The Indian Scrambler segment consisting of the Ducati Scrambler Icon and the Triumph Street Scrambler. The Scrambler concept has mostly revolved around lightweight bikes that offered sedate performance and concentrated on light off-road fun. For more serious performance, you have just the BMW R nineT Scrambler to go to. With the Introduction of the Ducati Scrambler 1100, BMW Motorradhas something to worry about. Let’s find out which one is better on paper.
Design and features:
The BMW R nineT Scrambler looks like a well-finished yard-built project bike. It comes with a lot of vintage design cues like halogen headlamp setup, rubber fork gaiters, ribbed seat, five-spoke star-shaped alloy wheels and side-mounted stacked twin exhausts. It also gets a vintage-styled single-pod instrument cluster with a black face and white speedometer dial. It misses out on a tachometer but gets a digital display inside the console. It gets a host of accessories to choose from, ranging from an Akrapovic exhaust to cross-spoked wheels that can accommodate tubeless tyres.
The Ducati Scrambler 1100 feels more like a cross between the Scrambler Icon and the Monster 1100 which, in a way, is correct. It does use parts from the now discontinued Monster 1100 Evo. It is more modern than the BMW R nineT Scrambler in the sense that it gets LED headlamps, tail lamps and turn indicators and full digital instrument console. The console is all-new and has a floating design. It displays all relevant information like speed, engine revs, fuel level, gear position, side stand position, clock, traction control level, fuel level, rider mode and trip meter. It also gets a small underseat storage compartment with a USB charging socket. The fuel tank gets aluminium panels that can be swapped easily fo a personalised touch. Ducati also has an extensive Scrambler line of accessories to choose from. When it comes to looks the beautifully crafted BMW R nineT wins due to its more authentic looks. The Scrambler though wins on the features front and gets all the bells and whistles you’d expect of a retro-modern Scrambler.
Engine and performance:
Powering the R nineT is BMW’s traditional opposed twin or Boxer twin-cylinder engine from the previous generation R 1200 GS ADV bike. The 1170cc air- and oil-cooled motor makes 110PS at 7750rpm and 116Nm at 6000rpm. Power is transmitted to the rear wheel via a shaft drive and a six-speed gearbox. It gets a hydraulically actuated single-plate dry clutch. A dry clutch setup is more efficient at transmitting power but is noisier. BMW claims a top speed of over 200kmph for the R nineT Scrambler and a fuel economy of 18.86kmpl. With its large 17-litre fuel tank, that translates to a theoretical range of around 320km.
The Scrambler 1100 uses Ducati’s traditional L-twin engine layout. The air- and oil-cooled motor was seen on the now discontinued Monster 1100 EVO. It makes 86PS at 7500rpm and 88Nm at 4750rpm. It gets the conventional chain drive and is mated to a six-speed gearbox. It gets a wet multiplate slipper clutch that should make the bike easy to manage on high speed downshifts. Fuel tank capacity has increased to 15 litres compared to the Scrambler Icon. While the motor might not be high on power, it compensates by feeling more modern. It gets ride-by-wire and three riding modes: Active, Journey and City. It also gets a four-stage traction control that can be switched off.
Both motors will offer a different unique feel thanks to their layouts. The BMW here has a huge advantage in terms of power and torque output. The Ducati should be easy to manage thanks to the large safety net of electronics on offer.
Chassis and suspension:
The R nineT Scrambler chassis consists of three sections bolted together with the engine and gearbox as a stressed member. The suspension is a downgrade on the stock R nineT. Instead of upside down forks, it gets non-adjustable 43mm conventional forks with 125mm of wheel travel. The rear gets a spring preload and rebound damping adjustable monoshock with 140mm of wheel travel. It’s a single sided BMW Paralever swingarm. Braking too is a simpler affair. It gets twin 320mm front discs clamped with conventionally mounted Brembo 4-piston callipers. The rear gets a single 265mm disc with a 2-piston calliper. Dual-channel ABS is standard. Seat height is a loftish 820mm. The R nineT Scrambler is set for dual-purpose riding with 19-inch front and 17-inch rear wheels with 120/70 R19 and 170/60 R17 Metzeler Tourance radial tyres. For better off road grip, you have the optional Metzeler Karoo 3 tyres. The R nineT is a heavy bike, tipping the scales at 220kg kerb.
The Ducati Scrambler 1100 Sport meanwhile gets a large upgrade over the Scrambler Icon. To accommodate the larger motor, the frame is a new tubular steel trellis unit. It also gets a beefier swingarm to handle the extra power and torque. The suspension setup includes front 48mm Ohlins upside down forks with 140mm of wheel travel and rear preload and rebound damping adjustable rear monoshock with 150mm of wheel travel. Braking too gets serious kit in the form of dual 320mm discs grabbed by radially mounted 4-piston Brembo M4.32 monobloc callipers and a 245mm rear disc with a single-piston caliper. It gets Bosch cornering ABS, seen mostly in larger sportsbikes. The front wheel is a 19-inch unit while the rear is a 17-inch unit. They come shod with 120/70 R18 front and 180/55 R17 rear Pirelli MT 60 RS radial tyres. Seat height is 810mm while kerb weight is 206kg.
The BMW R nineT Scrambler, true to its name, is more of an off-road-oriented bike. The Ducati Scrambler 1100 meanwhile would be more at home on tarmac thanks to its road-biased suspension setup.
Pricing and Verdict:
The BMW R nineT Scrambler is the more expensive bike here. It retails for Rs 15.55 lakh (ex-showroom, India). Interestingly it is the most affordable R nineT variant you can buy in India, with the standard R nineT being the costliest at Rs 17.45 lakh. The Ducati Scrambler 1100 Sport is the range-topping Scrambler here, and its most affordable standard variant costs Rs 10.91 lakh. The Scrambler 1100 Sport retails for Rs 11.42 lakh (ex-showroom, India), a whopping Rs 6 lakh less than the BMW R nineT Scrambler.
The R nineT Scrambler is essentially a stripped down variant of the R nineT, the way old-school scramblers came to be. It is achingly gorgeous and packs in a lot of power but a basic suspension setup, lack of electronics and heavy weight means it can be quite a handful in the hands of the inexperienced rider.
The Ducati Scrambler 1100 Sport, on the other hand, is the retro-modern take on the scrambler concept. Though lacking in power compared to the BMW, it makes ground with a host of modern features, top-shelf suspension components and more manageable weight that both a novice and experienced rider would be able to enjoy. It’s more of a mind vs heart matter really.