We recently had an opportunity to throw a leg over the new Desert Sled from Ducati, and that was enough to get our blood pumping. We’d just gotten off of a quick demo ride of a stock Scrambler model and bolted over to check out the ‘Sled.’
If your first thought is that this is just a marketing ploy with a new name and some different tires, we’re going to stop you right there. Ducati actually went back to the vaults and paid homage to the ‘sleds’ that were big in the ’60s and ’70s in California. The changes to the original Scrambler Ducati to turn this into a dirt ready street bike (or vice versa) are subtle but necessary. Ducati has taken a lot of grief for not making the original Scrambler more robust in the dirt, so if the company wanted to build a bike that could seriously live up to its name, appropriate efforts had to be made. Check out the adjustments below.
We asked the Ducati rep about accessories – OEM or aftermarket – that could turn this into an ADV bike. Seems like a natural progression for the rider that doesn’t want to drop $20k-plus on a Multistrada. (List price for the Desert Sled starts at $11,395.) While he would neither confirm nor deny that those items are in the works, his slight nod was all we needed to believe that lucky Desert Sled owners will have no shortage of options to turn their bike into a cross-country dirt and asphalt eater.