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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
After riding a Monster 696 for the past 5 years, I'm ready to add a scrambler to my garage. I'm down to two models, the Flat Track Pro or the Desert Sled. I've read many reviews on both and know the differences, but still having a hard time deciding. I grew up on enduros, including and XT500 and DRZ400sm. I still even have my original bought new 1981 Yamaha DT175.

The Sled is about as tall as my DRZ, can get both feet on the ground, but not my heels. I'm 5'8", 30" inseam. Sled feels comfortable with the extra room but I'm not cramped on the Flat Track. Flat Track feels good with the low seat height and I really like the looks of it and the extra factory billet accessories. I do plan to do some off roading, mainly just gravel roads, nothing too crazy but I may push it some on rough roads with pot holes, but most will be street riding. I'd like to hear what other think who have ridden either or both as a comparison. Is the standard Scrambler OK on rough gravel roads? Is the Sled considerably better offroad? How do they compare on road?
 

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After riding a Monster 696 for the past 5 years, I'm ready to add a scrambler to my garage. I'm down to two models, the Flat Track Pro or the Desert Sled. I've read many reviews on both and know the differences, but still having a hard time deciding. I grew up on enduros, including and XT500 and DRZ400sm. I still even have my original bought new 1981 Yamaha DT175.

The Sled is about as tall as my DRZ, can get both feet on the ground, but not my heels. I'm 5'8", 30" inseam. Sled feels comfortable with the extra room but I'm not cramped on the Flat Track. Flat Track feels good with the low seat height and I really like the looks of it and the extra factory billet accessories. I do plan to do some off roading, mainly just gravel roads, nothing too crazy but I may push it some on rough roads with pot holes, but most will be street riding. I'd like to hear what other think who have ridden either or both as a comparison. Is the standard Scrambler OK on rough gravel roads? Is the Sled considerably better offroad? How do they compare on road?
I've owned both.
The standard Scrambler is quite a bit better on the road handling wise while the Desert Sled feels like a bigger (grown up) bike. They both handle rough roads equally well but the DS is better for 'proper off road' due to ground clearance and longer suspension travel.
My local bike dealer friend wanted both of mine for stock so I let them go, I was in for a coffee one day and tbh. I nearly bought my Urban Enduro back over the Sled so that might tell you something. Anyway I came away after ordering an MV Dragster RR.
 

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I'm a little biased, as i have an urban enduro...its the best of both worlds. You get some of the looks of the desert sled, but it feels way more composed in twisties and all other pavement riding. Also at your height, I think you'll much enjoy the standard height a bit more in the long run. I like the IDEA of the DS being more capable off road, but my UE (or any standard 803) does just fine off road, and i can lose less experienced sport bike riders in twisties still :)
 

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My take on this (but I have not ridden the FTP myself):
I'm 5'8", 30" inseam
At 5'8" the FTP may be the better bike imho. I'm 5'10" / 32" inseam and own a Sled. It fits me like a glove but I don't know if wouldn't want it if my arms and legs were shorter. I have never ridden the FTP, but sat on many regular Scramblers. For me they feel kinda small, which could add to the bike's playfulness if you're less tall. The Sled offers more leg room.

One consideration though, is the Sled's suspension. Although it ain't perfect, it's good enough for me to never needing to upgrade it after a few thousand miles and some adjustements. I'd give it a 7 on a 1-10 scale. I haven't read much about people that liked the stock FTP suspension. The added weight and wheelbase takes the edge off ruts and bad surface in the road midcorner, and if you raise the forks about 10mm through the yokes it becomes a sweet steering mid size bike (stock it feels kinda lazy). I love it in the canyons, and when I'm out riding with friends on M1200's, CB1000R or FZ-09's, it never gives me the feeling I have a "lesser" bike. Actually, on bad roads the plush-ish Sled suspension is an advantage.

Just don't think it's a proper offroad bike. It's heavy, and you can't slide forward approaching a corner to weigh the front wheel. Sure, it can take unpaved roads with the adjustable longer travel suspension, and has better ground clearance, but once coming to a stop it could be a heavy handful pig. More than the regular Scramblers.

I'd say, make a testride on both, and follow your heart.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for the feedback everyone. I went back to the dealer to sit on both the FTP and DS. Can't test drive them yet because I'm in WI and it's still around 0 degrees F here and ice everywhere. Both bikes felt good. I think the FTP is the best choice for me based on my size and purpose. I think the DS is a very cool bike, but I'll mainly be on twisty roads and smooth gravel roads. The height of the FTP feels good to me, about the same as my Monster 696. The dealer mentioned I could upgrade the FTP to Ohlin shocks too if I didn't like the stock suspension.
 

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I reckon the original scrambler will be better, I'm about the same height as you and mine is a perfect fit, mines also got maxton suspension front and rear and it now rides ace. The original also weighs 20kg less the the sled which for a little engine makes a big difference.
 
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