You may not realize it, dear MO reader, but the 2018 Ducati Scrambler 1100 was the first motorcycle I reviewed after coming back to after nearly 12 months away. In many ways this was the perfect motorcycle to ease me back into the game – the Scrambler line is all about having fun on two wheels and less about dissecting the spec sheet for every last ounce of performance. Believe it or not, the more you do this job, the more you tune-in to the details, and having been away for a short while, I think I was a bit rusty. Had I been reviewing, say, the Panigale V4, there might have been some important details I may have overlooked.

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With the Scrambler 1100 though, the biggest message Ducati wants people to walk away with is one of fun, carefree adventure. The details aren’t critical because the experience is what matters. And to that end, Ducati nailed it with the Scrambler 1100. In case you missed it, you can check out my First Ride Review here. In essence, what Ducati did was take the 1079cc Twin from the Monster 1100 Evo, tweak the top end, and toss one of the throttle bodies. The resulting engine produces a broad spread of torque all across the bottom and mid-range, making for an incredibly useful street engine.

That engine is wrapped with Ducati’s signature trellis frame with decent suspension components and surprisingly capable Pirelli MT-60 knobby-ish tires. The marriage of all these components made for a very fun motorcycle to toss around the hillsides of Portugal, and though we didn’t get a chance to veer off into the Portuguese dirt, I’m sure the big Scrambler would be a riot on a fire road, since the torquey engine is easily capable of spinning the rear. Meanwhile, if you stand up on the pegs, the neutral riding position and wide bars will help steer you through to the other side.

The original, 803cc, Ducati Scrambler was a big hit when it was released in 2015 (though I wasn’t a huge fan of it), boosting sales for Ducati in ways it never imagined. A big departure for the red brand from Bologna, the Scrambler veers away from the performance mantra Ducati is known for. Instead the Scrambler represents pure motorcycle enjoyment, free from the confines of labels (the hipster label not included), and free from the pursuit of eeking out the last tenth. Ducati being Ducati, it’s still going to find a way to get a little performance into the Scrambler, and as the flagship of the Scrambler line, the 1100 version does so without tarnishing what the sub-brand stands for. But enough reading – check out my video review above to see (and hear) what I mean.