Is This The Best Bobber Platform?

Has Ducati created the best bobber platform with the 1100 Scrambler?

It’s also interesting to note that the company has always produced machines that relied solely on their mechanical ingenuity for performance and handling. Today though, they have wholly embraced the whole electronic rider aids philosophy to the point where they are now considered industry leaders.

We shouldn’t perhaps be surprised with the advancement in electronics, after all with the Superleggera’s 215hp, in a 362lb package, who wouldn’t want every conceivable rider aid to tame the beast?

Is Ducati ironic in producing such a powerful bike only to load it full of gadgets to slow it down, or merely being clever by heading future legislation off at the pass?

Ducati also has a knack for bringing out a model that quite literally rocks the motorcycle world, not to mention putting the factory back in the black. They did the same with the Monster, and then again 22 years later with the Scrambler range.

Eleven Model Line-Up

The current line- up of Scramblers stands at eight models, or seven, if you discount the beginner friendly but distinctly wheezy 400cc Sixty2.

All the rest are 800 cc’s of fun; whether it’s the rooster-tail kicking Desert Sled or the slightly eccentric Café Racer. However, if people thought the party was going swell enough as it was, they hadn’t figured on Ducati sending out for more pizza, and man does it have a heavy-duty topping.

The 1100 Scrambler looks like the result of a night of mad passion between a Honda Grom and an ex-soviet women’s shot put champion. The engine comes from the 1100 EVO Monster (the same engine as the Hypermotard), which is probably the top of their air-cooled V-twin evolutionary tree.

Fourteen Ponies Less than the Monster

The 1079cc power plant in the Scrambler pushes out a claimed 86hp, that’s 14 ponies down on the Monster version. Ducati says that they’ve reconfigured the engine for smoother fuelling and a ‘’Scrambler like feel’’ although quite what that means, is anyone’s guess.

The bottom line though, is that full power comes in at 7,500rpm, while peak torque of 65ft lbs, is all the way down the dial at 4750rpm. As a comparison, the 1200 Harley Sportster gets 79ft lbs. Before you go thinking you’re going to get stomped by a Harley though, Milwaukee’s finest is a lardy 100lbs heavier!

Like the rest of the Scrambler range the 1100 drives through a 6-speed box that comes with the ever useful slipper clutch.

Probably as a result of the more significant dimensions of the engine, the bike gets a new twin-spar, steel trellis frame mated to an aluminum sub-frame. This location is also where you’ll find the license plate hanger too, instead of protruding off the swinging-arm like most of the other Scramblers.

Talking of the swinging-arm, the aluminum, heavily braced dog–leg arm, looks considerably beefier too, although the full spec isn’t available yet.

Three Versions

As for the suspension, the 1100 comes in three variants; the Standard, Special, and Sport. The first two share the same top quality components, namely 45mm usd fully adjustable Marzocchi’s upfront. A single-sided Kayaba shock with adjustment for pre-load and rebound bring up the rear the rear.

The Sport, however, has apparently been shopping in a higher rent neighborhood as can be seen from the fully adjustable 48mm usd Ohlins forks and matching adjustable monoshock.

Ducati has also mixed and matched in the wheel department too. All three get the same size tires with a 120/70-18 on the front and chunky 180/55-17 on the back.

When it comes to the wheels, it’s the Standard and Sport that share the same ten spoke mag wheels, with the Special getting good old-fashioned spokes on aluminum rims.

Top shelf brakes run the same on all three models with twin 320mm radially mounted Brembos at the sharp end and a single piston rear.

Electronic Rider Aids

The most significant difference between the 1100 and its smaller stable-mates comes in the electronics department. As part of the electronic rider aids, you get three variable riding modes and five level traction control.

The riding modes are Active, which gives full power and straight through fuelling. Touring, which still provides full-power but at a reduced fueling rate and City, which drops engine power down to 75hp with frugal fuel metering.

Fuelling, as you would expect is ride-by-wire, and the 1100 also gets an IMU, inertial measurement unit. This highly intelligent piece of kit continuously monitors the bike’s lean angle as well as fore and aft pitch.

All the information gets shared with the Bosch ABS and DTC system, to stop the brakes applying too much power when cranked over and preventing the back wheel breaking traction.

The DTC unit is automatically activated, but also has five levels of intervention with four being the most aggressive and five turning traction control off.

Larger Gas Bag

Stylistically, the new Scrambler gets a slightly larger gas tank capacity of just under four gallons, and the inset tank panels are aluminum. The lightweight alloy is now also used on the engine covers, timing belt, and alternator cover.

Although the Ducati 1100 Scrambler doesn’t hit the street until next year, some reviewers are questioning whether the 1079cc engine will just prove too much for the bike. According to Scrambler fans, the 800cc version is the perfect storm regarding weight, power and physical size.

I’m sorry guys, but where I come from, more is better. Let’s be honest; there are enough electronic hand-holding devices onboard to turn the bike into Captain Sensible if your bottom lip starts quivering.

Let the Bobbin Begin!

The best part of the 1100 Scrambler though, is what’s missing! Take a look at that exhaust, for example, now I know conforming to Euro 4 (or Californian) emission regulations means a cat and silencers the size of an air duct, but consider this.

  • The exhaust is a 2-1-2 system, and the first join starts under the engine just after the collector. This position is the ideal place to dump the rest of the system. Then simply get a new section of pipe made that exits on the right side, outboard of the swinging-arm and elevates a few degrees at the end.
  • This slight upward sweep will allow the exhaust to exit at the same angle as the sub-frame, giving the new 2-1 a pleasant aesthetic appearance. As for a silencer, its got to be Akrapovic, Termignoni or an SC Project slip on. All three, will give you an ear-orgasm and are short enough to finish just after the axle bolt.

  • Next, is a total no-brainer, just take a look at the beautifully uncluttered triple tree and neat single digital clock. All you have to do is jettison the handlebars and get some Z’s or T- bars.
  • If you want to, you can replace that pug-nose headlamp with a Bates type unit, and clean up the back end with a shorter license plate bracket. As for the seat, either contour the factory item or single-saddle it.

So, has Ducati created the best bobber platform with the 1100 Scrambler? When I first saw photos of the 800cc Scrambler I rather dismissively thought of it as small, cute and one for the urban frappe crowd. The funny thing is though, on seeing the 1100, even though it’s almost visually the same bike, all I could think of was what a total street sleeper of a bobber it would make.

You may think I’m nuts, but hey, I’m not the first person to think of adding some funky bars and a swoopy exhaust to a Scrambler, just check out the Café Racer!

Photo links courtesy of Ducati and SC -Project.

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