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Discussion Starter #1
(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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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.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Two thumbs up for smooth throttle response. I'm almost afraid to do exhaust, air filter, and mapping because it really is perfect.
My thoughts exactly! And to be honest, the stock exhaust note is really not bad (nice and low), just a bit too soft.
 

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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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Discussion Starter #13 (Edited)
IMG_2965.JPG


Latest work was fitting the side panels (made by Zard). They did require a little Dremel-TLC to clear the shock, and they fit perfect now.

IMG_2970.jpg


IMG_2969.jpg
 

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Like Max Kool mentioned about rear fender eliminators, I already analyzed how the license plate bracket can be cut down and welded to move it right up against the back fender, but I would like to get more details on what he did - maybe something without welding?
 

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Discussion Starter #16
I literally sawed it off after the last bolt (that screws into the fender) and used the hole to bolt a flat strip to.

Not beautiful, but it works.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Pics, or it didn't happen...

IMG_2975.jpg




I added some dual sided tape between the little strip and the license plate holder, so the license plate won't swivel. Which reminds me, I should take it off and file a bit here and there to tidy up the license plate holder.

IMG_2977.jpg
 

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600 km something on mine after a weekend with it (did some 400 km on a demo earlier as well). Very nice and balanced feel to the bike. Feels better riding it a bit more motard style than moving around on it like a sports bike. Very planted feel in corners and also when opening up the throttle for a bit more speed. On the demo I fiddled around a lot with the suspension, but nothing I did seemed to make it any better. Typical Ducati budget stuff unfortunately, in my opinion - but that's what the after market is for I guess. It leaves me not feeling how far I can push the bike before the tires will say stop. Now, for me, it's more hoping rather than feeling it will work. Pushing the front tire to the edges is a little bit nerve racking - which is a real shame as the bike is begging me to do it. She simply loves the curves. I like the shock better than the fork.
And the engine. The laws and regulations on pollution are there for us to make sure our forthcoming generations might also have a good life, but bite me! they've managed to take sooo much low down torque away. I really, really hope a nicer sound system and an after market air filter will give her back some more breath and torque - otherwise I guess I will just have to hit them revs pretty hard for the fun stuff.
I've only done maybe 30 km on gravel so far, and can only say my cojones have not been big enough to make the bike work anyway near its limits yet.
This bike will be a lot of FUN!!!
 

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Discussion Starter #19
And the engine. The laws and regulations on pollution are there for us to make sure our forthcoming generations might also have a good life, but bite me! they've managed to take sooo much low down torque away.
Have you seen the shape of the 2017 throttle grip? No wonder is feels so soft. Ride it like a maniac and you'll know the torque is there. The throttle butterfly just hardly opens in the first 2/3rd turn of the throttle.... I really think Ducati overdid this....

This:

2015-2016 throttle tube and the G2 tamer:


vs

2017 throttle tube:


This is the 2017 cam. No wonder it feels so soft...
 
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