ad code

2021 Ducati Scrambler desert sled.

Minor updates for 2021, but the fun factor remains the same.


Wide, well-positioned handlebars provide good leverage for cornering and off-roading

An easy-to-ride motorcycle for many skill levels with its light clutch and easy-to-start engine

Its low-speed handling, decent suspension, 19/17-inch spoked wheels and ability to slide and skid make it a real bomb on the ground.

A new paint job


Slippery detents despite rubber removal

Could benefit from the more powerful 1100cc engine


The Desert Sled is the best suited Ducati sled for off-road use, easy to ride and fun to glide on. The paint may have changed, but the fun factor hasn't.

The Ducati Desert Sled at a glance

The 2021 Ducati Desert Sled is reminiscent of the jammers that claimed the rugged terrain of Southern California and Baja California in the 1960s and 1970s. It offers casual styling, modern technology and even true off-road capability. It features a raised fender, 19/17-inch wheels and adjustable suspension, all combined with handling that makes it easy to drive and fun to ride.

Upgrades for 2021

The new paint scheme pays homage to the enduro bikes of the '80s. Also new is the saddle, which features an anti-slip lining that keeps the rider in place even on rough roads.

Prices and variants

The Desert Sled is priced at $11,995, the highest price among Ducati's street-dedicated 803 Scrambler siblings like the new Nightshift ($10,995) and Icon ($9,695).

Drivetrain: engine, transmission and power

The sled is powered by an air-cooled 803cc L-twin engine. This engine reportedly produces 73 hp at 8,250 rpm and 48.9 lb-ft at 5,750 rpm. It is described by test rider Chris Northover as an engine that has "enough power to be entertaining without being too heavy for new riders or too aggressive in off-road situations."

The clutch is light, allowing the driver to easily shift the six-speed transmission.


During his test ride, Mr. Northover said the bike is "a lot of fun, but in a relaxed way." Supportive comments refer to the bike's chassis and the fact that it's not necessarily about cornering, but you don't have to be very convincing to take a corner either. The chassis "follows obediently without shaking its head or offering resistance."

The fully adjustable fork and preload/feedback adjustable shock offer 7.9 inches of travel.


A large 330mm front brake disc and four-piston caliper effectively stop the bike. Pushing the bike like a supermotard, however, may require a bit more power. The rear unit features a 245-mm disc and a single-piston floating caliper.

Mid-corner corner bumps are mitigated by ABS in the corners and are standard on both ends.

Fuel economy and actual GPM

3.6 gallons of fuel can be loaded into the tank. Fuel consumption and actual gallons per gallon are not yet recorded.

Ergonomics: comfort and utility

The wide and tall handlebars provide good leverage to turn the bike from corner to corner. The saddle is 33.9 inches high, but there is a 33-inch option for those who want something shorter. The flat bottom and non-slip seat cover keep the cyclist from sliding off. Let's leave the sliding on gravel roads to the off-road riding mode, 19- and 17-inch wheels and Pirelli Scorpion Rally STR tires.


The Scrambler Desert Sled is equipped with advanced electronics, including cornering ABS, Journey and Off-Road riding modes, LED lighting and is compatible with Ducati's multimedia system (i.e. smartphone connectivity).

Warranty and maintenance coverage

A two-year unlimited mileage warranty is included.


Small changes like the new paint job and new seat may seem insignificant, but this bike offers a lot of fun on and off the road, with the high-end quality Ducati is known for.

Post a Comment