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Review: The Ducati Scrambler 1100 Sport Pro

Review: The Ducati Scrambler 1100 Sport Pro
When Ducati launched the Scrambler line in 2014, it did so promising a template. A kind of 750cc, air-cooled blank slate, ripe for personalization with easily interchangeable body panels, seats, and cowls. A Ducati; just one reduced to its elements.

The Scrambler line was envisioned to gently and stylishly entice new riders into the fold. Which makes you wonder, seeing the Öhlins suspension, Brembo monobloc brakes and the over-under barrels of Termignoni silencers glinting against the matte black paint of the $15,500 Scrambler 1100 Sport Pro, if Ducati can even help itself.

Review: The Ducati Scrambler 1100 Sport Pro
The line-topping 1100 Sport Pro is a Scrambler for the savvy. Priced a hair under the Monster 1200 S, it boasts classic Ducati bark and aptitude, but with friendly upright ergonomics and broad bars. It begs for a fast ride through urban foothills. Makes you contemplate a canyon dogfight with sportbikes.

Most of all, it begs for a flogging.

Review: The Ducati Scrambler 1100 Sport Pro
The air-cooled 1,079cc twin dates back to the Monster EVO. It meets Euro 5 emissions standards, is flawlessly fueled through by a new single throttle body, and that’s just about the only polite thing about it. It’s a classic desmo, snarfling air and fuel, turning them into thrust and vibrations and crackles and noise.

It’s this evocative nature that makes the engine of the 1100—despite being a generation or two past its prime—feel thrilling. There’s a raspy rawness to the big air-cooled mill that’s polished off and hushed by water cooling.

Review: The Ducati Scrambler 1100 Sport Pro
It comes with a considerable sacrifice on the dyno: Modern water-cooled twins like the Indian FTR 1200 or Monster 1200 are good for between 111 and 131 horsepower at the wheel, respectively. The Scrambler 1100 is good for around 74 RWHP, and is quoted at 86 at the crank. Performance-wise, that puts it on par with high-strung singles like the much lighter Husqvarna Svartpilen 701.

Ducati is asking a lot of Scrambler 1100 Sport Pro riders. Their $15,500 will have to buy an awful lot more than a little noise and nostalgia. It takes a few top shelf parts and technology to make up that gap.

Review: The Ducati Scrambler 1100 Sport Pro
This, of course, is a long stride from the simple motorcycle Ducati set out to make with the Scrambler line. Somehow, it works.

Credit goes to the Öhlins suspension. The 45mm upside-down fork and the rear shock are both preload and rebound adjustable, and both have 150mm of travel. Almost six inches of suspension means the Sport Pro can laugh-off potholes, and dispatch commuting chores like curb-hopping with ease. More appealing, the fancy fork and excellent Pirelli MT60 RS tires are right at home keeping the machine stable and surefooted on twisting, crumbly roads. Where a more sport-oriented machine might require precision and faith in grip, the 1100 Sport Pro asks for guts and a dopey grin.

Review: The Ducati Scrambler 1100 Sport Pro
Like the rest of the Scrambler family, the Sport Pro carries its mass high. With the upgraded suspension a confident rider can approach corners swinging like the weight atop a metronome, descending into apexes in powerful, deliberate arcs. A pair of four piston Brembo Monobloc M4.32 callipers grasp 320mm discs, adding confidence to corner entry. So does the addition of cornering ABS — should your guts go twisted and your dopey grin turn to a grimace as front end grip fades.

Traction control handles over-ambitious corner exits. With those 74-horsepower, you’ll seldom notice its intrusion.

Review: The Ducati Scrambler 1100 Sport Pro
From the electronic aids to the premium spec sheet of the Sport Pro, there’s nothing that shouldn’t come as standard issue on a $15,000 motorcycle in 2020. It’s no surprise to see throttle-by-wire make an appearance, or three riding modes, two of which you’ll probably forget all about.

There’s not a single new thing about this recipe for success — but that doesn’t make it less compelling.

Review: The Ducati Scrambler 1100 Sport Pro
When dusk falls on Los Angeles, city lights reflect in the high-gloss 1100 scrawled across the aluminum tank panels. The matte black paint glows subtly. Gold fork legs seem incandescent. The rip of combustion—only somewhat stifled by those shotgun Termignoni mufflers—flushes woodpeckers from their perches on palms.

The Scrambler might ostensibly be a Ducati experience on a budget, but the top of the line couldn’t feel more authentic. The details are full-fat Ducati.

Review: The Ducati Scrambler 1100 Sport Pro
Pale brown embroidery sets off a grainy brown leather seat. The LED running lights are sculpted, a bright white glowing ring up front, a red horseshoe out back. Bright accents of exposed metal gleam on the engine case covers and cylinder heads. The black alloy wheels are spindly and purposeful. Bar end mirrors are pretty and tidy. Too nice to replace.

Over and over, that’s the feeling you get from the Scrambler 1100 Sport Pro. It’s a finished machine. Something from Ducati’s past. A remembrance. A big departure from the Scrambler as we know it — and a hell of a lot more fun because of it.

Ducati Scrambler 1100 Sport Pro product page | USA $15,500—UK £12,795—Australia $22,990—NZ $24,290 | Images by Michael Darter | Via Iron & Air magazine. Subscribe.

Review: The Ducati Scrambler 1100 Sport Pro

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