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Ducati Scrambler Desert Sled – Review

Back in the year, 2012, way before I could afford a big bike, I got a tattoo of the BMW GS 1200 on my arm. It was the love for adventure bikes and the BMW GS was my dream, one that I would own someday. The tattoo was just a small reminder to keep pushing myself to achieve that dream. But things have changed drastically ever since and thanks to my line of work I get to ride these bikes every now and then.

Then came the year 2016, when I was looking at buying a big bike and I walked into a Ducati Motorcycle showroom in Delhi. I looked at the newly launched Scramblers and absolutely loved them, but being vertically challenged (6”4’) made me realize that I wouldn’t fit on one. Anyhow, the salesman thought otherwise and insisted I sit on the bike and try it out. After trying to plead my case for a while I gave up and sat on the bike. Only after Mr. Salesman had made a fool of himself (and me) did he say, “Sir, you’re too tall for the bike.”

Now, few days back, I spotted the Ducati Scrambler Desert Sled at a friend’s place. The raised forks, high ground clearance and great ride height had me going down on one knee instantly. “Why did they not launch this bike when I was looking at buying one?” I asked. But, I was still happy. You see, in the case of bikes, just because you’re committed to one doesn’t mean you cannot flirt with others.

I instantly flicked away the keys of the bike and rode it to the nearest gas station, filled her up and rode off. The height was one factor that I had loved but I am a tough nut to crack and no bike wins me over that easily. Nor would the Ducati Scrambler Desert Sled or so I thought.

Now riding a big bike on the Indian roads, you tend to think of yourself as the gentleman, one who knows the taste of finer things in life. You can notice people look up to you, wondering how you can afford such a beauty, how you manage to handle it and the national question of, “kitna deti hai?” (What’s the mileage?)

But, hardly 500meters riding the Ducati Scrambler Desert Sled and I had left the gentleman inside me back on the road somewhere. I was talking to the wind, standing on the foot pegs, jumping over all those speed breakers and raring to hit the dirt. No, there was nothing gentlemanly in the way I was riding this bike and I am not to blame for it. There is an ease with which this beast adjusts to your riding style, lets you push the boundaries and still munches miles like it’s nobody’s business.The 803cc displacement with 75Bhp makes for an effortless ride. On the first day of riding this bike, the lady on the GPS told me to take a route that it stated was all clear, showing me blue on the map. I got to know two things that day. One, that according to Google Maps, only cars are traffic. What was a blue line on the map was actually a vegetable market full of carts and hawkers. The second thing I realized is that even though we might call it a superbike, the Ducati Scrambler Desert Sled is equally comfortable to ride at 5 km/h while you’re still manoeuvring your way through a vegetable market standing on the foot pegs. The only challenge here was that it did heat up and gave me waxed legs for free but then, Italians have always been hot and I am not complaining.

Now one look at the Ducati Scrambler Desert Sled and you know it is meant equally for dirt as it is meant for the road. So, the next day, quite to my dad’s surprise, I was up at 5 in the morning, ready to leave for work (according to him). In no time, I had reached my favourite place in Gurgaon, where the road ends and the fun begins. I had my initial fears about the bike falling and me having to do the walk of shame but this turned out to be a playground. I should point out here that on a scale of 1 to 10, my fitness level is minus 6 or 7 and I am not even a pro at off-road riding. But the Pirelli Scorpion rally tyres perfectly complemented the tubular steel trellis frame and loose sand became comfort food for the bike. There was absolutely no road but we kicked up dirt and kept moving. After a few rounds, I was convinced that the Italians are not just good looking but also intelligent and their bikes are evidence for the same.

There is not much I can say in conclusion for the Ducati Scrambler Desert Sled. The owner of the bike is still searching for me and the bike which I don’t intend on giving back anytime soon. And, I am searching for a good tattoo artist to cover up the BMW GS Tattoo. I don’t think I want to buy that one anymore. Or do I? Let’s wait until I ride it to decide.

Watch the Video here:

Photography: Shubham Jain

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