Published on December 12th, 2021 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez0
Ducati DesertX Launched Ready For Your Dakar Experience
The DesertX enlarges the boundaries of what can be done with a Ducati.
Ducati brings you into the atmosphere of Dakar racing. Meet the DesertX which is the first modern Ducati with 21-inch front wheel and 18-inch rear, long stroke suspension and a new frame designed specifically for the off-road experience. First teased in September this year, it was rumored to be a middle-weight adventure tourer machine with neo-retro styling.
Please do not mistake this new Ducati as being part of the Scrambler Desert Sled Fasthouse family? The limited edition bike of just 800 units was the result of a collaboration between Ducati and the American fashion brand, conceived to celebrate rider Jordan Graham’s victory in the Hooligan class at the 2020 Mint 400 off-road race.
The DesertX project was born in 2019 when Ducati presented the eponymous concept to the public, generating a strong and positive reaction from motorcyclists around the world.
This important feedback gave this Italian motorcycle manufacturer the decisive push to transform that concept into this functional, competent and effective motorcycle.
The DesertX arrived to challenge the popular Honda Africa Twin, the Triumph Tiger 900, KTM Adventure 890 and the MV Augusta Lucky Explorer in the competitive ADV segment.
PRESS RELEASE: The design of the DesertX represents a contemporary interpretation of the lines of the Enduro motorcycles of the ’80s, created by the Ducati Centro Stile in keeping with criteria of essentiality and robustness.
The bike is visually composed of 3 macro elements: a unique volume that includes the tank and the side shields; the saddle; and the windshield that embodies the distinctive double headlight and further reinforces the uniqueness of this bike.
Additionally, stylistic emphasis is given by the use of black and white areas. The surfaces in contact with the rider are large and harmoniously connected to better support every off-road riding phase.
The chassis layout of the new Ducati DesertX includes a new steel trellis frame, which works in combination with long travel suspension with dedicated settings, to ensure effective operation even in the most demanding off-road conditions.
The optimization of all components led to an efficient bike, all packed in a dry weight of 445 lb (202 kg). The choices in terms of chassis make the DesertX an easy bike to ride and make it able to give the right dose of feeling and safety on any surface. The new DesertX also offers a great capacity to absorb road imperfections.
On the front suspension, the DesertX stands out for its premium fitting. It is offered with 1.8-inch (46 mm) diameter upside-down Kayaba fork with 9.06-inch (230 mm) travel and Kayaba monoshock.
Both elements are adjustable in compression, rebound and preload. The Kayaba monoshock is perfectly married to the aluminum swingarm and allows a rear wheel travel of 8.66-inches (220 mm). In addition, the new DesertX has a generous 9.8-inch (250 mm) ground clearance, which is particularly suitable for more extreme off-road adventures.
It is noteworthy that the new DesertX features unprecedented tire sizes for a Ducati: 21″ at the front and 18″ at the rear. The original equipment tires are the Pirelli Scorpion Rally STR, 90/90-21 and 150/70 R18: the perfect choice for a brilliant all-round use of the bike. DesertX will also be homologated to fit both off and on-road-oriented tires.
Like all Ducati motorcycles the braking system of this new bike benefits from ABS Cornering function. The front features Brembo M50 monobloc radial calipers with four 1.2-inch (30 mm) diameter pistons, axial pump with adjustable levers and double 12.6-inch (320 mm) discs with aluminum flanges.
At the rear, on the other hand, a single 10.4-inch (265 mm) diameter disc on which a twin-piston floating caliper, again by Brembo. The braking power setting has been conceived to offer great modulability in off-road riding as well as on slippery surfaces, not to mention the fact that it grants the right dose of power in road use.
The ergonomics of the new DesertX have been developed over long and demanding off-road and on-asphalt test sessions. The saddle-footrest-handlebar triangulation gives its best while standing up and offers a good level of comfort even on on-road riding. The end result is a bike with an extremely slim fitting area and perfectly linked surfaces that guarantee the rider maximum control and handling.
The seat is 34.4 inches (875 mm) high. The combination of a particularly narrow inner leg curve and initial suspension compliance ensures good contact with the ground. The saddle height can still be reduced by means of a lowered saddle (available as an accessory); thanks to an ad hoc kit, saddle height can be further lowered.
Ducati technicians have also worked hard on a full suite of contents that make DesertX a truly enjoyable bike on whatever road one rides. The riding position, for example, is even more comfortable for rider and passenger alike, thanks to the definition of the shape and padding targeted for each of the two seats.
Heat management was studied in detail with openings and flows of fresh air whilst aerodynamic protection is ensured by the great care taken in defining the shape and size of the original windshield and the even more protective one available as an accessory.
Proper range to face longer journeys is guaranteed by the fuel tank with over 5.54 U.S. gallons (21 l) of capacity and thus offering the opportunity of mounting a further tank (available as accessory) in the rear area, adding further 2.1 gallons (8 l) of fuel. Fuel transfer from the rear to the front tank is enabled when the fuel level in the main tank falls below a certain level and can be activated from the dashboard.
DesertX also has an excellent load capacity, almost 120 l of volume available including bags and aluminum top case. The specific choice of tubeless tires is functional to the journey and to safety. It allows a combination of greater reliability, greater safety in the event of a puncture and easier repair.
The 937 cc liquid-cooled Testastretta 11° Desmodromic valvetrain engine is the heart of the new DesertX. Characterized by excellent reliability, this engine delivers 110 hp at 9,250 rpm and a maximum torque of 68 lb-ft at 6,500 rpm. Solid Ducati performance is combined with regular and always manageable delivery, providing the rider with a bike capable of tackling any route with great confidence.
The engine can count on all the improvements already seen on the Monster and Multistrada V2, including the extremely light and compact 8-disc clutch and the gearbox equipped with a geardrum mounted on bearings to reduce friction and improve precision and smoothness while shifting. This contributes also to a reduction of the total weight of the engine of 3.7 lb (1.7 kg) compared to the previous version.
To offer the best performance in off-road riding and in various uses, the Testastretta 11° has been specifically optimized. The gearbox has different dedicated ratios with respect to those of the Multistrada V2.
The ratios have been shortened overall on all gears up to fifth, to ensure the best off-road behavior. First and second gears, in particular, are much shorter, in order to facilitate the low-speed driving phases of certain difficult passages typical of off-road use. Sixth gear is properly long to facilitate highway handling while maintaining low engine speeds; this means a contained fuel consumption and an increased level of comfort.
The DesertX also includes state-of-the-art electronic systems, which offer first-rate performance and safety in terms of rider aids. The new DesertX comes with 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.
To be precise, the Enduro Riding Mode, thanks to the reduced power and the specially designed control settings, allows the rider 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 adapt to the situation and rider’s 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 dashboard of the DesertX, vertically oriented and positioned to offer clear information in stand-up riding, features a high resolution 5″ full-TFT colour display. The instrumentation is predisposed to integrate the Ducati Multimedia System which allows the rider to connect their phone, thus activating new 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 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 one to manually adjust the odometer indication, using the buttons on the left switch cube.
Premium technological features are also represented by the lighting system, which is full LED. The double front headlight has two twin-function poly-ellipsoidal modules with Daytime Running Light (DRL) and has been designed to ensure excellent visibility, particularly important for a motorcycle capable of traveling in all conditions. The rear light is equipped with the Ducati Brake Light, a particular system that, in the event of sudden braking, automatically activates the flashing of the rear light to alert the following vehicles, a solution that further improves rider’s safety.
Such a multi-faceted motorcycle can be further customized by riders according to their own spirit and mood by drawing on the broad range of Ducati Performance accessories. Among the most appealing items: the rally saddle, which marries the rider and passenger seats for greater effectiveness in off-road activities and the additional 2.1-gallon (8 l) tank.
Touring experience can be further improved with the aluminum side panniers which, combined with the top case, give the bike a total load capacity amount of 4.1 cubic feet (117 l), additional LED spotlights, central stand and heated grips. The homologated Termignoni exhaust, also offered in the racing variant are also available, which thanks to the dedicated mapping further increases power and torque values by +7 percent.
The Ducati DesertX’s intense character deserves a special homage. That’s why Ducati Centro Stile has designed, for the first time, a dedicated capsule collection that takes up the livery of the bike.
An outstanding line inspired by the iconic “Dakarian style” and named 21/18, a celebrative tribute to this bike’s tire sizes. The technical suit includes jacket, pants, and helmet, and will be available in limited edition. Part of this exclusive collection is also a range of lifestyle apparel, specifically designed for this model, consisting of a sweatshirt, two T-shirts and a hat.