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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
New here (forum not world).

In my quest to find the "one size fits all" bike, I am seriously pondering selling my air cooled Triumph Scrambler and DRZ400 in favor a bike that can fit both needs.

I dont do much long distance riding anymore, I spend most of my time riding off road and 2 lane blacktop and a couple years back I had the opportunity to put some miles on a Desert Sled in NORCAL. I really liked the bike and it fit me very well (ergonomically). I spent plenty of time on 2 laners and superslab, but because it was a press loaner, I couldn't really put it too the test off pavement..

Before I go off the deep end and purge my bikes and go on the hunt for a Desert Sled, I want to ask if anyone here does any real off road riding? If so, what are your thoughts? HOw does it compare to a large Dual Sport (i.e. DRZ400s or Honda XR650L)?

Any insight is greatly appreciated.

-Brian
 

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I'm really amazed with mine it can really go off road seriously. My new group are all on MX and Enduro bikes and I take my DS the same places they do obviously more falls and more slow than then but you can take it anywhere. It's a bit heavy but nothing compared with a beefy 1250 GS

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I'm really amazed with mine it can really go off road seriously. My new group are all on MX and Enduro bikes and I take my DS the same places they do obviously more falls and more slow than then but you can take it anywhere. It's a bit heavy but nothing compared with a beefy 1250 GS

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Thanks for the reply. The "weight" issue seems to be the biggest issue from other things i've read. Funny that coming off a Triumph 900 scrambler, the Duc seems quiet a bit lighter and smaller. The closest in terms of weight & suspension that I can find to compare the DS to is the KLR650. Ive done some reasonable off roading on the KLR and it was surprisingly comfortable in situations it would not seem to be. My memory tells me it "felt" much bigger than the DS does.

I am really wanting the DS to work out for me but I do quite a bit of off road exploring.. I live in the Desert Southwest, so its mainly rough trail riding, not serious "off-roading" or super tight single track stuff.

thanks again for your reply
-Brian
 

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I think it would be perfect I also test the klr before buying my DS it's an awesome bike but it's a little bit more complicated in terms of electronics and I like to do the maintenance of my bike so I preferred the Ds only thing I dislike in Ducati it's the overpriced parts but I have found a lot of aftermarket parts really cheap from monster and panigallen 966

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Panigale 996 sorry, some older models fits the Ducati as if the scramblers where made from older Ducati parts lol that's true but that means more aftermarket parts for cheaper prices and easy of use and install by yourself

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Check this video out if you want to see real world off road usage of a DS. The bike did see some modifications for the race and the details you can find here.

That is not really any sort of indication of what stock Desert Sled is like. The things had 18" rear and 21" front wheels and completely different forks, brakes and shock to start with. They were about as close to stock as World Superbike bikes are to standard road bikes. Having said that there are plenty of videos on YT of people treating Desert Sleds to off road adventures and they seem to handle things quite well for a Scrambler style bike.
If off road is the OP's playground I would go the DRZ route. If a fairly mixed environment with more emphasis on off road than the average ADV bike then the Desert Sled would be a goo starting point.
 

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Like the comment above, the space I would put the DS is: more off road capable than an adventure bike, but way more fun on the road than a dual sport.

I was torn between a DRZ400 or DR650 and the Desert Sled because I wanted something I could go off on forest roads and explore new campgrounds, but I went with the DS because everything I saw about the DS was that it was a blast on the road, where the DRZ/DR will just “get you there” on the road but in a very utilitarian way.
 

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Ive taken mine off road quite a bit. Have jumped it a bit too. Bike feels very natural off road. The main issue and not even related to the DS really is tires. The stock tires are great on the street and ok in the dirt. I ride the deserts of western US (Ca,Nv). Trails are normally hard pack with sandy crap on top. Soooo slick! Or just sand. Toss some more aggressive off road style tires on it and it will feel pretty good. Or, keep the stock tires and get good at turning with the rear wheel ( break slides and power drifting).
 

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New here (forum not world).

In my quest to find the "one size fits all" bike, I am seriously pondering selling my air cooled Triumph Scrambler and DRZ400 in favor a bike that can fit both needs.

I dont do much long distance riding anymore, I spend most of my time riding off road and 2 lane blacktop and a couple years back I had the opportunity to put some miles on a Desert Sled in NORCAL. I really liked the bike and it fit me very well (ergonomically). I spent plenty of time on 2 laners and superslab, but because it was a press loaner, I couldn't really put it too the test off pavement..

Before I go off the deep end and purge my bikes and go on the hunt for a Desert Sled, I want to ask if anyone here does any real off road riding? If so, what are your thoughts? HOw does it compare to a large Dual Sport (i.e. DRZ400s or Honda XR650L)?

Any insight is greatly appreciated.

-Brian
It is similar to all big adventure bikes - heavy. There is no getting around it with an 800cc motor so once you accept that you can move on.
Pros: once set up properly (replace shock, front springs, bash plate, bark busters, etc..) it is better than a 1200 GS as it is lighter and handles really well off and on road though not as quick on long straights.
Cons: Weight and for some 19" front wheel.
 

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The other thing to consider is the cost of the brand. Parts for this bike are way more expensive than Japanese parts
Just as an example, the front fender is not just plastic like on a dirt bike and does not take much to crack it, that would cost you more than $100 to replace.

God forbids major failures, that would be an arm and a leg to deal with. However, the bike is reasonably reliable but is still something to keep in mind.

I have a DS and I love it, this is just my 2 cents.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Thanks all for your replies. Everyone pretty much confirms what I thought based on my impressions back in 2019 after putting road miles on a DS. A DRZ400 is much taller than the DS and while it is 150lbs lighter, it can be a bit of a beast at times due to seat height. Honestly I remember thinking that the DS "felt" lighter and easier to manage, mostly due to seat height and likely how/where the bike carries the weight (down low or up high).

Ive owned/ridden my fair share of ADV bikes and of those I have ridden, IMO none were really anything meant for "enjoying" off-pavement. Too large, too heavy, too tall. The DS seems like it would be substantially more manageable and more importantly, enjoyable off pavement. Plus it just looks way too cool.

@AaronB - Nice pics. I also reside in the southwest (AZ) and spend most my riding time out in the Sonoran.

As I mentioned in my initial post, I did put some miles on the bike on an assignment (I work for RoadRUNNER mag) back in 2019. Of all the bikes ive ridden in the past many years, the DS is the only one Ive considered buying. (ok.. maybe I thought a bit about the Himalayan after the press launch).

Thanks again for all the replies. The search is on for now getting my hands on one locally (AZ/SoCal).

Here is a pic of the bike loaded up for touring outside the Ducati Headquarters in Mountain View. Still got the luggage, now I need to bike to attach it too. Haha!
Tire Wheel Plant Fuel tank Vehicle
 

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I have owned two DRZ400 s and hated them both on the road. They were both pretty good off road but even though they were way lighter than a Desert Sled I got rid of them in favour of 250 trail bikes for really rough stuff but transported the bikes in a van to avoid road miles. I no longer do really rough tracks but I still like to explore a bit, mainly gravel but some trails. I have a 2018 Desert Sled and am surprised by how capable it is as a “one size fits all solution” and that is with it as stock and with the standard Scorpion STRs on. Recently I took it to a suspension specialist and had the setup matched to my riding weight as well as generally just “improved”. I am astonished by the improvement in handling. Next I will fit more off road focused tyres, probably TKC80s and think it will be just as capable as my DRZs. Ok, if I drop it I will find it a bit heavier but the centre of gravity is lower than the DRZ so it’s not so bad. I have a 1250GSA that amazes me for it’s refinement and long range comfort as well as being capable on most gravel tracks and roads. I love riding it. But the Desert Sled makes me grin, big time, every time.
 

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It's probably already been said but the DS is closer to a middleweight ADV not a dual sport. The desert sled would be amazing in um, the desert, or on any fire roads/doubletrack. It is not going to be any fun on singletrack. I have a DRZ supermoto and I would ride that in the woods with slicks before I would try to take the DS 😂 But we all know Dual Sports suck on the highway. If you can only get one bike, the DS is probably the best choice you can make.
 
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