ducati desertx

The New 2022 DesertX Is a Dakar-Inspired Adventure Bike With a Ducati Badge

The Ducati DesertX spent over 2 years in the concept phase. The just-released production bike hews surprisingly close to the proposed design.

In Ducati’s yearly world premiere video series, the brand showcases its newest arrivals, updates, and innovations. On December 9, the long-anticipated DesertX adventure bike finally came to life in 2021’s sixth and final series edition.

The bike dropped with engine specifications geared toward low-end torque, plus dirt-friendly components and dimensions and new suspension. Plenty of riding modes support the performance tweaks tailored to various off-road conditions.

Ducati DesertX Engine Details

As delivered, the DesertX closely echoes the 2019 concept. Between the two, Ducati most notably swapped out the engine.

Instead of the original Scrambler 1100, it opted for a smaller 937cc liquid-cooled Testastretta 11° Desmodromic valvetrain powerplant. It throws down 110 horsepower at 9,250 rpm, at a maximum torque of 68 pound-feet at 6,500 rpm.

Optimizations include a lighter, more compact 8-disc clutch and a bearing-mounted gear drum to reduce friction during shifting.

Ducati last used the same gearbox in the Multistrada V2. Compared to that bike, the DesertX’s first five gears are all shorter, to make crawling and low-speed riding easier. A taller sixth gear facilitates highway driving at lower engine speeds to reduce fuel consumption and increase rider comfort.

ducati desertx

Chassis, Suspension, and Braking on the Ducati DesertX

The DesertX chassis’ steel trellis frame supports 9.1 inches of suspension travel in the front and 8.7 inches in the back. The bike sits on a 21”/18” tubeless spoked wheelset with Pirelli Scorpion Rally STR tires.

A 46mm fork with a not-too-long 27.6-degree rake, plus a long 63.3-inch wheelbase, should help give a grounded feel during aggressive dirt riding. For nappy trails, ground clearance is ample at 9.8 inches.

Ducati handles the brakes with parts from Bosch and Brembo. Like all Ducati motorcycles, the DesertX features Cornering ABS, which uses an array of sensors, actuators, and pressure regulators to prevent lockups — even at full lean with the throttle wide open (the brand claims).

ducati desertx

Six Rider Modes

Electronic rider aids include six riding modes, which utilize four power modes to adapt the Testastretta engine to the conditions at hand. Modes range from Enduro (which reigns in the bike’s power delivery for easy off-road riding or for inexperienced drivers) to Rally (more power, quicker, and reduces electronic safety controls).

Self-explanatory wet, urban, and touring modes are also on deck. The rider controls it all on the tight, vertically oriented display.

ducati desertx

The DesertX takes advantage of Ducati’s various proprietary electronic control technologies, which limit outcomes like wheelies and losses of traction at the rear wheel.

Range, Weight, and How to Find a Ducati DesertX

For longer forays into the unknown, customers can add an accessory 2.1-gallon rear tank to the DesertX’s 5.54-gallon tank. An estimated 42 mpg gives the bike a max range (auxiliary tank included) of around 300 miles.

The DesertX comes in at a wet weight of 492 pounds. The seat height is 34.4 inches. A narrow inner leg curve and soft initial suspension help make reaching the ground easier.

ducati desertx

The Ducati DesertX hits North American dealerships in June 2022, in its distinctive white pinstriped livery. The bike’s lone variant starts at $16,795 MSRP. To locate one near you, cruise to Ducati’s dealer contact portal.

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Sam Anderson
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Sam Anderson is a staff writer at GearJunkie, and several other All Gear websites.

He has been writing about climbing, cycling, running, wildlife, outdoor policy, the outdoor industry, vehicles, and more for 2 years. Prior to GearJunkie, he owned and operated his own business before freelancing at GearHungry. Based in Austin, Texas, Anderson loves to climb, boulder, road bike, trail run, and frequent local watering holes (of both varieties).