The Scrambler 1100 is the biggest evolution in the Ducati Scrambler family till date, which didn’t just come up in a flick of a second when the Bologian folks had an idea (while sipping mocha) that they need a bigger Scrambler. But this evolution was already in the pipeline with the resurrection of ‘Icon’ back in 2014-15. And even before that, the bike had its roots deep down in the history books when it was originally produced almost half a decade back, somewhere between the 60s and 70s. I am sure bringing back the Scrambler brand was one of the best things Ducati ever did, and why not, soon after the launch it went on to become one of the most loved Ducati products in several international markets, including India.
The Scrambler 1100 Sport is like the T1000 Terminator, the most badass Ducati Scrambler till date. To start with, 1100 has an IMU-equipped Bosch 9.1MP ABS system and gets cornering ABS, making it the coolest kid on the block, especially within its rivals.
The bike has grown significantly in size and appeal. Let’s put it together like that, Scrambler 1100 is for the riders who totally loved the concept of 800 but shied away just because it didn’t quite match with their expectations in terms of its overall size and oomph factor. And 1100, on the other hand, looks buffed up in a single glance, and not just that, the overall detailing and finesse is a level above. It feels like the 800 took some serious gym and salon sessions and came back becoming a better version of itself.
At the front, the headlamp with an integrated ‘X’ and DRLs is a stunning piece of art. The golden fat fork at the front runs down to the alloy wheels, which is a standard fitment on it, like on the base 1100, while the ‘Special’ comes with spoke wheels. The side profile looks similar to the smaller Scrambler but the rear end features a longer tail section along with muscular twin exhausts.
The twin yellow race strips on the tank delineate its sporty spirit, while other yellow highlights combined with its dark colour scheme make it the best-looking Scrambler 1100 out of all three - Base, Special and Sport.
It features an offset LCD dashboard, which displays all the necessary information in an old school style. This meter console takes inspiration from the original scrambler bikes and is simply one of coolest styled meters I’ve seen in a while. It has a circular display showcasing current rpm, time, ride mode, traction control level, ODO, trip and much more, while an attached elongated display shows the current gear selected and speed, in a clear format.
Engine and Performance –
All the variants run on the same 1079 cc, L-Twin, desmodromic distribution, air-cooled engine, which has been tuned to produce the same amount of power and torque throughout the entire 1100 range. More power is one of the reasons for the 1100’s existence. The power figures have been bumped up by 13-horsepower, which might not sound very convincing, considering the fact that it’s a 1079 cc unit, but there is much more to it than just numbers. Talking of which, the output rating stands at 86 hp @ 7,500 rpm and 88 Nm @ 4,750 rpm, and the engine is married to a 6-speed transmission.
Fire up the desmo wizardry and its throaty exhaust note sounds furious like a boxer landing loud punches at an electric pace. It is a loud motorcycle even in stock form, while the test unit that I was riding was slapped on with a Termignoni slip-on exhaust, which made it sound even better with its intense 1st gear backfires.
Let’s get that straight, the 1100 has an undoubted performance advantage over its smaller cousin, but it’s not the only thing. The delivery has been tuned to give it an aggressive mid-range rush, which keeps the rider entertained throughout the ride. The engine delivers 88 Nm of peak torque @ 4,750 rpm, which is 3,000 rpm lesser than the 800. All this torque appears lower in the rev range and this stays on till 6500 rpm. This is the range that has the most juice and is the most satisfying to ride; anything above it and vibrations start creeping in from all angles.
It gets three riding modes - Active, Journey and City, and as the names say, the first two modes are full power 86 hp modes while the last one cuts the power to 75 horses. All the three modes are fun and can be selected from the buttons added on to the left side of the handlebar. Also, each mode is customizable for power and traction, while ABS can’t be switched off.
Another factor that contributes to its easy riding nature is the fact that it gets a hydraulically operated slipper clutch, which makes the clutch action significantly lighter. The transmission, on the other hand, is smooth and slick, but need precise shifts to avoid unintentional false neutrals.
Ride, Handling and Comfort –
One more thing that differentiates the ‘Sport’ from the rest two variants is the ride department, thanks to the exclusive Öhlins fully-adjustable 48 mm USD fork at the front and Öhlins monoshock at the rear. The bike has a very neutral handling and feels extremely light on the go. The suspension absorbs almost every punishment the roads have to throw at it, making the Scrambler 1100 a brilliant everyday road bike. Also, I found myself switching off the traction control at times because the bike has enough weight and mechanical grip. And the fact that it comes with cornering ABS makes it such a cool bike to have, but sorry I really couldn’t put it to test because I don’t wear a cape.
Also, it is capable of light off-roading if you are in a mood for some dirt-eating session over the weekend.
The motorcycle rides with confidence and handles twists and turns the way it should. But it’s only when you are doing triple digit speeds that you find it losing composure if you hit some unexpected high-speed bump, and thus the reassuring stability is in wants.
The seat is wide and comfortable even for heavier riders like me. And the seat height has been kept at 810mm, which is perfect for riders of all heights. Also, the pillion sits at ease, thanks to its comfortable single seat, which is effortless to sit on. The riding stance is all natural with the wide handlebar extending out, providing unbelievable leverage on the bike, making it easy to manoeuvre. Also what is impressive is the heat dissipation, which is far better than my expectations from a 1079 cc air-cooled unit.
Now coming on to the part I was most impressed with – brakes!
I can write down a whole article on its brakes because I surely missed it when I swapped the Scrambler 1100 back with my everyday bike, and that was exactly the moment I realized how strong and responsive the brakes on the Scrambler were. The Brembo Monobloc anchored down the bike with the lightest touch on the lever; it kind of felt like there was some gravitational force pulling me back and it was impressive.
The Scrambler 1100 has been designed to be highly dynamic and it attracts a wider set of audience because of its universal appeal. The Scrambler 1100 is not about pure performance but fun, and is a friendly motorcycle that can be truly enjoyed as an everyday bike.
Photography - Mohd. Nasir