Ducati’s long-awaited DesertX concept is now a fully-fledged production model with the first examples expected in the third quarter of 2022.
New Zealand pricing is set at $24,995 for the classic rally raid inspired adventurer.
Ducati has given the DesertX some serious credentials when it comes to living up to that dune destroyer aesthetic. Rolling stock is a dirt ready 21-inch front wheel followed by an 18 inch unit in the rear. Both are wrapped from the factory in tubeless Pirelli Scorpion Rally STR tyres from the factory, but this sizing will enable a wide choice of tyres once the Pirellis are toast.
KYB supplies the DesertX with its springers with a 46 mm diameter upside-down Kayaba fork boasting 230 mm of travel up the front and a Kayaba monoshock at the rear with 220mm of travel. Both are adjustable in compression, rebound and preload.
In addition, the new DesertX has a generous 250 mm ground clearance, this should make obstacles on off-road adventures a piece of cake to overcome.
Instead of being a Scrambler Ducati in 80s drag, the chassis layout of the new Ducati DesertX includes a new steel trellis frame, which has been developed to work in combination with the long travel suspension with dedicated settings, to ensure effective operation even in the most demanding off-road conditions.
Seat height is noted as 875mm high. Not extremely tall, but shorter riders might struggle.
Off-road, weight it’s the enemy and Ducati has revealed that the production DesertX has a 202 kg dry weight. Add in fluids (including the standard 21-litres of fuel) wet weight is up near 219kg. If you don’t mind adding another 6kg Ducati will give you a rear-mounted 8-litre auxiliary tank like a true Dakar racer for a small fee…
In terms of the all-important power train, the DesertX makes use of Ducati’s 937 cc liquid-cooled Testastretta 11° Desmodromic valvetrain engine as its heart. I’m DesertX tune the engine delivers 110 hp at 9,250 rpm and a maximum torque of 92 Nm at 6,500 rpm.
Tech-wise the DesertX is anything but old-school. A 5-inch TFT display keeps the rider informed while also keeping the cockpit a tidy looking affair.
Included in the wide-ranging tech package are 6 Riding Modes working in combination with 4 Power Modes - Full, High, Medium, Low - that modify the power and responsiveness of the Testastretta engine. The main new features are specific settings for the Enduro Riding Mode and the introduction of the new Rally Riding Mode, in addition to Sport, Touring, Urban and Wet.
In the Enduro Riding Mode, thanks to the reduced power and the specially designed control settings, the rider should be able to tackle the most demanding dirt roads with greater safety and makes it easier for less experienced users to ride off-road. The Rally Riding Mode, on the other hand, with full engine power and reduced electronic controls, is designed for more experienced riders who want to make the most of DesertX's off-road performance.
Each Riding Mode, also thanks to the presence of the Bosch IMU (Inertial Measurement Unit), can change the character of the bike according to the rider’s input, by acting on the intervention levels of the various electronic controls: Engine Brake Control (EBC), Ducati Traction Control (DTC), Ducati Wheelie Control (DWC), Ducati Quick Shift (DQS) Up & Down and ABS Cornering.
ABS Cornering, in particular, can be set on 3 levels to be able to adapt to whatever situation and rider skill. In the Riding Modes dedicated to off-road (Enduro and Rally), ABS Cornering can also be completely deactivated via the switch cube with a specific button.
The vertically-mounted TFT is set up to integrate the Ducati Multimedia System from the off, which allows the rider to connect their phone to the bike via Bluetooth and unlock further features. This includes functions such as music and incoming/outgoing calls or Turn-by-Turn navigation (optional), which displays directions directly on the dashboard.
The rider is offered the opportunity to choose between two as-standard Info Modes: Standard and Rally. The Standard option provides for all the road information: tachometer and speedometer are clearly visible, as well as the engaged gear, fuel level and other useful journey information. The trip master function is part of the Rally Info Mode. This simulates the operation of the trip master used in rally motorcycles and allows to manually adjust the odometer indication, using the buttons on the left switch cube.
The DesertX will be backed by a four-year unlimited-kilometre warranty in the EU (NZ and Australia get a 24 month warranty) and is expected to arrive in NZ in the third quarter of 2022.