But, that tail wagging under power only happens in slippery conditions like on wet roads or over gravel. It is only 86bhp, after all. Our recommendation then is to stick to Active because in every other mode, the 1100 feels dull.
Now, there are three versions of the Scrambler 1100 on sale in India - 1100, Special, and Sport. In the draw of chits, we got the Sport.
Compared to the other two, the Sport gets a blacked-out theme. So, both the swingarm and engine are finished in black; the panels all sport a matt black paint scheme with yellow highlights, and the seat isn't just higher and flatter; it has a darker brown tinge to it as well.
But, more importantly, the Sport gets fancier Ohlins suspension front and back. The front forks are still completely adjustable, but these are of a greater diameter compared to the stock suspension. And to go with this sportier setup, Ducati has also given the Sport a different handlebar. It is lower and a bit further away from the rider resulting in a slightly crouched seating posture compared to the other two versions.
Now, even though the suspension is completely adjustable, we didn't touch it. We went with whatever Ducati thought would work. And work it did! The Scrambler 800 was many things, but it wasn't comfortable. The Sport 1100, however, is!
It rounds off the small bumps and potholes well. It doesn't crash into the deeper ones or skip about over broken roads. There's no jiggle or jitter, and it refuses to wallow uncomfortably. But, yes, as the bumps get bigger, it does tend to ride with them instead of levelling them. And on a series of bad bumps, it shakes its head as if it were unhappy with its own performance.
But when it gets to a winding road, the meatier front fork and the sportier handlebar make the Scrambler Sport naturally disposed to corners. It doesn't need to be worked hard at all. Push the handlebar, and it drops into corners with agility and poise. The front-end feels alive. And, even though the tyres have a knobbie-like design, these grip surprisingly well.
I am also quite impressed with the brakes. The twin rotor Brembo setup with radial callipers have great bite and feel. These help shed speed quite effectively, then be it entering corners, avoiding dogs, or slowing down on gravel to let a carefree tractor cross.
The engine, meanwhile, is your typical Ducati L-twin unit and is borrowed from the older Monster 1100. It displaces 1079cc, employs two valves per cylinder, and is air-cooled. Not surprisingly, it not very powerful. As we mentioned earlier it produces 86bhp of max power, while the peak torque is rated at 88Nm. All of this torque though is available from as early as 4,500rpm.
But because it's a Ducati, it's also clattery and vibey. It heats up in stop and go traffic. And aggressive throttle openings are almost always accompanied by some amount of judder. But, compared to the 803cc from the smaller Scrambler, this one is a powerhouse.
Plus, the flat and fat torque curve not only makes overtaking less tiring, it also helps you get back to three digit cruising speeds in a jiffy. What's more, it barely turns over at 4,000rpm at 100kmph when in 6th gear. And that means if you do decide to tour on it, the Scrambler 1100 would make for an unconventional but formidable touring partner.