Ducati World Premiere: Episode Six, “Dream Wilder” With the DesertX

Ducati's DesertX

Ducati’s New Queen of the Desert is ‘Born to Enhance Adventure’

Team Red has just released the climax of their 2022 World Premiere – and the Desert X has been tested by none other than 5-time Enduro World Champion Antoine Meo. 

Let’s get into it. 

Ducati's DesertX

As we expected, the new 2022 Ducati DesertX carries the liquid-cooled Testastretta 11° Desmodromic valvetrain engine – a heart capable of pumping out 110hp @ 9,250rpm and a maximum torque of 92Nm @ 6,500rpm (in Euro5 configuration). It’s also been designed for the rough and rugged approach, with key features including a “21-inch front wheel and 18” rear wheel, long-travel suspension, and generous ground clearance,” according to the official press release

Ducati's DesertX

Based on the enduro bikes of the 1980s (Cagiva immediately comes to mind as inspiration, though they do not make mention of the brand in the statement…more on that later), the exterior of the DesertX has been created with “3 [main] 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.”

Ducati's DesertX

Suspension is extensive (you’ll pardon the pun) and comes in the form of a 46mm inverted fork (Kabaya) that allows 230mm of travel to the front wheel, with a matching monoshock from the same brand allowing 220mm for the rear. 

We’ve got Pirelli Scorpion Rally STR tyres to suit the bike’s inclination- 90/90-21 and 150/70 R18, both of which carry “Brembo M50 monobloc radial calipers with four 30 mm diameter pistons, axial pump with adjustable levers, and double 320 mm discs with aluminum flanges. At the rear, the bike mounts a single 265 mm diameter disc on which works a double-piston floating caliper,” according to the press release. 

Ducati's DesertX

Fuel capacity is a cinch with over 21L of potential and includes a further perk; an extra tank (available as an accessory) can be mounted at the rear of the bike, not only allowing the rider to carry extra juice but to transfer gas from the rear to the front tank when the front falls below a certain level.

As for load capacity, Ducati outdid themselves; The DesertX can squat “almost 120L of volume…including bags and aluminum top case.”

That’s a lot of cheddar.

Ducati's DesertX

Ducati also makes mention of the ergonomics for this machine, with a well-planned ‘saddle-footrest-handlebar triangulation,’ giving us “a bike with an extremely slim fitting area and perfectly linked surfaces that guarantee the rider maximum control and handling,” along with “a particularly narrow inner leg curve and initial suspension compliance ensures good contact with the ground.”

Pack that all onto a neat 202 kg (dry) machine that registers a generous 250 mm of ground clearance (and a seat height of 875mm), and you’ve got the perfect beastie for the more extreme trips you don’t tell mummy about. 

A view of the Ducati DesertX being ridden in the desert

A neat fact; the Desert X also takes from its siblings – the Monster and the new Multistrada V2 specifically – with an “8-disc clutch and the gearbox equipped with a geardrum mounted on bearings to reduce friction and improve precision and smoothness while shifting.”

In ‘optimizing’ the engine, Ducati shortened the gearbox ratios – especially first and second gear, through fifth – bringing the feel of the shift closer to that of the Multistrada V2.

A view of the Ducati DesertX being ridden in the desert

On to my favorite section – electronics. 

The DesertX has been blessed with the luxury of 6 Ride Modes and 4 Power Modes (Full, High, Medium, Low). This includes “specific settings for the Enduro Riding Mode and…the new Rally Riding Mode, in addition to Sport, Touring, Urban and Wet.” 

A view of the Ducati DesertX being ridden in the desert

Let’s take a look at both of these new additions to Ducati’s portfolio. 

Enduro Mode *New*

    • Designed to reduce power, making it “easier for less experienced users to ride off-road.”
  • *ABS can be deactivated with this mode*

Rally Mode *New*

    • Full Power, yet electronic controls have been pulled back; designed “for more experienced riders who want to make the most of DesertX’s off-road performance.”
    • Trip Master Function is present on the 5” TFT dash, allowing the rider to tinker with the odometer indication.
  • *ABS can be deactivated with this mode*

A view of the Ducati DesertX being ridden in the desert

The rest of the Ride modes make strategic use of the following list of tech: 

  • Engine Brake Control (EBC)
  • Ducati Traction Control (DTC)
  • Ducati Wheelie Control (DWC)
  • Ducati Quick Shift (DQS) – Up & Down
  • 3-level ABS Cornering

A view of the Ducati DesertX being ridden in the desert

Of course, an off-road-inclined bit of sexiness like this wouldn’t be complete without a set of lights to keep you from bonking into the nearest shrub; as such, Ducati outfitted the bike with full LED double front headlights sporting “twin-function poly-ellipsoidal modules with Daytime Running Light (DRL)…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.”

That’s not all.

A view of the Ducati DesertX being ridden in the desert

“The Ducati DesertX’s intense character deserves a special homage,” comments the press release. 

“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.”

A view of the Ducati DesertX being ridden in the desert

We’re told that the DesertX will fly for the price of £13,795, with the ability to ‘configure’ the bike further on Ducati’s website.

Let us know what you think by dropping a comment below; in the meantime, be sure to check out the photo gallery (man, was this one a biggie), keep up with the previous episodes of Ducati’s World Premiere via the links, and as ever – stay safe on the twisties (or sand. Or rock. Wherever the wind takes you).

*All media courtesy of Ducati’s official press release*

Episode One, “Your Everyday Wonder” (Coverage And Notice Of Upcoming Desert X)

Episode Two, “Mark Your Roots”

Episode Three, “Rule All Mountains”

Episode Four, Chapter One – “A New Fighter In Town”

Episode Four, Chapter Two – “The Time Fighter”

Episode Five, “The Evolution Of Speed”