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Desert Sled, my personal review

Discussion in 'Ducati Scrambler: Desert Sled' started by Max Kool, Apr 10, 2017.

  1. Max Kool

    Max Kool Active Member

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    (shamelessly crossposted on Advrider)

    Ok, gents and gentilles, here's my totally biased review of my Desert Sled.

    I picked up my Sled last Wednesday and I have been riding it daily since. Commuting to work (which is like 5 miles if I don't take a detour), canyon carving in the Santa Monica/Malibu canyons, and just cruising. Odo is at 150 miles (only) now.

    My last few bikes have all been allroads (BMW G650 XChallenge, DR650SE's, Yamaha Tenere, Africa Twin 750, R1100GS), and my last sportsbikes were in the 90's. This may explain why my observations are kind of different from the journalists that rode the Sled in Almeria in January?

    Anyway, the moment you "board" the DS you feel like a hooligan. Bars are wide, and the seat is kind of low, close to the footpegs. Not annoyingly so, but just closer than normal on a dual sport. I know the regular Scrambler has an even shorter peg-to-seat distance. The bars on the other side are quite a stretch and wide.

    For me (5'10"/1m78 with a 32" inseam) this leads to a very comfortable, almost monkey like seating position. Legs are a bit pushed apart, and because of the long tank I feel forced in a slight forward lean to the wide bars. Very good, I feel alive!

    Anyway, at a cold engine the clutch can be a bit grabby, but apart from that it's really as smoort as peanut butter. No jerking, surging or anything. I nearly completely adjusted the free play out of the throttle cable which makes it even better. I have no idea how snatchy the throttle was on earlier years Scrambler, but I'm actually thinking of trying the "old" throttle tube. Just for shits and giggles. The 2017 engine is smoooooothh, and perfectly behaved in city traffic. The rpm range is amazing (midrange, midrange-midrange!!)

    Suspension. What can I say? Ducati really did a good job for this bike's intended purpose! If I were to rate the Sled's suspension I'd give it an 8 for allround use. Out of the box it's a bit lazy steering with my 210lbs on the seat. Which as such is good once you start riding unpaved roads. I have only used it on the road yet and to sharpen the steering I added around 15mm on the preload collar.

    (btw, changing preload could not be easier on any bike. Give the locking ring a tap to loosen it, and afterwards just grab the spring and rotate it in the desired direction. Screw the locking ring towards the collar. Done)

    Damping feels well balanced front and rear. I haven't dialed any adjusters yet simply because I like the damping out of the box. All I can come up with is that the front high speed damping feels a bit on the harsh side on ruts. Could also be my rotten brain from 15 years of riding all kinds of ill-suspended bikes. I am leaving it as is for now.

    Good, most of my miles were racked up in the canyons. Typically the lesser used roads like Tuna Canyon and Old Topanga in the Santa Monica Mountains. This is supermoto paradise and for me the best place to find out how well a bike handles. Very twisty, steep in- and declines. 1st , 2nd and 3rd gear only. With that nice dark Ducati sound, popping on decell every now then. I wonder if I'll replace the exhaust or not. It sounds so "bad" already stock (it is the Termi evo btw). Just a tad too quiet.

    The Sled feels well planted and never feels nervous. With the 19" front it doesn't care much if you steer into a blind turn with the brakes still on. Is it the geometry, is it the fact that I a not used to wide radial tires? Steering is quicksilver without ever feeling twitchy. Compared to the Ducati monster 900 I rode long time ago the Sled feels on the "good" side of planted, where the M900 always felt like it could jump from underneath you any moment if the roads gets too bad.

    What else can I say? Is it a dual sport? NO! I blame the riding position for this. The engine, chassis, geometry will handle fine, no problem. If you are 5'10" and under you will do fine every now and then you need to stand up. It just feels weird, you can't move forward and the pegs a bit wide apart.


    Is it a fun scrambler bike you can take nearly everywhere, including upaved, deserts roads, wide open stuff, giving you a big grin all the time? YESSSS!

    I'm in love, this bike wakes up the hooligan in me big time.

    Things I see people doing in the future to their Sled?

    - higher seat and bars
    - 110/80-19 front tire instead of the 120/70-19 (could improve gravel performance)
    - 21" front wheel
     
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  2. kopper

    kopper Active Member

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    great review Max

    Loving that motorcycle and nice to know it's good for commuting
     
  3. vonzips

    vonzips New Member

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    Two thumbs up for smooth throttle response. I'm almost afraid to do exhaust, air filter, and mapping because it really is perfect. I plan on putting on some protective bits as mine will be used to hit fire roads and Nat'l Forest areas. Riding it on the freeway reminds me of my old Monster (no wind protection and my right foot hits the exhaust). Other than that, a joy to ride on pavement. I want to get through my break in before I tackle the dirt. Thanks for the insight and I look forward to reading about the experiences of others. In other news, I got an email from Zard that they are a few weeks out from a Desert Sled exhaust. Kinda curious to see what they change.
     
  4. Max Kool

    Max Kool Active Member

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    My thoughts exactly! And to be honest, the stock exhaust note is really not bad (nice and low), just a bit too soft.
     
  5. thomasDS

    thomasDS New Member

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    For me the exhaust is more than loud enough. Love the sound


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  6. Max Kool

    Max Kool Active Member

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    IMG_2948.JPG IMG_2949.JPG IMG_2954.PNG

    No thread is complete without pictures right?
     
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  7. vonzips

    vonzips New Member

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    I like the carbon fairing and the fender eliminator. Who makes those?
     
  8. kopper

    kopper Active Member

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    BTW what is the cost of this bike in USA or UK? I cannot find any I only see 2016 prices
    thanks
     
  9. Max Kool

    Max Kool Active Member

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    US: roughly $11.5k plus charges, tax
     
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  10. Max Kool

    Max Kool Active Member

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    The carbon fairing is from Fullsix Carbon, and the fender eliminator is a diy cut-off job, nothing fancy.
     
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  11. kopper

    kopper Active Member

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    thanks a lot that means in my country is going to be 18 or 19 k
     
  12. kempy1978

    kempy1978 New Member

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    YEAH!.... a section for the DS owners...

    I am now 582 miles into mine, have been hitting the tarmac, hitting the trails, and have even hit a river and deep mud - and its not let me down at all.
    Booked in next week for its first service - and so far its everything I wanted it to be, and a bit more.

    Gearing seems good, but I do feel the exhaust note could be a little louder - so am thinking a decat/exhaust mod in the future. On my Multistrada 1200 I did the LeoVince titanium decat, and Termi Stubbi - and it was LOOOOOUD.... Not sure I want that volume again, but defo miss the low end grumble and backfires.

    However, its a minter.... a keeper, ..... and so far, ive not seen another yet on the road.
     

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