We spend a week on the Ducati Scrambler 1100, testing it in all conditions from highway to dirt... Review: Jeff Ware Photography: Heather Ware, Kris Hodgson
The Ducati Scrambler 1100 is a fun, torquey, comfortable and stylish all-rounder big bore naked that, considering the high spec running gear, is competitively priced at $17,990 + ORC. We recently spent a week riding the bike in all kinds of conditions, mostly on the back wheel!
Here is the written review, you can also see our Video Review, which is worth a look…
I have had so much fun the smaller Scrambler models over the years that the 1100 is a bike I have personally being hanging out to try. More torque, more power, it’s going to mean more fun…It was pouring rain when I grabbed the ’62 Yellow 1100 up from Ducati in Sydney and it felt a shame to take the spotless, near new beast out to get dirty…
I had a good look over the bike as I hadn’t seen one in the flesh, as Kris attended the Sydney Launch held at Young Henrys in Newtown, NSW.
The first thing that caught my eye was that gorgeous L-twin Desmoduo two-valver with the neat engine covers. It really is a beautiful lump of alloy. The large header pipes snake around to the twin alloy underslung mufflers and the brushed alloy engine shrouds look the part, as do the brushed alloy tank shrouds. In fact, there’s hardly any plastic to be seen at all…
THE RIDE – DUCATI SCRAMBLER 1100
Apart from being overall larger than the 800, the 1100 looks and feels familiar as I climb on board for the first time. The bike is wider than the 800, Ducati say the ‘bars are lower and further forward.
Compared to the 800, I feel more like I’m sitting on the 1100 rather than in it… I select City (same power as the 800, 75hp, with full torque and a soft throttle), and head off through town in the rain…
There are three modes, City, Journey and Active. DTC is multi adjustable or can be used with Ride Mode presets and it can also be switched off. The Bosch Cornering ABS is not switcheable.
Settling in for the trip home, it doesn’t take long to get comfortable on the 1100.
The reach to the wide ‘bars is natural and relaxed, the teardrop tank slim between the knees and the seat wide and comfy. The seat-to-footpeg distance is more cramped than I imagined and at 185cm, I was glad my legs were not any longer as I battled my way through the suburbs. The good news is, it didn’t get any worse than the first half hour and I got used to it by the end of the week…
Despite the wide ‘bars, the Scrambler 1100 is easy to lane filter on. I just wish the exhaust note was louder, it’d make the city more bearable rather than hearing the engine rattle away. There is a fair amount of heat on the inside of the right leg area to deal with in town, thanks to the pipes… But that is in jeans.
After refraining from switching the DTC off and wheelstanding the 1100 off every set of lights, I reach the M1 Motorway for the run home. It’s pissing rain. I flick the engine to Journey Mode (full power and torque, soft throttle delivery) and jump on the freeway. The 1100 ticks along smoothy at 110km/h-120km/h, in a bit of a sweet spot, however there is a fair amount of wind buffeting, even by nakedbike standards, this is part of living with an upright bike and the 1100 is still comfy enough on the slab sections.
When I get home, I crack a cold beer in the shed and have a think about the bike. I decide I could happily commute on it on a daily basis, putting up with the small negatives to gain the positives on the weekends, ones I was about to find out when the sun came out the very next day…
Waking up to sunshine, I smash a few coffee shots down and gear up for a ride and shoot. Playing commuter again until I reach the hills, I switch from Journey to Active for the first time and the 1100 wakes up. Time for some fun… Land of Joy, anyone?
The Pirelli’s work over a wide temperature operating range and on dirt and tarmac, and I’m confident with them almost immediately. In fact, I’m impressed by the feel and grip levels, boots skimming the tarmac almost immediately, plenty of warning on offer and the profile works great on the 1100. Sure, they move a bit, but the grip level is enough for fun and gives the off road option.
The bike steers fast enough, with plenty of leverage on offer and it is stable and predictive for an 18in front. Ducati know how to make a good chassis and this is no exception. Once I start to push on, the 1100 feels lighter than it is, is giving good feedback from both ends, feels natural and confident in the corners and, most importantly, it has that magic ingredient called grin factor. I’ve read some reports of a vague front but I found it communicative and sure-footed.
The brakes have strong power with progressive bite and good feel at the front thanks to the premium M4 calipers, while the rear brake could be more powerful for my liking, it’s more than up to the task with some extra input. The suspension is adjustable for rebound and preload at the rear only. This is not an issue most of the time but on some sections with sharper bumps, it would be nice to dial in the comp to take some of the hit out of it, which can briefly unsettle the bike. On smooth stuff, the suspension is brilliant and the bike really well supported, on or off the brakes. The forks are fully adjustable but I leave them alone.
In the middle of turns the 1100 sits on its side easily, with no stand-up or bump steer, and no need to hang off the bike. It likes to be chucked into turns with a bit of speed and the slipper clutch helps here, then run through the corner old school, with plenty of lean angle and corner speed, making it really fun and rewarding to ride.
The mighty L-twin fires off corners with grunt available literally anywhere, any gear. It just pulls off corners and in Active, is nice and lively. The DTC does get a workout once the Pirellis are pushed and the ABS can intervene at times but all is good, it is great to have the backup there, allowing more time to focus on the road ahead and the fun factor… But I soon switch DTC off and go full hoon mode!
Off road the Scrambler 1100 is a blast. It has so much grunt, it is like a massive dirt bike on steroids. Smooth dirt roads are insane fun, with the DTC off I was having a blast rear wheel steering the bike, feet on the ‘pegs, at silly speeds. The availability and pull of the torque is even more exaggerated off road thanks to the reduction in traction, so there is wheelspin on tap anywhere in any gear. That’s just for fun, but to make real progress I did some riding with the DTC on (see video launch at start) and it works well in harnessing/cutting power while allowing the bike to drive forward. It’s a good set-up.
I even managed a few jumps, which the Scrambler 1100 handled with no issues, although the suspension bottomed out hard so I would not recommend you punish your bike like that too often, I just wanted the photo.
The tyres are good on dirt roads, as expected, and the ABS, although not switcheable, still allows reasonable stopping power before intervening. The different Ride Modes are good to have on dirt also, however, I find Active the go for maximum fun!
Quality of finish is as you would expect from Ducati, with good paint, fasteners, seat, neat high function dash, quality switchegear and good quality fasteners. When you look at the complete package and the braking and electronics systems, the price is quite competitive for a large capacity naked, leaving a few bucks here and there for some of the awesome genuine accessories range.
CONCLUSION – DUCATI SCRAMBLER 1100
I totally enjoyed my time on the Scrambler 1100, and to me that is what bikes are all about, so if you are in the market for a large capacity naked that gives the extra versatility of handling some dirt roads, without compromising road handing or performance, this could be the bike for you.
DUCATI SCRAMBLER 1100 SECOND OPINION – KRIS
Having seen the Scrambler 1100 at the Young Henrys launch earlier in the year, I was interested to see how these machines stacked up, as the Scrambler 800 models really are great machines. Adding a larger powerplant wasn’t an issue for me, but all the extra technology wasn’t quite as true to form to that stripped back, minimalistic scrambler theme.
Of course the addition of these models is no doubt due to the feedback Ducati have received, and the Scrambler 1100 really lives up to the hype. The gruntier L-twin engine is a clear winner everywhere except for slogging through traffic, where the 800s can’t be beaten.
Out on the open road and in the twisties that modest torque increase really multiplies the fun factor, with punchy delivery and a smooth throttle response. Rolling on the throttle is thrilling, while closing it for engine braking offers a linear transition, and steady throttle allows easy cruising. That adds up to a very well implemented RbW system.
Up-spec suspension is planted and the beefier 1100 is stable, but doesn’t feel significantly heavier than the 800s, which it’s not, while the dual Brembo setup on the front-end is certainly an improvement that lends itself to the greater performance. I never found the 800’s brakes lacking, but the 1100 is exceptionally stopped by the Brembo M4s, and the modest improvements on paper between the 800 and new 1100s is pretty astonishing when it comes to taking a ride.
Electronics are extensive, but simply managed by the ride modes via a minimalistic dash, and while there’s traction control, cornering ABS and all kinds of electrickery, this is a bike which you just ride hard and have fun on. Even with the dual-sport Pirelli MT60RS tyres there’s ample performance on the road, while a bit of scrambling will be better catered for.
Ergonomics are also quite relaxed, as you’d expect of a nakedbike, and while the bike seems compact between the seat and footpegs, I actually found it comfortable, with good seat padding and a reach down to the ‘bars.
Styling is also the natural evolution from the 800, while the dual undertail exhausts give a meaner profile, and the 1100 L-Twin delivers a meatier exhaust note. Mirrors also offer great vision, billet adjustable levers are a nice touch, and the ‘pegs are rubber clad.
Overall the Scrambler 1100 is extremely impressive, it’s definitely the hard nosed alternative to the Scrambler 800s, and for the more performance orientated rider is the obvious choice. And this was just the standard version!
2018 Ducati Scrambler 1100 Tech Talk
The Ducati Scrambler 1100 is powered by a Euro4 compliant air-cooled 1079cc Desmodromic L-twin two-valve engine. A development of the Monster 1100 engine, this power unit has a 98mm bore and 71.5mm stroke and has been redesigned to prioritise smmooth acceleration across the rev range and is equipped with a single 55mm full Ride by Wire throttle body with two sub-butterfly injectors.
Each cylinder is fitted with twin spark plugs and a secondary air system, while valve overlap is 16°. The Ducati Scrambler L-twin puts out 86hp@7500rpm and a maximum torque of 88.4Nm@4750rpm.
The gearbox is a six-speed unit while the clutch is the wet multiplate type with hydraulic control. The clutch also has a servo-assisted slipper function. The exhaust pipes on the Ducati Scrambler 1100 have a larger diameter than those on the Scrambler 800.
The exhaust has a low-slung catalytic converter and dual steel silencers with aluminium sleeves, die cast aluminium end caps and four aluminium covers (two per silencer). The engine also features 12,000 km maintenance intervals, while sporting machine-finished aluminium covers, including those on the clutch and alternator. Other aluminium items include the two belt covers, machine finished.
The Ducati Scrambler 1100 features an all-new twin upper spar steel Trellis frame, completed by a rear aluminium sub-frame. Rke is 24.5° with 110mm offset.
Up-sizing of the bike has given the Scrambler 1100 a new riding position: compared to the 800 version, the seat-footpeg gap is wider and the handlebars are further forwards and lower. The steel fuel tank, with that unmistakeable teardrop silhouette, can hold 15L.
The Scrambler 1100 features Kayaba USD 45mm forks and a rear shock with adjustable spring preload and rebound damping, with both providing 150mm of wheel travel.
The Scrambler 1100 also comes with all-new aluminium machine-finished 10-spoke wheels of flat-track inspired origin. The 3.50 x 18in front wheel and the rear 5.50 x 17in one have been designed to be light. They mount an enduro-type Pirelli MT60 RS 120/80 ZR18 tyre at the front and the 180/55 ZR17 at the rear.
The Ducati Scrambler 1100 is equipped with a Brembo braking system with Bosch 9.1 MP Cornering ABS alongside dual 330mm front rotors with four-piston Brembo M 4.32B radial monobloc calipers. At the rear a 245mm rotor is gripped by a caliper with a 34mm piston. The single-setting ABS cannot be deactivated.
The Ducati Scrambler 1100 is also the first bike in the family to feature Ducati Traction Control (DTC), which can be adjusted to four different levels. Level 1 is the least intrusive while level 4 maximises intervention and safety. On the Scrambler 1100, Traction Control can be deactivated.
Three Riding Modes are also available in the forms of Active, Journey and City. Active Riding Mode provides full engine power (86hp), a direct throttle connection and a Traction Control level that’s compatible with sport riding. Journey Riding Mode is perfect for everyday use: full L-twin power (86hp), a more fluid throttle connection than with Active mode and a Traction Control level developed for carefree riding. The third Riding Mode, City, lowers engine power to 75hp (and 88Nm of maximum torque), the same as on the Scrambler 800. Throttle control is extremely fluid and Traction Control ensures maximum safety.
2018 Ducati Scrambler 1100 Specifications
Price: $17,990 + ORC
Warranty: 24-month, unlimited kilometre
Service Interval/Valve Clearance check: 12,000km
Colours: ’62 Yellow, Shining Black
Claimed Power: 63kW(86hp)@7500rpm
Claimed Torque: 88Nm(65lb-ft)@4750rpm
Fuel tank capacity: 15L
Engine: Air-cooled, L-Twin, Desmodromic, two-valves per cylinder, 1079cc, 98 x 71mm bore x stroke, 11:1 compression ratio, twin stainless steel mufflers, EFI, 55mm throttle-body, RbW
Final drive: Chain; Front sprocket 15; Rear sprocket 39
Clutch: Wet multiplate clutch with hydraulic control, self-servo action on drive, slipper action on over-run
Frame: Tubular steel Trellis frame, aluminium double-sided swingarm
Steering lock: 34°
Suspension: Marzocchi fully adjustable 45mm USD forks, Kayaba monoshock, pre-load and rebound adjustable
Wheels & Tyres: 10-spoke in light alloy, 3.50 x 18in, 5.50 x 17in,
Brakes: Bosch Cornering ABS, dual 320mm semi-floating front rotors, radial Brembo Monobloc M4.32 four-piston calipers, axial master-cylinder, 245mm rear rotor, single-piston caliper
Claimed dry weight: 179kg
Seat height: 810mm
Max height: 1330mm
Max width: 895mm
Max length: 2190mm
Instruments: LCD Dash
Riding Modes; Power Mode; Ducati Safety Pack (Cornering ABS + DTC); LED light-guide; LED rear light with diffusion-light; Steel tank with interchangeable aluminium side panels; Machine-finished aluminium belt covers; Under-seat storage compartment with USB socket