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The perfect all-rounder: Ducati's new Scrambler 1100 is a bike for any occasion in SA

2018-07-02 09:33

Dries van der Walt

Image: Dries Van der Walt/Instagram

When Ducati revealed the Scrambler 1100 as an addition to its Scrambler range at EICMA late last year it attracted a fair amount of attention, especially among those who felt that with a little bit of added punch the Scramblers could be great all-rounders.

I fall firmly into that category – when I tested a Scrambler 800 shortly after its launch, I came to the conclusion that it was a fun bike best suited for short trips, or to being parked outside the local mall to be admired by all who pass it by.

Unlocking it potential

It was a stylish little machine with a hooligan lurking under the surface, but not a bike that I would choose for anything longer than a local trip.

READ: Looks can be deceiving: Kawasaki's Ninja 400 is a surprise package in SA

When Ducati launched the new Scrambler 1100 at the SA Bike Festival a few weeks ago, I was keen to arange a test bike to see if the bigger engine would unlock the full potential of the Scrambler.

While still every bit as stylish, the 1100 is not a little machine anymore: it has grown – not just in engine capacity but in physical size as well. It's 50mm wider, 69mm longer and its seat is 43mm longer. Fuel capacity has also been increased by 1.5L. And the lurking hooligan has been brought much closer to the surface.

The spec sheet says that the bike now boasts 63kW of power and 88Nm of torque, which, for an 1100, sounds decidedly underwhelming.

But the thing is that you don’t ride a spec sheet, and what the spec sheet doesn’t tell you is that the torque curve is extremely flat. And it doesn’t tell you that the bulk of the engine’s torque is available just above idling speed.

Experience the fun factor

That hooligan sits on its haunches when you touch the throttle, and it jumps up joyfully with the slightest twist. Twist the throttle all the way and the hooligan commands it to accelerate fiercely in every gear until it feels as if the wind is going to tear you off the bike. With the bigger motor, Ducati has multiplied the Scrambler’s fun factor by 10.

The engine is connected to the rear wheel through a gearbox that feels surprisingly refined. Clutchless upshifts are clean and effortless, even at lower revs, and the hydraulic clutch is so light that riding in start-stop traffic is almost painless.

Except that you don’t do start-stop riding – the hooligan in the bike does not allow you to do something as mundane as queueing at a traffic light.

The instrument panel has two elements. The main display is positioned above and to the right of the headlight. Evoking the speedometer on the bikes of the 1970s, the rev counter is positioned low down in the instrument assembly, with the bars lighting up from right to left as engine speed increases.

Power at your fingers

In practice this isn’t easy to read, but the nature of the engine is such that I had little need for the rev counter – it reached its torque peak long before hitting the rev limiter.

The main screen also shows the fuel level, selected riding mode and the selected Traction Control level. Further info includes Trip 1, Trip 2, fuel range and air temperature. The secondary display houses the speedo, a side stand warning light and information from the Ducati Multimedia System, which is available as an accessory when the Bluetooth module is fitted.


While the smaller Scramblers were practically devoid of electronics, the 1100 isn’t: it gets adjustable traction control, cornering ABC and three different rider modes.

This increases the big Scrambler’s utility, but it is still as naked as a new-born baby. However, with the addition with an aftermarket screen and luggage from Ducati’s extensive range of accessories, could turn it into a viable open-road bike.

What Ducati has essentially done by dropping in an 1100 motor, was to unlock the Scrambler’s potential and turn it into the bike it was meant to be. The Scrambler has grown up, in more ways than one – which means that people who like the looks of the series but want something a little beefier than the 800, now have a very attractive option to consider.

Specifications:

Engine:
Type: L-Twin, Desmodromic distribution, 2 valves per cylinder 
Displacement: 1 079cm³
Maximum Power: 63kW @ 7 500rpm 
Maximum Torque: 88Nm @ 4 750rpm
Fuel supply system: Electronic fuel injection
Fuel type: Premium Unleaded 95 Octane RON

Transmission:
Type: 6-speed sequential
Final drive: Chain

Dimensions:
Overall length x width x height (mm): 2 190 X 895 X 1 330
Kerb weight: 206kg 

Capacities:
Passengers: 1+1
Fuel tank: 15 L

Brakes:
Front: 2 x 320mm semi-floating discs, radially mounted with cornering ABS
Rear: 245mm disc, 1-piston floating calliper with cornering ABS

Suspension:
Front: Marzocchi fully adjustable 45mm USD fork 
Rear: Kayaba monoshock, pre-load and rebound adjustable

Wheels & Tyres
Wheel, front: 10-spoke in light alloy, 3.50" x 18"
Wheel, rear: 10-spoke in light alloy, 5.50" x 17"

Tyre, front: Pirelli MT 60 RS 120/80 ZR18 
Tyre, rear: Pirelli MT 60 RS 180/55 ZR17
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