Ducati have taken the covers off their new DesertX adventure/rally machine overnight in Dubai, with a foray into the mid-capacity properly off-road orientated adventure segment. See below for the reveal video, under the specifications.
While we’ve seen the big Multistrada take on a more off-road focus in recent years, this is a whole new move by Bologna to launch a more hard-nosed adventure option under its own right, starting with one that shares the powerplant from the Multistrada 950 and arguably covering the ‘mid-capacity’ adventure segment.
That’s the 937 cc Testastretta engine which produces 110 hp and 92 Nm of torque at 9250 rpm and 6500 rpm respectively. Run in the same orientation and with a trellis frame just visible under the much more rugged bodywork, the new model features an integrated tank and front fairing, taller exhaust, rear mounted fuel tank and tall screen. That rear fuel tank is an accessory as it turns out, but it will be one that proves popular with Aussie adventurers as it adds a further eight-litres of fuel capacity, which along with the standard 21-litre fuel tank, will give the DesertX a massive touring range.
The Euro5 engine benefits from the improvements seen on the latest Monster and Multistrada 950 V2, with a compact eight-disc clutch and shortened first and second gears specifically for off-road use. Sixth gear is kept tall to help with longer distances at higher speeds, ensuring minimal trade-off.
There’s a touch of Desert Sled styling at the tail with a grab rail visible, but we’re still getting a lower clearance front guard rather than the full dirt bike style guard setup. The seat looks to be a two-piece unit with the perch sitting 875 mm off the ground for the rider, but benefiting from a narrow construction between the legs, and Ducati also says some compliance in the suspension will help as the bike settles lower with a rider on board.
New from Ducati is the use of a 21-inch front and 180-inch rear, spoked rims clad in Pirelli Scorpion Rally STR tyres, a 90/90 front and 150/70 rear, tubeless, with the Bologna manufacturer stating that’s for ‘best protection from punctures’.
Also specifically chosen for this purpose is the Kayaba suspension set-up, comprising a set of 46 mm USD forks with 230 mm travel and a monoshock which offers 220 mm of travel. Both are fully adjustable, with compression, rebound and pre-load adjustment, with the shock mated to an aluminium swing-arm that looks like a new design and the wheelbase is 1608 mm.
Total ground clearance is 250 mm and the dry weight being quoted by Ducati is 202 kg, with the kerb weight 223 kg with a 21 L tank of fuel.
Brembo provide the braking system with M50 radial calipers up front on 320 mm rotors, while a dual-piston caliper on the rear grips a 265 mm rotor. Both are backed up by ABS with cornering functionality and Ducati note that the axial master-cylinder is part of the off-road set-up for great modulation.
A focus on rider and pillion comfort hass provided plenty of seat padding. Heat management is managed by fairing openings while a plexiglass screen helps protect the rider, this can be replaced by a larger accessory version. For those looking to load up for travelling Ducati also promise a luggage capacity of up to 120 L but you’ll be dipping into the accessory catalogue to reach that.
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Electronics include six riding modes, with four power modes from Full through to Low that offer different levels of both power and responsiveness. Specific settings are run for the Enduro riding mode, will a new Rally riding mode is also new, joining Sport, Touring, Urban and Wet.
Enduro reduces power for demanding conditions and focuses on safety for the less experienced. Rally on the other hand gives full power and minimal intrusion from the electronics, designed for experienced riders who want to be in control.
Riding modes include settings for the Engine Brake Control, Ducati Traction Control, Ducati Wheelie Control, Ducati Quick Shift and Cornering ABS, with an IMU providing cornering functionality. The ABS in particular has a dedicated off-road mode but can also be switched off with a specific button.
In total that’s six modes, four power modes, three power levels, eight levels of DTC, three levels of ABS as well as the Wheelie and Engine Brake Control, with the quickshifter working in both directions, and Ducati Cruise Control standard fitment.
Keeping the rider informed is a 5 inch TFT full colour display, designed for both regular seating viewing angle, as well as when standing on the bike. There’s two display modes, Standard and Rally, with Rally adding a trip master function, with manual adjustment to replicate the trip master system used in rally motorcycles.
The TFT is also ready for the Ducati Multimedia System, allowing the connection of a phone, call management, music and turn by turn navigation for instance, although these are accessories not standard fitment.
Other features include full LED lighting, with dual twin-function poly-ellipsoidal headlights including DRLs. The rear runs a Ducati Brake Light that flashes during emergency braking for greater visibility.
Ducati are promising service intervals of 15,000 km or every 24 months, with valve clearance checks due every 30,000 km.
The 2022 Ducati DesertX will be available in Australia and New Zealand in Q3 of 2022 and the recommended ride away price in Australia will be $24,200, or $24,995 for New Zealand. The DesertX will arrive in a dedicated Star White Silk colour. See the Ducati Australia website for more information.
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