Common Tread

2018 Ducati Scrambler 1100 first look

Nov 05, 2017

Ducati calls the 2018 Scrambler 1100 a bike to “meet the needs of even the most demanding, expert motorcyclists, but without compromising the fun, style, and freedom that the Scrambler stands for.” Interested?

Unveiled on the eve of the EICMA show, the latest machine from the Land of Joy wraps a variation of the Monster 1100 engine in an all-new trellis frame. Spec sheets say the Desmo’s good for 86 horsepower at 7,500 rpm. Peak torque (65.2 foot-pounds) comes on low at 4,750 rpm. The air-and-oil-cooled 1,079 cc powerplant is among the largest in its class, just short of BMW’s mighty R nineT Scrambler.

2018 Scrambler 1100
Not a trail in sight, but that's OK. In Ducati's case, Scrambler is a brand, not a class. Ducati photo.

Now, Ducati can proudly offer three Scrambler sizes, just like they did in the 1960s, although the displacements are adjusted for inflation. Compare the old 250, 350 and 450 cc lineup to the modern 400, 800, and 1100 cc offerings. They’ve roughly doubled across the range to fit Ducati’s vision for today’s riders.

"This means the brand is now really mature," said Ducati CEO Claudio Domenicali, during the introduction of the new models. (He also unveiled a video featuring the new Scrambler 1100.)

The Scrambler 1100 upscales the wildly popular style of Ducati’s smaller reboot bikes. The new model has been streamlined to be “compact yet beefy,” with as few covers and plastic parts as possible. The exhaust system is now a dual undertail arrangement that moves the pipes inboard and higher for a little more scrambler cred. The side cover under the tank caught my eye with its aluminum texture instead of black plastic.

2018 Scrambler 1100 front
X-shaped headlight internals give the racer look without all the electrical tape. Ducati photo.
The base trim level comes in “‘62 Yellow” or “Shining Black” with a black frame and swingarm. LED lighting is standard, as is the LCD instrument panel and four-level Ducati Traction Control (DTC). Riders can choose from three ride modes: Active, Journey, and City. The City mode is worth a mention because it limits the 1100’s power to behave like the 800, which would be a great feature for a rider adjusting to the bike after trading in for the bigger model. Speaking of the 800, seat height has grown to 31.9 inches, so shorter riders will favor the smaller bikes. All Scrambler 1100s have an under-seat USB outlet. For riders with phones, GPS systems, or action cameras, a built-in port from the factory is a nice touch. No word from Ducati on color-coordinated USB cables.

2018 Scrambler 1100
Ducati promises more power and performance with their latest Scrambler. Ducati photo.

Base wheels are 10-spoke alloys (18-inch front, 17-inch rear) with Pirelli MT60 RS rubber. Front wheels wear 330 mm dual discs gripped by twin four-pot Brembo Monobloc M4.32 calipers, radially mounted, while the back has a single 245 mm disc. Bosch 9.1 MP Cornering ABS and Traction Control come standard. Up front, a fully adjustable 45 mm Marzocchi fork provides 5.9 inches of travel. A preload- and rebound-adjustable Kayaba monoshock setup at the rear provides the same amount of travel.

2018 Scrambler 1100
The 2018 Scrambler 1100 shown in "Shining Black" paint. Ducati photo.

The Scrambler 1100 has two trim levels above the base version. The Scrambler Special wears black spoked wheels and a chrome exhaust, plus aluminum mudguards. The tank gets a “Custom Grey” treatment to match. Specials also receive a brushed-effect swingarm and a brown seat. At the top sits the Scrambler Sport. The big news here is a full Öhlins suspension package, set off by the “Viper Black” paint with yellow stripes.

Scrambler 1100 Sport suspension
The Sport features an Öhlins monoshock setup. Ducati photo.

If you can’t quite find what you want from these three versions, Ducati will offer a full line of parts and accessories for customizing the Scrambler 1100 in partnership with Roland Sands.

Scrambler 1100 instrumentation
Instrumentation a little fancier than on the 800 models. Ducati photo.

Ducati has seen great success with the Scrambler line, and the 1100 should satisfy riders asking for the same style but a little more powerful and sofisticato. We’ll see how they fare when the big crates from the Land of Joy reach our shores.