The Ducati Scrambler is already available in a number of flavours, but those are mostly cosmetic changes with differences to wheels, mild body work changes and the occasional exhaust. For the Desert Sled, Ducati gave the bike a serious overhaul with a modified and strengthened chassis, higher-spec long-travel suspension and an accompanying jump in ground clearance. All these work together to make the Desert Sled a far more capable motorcycle off road than its standard siblings.
The Ducati Scrambler Desert Sled is equipped with a Euro 4 compliant version of the 803cc air-cooled engine from the Scrambler and recently launched Monster 797. The engine makes the same 73hp and 67Nm as before but gains fresh engine calibration that is claimed to smooth out power delivery at lower revs.
The frame has been modified for extra strength and the swingarm has been reinforced as well. Wheelbase is longer too. The new suspension offers proper adjustability and a comprehensive 200mm of travel, up from 150mm. This updated suspension is what we’ve longed for after the regular Scrambler’s rather primitive setup. Where the regular Scrambler gets an 18-inch front and 17-inch rear wheel setup, the Desert sled gets a more off-road friendly 19/17 arrangement wrapped in Pirelli Scorpion Rally STR tyres. All this brings a big increase in ground clearance, but also means the bike is significantly taller, with a lofty seat height of 860mm compared with the regular bike’s friendly 790mm perch. Ducati will offer a 20mm lower seat as an accessory.
Visual updates come in the taller mudguards, headlamp mesh guard, skid plate, lovely gold finish on the wheels and visibly meatier 46mm upside down forks. The Desert Sled is available in two colours ‘Red Dusk’ and ‘White Mirage’ and priced at Rs 9.32 lakh and Rs 9.45 lakh (ex-showroom), respectively. Bookings are open and deliveries will commence within a week.
Along with the Desert Sled launch, Ducati has also announced that the Scrambler Icon and Scrambler Classic are now back on sale in Euro 4/BS4 guise after sales of the previous BS3 models had to be discontinued in April 2017 with the new standards coming into effect. The Icon is priced at Rs 7.23 lakh and the Classic at Rs 8.48 lakh (ex-showroom); deliveries will begin by next week.