Ducati has unveiled the much-anticipated DesertX off-road adventure tourer, which will be the Italian brand’s proper offering for those who want to discover the undiscovered trails on a go-anywhere motorcycle. The Ducati DesertX carries forward the legacy of the now-defunct Ducati Multistrada Enduro, which was the range-topping and the off-road-focused variant of the Multistrada adventure tourer.
There are several highlights of the new Ducati DesertX which need to be talked about and bring in a new wave of change in Ducati’s portfolio. Here are those highlights:
Design – A complete departure from other Ducatis
With DesertX, Ducati has followed an entirely new approach, especially to the way it looks. Compared to the contemporary Italian design which the other Ducatis wear, the DesertX has a neo-retro design, which reminds you of the adventure tourers of the yesteryears. The whole neo-retro design of the Ducati DesertX pays homage to the motorcycles and participants of the coveted Dakar rally with the minimalist and asymmetric fuel tank, tall front fairing, off-road tyres with spoke wheels, vertically laid semi-cowl attached to the front profile with air ducts hidden behind them, rounded headlamps, aluminium engine cowl and naked rear side profile.
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Engine – Same same, but different
Now, the water-cooled, Desmodromic 11-degree Testastretta engine of the Ducati DesertX is not an engine that has been developed ground-up exclusively for the motorcycle. We have already seen the engine in various other motorcycles from Ducati like the Multistrada V2, Monster, Supersport and Hypermotard. However, for DesertX, Ducati has brought in a couple of noteworthy changes, which are in sync with the overall out-worldliness character of the motorcycle.
First, it is lighter in weight – the 937cc engine of the DesertX weighs 1.7 kg lighter than the same engine which is used in other Ducati motorcycles mentioned above. Then comes the revised gear ratios, which are shorter for first to fifth gears. This step was taken to make the engine more responsive in the lower rpms for better torque in off-road conditions. However, the sixth gear is much taller, which results in a smoother cruising experience and more fuel efficiency while riding at higher speeds.
Chassis – As durable as it looks
Built around a new tubular trellis frame, the new Ducati DesertX gets 46mm upside-down telescopic forks with 230mm travel at the front and mono-shock with 220mm travel at the rear, both of which are sourced from KYB and are fully adjustable. Like in a proper off-road adventure motorcycle, the Ducati DesertX gets an asymmetric spoke wheel setup – 21-inches at the front and 18-inch at the rear. These aluminium spoke wheels are shod with new-generation 90/90-21 front and 150/70-18 Pirelli Scorpion Rally tubeless tyres. A pair of 320mm discs at the front and a single 265mm disc at the back serve braking purposes. The DesertX is a proper adventure tourer with a large 21-litre fuel tank, tall seat height of 875mm and a high kerb weight of 223 kg.
List of electronic riding aids and features – it’s a richly-equipped motorcycle
Ducati is known for equipping its motorcycles with world-class features and riding aids, which make them tamable even by those who are new to riding big bikes. The Ducati DesertX might look like a tall, heavy and intimidating motorcycle at first, but the list of electronic riding aids is there to take control of all your doubts. The motorcycle gets six different riding modes including off-road exclusive Enduro and Rally modes, four power modes, Ducati Wheelie Control, Ducati Traction Control, cornering ABS, Engine Brake Control and Ducati up-and-down quick-shifter. You also get a range of modern features like all-LED headlamps and tail lamps, self-cancelling LED turn indicators, 5-inch portrait-style instrument console with Bluetooth connectivity, cruise control, USB power socket, 12V auxiliary socket and steering damper. And if that’s not enough, there is a range of optional add-ons as well, which includes Ducati Multimedia System, anti-theft system, turn-by-turn navigation via an app, fog lamps, heated grips and an industry-first 8-litre auxiliary fuel tank.
Pricing and Competition – Lower than Multistrada Enduro
Compared to the Multistrada Enduro which was a much bigger and heavier 1200cc motorcycle, the new Ducati DesertX is positioned in the upper spectrum of the middleweight motorcycle category. It is the latest addition in the lineup of 937cc motorcycles from Ducati and will compete with motorcycles like Triumph Tiger 900 Rally, BMW F 850 GS and Aprilia Tuareg 660. In all likelihood, the DesertX will come to India before the end of 2022, and if it comes here, expect it to be priced at Rs 15-16 lakh (ex-showroom).