We’ve been lucky enough to ride most of Ducati’s extensive Scrambler range. Of all of them, the Desert Sled is the one we’re most likely to ride in the dirt—and the liter-plus Scrambler 1100 is the one we’re most likely to ride on the street. But what if you could roll them both into one bike?
That’s exactly what Filippo Barbacane of Officine RossoPuro has just done, with this off-road-focused Ducati Scrambler 1100. By mashing up the 1100 with Desert Sled parts and hand-made touches, he’s built the big-bore retro dual sport that’s currently missing from Ducati’s line-up.
Based on Italy’s Adriatic coast, Filippo’s most known for his tasteful Moto Guzzi builds. But when Ducati handed him a Scrambler 1100 to customize, he jumped at the opportunity—mostly because this concept had been milling around in his head for a while.
“The idea from the outset was to create a versatile bike at the highest level,” Filippo explains, “which is also the trend I have been dedicating myself to the most in recent years. In addition to always experimenting, which is the basis of customization in my opinion, there remains a fundamental idea that a bike exists to be used.”
First on the list was jacking the Scrambler 1100 up, to create more ground clearance and compliance.
Filippo scalped the longer forks and rear shock from a Desert Sled, and tuned them internally to compensate for the bigger bike’s weight. The stock front hub was re-laced to a 21” aluminum rim, and both wheels were wrapped in multi-purpose Pirelli Scorpion Rally STR rubber.
Filippo’s goal was for the big sled to “have a strong off-road spirit while having a neat and special aesthetic,” but the low-slung OEM subframe didn’t gel with that concept. So he fabricated a new bolt-on unit, following a classic trellis design, and raising the seat height in the process.
It also meant having to move around a bunch of electronic components, so Filippo did some rewiring, and installed a compact Lithium-ion battery.
Next up was the bodywork. Weight saving was a top priority, so everything was hand-shaped out of aluminum, starting with the fuel tank. “It was the most complex element given the presence of the large fuel pump inside it,” says Filippo, “and also the shape of the frame, since I still wanted to have a fairly good range, given the kind of bike.”
Filippo’s process was decidedly old school, too; he actually built a clay model before bending metal. Other hand-made touches include the front fairing and the rear side panels, which complement the Scrambler 1100’s frontal side panels neatly. And there’s a burly bash plate lower down.
The fairing re-uses the stock Ducati headlight, since it suited the overall style of the bike perfectly. In fact, the whole cockpit is stock, along with a set of aftermarket Ducati Scrambler hand guards and a Desert Sled front fender. Using the factory parts was a deliberate move to not stray too far from the stock bike, but everything suits the overall vibe perfectly.
The seat and tailpiece are custom bits though, and hark back to the big enduros of the 80s and 90s. The tail ‘cover’ pops off to reveal a tool kit, and hosts a neat 3D printed luggage rack up top.
Filippo had to fettle the exhaust system too. The Scrambler was sporting an off-the-shelf Termignoni system, but the revisions to the subframe meant that the muffler’s mounting point no longer matched up. So he reworked the headers to shift it up.
As for the yellow livery, that’s a hat tip to the Ducati Scrambler brand; yellow’s been their color of choice since day one. Contrasted by hints of polished aluminum, it works.
“The bike in motion has an excellent ride,” Filippo tells us, “fast when changing direction on the road, but also off-road it is fun. But above all I think I have hit the idea of having a versatile bike, usable in all situations.”
We’re getting tired of saying this, but: Dear Ducati, please build this motorcycle.