On the road Town rid­ing

RiDE (UK) - - New Bikes -


The big Scram­bler has ex­cel­lent line hold­ing and is a real joy to swing from bend to bend. It en­cour­ages you to take wide, swoop­ing arcs and re­mains ex­tremely sta­ble at all points of the cor­ner. Fully ad­justable 45mm Mar­zoc­chi forks help give the 1100 Scram­bler its su­per-sized looks and their stock set­tings work fine for mod­er­ate-paced rid­ing on smooth roads. How­ever, up the pace or en­counter bumps and the lack of qual­ity soon be­comes ap­par­ent, trans­lat­ing to a firm, jar­ring ride and a slight de­cay in sta­bil­ity. Want a bit more ride qual­ity? Du­cati will hap­pily sell you the Öh­linsshod Sport model for £1600 ex­tra.

Like other Scram­blers in the range, the 1100 fea­tures an 18in front wheel wrapped in a chunky-treaded Pirelli MT60 RS tyre, de­vel­oped specif­i­cally for the Scram­bler. Tra­di­tion­ally this com­bi­na­tion of large front wheel and dual-pur­pose-style tyre would’ve cre­ated a bike that was pon­der­ous and heavy to steer — but not so the 1100. It steers beau­ti­fully, of­fers a very lin­ear rate of turn and gen­er­ates lots of con­fi­dence-in­duc­ing feel through the wide, off-road-style bars.

Though of­fer­ing a re­ally re­laxed rid­ing po­si­tion via low pegs and wide bars, rid­ing the Scram­bler on back roads en­cour­ages you to tuck in and brace against the wind­blast, and ground clear­ance is not an is­sue. The 1079cc air-cooled twin is ex­tremely ac­ces­si­ble, en­cour­ag­ing you to pin the throt­tle to the stop at every op­por­tu­nity. The 86bhp on tap might not sound im­pres­sive but the 1100 Scram­bler never feels lack­ing and the sen­sa­tion of grip and ac­cel­er­a­tion is very re­ward­ing. There’s good trac­tion from the rear 180-sec­tion Pirelli tyre and this is trans­mit­ted nicely through the preload and re­bound-ad­justable Kayaba shock, with lit­tle in the way of pitch­ing and squat­ting. De­spite the big Scram­bler fea­tur­ing Du­cati’s Imu-as­sisted trac­tion con­trol, there’s so much me­chan­i­cal grip in the dry that you’ll never trig­ger it.

The twin 320mm front brake discs gripped by a pair of Brembo calipers give the per­fect blend of power and feel, so much so that haul­ing it down from speed is an al­most un­re­mark­able af­fair, ex­cept for a tiny bit too much fork dive.


Naked road­sters aren’t de­signed for long trips on the mo­tor­way, yet de­spite this the big Scram­bler ac­quits it­self quite well on the open road. The bench seat is both long and well padded, mean­ing that it’s very easy to stay com­fort­able be­tween fill ups, which come af­ter the fuel light il­lu­mi­nates at around 130 miles, thanks to the 15-litre tank and 57.8mpg aver­age thirst. No fair­ing makes cruis­ing at any­thing over 80mph a bit of a pain, but the wind­blast is man­age­able at le­gal speeds and there are no an­noy­ing vi­bra­tions at the bars or pegs.

The big Scram­bler’s tour­ing prow­ess starts to come un­stuck at the LCD in­stru­ment panel, as though it dis­plays all the re­quired info — two trip me­ters, air tem­per­a­ture, odo, tacho, time of day, and fuel gauge, and fea­tures a sep­a­rate panel for the speedo and gear po­si­tion — the lay­out is un­con­ven­tional and hard to read at a glance. The rev counter sits at the bot­tom half of the round dis­play,

“The sen­sa­tion of grip and ac­cel­er­a­tion is very re­ward­ing”

with the LCD bar build­ing from right to left as the revs rise. It’s also im­pos­si­ble to have more than one me­ter dis­played on the LCD trip com­puter at once.

The big V-twin is happy at mo­tor­way speeds, with the tacho show­ing 4000rpm in top gear at 70mph; drop to 50mph and the mo­tor is barely tick­ing over at just 3250rpm. Even in a high gear and at this low speed, the air-cooled twin is ac­cept­ably smooth but needs to drop a cog or two for a swift over­take.

The elec­tronic rider aids’ specs are im­pres­sive and as they’re pow­ered by Bosch’s gy­ro­scopic IMU they give the bike class-lead­ing cor­ner­ing ABS and so­phis­ti­cated trac­tion con­trol with the ben­e­fit of self-can­celling in­di­ca­tors.

There are three rider modes: City; Jour­ney; and Ac­tive. Ac­tive and Jour­ney de­liver the same power and torque, the dif­fer­ence be­ing a softer throt­tle on Jour­ney. City cuts power to 75bhp with a dif­fer­ent feel on the throt­tle. Around town and on ur­ban ring roads, the Scram­bler 1100 takes some beat­ing. As well as be­ing nim­ble, ag­ile and light for dart­ing in and out of traf­fic, it sounds great, with a dis­tinc­tive ex­haust bark.

With its 810mm high seat, you’re perched up high so have a good view of the road ahead, plus the 1100’s more mus­cu­lar size makes you feel like the bike has de­cent road pres­ence when it comes to stak­ing a claim on your piece of our cities’ con­gested tar­mac. Amaz­ingly, it hides its size­able 206kg weight well when on the move, though it’s a bit cum­ber­some to man­han­dle into park­ing spa­ces.

If your ride across town in­volves a lot of clutch work, then you’d be hard pushed to find a bike with a lighter clutch lever. The hy­draulic mas­ter cylin­der and lever are so light it that it makes rid­ing at low speed al­most ef­fort­less; even the long­est fil­ter­ing ses­sion won’t re­sult in a cramped left hand — you can even ac­tu­ate the lever with one fin­ger, should you so wish. Added to that the clutch and brake levers are fin­ished in black and both fully ad­justable via an easy-to-use cog-type ad­juster, and of­fer loads of feel.

Switch­ing modes and se­lect­ing menus is straight­for­ward once you know how. The left-hand switchgear has a se­lect but­ton next to the Hi/lo head­light switch, and the in­di­ca­tor but­ton dou­bles up as the en­ter or se­lect when de­pressed. The switchgear it­self feels very high qual­ity and it gives re­as­sur­ingly pos­i­tive feed­back when you in­ter­act with it.

Re­spon­sive steer­ing and will­ing en­gine make for great fun on fast A-roads

ER­GONOMIC TRI­AN­GLEThe Scram­bler 1100 has a tra­di­tional, re­laxed rid­ing po­si­tion with a straight back and high bars WHEEL­BASE 1514MM RAKE 24.50 TRAIL 111MM

Top right: Twin ex­haust gives a lovely note

Above: Air­cooled 1100 gives plenty of grunt

Wide bars give good han­dling but dis­play isn’t great

In­di­ca­tor switch dou­bles as en­ter for choos­ing menu op­tions

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