The new DesertX is Ducati’s first serious off-road capable ADV and there’s plenty to be excited about.
If you think about it, the DesertX is a motorcycle that should have been with us sooner. The demand for this kind of a motorcycle has existed for years, and Ducati also has legitimate heritage to lean on thanks to the Cagiva Elefant of the 1990s. Ah well, better late than never, right? Because look at this thing – it’s gorgeous!
A PRETTY FACE
The callback to the gigantic, Ducati-powered Cagiva is clear in the shape of the DesertX’s face and overall silhouette, but it’s a design that has contoured and finessed into the future. The twin circular LED headlamps along with the tall (non-adjustable) windscreen give this bike an instantly recognisable face, especially since Honda went a bit Angry Birds with the latest Africa Twin.
The DesertX gets a large 21-litre fuel tank, but unlike many ADVs, this tank manages to feel nice and slim where the rider’s knees interface while standing up. In fact, the ergonomics on this bike are really very well judged, whether you’re sitting or standing, and a large part of that goes to the smart design with clean surfaces.
The rear section is far simpler with the sleek oval LED tail-lamp being the only expensive looking element. I like this because it gives the DesertX a feeling of purpose and ruggedness. With some light modifications, and in the most talented of hands, the big Multistradas can be quite capable off-road, but for most of us normal folks, the Multis feel a bit too pretty and beautifully crafted to drop. The DesertX also manages to be a great looking bike, but it comes across as a more rugged one that wouldn’t have you cringe as badly when you inevitably drop it off road.
Underneath that oh-so-pretty bodywork is a very traditional trellis frame – no radical new, Monster-style front frame here. It is a new chassis, Ducati tells us, but the company is so well versed with getting metal tubes to work in triangular shapes that you can accept its claim that this motorcycle was fully developed in just two years’ time. It also helps immensely that the engine is the familiar 937cc liquid cooled L-twin, but we’ll get to that later.
The DesertX has a gigantic wheelbase of 1,608mm, which is even longer than the Diavel and only 7mm shorter than the most stretched out Ducati you can buy – the xDiavel. Funnily enough, I never felt like this was an excessively long or lazy motorcycle, and the number came across as quite a surprise when studying the spec sheet.
We got a brief amount of time to ride it off road at the World Ducati Week (WDW), where the bike felt tall, but also quite easy to ride and light on its feet. The DRE course at WDW was very basic, but it was enough to tell that with its 21-inch/18-inch wheel sizes, this bike is going to be very capable and good fun off-road. The standing up ergos are spot on, the suspension has heaps of travel (230mm front/220mm rear) and there’s 250mm of ground clearance.
Even with the low seat, the seat height is at a tall 865mm.
At this simple dirt course, the few things I could tell was that Pirelli tyres do a good job in dry dirt; the steering feels a little heavy when moving the handlebar from lock to lock at low speeds (as it does on most big ADVs); and that the seat is slim, but quite tall. The stock seat height is 875mm, but India will get the low seat as standard which brings it down to 865mm. For reference, the Tiger 900 rally’s seat is set at 860mm.
NO ANGER HERE
The rest of our few hours on the DesertX was spent on the roads around Bologna where we got to ride through some urban areas and towards some winding hilly roads. The familiar 937cc L-twin is just like what you’ll get in the SuperSport, Hypermotard, Multistrada V2 and the Monster, although in a different state of tune. With 110hp and 92Nm, its peak figures are in the ballpark of its siblings, but the DesertX’s engine has the most muted and mellow tune of the lot.
It certainly lacks the punch of the lightweight Monster or the aural drama and aggressive responses of the Hypermotard. The power delivery is quite linear and there’s a good surge above 6,000rpm, but there were also moments where that strong Ducati kick I was expecting – coming out of corners at about 3,000rpm – just wasn’t there. Ultimately, it’s very much a quick motorcycle, but also a rather calm and approachable one, which should appeal to the wider crowd.
New vertical TFT display is easy to read and control.
Unfortunately, we didn’t spend much time in jammed traffic or at extended highway speeds either, so that will have to wait till we ride it back home. On the other hand, the Euro heat wave meant that we saw as much as 37 degrees Celsius, which felt very much like home, and just like most Ducatis, this one also throws off quite a lot of heat. Also like most Ducatis, the hydraulic clutch is on the heavy side.
Up on the winding roads outside Bologna, the bike handled very well, once you got used to the extensive movement of the long-travel suspension. It turns in quite easily, feels stable when leaned over and even side to side transitions don’t take much effort. I remember being amazed by the Tiger 900 Rally’s road manners given that it has a 21-inch front wheel and this bike is just like it. The main difference is that the Ducati’s blocky stock tyres feel quite squishy when fully leaned over. The DesertX rides on Pirelli Scorpion Rally STR as standard, which are a halfway house between a full-on off-road tyre and a road focussed ADV tyre (like the Tiger Rally gets). Stick some more road-biased tyres on it and I’m sure the DesertX will be a very nice road handler.
As for the brakes, you get twin Brembo M50 calipers in the front, but mated to a simple axial brake master cylinder. The resulting performance is just like the engine – not at all aggressive, but strong enough when you want it.
ALL YOU COULD WANT?
The DesertX may be a rugged Ducati, but it’s still a very well equipped one. The sheer number of electronic features and rider assists are very likely the best in the segment. The new vertical TFT display looks nice and it gives you control over almost all the same rider assists you’ll find in Ducati’s sportbikes. The DesertX has six customisable riding modes, four power modes, multi-level traction control, wheelie control, cornering ABS and more. Not only can you deactivate the rear ABS, but also the front system if you’re talented/brave enough. Further luxuries come in the form of an up/down quickshifter, cruise control and heated grips – it really has almost everything you could need.
Optional auxiliary fuel tank holds 8 litres.
There is only one fully equipped variant, although Ducati will sell you a number of accessories, including a fantastic looking eight-litre auxiliary fuel tank that sits on either side of the pillion seat.
The DesertX will only make it to India by the end of this year and we expect the price to be somewhere between the current Multistrada 950 (Rs 15.49 lakh) and the Multistrada 950S (Rs 17.49 lakh). Hopefully, it will be closer to the base Multi because that will position it well against the Tiger 900 Rally Pro (Rs 15.5 lakh), which is our current pick of the segment.
Either way, the DesertX has all the Ducati qualities of being a beautiful machine that is capable, fun, superbly equipped and packing a high price tag to match. How well it works in our environment is something we’re really eager to find out.
₹ 21,01,515 * on road price (New Delhi)
FIND OUT MORE
What is the fuel economy of the Ducati DesertX? ›
As per ARAI, the average of DesertX is 17.8 kmpl. With a fuel tank capacity of 21 litres, this bike can go upto 374 kms on full tank. While ARAI mileage figures are achieved under ideal test conditions, the real mileage may vary because of driving conditions and riding habits of riders.What is the top speed of the Ducati DesertX? ›
|Top speed||226 km/h (140 mph)2|
|Fuel system (type)||Fuel Injection, 53 mm|
|Fuel economy / consumption||5,6 l / 100 km (42 mpg)3|
As standard the bike comes with Cruise Control, a quick shifter, a 5-inch TFT screen, LED lights and adjustable rider ergonomics so you can change the gear lever, brake lever and handlebar position to suit your riding style.How many miles per gallon does a Ducati Desert Sled get? ›
Where a Monster averages low 40s mpg figures, the Sled rider will be closer to 50mpg, possibly even over. Expect to get just shy of 150 miles from the 13.5-litre tank and a fuel warning light (there is a fuel gauge) at about 130 miles and you won't be disappointed.Why are Ducatis so expensive to maintain? ›
“Since 1926, Ducati has established itself as a premium brand, and people are willing to pay extra for that. For the company to maintain the premium quality standard, they must use expensive equipment to build their motorcycles. And their target market is also the high-end European market.”Who is the fastest Kawasaki or Ducati? ›
The 11 fastest motorcycles in the world are:
Kawasaki Ninja H2R: 240 mph. Lightning LS-218: 218 mph. Ducati 1199 Panigale R: 202 mph. Damon Hypersport Premier: 200 mph.
The stunning Panigale V4 R features an upgraded version of the Desmosedici Stradale V4 engine, derived from Ducati's Desmosedici MotoGP racing engine.What is the fastest Ducati bike in the world? ›
2020 Ducati Panigale V4 R: 199 mph.How much is the 2023 Ducati DesertX? ›
2023 Ducati DesertX • $17,695
And a great desire to take and leave towards the horizon. The identity of this bike leaves no room for doubt: just looking at it, it brings you into the atmosphere of Dakar racing.
Electronics. In the convenience and comfort department, the bike has cruise control and an up-and-down quickshifter. The DesertX features six riding modes, a Ducati first, with Sport, Touring, Urban, Wet, Enduro, and Rally on tap.
How heavy is the Ducati DesertX? ›
The DesertX feels less ADV bike and more dirt bike. Dry weight is 445 lb., with a ready-to-ride weight of 492 lb. It doesn't feel like a 450cc enduro, but it also doesn't feel like a nearly-500 lb. machine in the dirt.How much is a Ducati DesertX in USD? ›
The 2022 Ducati DesertX starts at $16,795 USD / $19,295 CAD.What is the ground clearance of a Ducati DesertX? ›
A fundamental feature for off-road use, DesertX has a ground clearance of 250 mm, which is particularly favorable for more extreme off-road riding.Is Ducati made by Harley? ›
The Italian motorcycle brand Ducati was founded in 1926 and has been part of the Volkswagen Group since 2012.Is 7000 miles alot for a snowmobile? ›
Generally speaking, a snowmobile with over 8,000 is considered high mileage, 4,000-8,000 miles is considered medium and anything under 3,000 miles is considered low mileage.Is Desert Sled reliable? ›
Our Ducati Desert Sled owners' reviews are glowing at this point, with nothing negative reported. We tested the Desert Sled's sister bike, the Scrambler Cafe Racer on the MCN Fleet during 2020, and this didn't suffer an reliability issues either.What is the most miles ever on a snowmobile? ›
The current world record is 1908 miles in 24 hours. This was set 10 years ago in Canada, by a gentleman riding an 800 E-tec Ski Doo. To complete the record, he had to use a second snowmobile due to mechanical failure.How long will a Ducati engine last? ›
Ducati: 80,000 – 100,000 miles.Are Ducati hard to maintain? ›
Ducatis often get stereotyped as being maintenance intensive and expensive to own. The maintenance intensive part may be ground in truth, but if you do the work yourself, upkeep isn't all that pricey.What is the common problem with Ducati? ›
Most Common Problems Associated With Ducatis
Some Ducati owners reported that their engines developed issues relating to the clutch, cylinder, oil pressure sensor, etc. In contrast, other reports express problems on Ducati motorcycles include malfunctioning brakes and gearbox issues.
Which is better Kawasaki or Ducati? ›
Kawasaki has a much more diverse set of bikes when compared to Ducati. Kawasaki has dirt-bikes and other off-road variants, while Ducati is more (or less) focused on on-road performance. As a result, Kawasaki has some of the most reliable off-road vehicles of the lot!Who is the king of bike? ›
Ninja ZX-14R KING OF ALL SPORT BIKES.What is the fastest 1 4 mile motorcycle? ›
We will get multiple views of this drag racing history as Larry McBride's Nitro Bike clocks a speed of 268 mph in just 1320 feet or a 1/4 mile. The FASTEST Motorcycle in the World!What is the fastest 0 to 60 motorcycle? ›
|Make and model||Year (model)||Time (seconds)|
- BMW K1200S. First up on this list is a product of the legendary German automaker, BMW. ...
- Aprilia RSV 1000R Mille. ...
- MV Agusta F4 1000R. ...
- Kawasaki Ninja ZX-14R. ...
- BMW S1000RR. ...
- Honda CBR1100XX Blackbird. ...
- Kawasaki Ninja H2R. ...
- MTT Turbine Superbike Y2K.
The Panigale V4 R is Ducati's flagship supersport motorcycle and the fastest and most advanced consumer motorcycle in the lineup.What is the range of the DesertX? ›
Unlike some “full power” modes that can be so aggressive they are actually hard to use, the dynamic throttle response on the DesertX is immediate but controllable, even on slick surfaces. On a practical note, the stock fuel tank allows a range of up to 250 miles.How many MPG does a Ducati Nightshift get? ›
Ducati claim 54mpg, I managed a little less at 52mpg, which gives you a theoretical tank range of just over 150 miles from the 13.5l fuel tank.What is the fuel average of Ducati? ›
The mileage of Ducati XDiavel is 18.87. This is the claimed ARAI mileage for all the variants of XDiavel. The claimed ARAI mileage of XDiavel Petrol Manual is 18.87.What is the fuel tank capacity of the DesertX? ›
What is the fuel tank capacity of Ducati DesertX? The fuel tank capacity of DesertX is 21 L.
Is Ducati Night Shift worth it? ›
It's a beautiful looking bike. Comfortable riding experience. The best bike in the 800 cc and 12 lakh price range. There might be various other options but if you don't want to compromise on both looks and quality then Ducati scrambler nightshift is the right choice.Are Ducatis comfortable? ›
It's designed to be a comfortable, fun-to-ride, everyday motorcycles. Its water-cooled, twin-cylinder 937 cc Testastretta 11° engine puts out 113 hp and 71 lb-ft of torque.How fast does a Ducati go per hour? ›
Adhering to the gentlemen's agreement to limit mass-produced street-legal motorcycles to 300 km/h, the Ducati Superleggera V4 top speed is electronically limited to 186 mph (299 km/h).