The Desert Sled is a Ducati Scrambler built for those who like riding through a path less taken rather than just parking the bike in front of a Starbucks and sipping a latte. In case you are too lazy to go through our review, here are five quick pointers about the Ducati Scrambler Desert Sled -
It’s got the kit
It's got long travel suspension, fully adjustable front forks, 19-inch front and 17-inch rear spoke wheels with knobby tyres, bash plate, raised mudguard and switchable ABS. Unlike the previous versions, where cosmetic updates were all you got, the Desert Sled actually has the kit to do justice to its name.
It’s a trailblazer
The Desert Sled scoffs at broken roads and dirt trails, thanks to the suspension setup, 19-inch front wheel and the Pirelli Scorpion Rally STR knobbies. The front suspension is stiff, but this also means that it can take care of some nasty jumps without bottoming out. The wide handlebar offers good control, irrespective of whether you are on the saddle or standing up. And with no traction control to hold you back, you can have the rear slide to your heart’s content.
Decent road manners
Even with the high-riding stance, the Desert Sled has inherited the Scrambler’s road manners. It tips in easily and even feels agile through traffic. The cornering clearance is great thanks to the high set footpegs. The front end sends a wobble through the steering every time you hit a mid-corner bump, but even so the bike refuses to waver off the line.
At the heart of the Desert Sled is the same 803cc oil-cooled L-twin engine delivering 72bhp and 67Nm of torque. There is usable torque in low rev range to help you gas out of tricky situation. However once you cross 3,000rpm is when it starts to get interesting. The torque is concentrated in the mid-range, and the delivery is smooth to make it easily accessible.
Not very commuter friendly
Along with the engine, the Desert Sled has also inherited the woes of the Scrambler. The engine heats up very quickly in traffic, the clutch is heavy and the gearbox is notchy. And even though the forks might tackle the roughest of terrains with a smirk, it can get too stiff for comfort at slow speeds. Riding the Desert Sled through traffic is not a very pleasant experience.