Taking a Ducati through the middle of a desert might not’ve been very high on a lot of peoples priority list before 2019. Since then though, and thanks to the introduction of the Ducati DesertX, if it isn’t on your list of priorities, it should be. And even more so now, because Ducati have just announced a new, updated for 2022, DesertX.
If you didn’t know, the DesertX is powered by Ducati’s 937cc Testastretta 11° desmodromic engine. That means the 2022 model has benefited from all the updates that the latest Monster and the new for 2021 Multistrada V2 have benefitted from. The engine alone is 1.7kg lighter, partially thanks to a new clutch, you get 110bhp (at 9,250rpm) and 92Nm (at 6,500rpm). The (biggest) difference between the Multistrada V2 and DesertX version of the engine is the gearbox. To make the bike a bit easier to ride off-road, the DesertX has shorter ratios, especially in the lower gears. Sixth gear is actually the same; so if you’re sat on the motorway, you don’t need to rev the testicles off it.
And for off-road riding, the 21” front and 18” rear wheels, bags of suspension travel and 250mm ground clearance are definitely going to come in handy too. You’d have to say that this is a bike that Ducati genuinely want people to take off-road; or perhaps more specifically, into the desert.
The Kayaba suspension is (manually) adjustable all round for compression damping, rebound damping and preload. It has 230mm of travel at the front and 220mm at the back.
Braking is all taken care of by Brembo, with full cornering ABS.
Ergonomically, Ducati say the DesertX is best suited to stand-up riding; but still offers a good level of comfort when road riding, sat down. But they would say that, wouldn’t they? At 875mm, the saddle is quite high for a road bike, or if you’ve got short legs. There is a lower seat that you can buy as an accessory, though.
Ducatisti will rejoice at the steel trellis frame whilst any technophiles will be all over the 5” TFT dash, which you can connect to your phone.
The DesertX comes with six riding modes which include four fairly standard-sounding power options, Full, High, Medium and Low, and then Enduro and Rally. Full, High, Medium and Low power modes are self-explanatory. Enduro and Rally modes are, as you might have guessed, the two off-road modes. Enduro mode has reduced power and is designed to make it easier for less experienced riders, riding off-road, whereas Rally has full power, reduced electronic controls and is designed for more experienced off-roaders, that want to give it full beans on the loose stuff.
There’s a 21 litre fuel tank as standard, but you can take the fuel capacity up to 28 litres, with the optional 8 litre rear tank; great if you’re actually going through the desert, but probably overkill for most people, most of the time.
The 2022 Ducati DesertX isn’t just a ‘token’ off-road bike. It sounds from the specs, as though it’s going to be a right weapon. And it looks, from Ducati’s press pictures, like it will be too. A 202kg motorcycle is never going to feel like an out an out motocross bike, but that’s not really what you want for a journey across the Sahara desert. For that, you’d be much better on a big, powerful Ducati, with loads of space for luggage and a big fuel tank. Possibly.
And if you want one, you can have one for £13,795. They should be in dealers in early 2022.