Ducati Scrambler 1100 first impressions

Ducati's Scrambler has grown up!

Ducati Scrambler 1100 first impressions

WE'RE out in Lisbon riding Ducati's new Scrambler 1100. It's targeted directly at existing Ducati Scrambler riders who've outgrown their 800cc models, as well as those who were tempted by a Scrambler, but were ultimately put off by its newbie-friendly power output, small physical size and relatively-simple spec sheet.

The Scrambler 1100 addresses that by punching out a claimed 86 horsepower at 7500rpm and 65 lb-ft of torque at 4500rpm. The majority of that torque is available from as little as 3500rpm. This compares to the 800's 73-brake and 49 lb-ft output.

But while more power is always nice, the big news is the suite of electronic goodies that the Scrambler 1100 boasts as standard. It's got three riding modes, traction control, and cornering ABS via an IMU.

Just like the 800cc Scrambler, the Scrambler 1100 comes in a range of different configurations. The Scrambler 1100 Sport has yellow detailing and Ohlins suspension; the Special has a chromed exhaust, brown leather seat and spoked wheels, and the standard 1100 is, well, just the Standard 1100 - cast wheels, higher-rise bars and a couple of different colour schemes.

Here's what man on the ground Rich thought:

"The Scrambler 1100 looks pretty good in the flesh. Wide bars, a big chunky seat, spoked wheels and knobbly tyres is the right recipe for this type of bike. Walking around the bike you notice the usual premium Ducati fit and finish, and there's plenty of design detail dotted around the bike. We noticed the exhaust caps have detailing that matches the bar ends, and the cross pattern on the headlight is meant to mimic the Scrambler style from years ago. There's almost no plastic in sight, either.

"It's obvious that Ducati needed to tread carefully with the Scrambler 1100. Too much power and it'd be too close to the Monster for comfort... too little and there wouldn't be enough of a differentiation between it and the Scrambler 800 models.

"The engine's got plenty of air-cooled Ducati character. It pops, bangs and blaps around town, and thrums along on the highway in its happy place which is its mid-range. It'll dart around tight and twisty mountain roads relatively well too, but it'll shake its head over bumps and runs out of steam towards the latter third of its rev range... but we'll let it off, it's not really designed for that kind of riding.

"The engine modes are neat - they're simply named Active, Journey and City - and offer differing amounts of throttle response, traction control and power. The dual-display dashboard is clear and easy to read, but configuring and switching between modes isn't the most intuitive process.

"Ducati have judged this one pretty well. It hasn't been ruined by too much power, plus it looks, acts, feels and sounds like a big bike in ways the 800cc can't. I really like the Sport model, but some proper tyres might be a better idea, rather than the knobblies. The Scrambler just grew up."