To start with, the 803cc, air-cooled L-twin is much more refined. Given that it is an L-twin, there are vibrations, some on the tank and some on the foot pegs but these are nothing one would rant about. Further enhancing the ride experience is the new hydraulic clutch which has resulted in a lighter clutch lever pull and smooth gearshifts. However, false-neutrals continue to haunt the 2019 Desert Sled's otherwise very likeable motor.
Ducati swore by the Pirelli Scorpion Rally tyres on the previous Desert Sled and the 2019 iteration is no different. The 19-inch front and 17-inch rear spoke wheels wear the same dual-purpose rubber. The tyres heat up quickly on tarmac and provide excellent grip even with the knobby-pattern. And since the bike now gets a lean-sensitive cornering ABS, confidence levels on twisties are a step above. The new seat has a different pattern and cushioning. While it still feels hardened, it does provide adequate support and comfort. The 2019 Desert Sled retains the fully-adjustable KYB front forks and off-set monoshock at the rear which is similar to last year’s model. Hence, the setup continues to feel stiff, exaggerating even the smallest of bumps and undulations.
Off the road too, the Desert Sled is a hoot. Standing up on the pegs is easy as the new side panel recesses provide just enough support to lock your thighs in. For the extra ounce of fun, one could switch to the Off Road mode to reduce the intrusiveness of the ABS. While modes can't be switched on-the-fly, it's a small price to pay for all the slides that the 2019 Desert Sled manages along the way.