Italian motorcycle maker Ducati has introduced a new model better designed for off-road travel and fans of “adventure motorcycles,” also known as “ADV” or “dual-sport” bikes, couldn’t be happier.
Called the Ducati DesertX, the 110-horsepower machine features styling that pays homage to Ducati’s 1980s desert racing machines while being fully street legal and up to date on tech and performance.
The DesertX slots nicely between Ducati’s more road-oriented Multistrada (”many roads”) models that can also venture off the pavement and the Scrambler Ducati line of more urban-focused machines that can also get dirty. However, the tech and hardware designed into the DesertX give it a clear advantage over both of those model lines when it comes to off-road performance, and gives Ducati a hot new entry into the now hugely popular ADV motorcycle category.
Wearing a 21-inch front wheel and an 18-inch rear hoop – sizes more commonly found on dirt bikes – the DesertX features generous ground clearance, long-travel Kayaba suspension components and two special ride modes tailored specifically to off-road riding. Other ride modes include variants for riding in the rain, on the highway or in more sporting environs.
The DesertX will also be available with a long list of available options more adventurous riders need, including an add-on second fuel tank, tough aluminum travel cases, crash bars, and niceties like heated grips and seat options. The bike starts at $16,795, but dialed in up for a ‘round-the-world (”RTW”) expedition, the price tag can easily crest $20,000.
Power comes from the stalwart but updated 110-horsepower liquid-cooled Testastretta two-cylinder “L-Twin” engine that powers several other bikes in the Ducati lineup. Riders will get speed, route information and other vitals from a vertical LCD display in the cockpit. Dual LED headlights built into the bike’s bodywork light the way forward.
Ducati released a lengthy video (below) detailing the DesertX tech and performance attributes, and also showed the bike shredding Middle East sand dunes with experienced riders and desert racers at the controls. The message: This is a Ducati that can take you places most motorcycles can’t.
The DesertX grew from a concept bike Ducati unveiled at the EICMA motorcycle show in Italy in 2019. The gas tank, headlights and overall style strongly recall Ducati desert racing bikes from the 1980s. Industry reaction was swift, with many riders calling for the bike to be put into production. During the pandemic, Ducati apparently put the downtime to good use getting the DesertX up to speed. Deliveries of the DesertX are expected to begin in Summer of 2022. There will also be a full line of Ducati adventure touring clothing available as well.