good for you Ducati.
What’s it like to ride? It’s really good fun. The gearbox is excellent, with easy clutchless up changes through the ‘box. The suspension is very good and the bike loves to lean.
Brake hard for a roundabout, pitch the bike on its side in 2nd gear and accelerate hard out again and you’ll be smiling from ear to ear. Leant over, under power, it’s very sure-footed, even on the Pirelli MT60RS semi knobbly tyres. The bike doesn’t move around or feel twitchy at all. This is a very friendly bike to ride at any speed.
On a motorway, it’s fine up to the legal limit or a bit above. On a private road we got it up to 120mph but after about 90mph, with no wind protection, it gets a bit hard work.
Where this bike comes alive is everywhere else! B-roads, A-roads, city centres, everywhere. It a hooligan but is made to make you smile.
The throttle response is excellent and nicely progressive and the wide bars felt a little high at first, but after a few miles, you feel completely at home.
One of the key features for me is that It’s very friendly. The Scrambler 1100 Sport doesn’t have massive power, but easily enough to have a lot of fun. It is great at low-speed manoeuvring, it’s comfortable, it’s a bit of a hooligan but completely predictable and it looks amazing. What’s not to like. This is a massive win in my book, I’m a big fan.
Weight: 189kg (dry)
Fuel capacity: 15 litres
Front suspension: Öhlins 48mm USD fully adjustable forks
Rear suspension: Öhlins fully adjustable single shock
Engine: 1079cc air-cooled 4 valve L-twin
Front brakes: 2x320mm discs, 4-piston Monobloc Brembo calliper with cornering ABS
Rear brake: 245mm disc, single-piston calliper
Seat height: 810mm
Price: Scrambler range starts at £10,795