Gear Check

Bike India - - FIRST RIDE DUCATI SCRAMBLER 1100 SPORT -

Rider: Har­ket Suchde Hel­met: Shiro R-15 Jacket: Alpines­tars Air Gloves: Zeus High­way Rider

pre­de­ces­sor. the Sport, in par­tic­u­lar, looks fan­tas­tic in its Viper Black paint scheme. the fit-and-fin­ish is up to Du­cati qual­ity and the switchgear has a ro­bust feel to it. the all-dig­i­tal in­stru­ment pod has also been tweaked. A fresh de­sign al­lows for a lot more in­for­ma­tion, in­clud­ing a fuel in­di­ca­tor for the first time (hal­lelu­jah!).

Part of the need for a new con­sole is the in­clu­sion of ride-by-wire and the rid­ing modes that come with it. You can choose from among Ac­tive (max power, di­rect throt­tle, and re­duced trac­tion con­trol), Jour­ney (max power, slightly re­laxed throt­tle, and a greater de­gree of trac­tion con­trol), and City (75 PS, “ex­tremely fluid” throt­tle, and max­i­mum trac­tion con­trol). there are also four lev­els of trac­tion con­trol to choose from man­u­ally and you can even turn it off com­pletely if you so de­sire. All of this is op­er­ated by a cou­ple of easy-to-use han­dle­mounted con­trols po­si­tioned near your left thumb. the brake cable, loop­ing over it and across your view, kind of goes against the at­trac­tive con­sole, though.

the rid­ing ge­om­e­try on the Sport, while still up­right, is more com­mit­ted than that on the other mem­bers of its larger dis­place­ment brethren thanks to those low and ta­pered bars. the seat is more re­lax­ing to perch in thanks to the ad­di­tional width and the rid­ing po­si­tion is quite com­fort­able over­all. With a sad­dle height of 810 mm, the Scram­bler should al­low rid­ers of all heights to slip into the sad­dle with ease.

We started our ride go­ing through a densely pop­u­lated area, which al­lowed me to see how the big­ger Scram­bler fared in stop-start traf­fic. the L-twin is air-cooled, so you do feel the heat near your knees, but even in chock-a-block traf­fic, the dis­si­pa­tion didn’t rise to un­bear­able lev­els.

the 1100’s en­gine pro­duces 86 PS at 7,500 rpm and 88 nm of torque at 4,750 rpm in its Scram­bler guise; so it has been tweaked from its pre­vi­ous it­er­a­tion. the torque kicks in nice and early, giv­ing a de­cent thwack of thrust low down, ac­com­pa­nied by a glo­ri­ous siren song from those ter­mignoni pipes. the Scram­bler has that typ­i­cal bur­ble and crackle on the over­run and the noises it makes are ab­so­lutely de­light­ful. thanks to the bot­tom-end torque, you can also ac­cel­er­ate with de­cent ur­gency and pull to 7,000 rpm be­fore shift­ing up.

Speaking of shifts, the six-speed gear­box func­tions well, al­low­ing for clean and pre­cise shifts, and comes with slip as­sist, too. You can eas­ily cruise at triple-digit speeds, although once you cross the 130-odd km/h thresh­old, the lack of wind­screen in

any form will re­sult in quite a bit of buf­fet­ing on the open high­way.

that ca­pa­ble per­for­mance is matched by the ride qual­ity. While the Öh­lins sus­pen­sion had been set up on the firmer side, it still soaked up the bumps on bad roads ad­e­quately. Where it re­ally shone through was when we hit up the cor­ners at the nandi hills. the Sport is sure­footed and well-planted in the cor­ners, al­low­ing you to grow in con­fi­dence and carry more on more pace through each con­sec­u­tive cor­ner. Be­cause the big­ger Scram­bler is still com­pact and well­bal­anced, you can also switch from one cor­ner to the next with ease. Du­cati have also equipped the larger Scram­bler with cor­ner­ing ABS, in case you get a lit­tle over-confident and over­cook your cor­ner, which is wel­come. the 320-mm twin discs with Brembo calipers and 245-mm sin­gle disc pro­vide am­ple stop­ping power, in the cor­ners or on the straights, and you can shed speeds in a hurry with­out any drama.

thus, the Scram­bler 1100 Sport was fun on the hill run and ca­pa­ble in the city, too, but Scram­blers tra­di­tion­ally did a lit­tle off-road duty also. So, of course, I headed off down a small trail to see if the 1100 Sport lived up to its her­itage. While it isn’t an out-and-out off-roader, the Pirelli Mt-60 RS kicks it comes equipped with are dual-pur­pose, al­beit more road-bi­ased. You also have enough lee­way in terms of ground clear­ance to han­dle a bit of the rough stuff. You can even reach the han­dle­bar eas­ily when stand­ing on the pegs and keep things from get­ting hairy on the trail with­out break­ing into a sweat.

Price-wise, you’re look­ing at an out­lay of Rs 11.42 lakh for the Sport, with the range start­ing at Rs 10.91 lakh (both exIn­dia). the 1100 has taken the charm and ver­sa­til­ity of the Scram­bler sub-brand’s ethos and di­alled it up for this larger vari­ant. the Sport, in par­tic­u­lar, is a hootand-half with­out feel­ing like too much of a hand­ful. Unlike the more se­ri­ous line of Ducatis that are like scalpels — pur­pose­built, pre­cise, and ex­tremely ef­fi­cient — the Scram­bler 1100 is a bit more like a but­ter­fly knife. It is ex­tremely use­ful in a va­ri­ety of sit­u­a­tions — you don’t need 10 years worth of book­worm­ing to use it and if you know your way around it, you can pull nifty tricks too. Most of all, it has a retro-chic charm about it and if you’re into that, or want a bike that’s ex­cit­ing enough but won’t bite your head off if you go a lit­tle overboard, then the 1100 may just be the per­fect fit for that spot in your garage.

ABOVE RIGHT : The tank is big­ger and gets a cus­tom paint-job for this vari­ant

RIGHT: The fully-ad­justable 48-mm Öh­lins USD fork is only avail­able with this vari­ant

ABOVE : Ter­mignoni dou­ble-bar­rel ex­haust fits the Sport mo­tif

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