I'm having a good day. The sun is out and it’s close to 30 degrees. I’m comfortable in a leather jacket, jeans, an open- face helmet and shades on-board Ducati’s very cool Scrambler 1100 Sport. Sometimes light, fun handling and genuine charm and character are all you need, but does it offer value for money too?
The 1100 Sport is based on Ducati’s new Scrambler 1100, which is the big brother to the 803cc Scramblers launched back in 2015. There are three different models in the new range, all powered by the same air-cooled 1079cc, two-valves-per-cylinder V-twin, similar to the old Monster 1100’s engine.
You now have the standard 1100, the Special and Sport. The Special is easily distinguishable by the chrome exhaust, brown seat, spoked wheels, anodised side cover, brushed effect aluminium swingarm and mudguards along with the tapered bars.
Fully-adjustable Öhlins suspension
Our test bike, the 1100 Sport features the same tapered bars, but more importantly comes with Öhlins fully-adjustable suspension. The new 48mm USD forks replace the 45mm Marzocchi items and the side-mounted Kayaba shock with preload and rebound adjustment is replaced by a fully adjustable Öhlins unit.
Apart from the ‘Sport’ seat, it has the same brakes, wheels, and engine and therefore power as the standard bike. The beefier suspension adds in a little weight (up to 189kg from 186kg) but remains lighter than the 194kg Special.
When I first rode the 803 Icon on its world launch in the USA I left a little disappointed. It was an attractive, easy-to-ride everyday bike, but I wanted a little more gusto.
It seems Ducati have answered my wishes and produced the 1100. There isn’t a massive kick in power, only 13bhp and 16ftlb of torque on top of the 803, but it’s enough.
There's a bark from the air-cooled V-twin
It’s still not a fast bike, but there is loads of midrange torque. And it’s accompanied by a lovely bark from the air-cooled (and somewhat dated) V-twin. I prefer the air-cooled appearance and sound so am glad they didn’t go water-cooled in search of more performance.
The Öhlins-suspended Scrambler has a lovely balance to it. It’s composed and naturally wants to roll into corners. The new suspension works well and it doesn’t wallow or move around, even when you up the pace.
The twin 320mm discs with Brembo radial calipers offer real stopping power and can be used hard, given how well the new 48mm forks keep everything under control, refusing to dive like a barely-tackled World Cup footballer.
Stability is impressive
Stability is also impressive; the back doesn’t want to overtake the rear in emergency braking situations. This is a bike that handles better than it should, and is supported by excellent rider aids such as cornering ABS.
Even the off-road style Pirelli rubber works pretty well, although the pair on our briskly-ridden test bike looked worn after 1000 test miles.
It's fun in the dirt
A bonus of owning any Ducati Scrambler is that they are a delight on loose surfaces. Gravelly tracks, hard-packed dirt trails and that grassy lane that might just lead to an empty beach are well within their scope. And the 1100 Sport is no different.
Its linear power and easy, docile torque help its Pirellis find grip. There’s no off-road riding mode but the rain setting suits gentle off-roading perfectly.
You can stand on the pegs without feeling too distanced from the bars or sit down flat-track style. The downside is that the Öhlins suspension lacks the travel to absorb serious potholes and bumps, and the bike (the beautiful air-cooled engine especially) is completely unprotected from stones and grit thrown at it by the tyres.
It’s so easy to enjoy Ducati’s new Scrambler 1100 Sport. It is the perfect jacket and jeans, summertime ride. The Öhlins suspension improves the ride quality, provides you with more adjustment and gives the Scrambler even more exclusivity.
The £1600 extra over the base bike is a little steep, but if you’re used to sophisticated multi-adjustable suspension, and regularly play with your settings, then upgrade to the Sport. If not, then the standard bike is still fine and a brilliant road bike. The engines are the same and the base bike is actually 3kg lighter.
- Power: 85bhp@7500rpm
- Torque: 65ftlb@4750rpm
- Weight: 189kg (dry)
- Fuel capacity: 15 litres
- Front suspension: Öhlins 48mm fully USD adjustable forks
- Rear suspension: Öhlins fully adjustable single shock
- Engine: 1079cc air-cooled 4v V-twin
- Front brakes: 2x320mm discs, 4-piston Monobloc Brembo 320 M4.32 caliper, cornering ABS
- Rear brake: 245mm disc
- Seat height: 810mm
- Price: £12,295
- PCP: £139x36 months
- Personal loan: £270x36 months
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