Its Off-Roadiness Goes Beyond Simple Aesthetics

The Ducati Scrambler Desert Sled saw its first major update ahead of MY2019 after only two years on the market, and the new version has a handful of things to offer over and above the previous gen. It starts with the bones reinforced to better withstand the rigors of off-road riding and rally-style tires that are designed for same. Rideability and comfort was buffed along with the security system, and the electronics suite features an off-road-specific upgrade as well. Those are the broad strokes, but as ever, the devil is in the details, so let’s dive right in and start chasing them down.

  • 2019 Ducati Scrambler Desert Sled
  • Year:
    2019
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    L-Twin
  • Displacement:
    803 cc
  • Top Speed:
    120 (est) mph
  • Price:

2019 Ducati Scrambler Desert Sled Design

2019 Ducati Scrambler Desert Sled
- image 814044
It may share a name with rest of the Scramblers, but its off-roadiness goes beyond simple aesthetics.

The new scramble-tastic “DS” is even more desert sledified this year with new red paint shot on the frame that features stiffening members to better resist the forces generated when airborne on some light terrain, or if you’re more of an urban hooligan, jumping the train tracks. A high, tripletree-mount front fender and laced wheels speak to the off-road bias, as do the wire headlight grille and, of course, the bash plate that protects the engine from terrain strikes and gives the model its “sled” moniker.

That headlight behind the X-shaped grille? Yeah, it rocks an LED daytime running-lamp ring to make you more visible during the daylight hours to all the cagers absorbed in their phones. A tapered handlebar has very little rise and pullback, so it places your hands right around the center of the steering axis with a reinforcement strut to better resist the shocks of off-road work.

A single, offset LCD unit handles all of the instrumentation with a fuel gauge and gear indicator on top of the usual metrics. Like the rest of the Scrambler line, the DS features interchangeable aluminum covers on the 3.57-gallon teardrop tank for a bit of factory-custom flexibility with blackout treatment throughout that touches on the home-job-custom culture as well.

The bench-style seat rides at 33.9 inches off the ground with a new model-specific cover this year. If that’s too tall for ya’ there’s a lower, 33-inch accessory seat available to give you a bit of a break. Since there’s no break between pilot and pillion, the bench seat allows for easy weight-shifts fore and aft for more technical work, but if you’d rather carry a passenger there’s a pair of color-matched J.C. handles and removable, fold-up footpegs for points of contact one through four.

An extended rear mudguard completes the coverage with LED turn signals and taillight and a plateholder to finish off the gear in the rear. As far as the overall looks go, it isn’t that far off from the rest of the Scramblers, but as you can see, its off-roadiness goes beyond simple aesthetics.

2019 Ducati Scrambler Desert Sled Chassis

2019 Ducati Scrambler Desert Sled
- image 814043
The factory is serious about the off-road work, and the feel is appropriately stiff.

A Ducati Red finish makes the tubular-steel Trellis frame stand out in stark contrast against the achromatic drivetrain. It uses the engine as a stressed unit to displace the downtube/cradle section of the skeleton, and of course, the bash plate that gives the Sled its name protects the engine where it stands proud of the structure.

The steering head rides at 24 degrees with 4.4 inches of trail to give the DS a handy demeanor, and for your parking-lot maneuvers, the 35-degree steering lock gives it a reasonable turning radius. Kayaba supplies the suspension with fully adjustable, 46 mm, usd stems up front and a coil-over monoshock out back that features adjustable rebound damping and spring preload. The front end delivers 7.9 inches of travel at the axle, as does the rear shock and stretched-out aluminum swingarm, so as you can see, the factory is serious about the off-road work, and the feel is appropriately stiff.

Pirelli hoops round out the rolling chassis with its Scorpion Rally STR rubber that rocks a fat, 120/70-19 and 170/60-17 on the front and rear, respectively. The anchors are pretty serious as well with the Bosch dual-channel cornering ABS to oversee the operation of the four-piston caliper as it bites the 330 mm front disc and the single-pot caliper and 245 mm disc out back.

Frame: Tubular steel Trellis frame
Front suspension: 46 mm fully adjustable usd forks
Rear suspension: Kayaba rear shock, pre-load and rebound adjustable, Aluminum double-sided swingarm
Rake: 24°
Trail: 112 mm (4.4 in)
Total steering lock: 35°
Wheel travel, front/rear: 200 mm (7.9 in) / 200 mm (7.9 in)
Front wheel: Spoked aluminum wheel 3.00" x 19"
Rear wheel: Spoked aluminum wheel 4.50" x 17"
Front tire: Pirelli Scorpion™ Rally Str 120/70 R19
Rear tire: Pirelli Scorpion™ Rally Str 170/60 R17
Front brake: Ø330 mm disc. radial 4-piston caliper with Bosch Cornering ABS
Rear brake: Ø245 mm disc. 1-piston floating caliper with Bosch Cornering ABS

2019 Ducati Scrambler Desert Sled Drivetrain

2019 Ducati Scrambler Desert Sled
- image 814041
Engine response is modified by the off-road riding mode that tunes the power to be better suited for the brown than the black.

Power comes from an air-cooled, L-Twin engine housing Ducati’s signature Desmodromic valvetrain that uses a pull-closed cam to positively close the twin poppets in each head rather than relying on springs that are vulnerable to harmonic float at higher rpm. The bores measure out at 88 mm with a 66 mm stroke to give the mill its 803 cc displacement and 11-to-1 compression ratio.

Induction control falls to the 50 mm throttle body and EFI system, and the engine response is modified by the off-road riding mode that tunes the power to be better suited for the brown than the black. Exhaust probes feed the system data to help it maintain the appropriate stoichiometric ratio, and they join a catalytic converter that burns off any remaining free hydrocarbons to help the mill meet Euro 4 emission standards.

What does that get you? Well, the plant produces 73 ponies at 8,250 rpm that’s backed up by 49 pounds o’ grunt at 5,750 rpm for a top speed in the neighborhood of 120 mph, but this ain’t that kind of bike, and it isn’t a comfortable thing to wind up that tight. If you’re worried about that last point, you’re probably looking at the wrong kind of bike to begin with. Just sayin’.

Power flows through a hydraulically-actuated slipper clutch and a six-speed transmission before it heads to the rear wheel via chain drive.

Engine: L-Twin, Desmodromic distribution, 2 valves per cylinder, air cooled
Displacement: 803 cc
Bore x stroke: 88 mm x 66 mm
Compression ratio: 11:1
Power: 73 hp (54 kW) 8,250 rpm
Torque: 49 lb-ft (67 Nm) @ 5,750 rpm
Fuel injection: Electronic fuel injection, 50 mm throttle body
Exhaust: Stainless steel muffler with catalytic converter and 2 lambda probes, aluminum tail pipes
Gearbox: 6 speed
Ratio: 1=32/13 2=30/18 3=28/21 4=26/23 5=22/22 6=24/26
Primary drive: Straight cut gears. Ratio 1.85:1
Final drive: Chain. front sprocket 15, rear sprocket 46
Clutch: Hydraulically controlled slipper and self-servo wet multiplate clutch

2019 Ducati Scrambler Desert Sled Pricing

2019 Ducati Scrambler Desert Sled
- image 814042
MSRP is $11,995, which puts it in the middle of the Duacti Scrambler price range.

Before the price was announced on the 2019 Scrambler Desert Sled, I predicted it would fall out under $12k. I was right, but by a slim margin. Price on the MY19 model is $11,995. As usual, it comes with a selection of warranty choices up to two-years/unlimited mileage.

Standard equipment: Steel tank with interchangeable aluminum side panels, headlight with DRL by LED light-guide and interchangeable aluminum cover, LED rear light with diffusion-light, LED turn indicator, LCD instruments with gear and fuel level indications and interchangeable aluminum cover, under-seat storage compartment with USB socket, ABS cornering, machine-finished aluminum belt covers, black engine with brushed fins
Desert Sled equipment: Aluminum handlebar with cross-strut, front stem protectors, seat with specific design, high front mudguard, long rear mudguard and high plate support
Warranty: 24 months unlimited mileage
Color: White Mirage
Price: $11,995

2019 Ducati Scrambler Desert Sled Competitors

2017 - 2019 BMW R nineT
- image 790545
2019 Indian Motorcycle FTR 1200 S
- image 797948
2019 Triumph Scrambler 1200 XC
- image 804100
The Desert Sled is a fairly unique ride with few to none in the way of a direct peer, at least not on the showroom floors, though there are plenty of home-job customs that could give it a run for its money.

This is one Duc that is definitely tricky to shop for. I thought I could grab one of Triumph’s rides like its all-new-for-’19 Scrambler 1200, but as the devilishly clever name suggests, the powerplant is half-again bigger and the price point is too far off for a comfortable comparison. Although the scrambler family, in general, is the great-grand daddy of modern day enduro bikes and dual-sports, it comes off as a modified standard rather than a tricked out dirtbike, so that cuts out everything from the Big Four.

Next I looked at Beemer’s R nineT line, but again, its packing way more inches (giggity) and has a decidedly streetwise mien that is contrary to the DS’s off-road nature, so it’s out as well. Same with Indian’s FTR 1200 S. Sure, it’s inspired by the flat-track dirt racers, but that ain’t quite the same terrain that the Duc is built to tackle, so I’m going to call the Desert Sled a fairly unique ride with little to nothing in the way of a direct peer, at least not on the showroom floors, though there are plenty of home-job customs that could give it a run for its money.

He Said

“Oh yeah, I’m digging this Duc, probably just as much as I like the Scrambler Café Racer but in a different way. Is it the nostalgia of the standard format with stealth knobbies? Maybe. Or maybe Duc just really hit all the right high notes with this thing. It’s definitely not a soccer-mom’s SUV though, since it brings some real capability to the table. If I’m honest, I think I would hold out for an 1100 version, you know, just for the extra power and slightly larger build.”

She Said

My wife and fellow motorcycle writer, Allyn Hinton, says, “When you look at this bike, it just says to you, ’go anywhere, anytime.’ In today’s climate of fancy electronics, this is just an honest ride. The bars and footpeg positions let you stand comfortably for some off-road antics and while ’tall’ is the thing for off-road, shorter folks are probably going to feel more confident on one of the other Scramblers in Ducati’s line.”

2019 Ducati Scrambler Desert Sled Specifications

Engine & Drivetrain:
Engine: L-Twin, Desmodromic distribution, 2 valves per cylinder, air cooled
Displacement: 803 cc
Bore x stroke: 88 mm x 66 mm
Compression ratio: 11:1
Power: 73 hp (54 kW) 8,250 rpm
Torque: 49 lb-ft (67 Nm) @ 5,750 rpm
Fuel injection: Electronic fuel injection, 50 mm throttle body
Exhaust: Stainless steel muffler with catalytic converter and 2 lambda probes, aluminum tail pipes
Gearbox: 6 speed
Ratio: 1=32/13 2=30/18 3=28/21 4=26/23 5=22/22 6=24/26
Primary drive: Straight cut gears. Ratio 1.85:1
Final drive: Chain. front sprocket 15, rear sprocket 46
Clutch: Hydraulically controlled slipper and self-servo wet multiplate clutch
Chassis:
Frame: Tubular steel Trellis frame
Front suspension: 46 mm fully adjustable usd forks
Rear suspension: Kayaba rear shock, pre-load and rebound adjustable, Aluminum double-sided swingarm
Rake: 24°
Trail: 112 mm (4.4 in)
Total steering lock: 35°
Wheel travel, front/rear: 200 mm (7.9 in) / 200 mm (7.9 in)
Front wheel: Spoked aluminum wheel 3.00" x 19"
Rear wheel: Spoked aluminum wheel 4.50" x 17"
Front tire: Pirelli Scorpion™ Rally Str 120/70 R19
Rear tire: Pirelli Scorpion™ Rally Str 170/60 R17
Front brake: Ø330 mm disc. radial 4-piston caliper with Bosch Cornering ABS
Rear brake: Ø245 mm disc. 1-piston floating caliper with Bosch Cornering ABS
Dimensions & Capacities:
Wheelbase: 59.3 in (1,505 mm)
Dry weight: 425.5 lb (193 kg)
Wet weight: 460.8 lb (209 kg)
Seat height: 33.9 in (860 mm) - low seat 33.0 in (840 mm) available as accessory
Max height: 47.8 in (1,213 mm) (brake reservoir)
Max width: 37.0 in (940 mm) (mirrors)
Max length: 86.6 in (2,200 mm)
Fuel tank capacity: 3.57 gallons (13.5 l)
Consumption: 46 mpg (5.1 l/100 km)
Number of seats: Dual seat
Top Speed: 120 (est)
Details:
Standard equipment: Steel tank with interchangeable aluminum side panels, headlight with DRL by LED light-guide and interchangeable aluminum cover, LED rear light with diffusion-light, LED turn indicator, LCD instruments with gear and fuel level indications and interchangeable aluminum cover, under-seat storage compartment with USB socket, ABS cornering, machine-finished aluminum belt covers, black engine with brushed fins
Desert Sled equipment: Aluminum handlebar with cross-strut, front stem protectors, seat with specific design, high front mudguard, long rear mudguard and high plate support
Warranty: 24 months unlimited mileage
Color: White Mirage
Price: $11,995

Further Reading

|

Triumph Scrambler 1200 XC

2019 Triumph Scrambler 1200 XC
- image 804086

See our review of theTriumph Scrambler 1200 XC.

BMW R nineT

2017 - 2019 BMW R nineT
- image 790542

See our review of the BMW R nineT.

Indian FTR 1200 S

2019 Indian Motorcycle FTR 1200 S
- image 797917

See our review of the Indian FTR 1200 S.

Ducati Scrambler Café Racer

2019 Ducati Scrambler Café Racer
- image 814025

See our review of the Ducati Scrambler Café Racer.

Ducati

ALLYN IMAGES - DO NOT DELETE
- image 792903

Read more Ducati news.

All images featured on this website are copyrighted to their respective rightful owners. No infringement is intended. Image Source: ducati.com, triumphmotorcycles.com, bmwmotorcycles.com, indianmotorcycle.com

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