Scrambler Ducati - Desert Sled vs Icon

Discussion in 'Moto Bellissima: All Other Dualsports' started by ITguy89, Jun 12, 2018.

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  1. ITguy89

    ITguy89 n00b

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    Hi all,

    Just hoping to get an honest feedback from those own or owned a scrambler Ducati and upgraded to a desert sled.

    I bought an icon last year and now I’m itching for the desert sled. The reason I didn’t buy the DS was bc an employee at the dealership said the DS was not as good on the highway so I decided to buy the icon. Now I’m wondering if it was the smartest idea....

    Is the DS a good adventure bike on/off road and on the highway? Is there a big difference between the the regular scrambler and the desert sled? Is it worth the upgrade?

    I’m aware of the Multistrada and other adventure bikes but to be honest I love the simplicity and size of the scrambler Ducati. I got the Sargent seat for my icon and it changed my world but I’m thinking about getting the desert sled due to the upgrades it has over the icon.

    Thanks a lot!
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  2. Max Kool

    Max Kool Xtankteam™

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    I can’t think of a reason why the DS would be worse on the highway than an Icon.

    Longer wheelbase plus more legroom would only suggest it’s actually better....

    The 19” front and longer suspension travel would make it a better offroad bike too.

    About the only type of traffic the Icon would be better at is stop and go, small streets in the city (where the DS still beats most heavier bikes).

    My $0.02....
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  3. vntgmx

    vntgmx Been here awhile

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    Desert Sled is better in every way off road and on the highway and general road riding as well as the extra travel helps smooth out the shitty roads we all suffer thru on a daily basis....Now if you're talking tight twisty roads the lighter weight and lower center of gravity I'd give the edge to the Icon but not by all that much.....
    If seat height is an issue that also favors the Icon obviously....Ergos are personal and they are slightly different with the top shock mount on the Sled being more noticeable on your left leg and the different lower bars plus the overall bigger feel in comparison to the Icon....For me when I sat on the Sled the top shock mount was very noticeable but now after almost a 1000 miles on mine I can say I don't even notice it anymore....
    If you do 80% or more on the road riding I'd say the Icon is the slightly better way to go
    Again these are just my opinions having owned a 2016 Sixty2 for about 2k miles and ridden a couple of Icons before my current Desert Sled
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  4. Max Kool

    Max Kool Xtankteam™

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    Largely depends on how tall you are (or are not). I'm 5'10" and the Icon feels too small for me to be comfortable with the shorter seat to peg distance.

    For shorter riders however, it's most likely the other way around.
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  5. ITguy89

    ITguy89 n00b

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    I’m 6ft tall. 170 pounds, long legs.

    I’m sending emails to various dealerships to see how much I can get for my icon. Hopefully I can get a great deal. I paid my icon cash so I don’t have any finance on it.
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  6. Burner29

    Burner29 Adventurer

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    Biased reply here but I'd go DS hands down! Granted I haven't ridden the Icon as it just looks too small for me so I never tried it (I'm also 6').
    On road/highway manners are terrific, stop and go traffic is as easy as any bike I've ever ridden. The DS just keeps getting better and better the more I ride it. I recently completed a 4 hour (each way) trip on a very windy, hilly road in the pouring rain and it was amazing!
    Like everyone has already said, the ergos play into it but I think it would work very well for you.

    As for the employee saying that it's not good on the highway... everyone has their opinions!
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  7. ITguy89

    ITguy89 n00b

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    thanks for your opinion. I have the Sargent seat so if i get one ill put it on along with luggage.

    Can you give me your opinion about touring with this bike? you said you did 4 hours but what about more than that? I'm planning on going state by state in long trips with it. I personally wold not feel confident in big adventure bikes because what if something goes wrong in the middle of nowhere due to the high tech and big amount of electronics they have? I love Ducati and even more the scrambler line due to its simplicity.
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  8. Burner29

    Burner29 Adventurer

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    Again if the ergo's work for you then I think it makes for a good touring bike. That said here are the two drawbacks to touring on the DS;
    1. fuel tank size - this is a bigger deal to some people, myself I have it set up to carry one or two extra 1L fuel bottles, I can carry larger capacity bottles but realistically I just don't need it
    2. wind protection - there is none, so far that has not bothered me in the least, my Shoei RF1200 definitely helps in this area. There are also windscreen options out there, personally I think they ruin the look of the bike but as I said previously, everyone has their opinions!

    Now if I was doing a "big" trip and was given the option of a DS or a larger ADV bike I'd have the say the latter wins. Better wind protection, increased comfort, more space for gear, better tank range, more power (maybe)... The DS is a great all-rounder that I could and would tour on but it's not really in that category. I've previously owned a 800GS and a KTM990, both great bikes which on occasion I miss. The DS on the other hand is likely the one bike that I will keep for a long, long time.
    * again, just my opinions!
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  9. nesloyrag

    nesloyrag Adventurer

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    I bought the DS while I was in Arizona, went for a dual sport ride hated it, was a rough riding sucker, I then bought a KLR which I owned one in 87, rode it once and went back to the Duck, biggest problem was the rear shock, rode like a truck, figured I was in a hole I might as well dig a little deeper, bought a Ohlins for the rear, bingo, problem solved, all the difference in the world, I put a Corbin seat on and a luggage rack and a small trunk, rode 100 miles a couple days ago on it and you have to remember it is no dirt bike but handles great, just don't try clearing any triples with it as it fall out of the sky like a brick, all in all I love it, I have a new GS Adventure and the Duck is much better off road plus 200+ lbs lighter, only drawback is short fuel range, 130 miles and I'm looking for gas but thats ok, the other problem or not is lack of wind protection, I did put a Pui small screen on and it works ok, If I'm going any distance I prefer to ride my GS, I havent done any track time on this yet but I think in the tight stuff it will be hard to keep up with just my .02 worth
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  10. Gestalt

    Gestalt Been here awhile

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    I have the DS and my friend has the Icon (Too short for the DS), quite different bikes, the DS does everything but long distance well, it is a soft off roader and anyone thinking otherwise is only fooling themselves and I believe wants to look cooler that be practical (Rule of thumb, if they want to install more chunky tires they should have purchase a KTM or similar). The seat is a slight issue and the fuel tank can be an issue but that should be easy to work around and as this bike is not a bike to be going around the world you will have to be trying pretty hard to run out of fuel pitted against its capabilities (Buy a fuel bladder/can, bottle), people that own these bikes do not live in the third world. The Icon and the rest of the range is are great fun bikes for local cruises and coffee runs, it will do the longer stuff but its cramped and frankly was not built for it. Not everyone wants sport bikes, not everyone want tourers, if you want to smile and look good doing it while riding a world renowned brand while not quite breaking the bank by its simple nature the keep the icon, if you want to do some trials and have quite a bit more room and a more practical all round bike go for the DS. Both I believe can be best described as 'Form over substance, the DS however having quite a bit more substance than the Iron or its siblings, the DS maybe a Scrambler family member but it is a whole lot more bike, the engine and the tank are about all they share. By the way I love my DS, I have no idea what bike can replace it in my garage, it’s just too good an allrounder.
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  11. danketchpel

    danketchpel Long timer

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    I test rode an Icon along with a couple other models of standard Scrambler. But all of them felt too cramped for me (5'9") and the suspension is pretty much street only. I bought the DS as it was what I wanted the original Scramblers to be and would never consider any of the smaller ones.

    I'd echo what's been said about longer distances on the DS. I am right now trying to figure out a good way to increase the fuel tank size as for me it's the #1 limitation of the bike. I have a small windscreen on mine and it removes about 75% of the wind blast but if I were to to some really long rides (~200+ miles/day) I'd want a little larger screen. The Sargent seat solved the seat problem nicely.

    I find the suspension a HUGE improvement over the std Scrambler and honestly it works great out in the real world of crappy roads once you spend a little time adjusting it.

    If you wanted to do track days the smaller bikes are better suited I think, or if you're very vertically challenged. I do like the lighter weight of the std Scramblers but I'll take the added beef of the DS, especially the revised swingarm pivot setup, though I do wish the wheels were lighter. As I've mentioned often, they are wider and heavier than need be. You can look at what KTM uses on their V-twin ADV bikes in comparison and see what I mean. Ducati marketing team won out over the technical riders on that one, apparently wide sells ..... ??? Bah, it just makes wheels heavy.

    Comfort, vibration, suspension, weight, power, transmission, all are right where I'd like them to be for a longer distance solo bike. I also like that it's air cooled so no issues with cooling system failures or crunching radiators in a fall. Upgrading the fuel range and wind protection and sorting out the luggage would make for a pretty decent light(er) ADV bike. I am actually really considering this as I'd like to do some BDR type rides and the DS is really one of the best suited out of my current stable with my Husky 650 being the other choice. Both bikes are range limited, but right now my Husky is setup better overall. If there's a good deal of slab to be involved the DS wins out easily.
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  12. rich_mc

    rich_mc Full Fledged MEM-Ber

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    I find myself now asking this same question... Desert Sled or Icon? I went to the dealer today wanting to ride the Icon and hopefully buy one, but they only had a Desert Sled prepped as a demo. I did ride it and liked it well, but felt like it was a bit taller than I'd like as I was only able to get toes down, or firmly plant one foot. I wasn't able to ride the Icon, but liked it much better just from comfort level on sitting...

    I already have a big travel bike, and am just looking at the Scrambler as a bike to use for local bombing around, day rides, etc...

    At my dealer, there is about a $1500 premium to get the Desert Sled over the Icon. Is it worth it and then I just learn to deal with it being taller than I'd like, or would I be better to go with the Icon and decide later that I might want to do a suspension upgrade? I'd probably end up with the same money in both eventually, but would likely be happier with the modified Icon due to it being a more manageable height...

    Jeez - think I might have answered my own question just by writing coherent thoughts, but am open for advice or suggestions or experience from anyone else here who may have input...
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  13. Max Kool

    Max Kool Xtankteam™

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  14. rich_mc

    rich_mc Full Fledged MEM-Ber

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    5'9"... 30" inseam
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  15. Max Kool

    Max Kool Xtankteam™

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    Get the DS. I’m 5’10” with 32” legs and it fits me perfectly.

    The regular Scrambler felt way too small for me...
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  16. danketchpel

    danketchpel Long timer

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    Those are my numbers also.

    But, I'm used to riding tall dirt bikes where tippy toe is the norm. So for me it feels kinda natural, even a little desireable, as I felt very cramped on the standard sized Scramblers.
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  17. Little General

    Little General Been here awhile

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    8D327C1C-CCF5-4CB4-A64E-6330251FAD7B.jpeg I have everyone beat in the short contest. 5’6” and maybe 28” inseam. I lowered the front forks exactly 1” and had the BMW school instructor ride it and he said he couldn’t tell any difference in handling. I also set the rear shock spring a little less for compression and I have no issues. I went to tkc80 tires , sizes listed on DS forum and maybe even lowered it a bit more. Add a tall givi screen and ride all day without fighting the wind. I also used 1” bar risers to move the bars back towards me
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  18. Echo_OR

    Echo_OR Adventurer

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    Howdy folks, I absolutely love the look of the scramblers and really want to buy one. My question is I'm a new rider. I don't have much experience at all. I read a lot of people that say buy a crap bike or a small bike first and then upgrade later. This makes sense in some ways.

    The counter-argument is, the price isn't really an obstacle. I live in a relatively small town with not a lot of traffic. I've always been a very defensive driver and don't speed much if ever. So, I'm confident I can refrain from doing anything stupid until I get some more experience.

    So, the question is... is the Icon or DS just way too much bike to start on? I've seen both yes and no on this question (the problem with the internet).

    Anyway, you all seem more knowledgeable than most... what are your thoughts?
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  19. Max Kool

    Max Kool Xtankteam™

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    It is not imho, just make sure you apply the low speed bike control stuff we were taught in school: rear brake, dragging clutch, etc.

    The DS can be a bit top heavy at first (it's heavier, and taller).

    The most common stupid thing that can happen is drop it at 2 mph. Be careful and enjoy the ride!
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  20. danketchpel

    danketchpel Long timer

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    I'll try to give a very honest answer. I've owned many bikes from full dirt to full street Asian and European. For reference I started out in the dirt then moved to street when I became of age to have a driver's license.

    One of the standard Scramblers would make for a pretty good first bike in terms of size, being able to handle it, the type of power, etc.

    What would not be so good is Ducati parts are expensive and if you drop/crash it (even slow speed) the cost to fix it or make it look the same again will be more expensive than the Asian bikes. In general parts for the Euro bikes are more expensive with maybe Triumph or Moto Guzzi being the most reasonable in that regard.

    Not to put you off a Scrambler, but my suggestion would be to pick up a used Asian bike, maybe a twin in the 400-500cc range (not exact but a starting point, 750cc max) without a full fairing and learn the ropes on that first. Then after you feel confident and have some miles under your belt come back to looking at a more expensive bike. I'd suggest a year, 6 months minimum, before looking to upgrade. I'd look at the first bike as being "big enough" that it could carry you through a year's worth of riding growth. If you start out on say a 250cc often after about 2-3 months you are looking to upgrade. Doing a rider's school is ideal as they provide the bikes and after you finish the course you are usually waived from taking the physical riding test to get your bike license.

    If you drop a $1,500 used bike it doesn't "hurt" as much as when you drop your shiney new Ducati. When you are suitably confident I'd suggest doing a test or demo ride on a few bikes the Scrambler included. I don't advise doing demo rides without much experience, I've seen it and it doesn't always work out well. A very newbie buddy of mine decided he was ready to test ride some Ducatis and ended up paying out about $3k after dropping one that bent the frame a bit when the footpeg hit the pavement. It wasn't a Scrambler model, I think it was a smaller Monster if I recall and they have to put it back to fully saleable condition, meaning like new.

    The other thing is "most" twin cylinder Asian bikes are cheaper to have serviced than Ducatis. I don't know if this is an issue for you or not, but it can be for some. Most of Ducati's expense in servicing centers around their beloved Desmo valve train system which "can be" more work than other systems depending on what you are comparing it to. Desmo systems are not well understood by many average corner bike shops and Ducati dealers charge premium hourly rates. I do my own service work (including Desmo valves) so cost isn't that much of a factor for me, but honestly the extra time is something I don't look forward to, plus buying a few extra tools etc. I've done valves on most all systems and you can't beat screw type adjusters........, just say 'en.

    I hope that all makes sense and doesn't "dash" your desires for a Scrambler too much. I'd still suggest one, just after you've gained more experience.
    #20
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