EICMA: Ducati Scrambler Desert Sled is straight from the 1970s

They say if you remember the 1970s, you weren’t there. That may be true, but the new Ducati Scrambler Desert Sled seems to imply that someone hasn’t forgotten that decade, or the beginnings of the adventure bike scene.

Officially, Ducati says the Desert Sled pays homage to the big off-road beasts that dominated the once-vibrant desert racing scene in the southwest US: Bikes like the Harley-Davidson KRM, or the BSA Firebird Scrambler. But, take a close look, and it’s hard not to see a resemblance to the Yamaha XT500, the machine that arguably did more for the current dual sport/adventure riding scene than any other.

Not that that’s a bad thing.

The Desert Sled, like the Cafe Racer also unveiled today, is built around Ducati’s basic Scrambler platform, powered by an air-cooled 803 cc V-twin (or L-twin, if you prefer), making 75 hp at 8,250 rpm, and 69 Nm of torque at 5,750 rpm.. However, this permutation has long-travel forks and shock, making it much more capable off-road. Kayaba provides suspension front (200 mm of travel) and rear.

The Desert Sled has a 19-inch front wheel and 17-inch rear wheel, which isn’t as optimal off-road as a 21-18 combo, but should offer a compromise between street usability and off-road stability.

The steel trellis frame has also been beefed up for off-road duty, and a mesh headlight guard is standard equipment, to fend off lens-cracking rocks.

Wet weight is 207 kg, and seat height is 860 mm; an 830 mm seat is available as an option. Fuel tank capacity is 13.5 litres.


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