From Ducati’s offshoot Scrambler division comes its most extreme offering yet, the DesertX, a tasty rally-raid type off-roader designed for flattening sand dunes and achieving big air.
With a 21-inch front wheel and 18-inch rear, the DesertX can take on the most demanding off-road scenarios, according to Ducati. But evidently it is just as happy plying formed roads as forging new tracks, thanks to its versatile electronics.
The DesertX project was first shown to the public in 2019 as a concept machine and the public’s enthusiasm was enough for the company to pull the pin on further development and production.
The design incorporates reminders of Ducati enduro bikes from the 80s, with a big tank and side shields, a screen that incorporates double headlights and contrasting black and white surfaces.
Underpinning DesertX is a new steel trellis frame, and obviously the bike comes with super-long travel suspension – fully adjustable Kayabas with 220-230mm of travel, and for the jump-aholics out there ground clearance is 250mm. Dry weight is a claimed 202kg.
Helping with forward progress in the tricky conditions are Pirelli Scorpion Rally STR tubeless tyres, 90/90-21 and 150/70 R18. On road rubber will also be available for those who want DesertX for round the world adventures.
Stopping duties are handled by Brembo M50 monobloc four-piston radial-mount calipers. The ergonomics have been designed with stand-up riding in mind, without adversely affecting on-road riding comfort. Saddle height is an imposing 875mm, countered by a slim seat up front. Reduced ride height pews are also available.
Longer journeys are possible with a 21L fuel tank while an 8L accessory fuel tank at the rear is an option. Panniers with up to 120L of capacity are available as well.
Powering the machine is a Euro5-ready 937cc liquid-cooled Testastretta 11° V-twin, issuing forth with 110hp (82kW) at 9250rpm, and 92Nm at 6500rpm. It features a lightweight eight-disc clutch and six-speed gearbox with improved precision and smoothness while shifting. Ratios are particularly short in first and second gears to help negotiate difficult off-road passages. Sixth gear is long enough for easygoing highway riding.
Sophisticated electronics include six riding and four power modes. There’s an Enduro and Rally riding mode, along with the more typical Sport, Touring, Urban and Wet modes. Rally is for the most experienced off road users.
Thanks to an IMU, there’s Engine Brake Control, Ducati Traction and Wheelie Control, and ABS Cornering. There’s also an up/down quickshifter.
A Portrait-style instrument comprises a high resolution five-inch TFT colour display, to which a phone can be connected, facilitating calls and navigation.
Other items include full LED lighting, an optional rally saddle, along with centre stand, heated grips and panniers from the accessory list. Termignoni exhausts are also on offer, the racing version adding 7 per cent more power.
DesertX goes on sale in Europe in Q2 of 2022 and should be here around midyear. Images are from the UAE, and include Enduro champ, Antoine Meo. The other Stormtrooper doesn’t seem warrant a credit for some reason.