A bit of a wait after the concept was first shown in 2019, but the 2022 Ducati Desert X is now unveiled. Taking styling from the enduro racing machines of the 1980s, notably the Paris-Dakar Rally design template for two-wheelers, the Desert X is pushed forward as a true dual-purpose machine.
This is characterised by the 21-litre fuel tank and there is provision for extending the range of the Desert X by installing a secondary 8-litre tank on the sub-frame. 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.
Power comes from Ducati’s eponymous Testastretta 11 V-twin, displacing 937 cc with Desmosdromic valve actuation. The Euro 5 compliant mill delivers 110 hp at 9,250 rpm and a maximum torque of 92 Nm at 6,500 rpm. While comparisons will be drawn to the Ducati Multistrada V2, the ratios in the Desert X’s six-speed gear box are different, with the first and second gears made much shorter to emphasise acceleration, and third to fifth gear taking advantage of the engine torque while sixth now becomes an overdrive for highway riding.
The focus of the Desert X is performance both on- and off-road and this is done with six ride modes in the electronics suite. Aside from the usual Sport, Touring, Urban and Wet ride modes, the Desert X comes with both Enduro and the new Rally mode.
In Enduro mode, power from the engine is reduced, allowing the rider to tackle the most demanding dirt roads with greater safety and for less experienced riders, this mode makes the Desert X easier to ride. For the more hard core rider, Rally mode releases full engine power and reduced electronic controls, giving the rider full control of the Desert X.
Also in the provided riding aids are Engine Brake Control (EBC), Ducati Traction Control (DTC), Ducati Wheelie Control (DWC), Ducati Quick Shift (DQS) Up & Down and ABS Cornering. ABS Cornering can be set to one of three levels in Sport, Touring, Urban and Wet riding modes, and completely switched off in Enduro and Rally modes.
All the necessary information the rider needs on the Desert X is displayed on the 5-inch TFT-LCD display with Bluetooth connectivity to the rider’s smartphone being an extra cost option. The Desert X rider can choose between one of two display modes – Standard and Rally – with Rally mode
giving the trip master function that replicates the race odometer used on rally motorcycles.
Wheel sizing on the Desert X follows convention for off-road motorcycles with 21-inch front and 18-inch rear wheel, spoked and fitted with tubeless Pirelli Scorpion Rally STR rubber, sized 90/90-21 and 150/70 R18, front and rear, respectively. Brembo does the braking for Ducati, as is normal, with twin Brembo M50 Monobloc four-piston callipers grabbing double 320 mm discs with aluminium flanges in front and a single 265 mm diameter disc with two-piston calliper at the back.
Suspension for the Desert X is from Kayaba and is fully-adjustable for preload, compression and rebound. The front end use 46 mm diameter upside-down Kayaba forks with 230 mm of travel while the rear end is held up with a Kayaba monoshock with 220 mm of travel while the Desert X has a ground clearance of 250 mm.
The Desert X weighs in at 202 kg dry and the seat places the rider 875 mm off the ground. A low seat is available from the official catalogue, as is a lowering kit for riders with shorter inseams.