The Scrambler proved to be a huge hit for Ducati, building on the principle of simplicity that had nourished the Monster's legend. It started as an 800, shrunk to 400, and now Ducati is breathing new life to another classic airhead motor with the Scrambler 1100, offered in three stylish renditions.
Ducati made its name after decades of building race-winning sportbikes, yet one of its biggest commercial hits was a naked, relatively underpowered roadster. The Italian company had been winning races with liquid-cooled engines years before the Monster forged an icon out of air-cooled V-twins that drew their roots from the 1970s.
More than two decades later, while the modern Monsters are turning to detuned superbike motors, Ducati cut back to the simple classic theme with the Scrambler. At a time when modern retro is the latest hype and custom shops are popping up all over the world like daisies in the spring, Ducati managed to come up with the right product at the right time. Pretty soon there are eight different Scrambler models, each one styled and equipped for the occasion.
It almost seems inevitable that Ducati would come up with a bigger Scrambler. The engine has been available for years, writing its own history on the Monster and Hypermotard 1100 before giving way to a new generation of bikes powered by variations of the Testastretta V-twin.
The old 1,079 cc two-valve airhead would end up too restricted to make it through Euro 4, but as much as this was a problem for the Hypermotard, it certainly wasn't for the Scrambler. The output of 86 hp (63 kW) and 88 Nm (65 lb-ft) is more than enough for a classic looking bike with real-world practicality in mind.
The new Scrambler is not only more powerful than the original model, it is also bigger. A little longer in wheelbase and physical dimensions, it sits the rider 20 mm (0.8 in) higher at 810 mm (32 in), but keeps the same frame geometry, and hopefully the familiar feeling of the previous Scrambler.
The modern touches are there, with electronic throttle control, three riding modes, adjustable traction control and Bosch Cornering ABS. These are complemented with some high-end mechanical equipment, like Brembo radial monobloc M4.32 four-piston calipers, Marzocchi fully adjustable 45-mm front forks and a Kayaba rear monoshock that is adjustable for preload and rebound.
Next to the basic model, Ducati also offers the Special, which goes for a more classic look with its spoked wheels, aluminum mudguards, a brown seat and lower handlebars.
The third member of the Scrambler 1100 clan is the Sport, which brings about more than just cosmetic changes in the shape of fully adjustable Öhlins suspensions at both ends of the bike.
All three models roll on 3.50 x 18 in wheels at the front and 5.50 x 17 at the rear and, according to Ducati, their wet weights are 206 kg (454 lb) for the basic model and the Sport, and 211 kg (465 lb) for the Special.
The Scrambler 1100 is making its public debut at the EICMA show in Milan, Italy, this week. New Atlas is on the ground to bring you the latest news.
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