2018 Ducati Scrambler Desert Sled

A Scrambler that might actually scramble

2018 Ducati Scrambler Desert Sled
2018 Ducati Scrambler Desert SledCRS

Many of Ducati’s Scrambler iterations look similar but not this one. The Desert Sled departs from the norm with a nod to actual off-road scrambling, thanks to its 19-inch front wheel and lugged Pirelli Scorpion dual-sport rubber. Despite the Desert Sled’s urban roots, these tires suggest this particular Scrambler can actually accomplish a meaningful off-road foray. Other deviations from urban duty are more suspension travel (7.9 inches versus 5.9 inches for the Scrambler Classic), a dirt-bike handlebar bend, a long and fairly flat saddle (bowed in the middle to provide a claimed 33.9-inch seat height), a vestigial skid plate, well-tucked-in low exhausts, and motocross-style fenders.

Following economy-of-scale principles, the Scrambler Desert Sled is otherwise close to its street brethren. This includes the 803cc, four-valve, air-cooled V-twin engine, the steel trellis frame, and the young, funkadelic styling. Speaking of which, the gold rims and 1980s paintwork are clearly scuffling for control with the ’60s seat and ’70s gas tank and wire-mesh headlight grille. But who’s counting motifs? Not us. The Desert Sled is a welcome stretch of the bandwidth for Ducati. More please!

Likes: Stylish and useful design encourages wider boundaries

Dislikes: Porky for a dirt bike at 421 pounds dry

Verdict: One of the nicest streetbike-based scramblers extant

2018 Ducati Scrambler Desert Sled Specs and Pricing

MSRP $11,695

Cycle World 2018 Ducati Scrambler Desert Sled Review