DUCATI SCRAMBLER 800 Desert Sled (2017 - on) Review

At a glance

Owners' reliability rating: 5 out of 5 (5/5)
Power: 75 bhp
Seat height: Tall (33.9 in / 860 mm)
Weight: Medium (456 lbs / 207 kg)

Prices

New £9,395
Used £5,700 - £9,100

Overall rating

Next up: Ride & brakes
4 out of 5 (4/5)

Even though the Ducati Scrambler Desert Sled technically belongs to the Scrambler family, it doesn’t.

It’s a genuine off-road capable bike in retro form, currently the only bike of its kind on the market. If you fancy the Scrambler style but don’t like the idea of going off-road, then this isn’t for you. Ducati has put serious effort into the Sled’s off-road credentials, and they’ve done a brilliant job of delivering a first true homage to the ‘Scrambler’ name.

Ride quality & brakes

Next up: Engine
4 out of 5 (4/5)

The most important revisions are the all new KYB suspension systems and reinforced frame. Ducati swapped out the 41mm non-adjustable front fork for chunkier 46mm fully-adjustable (preload, rebound and compression) stanchions.

The rear trades the standard steel shock for KYB’s enduro aluminium unit with a heftier piston and is now preload and rebound adjustable too. Both are completely new bits of kit with longer travel (200mm front and rear) and specifically set-up for dirt riding. As a result, Ducati has reinforced the frame and extended the swingarm. The swingarm is now fixed to the frame directly instead of the engine so it can take harder impacts and has also been lengthened for stability and to compensate for the longer travel suspension.

Flying over ruts, spitting sand and locking up the rear wheel (thanks to the switchable ABS) is easy peasy. Off-roading is so much easier than it should be on the Sled. In fact, it handles better and is more accomplished on the rough stuff than most middleweight adventure bikes. 

And that’s because it’s more of a big dirt bike than a retro styled pretender. It’s a half-way house and belongs in the mid-displacement adventure bike market more so than the current crop of Scrambler offerings. This one’s not just designed to look like an off-roader, like its predecessor- the Ducati Urban Enduro, but built specifically to go off-road.  Customers have been calling out for a retro styled bike with real dirt going capabilities. It’s not going to win any enduro races, but it does offer a decluttered, stylish alternative to the conventional dual-purpose machine and is the only proper dual-purpose scrambler on the market. And it’s seriously good fun, too. 

Engine

Next up: Reliability
4 out of 5 (4/5)

The Desert Sled still belongs to Ducati’s Scrambler family and uses the same 803cc air-cooled motor. To make it even easier to ride the throttle response has been softened too (thanks to Euro4 compliant revisions) and the pokey twin is excellent for easy going riding. It’s friendly low down with plenty of tractable power, won’t excite fast riders, but offers enough of a kick to keep even the itchiest of wrists happy. 

Reliability & build quality

Next up: Value
4 out of 5 (4/5)

The Scrambler family has proved reliable since its inception and quality and finish is excellent. We don't have any Ducati Scrambler Desert Sled owners' reviews at this point. 

Value vs rivals

Next up: Equipment
4 out of 5 (4/5)

The Sled is priced at £9,395 for the red model and £9,495 for the white model. It's a rival to the BMW R nineT Urban G/S, the Triumph Street Scrambler and the Fantic Caballero 500 Scrambler

Equipment

4 out of 5 (4/5)

It gets a new headlamp grill, mudguards front and rear, new posh exhaust system, detachable rear pillion pegs and the bashplate from the Urban Enduro model. So far so good. The Sled gets the Multistrada Enduro’s posh grippy pegs with removable rubber inserts, they’re positioned lower and further forward.

And it’s also pinched the Scrambler Full Throttle’s low motocross style handlebar, which has been rolled forward and treated to a brace. The Sled also gets a new larger 19” front wheel, and both the front and rear tyre widths have been slimmed down to help the rubber cut through the rough stuff.

Specs

Engine size 803cc
Engine type Air-cooled, L-twin 2valve four stroke
Frame type Tubular steel Trellis
Fuel capacity 13.5 litres
Seat height 860mm
Bike weight 207kg
Front suspension 46mm fully adjustable USD forks
Rear suspension Single Kayaba rear shock. Preload and rebound adjustable.
Front brake 330 mm disc, radial 4-piston calliper, ABS
Rear brake 245 mm disc, 1-piston floating calliper, ABS
Front tyre size 120/70 R19
Rear tyre size 170/60 R17

Mpg, costs & insurance

Average fuel consumption 52 mpg
Annual road tax £93
Annual service cost -
New price £9,395
Used price £5,700 - £9,100
Insurance group 13 of 17
How much to insure?
Warranty term 3yrs

Top speed & performance

Max power 75 bhp
Max torque 50 ft-lb
Top speed 130 mph
1/4 mile acceleration 12 secs
Tank range 154 miles

Model history & versions

MCN Long term test reports

MCN Fleet: Simon meets another owner to swap Scrambler stories

MCN Fleet: Simon meets another owner to swap Scrambler stories

One of the cool things about niche bikes like the Ducati Scrambler Café Racer is that owners tend to be real enthusiasts and there are a couple of really active Facebook groups where the Scrambleristi show off mods, share tips and discuss plans. Membership is global, but now and then you come across

Read the latest report

Owners' reviews for the DUCATI SCRAMBLER 800 (2017 - on)

1 owner has reviewed their DUCATI SCRAMBLER 800 (2017 - on) and rated it in a number of areas. Read what they have to say and what they like and dislike about the bike below.

Review your DUCATI SCRAMBLER 800 (2017 - on)

Summary of owners' reviews

Overall rating: 5 out of 5 (5/5)
Ride quality & brakes: 5 out of 5 (5/5)
Engine: 5 out of 5 (5/5)
Reliability & build quality: 5 out of 5 (5/5)
Value vs rivals: 4 out of 5 (4/5)
Equipment: 4 out of 5 (4/5)
5 out of 5 Ducati Desert Sled
26 April 2020 by Chris

Version: Desert Sled

Year: 2018

If you like the retro scrambler style This is the bike for you

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5

Stops well considering the single discs Back brake works well yo

Engine 5 out of 5

Nice power when you need it What ever the vest you are un

Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5

Only bought in February but so far so good

Value vs rivals 4 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5

Buying experience: Dealer 8300 asked. 8000 paid We did a deal and I trust they got what they needed and I think I got a good deal

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