Which 2022 Ducati Scrambler Motorcycle Should You Ride?

Its retro style no doubt plays a role, but the Ducati Scrambler’s appeal is more than skin-deep. For one, it’s the most affordable bike that Ducati makes, providing buyers an easier way into the historic brand. And at least one model offers true, race-proven dirt-scrambling capability. But therein lies the dilemma: there are several Ducati Scrambler models to choose from right now. So, which one should you pick?

The first step in picking a 2022 Ducati Scrambler: 800 or 1100?

A yellow-black-and-silver 2021 Ducati Scrambler Icon in a garage
2021 Ducati Scrambler Icon | Ducati
Spec2022 Ducati Scrambler 8002022 Ducati Scrambler 1100
Engine803cc air-cooled L-twin (90° V-twin)1079cc air-cooled L-twin (90° V-twin)
Power73 hp86 hp
Torque49 lb-ft65 lb-ft

The Ducati Scrambler lineup is mainly divided by engine capacity. Although all these bikes use Ducati’s iconic L-twin engine, they use different versions of said engine. The Scrambler 800 models—which are just called Scramblers—displace 803cc while the Scrambler 1100 bikes displace 1079cc.

But engine capacity aside, the Scrambler powertrain is identical whether you want an 800 or 1100. All these motorcycles have six-speed manual transmissions with slipper-assist clutches. And they all have chain final drives.

However, the Ducati Scrambler 800 and 1100 models do have some differences beyond their engine sizes. While all models have cornering ABS, an LCD gauge, and under-seat storage areas with USB sockets, the 1100 bikes also have traction control. And with one exception, none of the Scrambler 800s have multiple riding modes, while the 1100s do.

That one exception is the Ducati Scrambler Desert Sled. But it doesn’t just stand out from its fellow 800s—it’s a bit of an exception to the other models, too.

Despite the name, not all Ducati Scrambler motorcycles are meant for off-roading

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Spec2022 Ducati Scrambler2022 Ducati Scrambler 1100
ModelsIcon Dark
Icon
Nightshift
Urban Motard
Desert Sled
Pro
Tribute Pro
Sport Pro
Front suspension and travelDesert Sled: 46mm fully-adjustable inverted fork; 7.9”
All others: 41mm Kayaba inverted fork; 5.9”
Pro and Tribute Pro: 45mm fully-adjustable Marzocchi inverted fork; 5.9”
Sport Pro: 48mm Ohlins fully-adjustable Ohlins inverted fork; 5.9”
Rear suspension and travelDesert Sled: Preload- and rebound-adjustable Kayaba mono-shock; 5.9”
All others: Preload-adjustable Kayaba mono-shock; 5.9”
Pro and Tribute Pro: Preload- and rebound-adjustable Kayaba mono-shock; 5.9”
Sport Pro: Fully-adjustable Ohlins mono-shock; 5.9”
Seat heightIcon and Icon Dark: 31.4”
Nightshift and Urban Motard: 31.7”
Desert Sled: 33.9”
31.9″
Curb weightIcon and Icon Dark: 417 lbs
Nightshift and Urban Motard: 432 lbs
Desert Sled: 461 lbs
Pro and Sport Pro: 454 lbs
Tribute Pro: 465 lbs

Most of the Ducati Scrambler models, although they ape their vintage scrambler ancestors, are designed with street riding in mind. The new-for-2021 Nightshift, for example, combines elements from the Café Racer and Full Throttle models. And the new-for-2022 Urban Motard, though it has dirt bike elements, is really a supermoto, not an off-roader.

That’s not to say these street-oriented Scramblers are bad motorcycles. The Scrambler Icon in particular is “very beginner-friendly,” RideApart notes. Nor is borrowing visual and design elements like this unheard of. The updated 2022 Indian FTR, for example, may look like a flat-tracker, but it’s really more of a streetfighter. However, just like the 2022 FTR has one off-road-focused model, there’s one Scrambler that is genuinely off-road-capable. And that’s the Scrambler Desert Sled.

The Desert Sled is mostly identical to the other Ducati Scrambler 800 models equipment-wise. However, in addition to upgraded Kayaba suspension, as well as more suspension travel and ground clearance, it also has a dedicated off-road riding mode. It lets you switch off the ABS for controlled slides, Cycle World explains, which is often necessary on gravel and dirt trails. Also, it has an actual metal skid plate and Pirelli Scorpion Rally STR off-road tires. As a result, it’s “a great fun bike to play around on,” CW says.

How much does a Ducati Scrambler cost?

The rear 3/4 view of the yellow-and-black 2022 Ducati Scrambler 1100 Tribute Pro on a tree-lined country road
2022 Ducati Scrambler 1100 Tribute Pro rear 3/4 | Ducati

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The Ducati Scrambler 800 model family starts at a lower price than the Scrambler 1100 one. However, some members of the former, including the Desert Sled, start to creep into the latter’s price range.

The starting prices break down as follows:

  • Ducati Scrambler 800
    • Icon Dark: $8995
    • Icon: $9995
    • Nightshift: $11,395
    • Urban Motard: $11,695
    • Desert Sled: $12,195 ($12,295 for Fasthouse Edition)
  • Ducati Scrambler 1100
    • Pro: $13,495
    • Tribute Pro: $13,995
    • Sport Pro: $15,895

Which model is right for you?

The side view of a black-clad rider sitting next to a black-and-gray 2021 Ducati Scrambler Nightshift on a stone building overlooking a European city at night
2021 Ducati Scrambler Nightshift side | Ducati

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The Desert Sled might be the true off-road-ready Ducati Scrambler, but the other models have their own strengths. As noted earlier, the ‘regular’ Icon and Icon Dark offer “energetic and well-measured performance” that “new and inexperienced riders” can easily access, Motorcyclist notes. Also, if the Scrambler platform wasn’t solid, the Desert Sled wouldn’t be as fun as it is off-road.

Still, there are subtle differences between the other models due to minor changes in equipment and rider ergonomics. The Nightshift, for example, has straighter and narrower handlebars than the Icon, which puts you in a more hunched-over position, Motorcyclist says. Meanwhile, the Urban Motard’s different tires and chassis settings will likely make it sportier than the other 800s, Cycle World muses.

It’s worth noting, though, that Ducati offers lower accessory seats to improve the ergonomics as needed. Indeed, many of the differences between the Scrambler 800 bikes come down to accessories and graphics, rather than specific features.

As for the Ducati Scrambler 1100 motorcycles, they offer a step up in performance and safety features from the regular Icon. Think of them as spiritual successors to the old trellis-framed Monsters, Cycle World says. So, if you test-ride a Scrambler 800 and find yourself wanting a bit more, consider trying one of the 1100s.

Ultimately, that’s the best way to figure out which Ducati Scrambler you should buy. The Nightshift’s handlebars mean it steers differently than the Icon or Icon Dark, so it’s worth keeping that in mind. But picking between these motorcycles depends on what kind of rider you are. If you want to go off-road, the Desert Sled’s the best option. For sportier on-road riding, consider the 1100s. And if you prefer something more relaxed, the other 800s are likely more your speed.

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