adventure motorcycles

Ducati DesertX: Detailed Technical Specs and Honest Review

Ducati DesertX: Detailed Technical Specs and Honest Review

1. Overview of the Ducati DesertX

Ducati has one of the most functional and renowned research and development centers working tirelessly to make sure the motorcycle world gets the best of the machine and technology. One such prestigious and successful example is the Ducati DesertX, well-known for its top-of-the-line performance in its category. It is one of the best illustrations of how an ADV bike should perform on all types of unpaved terrains. The reason why the Ducati DesertX fits perfectly for riding on rough terrains and is the most suitable ADV bike for off-roading is because it takes inspiration from two-time winner of the Paris-Dakar Rally in the 1980s and 1990s, the Cagiva Elefant which was a true dirt bike.

It took the company several years to reach the final production stage in 2022 after being presented at the 2019 EICMA show. However, it was worth the wait as Ducati became successful in building the most versatile and perfect ADV bike. Continue reading this article to learn more about one of the most off-road capable ADV bikes, the Ducati DesertX, its specs, and the honest review.

Overview of the Ducati DesertX
Photo credit: @Cycle World

2. Ducati DesertX Detailed Technical Specs

2023 Ducati DesertX
General Info
Manufacturer Ducati – Top Italian Motorcycle Marque
Introduced in May 2022
Motorcycle Type Adventure Bike
Category Middleweight ADV
Warranty Two Year Factory Limited Warranty with Unlimited Mileage
Base MSRP $17,695
Displacement 937 cc
Engine Type Ducati Testastretta 11° L-Twin Engine
No. of Cylinders Two
Engine Cooling System Liquid-Cooled
Valve Train Desmodromic Valve Train; Four Valves Per Cylinders
Compression Ratio 13.3:1
Stroke 67.5 mm
Bore 94 mm
Fuel Delivery System Bosch Electronic Fuel Injection (EFI) with 53 mm Throttle Bodies
Engine Management System Ride-By-Wire System
Exhaust System Single Stainless Steel Muffler
Peak Horsepower 110 hp at 9,250 rpm
Peak Torque 92 Nm at 6,500 rpm
Top Speed 138 mph
Fuel Mileage 42 mpg
Emission Standards Euro 5
0-60 mph 3.9 sec
Quarter Mile 12 sec
Gearbox Six-Speed Gearbox with Ducati Quick Shifter
Clutch Hydraulically-Controlled Wet Multi-Plate; Self-Servo and Slipper Clutch
Final Drive Chain Drive
Frame Tubular Steel Trellis Frame
Front Suspension Fully-Adjustable 46 mm KYB Inverted Front Fork
Front Wheel Travel 9.06 in / 230 mm
Rear Suspension Fully-Adjustable; Remote Preload Adjustment KYB Rear Monoshock
Rear Wheel Travel 8.66 in / 220 mm
Front Brake 320 mm Aluminum Flange Semi-Floating Dual-Disc Brake with Brembo Four-Piston Calipers
Rear Brake 265 mm Single-Disc Brake with Brembo Two-Piston Calipers
ABS Bosch Cornering ABS
Front Tubeless Cross-Spoked; 2.15”x21”
Rear Tubeless Cross-Spoked; 4.5”x18”
Front Pirelli Scorpion Rally STR 90/90 – 21 M/C
Rear Pirelli Scorpion Rally STR 150/70 R18 M/C
Seat Height 34.4 in / 875 mm
Wet Weight 223 kg / 492 lbs
Dry Weight 202 kg / 445 lbs
Trail 4.8 in / 122 mm
Rake 27.6°
Wheelbase 63.3 in / 1,608 mm
Ground Clearance 9.8 in
Fuel Tank Capacity 5.54 US gal
Tech Package and Rider Aids
Dashboard 5-inch TFT Display
Bosch ABS
Bosch Cornering ABS
Traction Control
Cruise Control
Quick Shifter
Engine Brake Control (EBC)
Wheelie Control
Power Modes
Riding Modes
USB Charging
Self-Cancelling Turn Signals

3. Ducati DesertX Honest Review

3.1 Aesthetics and Styling

ADV bikes are the trendiest and cool-looking bikes with a robust design. Ducati has always been on top of the list when it comes to producing the most stylish bikes. Despite taking inspiration from a retro-style Cagiva Elefant from the 1980s and 1990s, the Ducati DesertX is the most stylish ADV bike in the middleweight category while being the most functional performance wise at the same time. It has a retro-modern stance with features that make it the best off-roader ADV bike.

The Ducati DesertX is not extra wide and bulky and gets even slimmer towards the rear end. Most of its weight is centered towards the front end due to its large fuel tank size, perfectly integrated side fairings, and radiator. The twin round headlights in the front enhance its modern-retro look and on top of it is a perfectly integrated mid-size windscreen, ensuring adequate wind protection.

The two-piece saddle is quite slimmer compared to the fuel tank to ensure more comfort and better control. The engine and the belly portion are secured by the skid plate. The cross-spoked wheels wrapped around knobby tires, overall taller stature, and long-stroke front forks give this bike a splendid desert bike look.

3.2 Engine & Performance

The Ducati DesertX ADV houses one of the most notable power plants by Ducati, known as the Ducati Testastretta 937 cc 11° L-Twin engine. The same powerplant is also used in other notable Ducati models as well. However, to make it more compatible with the DesertX ADV bike and off-road purposes, there are certain tweaks made to this engine that help in producing a balanced peak horsepower and torque. The Ducati DesertX makes 110 hp of horsepower and 92 Nm of torque which is one of the best figures in the middleweight ADV bike category.

Engine & Performance
Photo credit: @Moto Bob

The closest competitor, the Triumph Tiger 900 produces 94 hp peak horsepower and 87 Nm of peak torque and the BMW F850GS makes 90 hp of peak power output and 86 Nm of torque. The KTM 890 Adventure gives the toughest competition to the Ducati DesertX with 105 hp of horsepower and 100 Nm of peak torque.

The power output of the Ducati DesertX can be further increased to around 7% by installing the exhaust accessory which turns out to be a great selling point of this bike. The Ducati DesertX’s transmission setup is also designed to suit the off-road functionality by shortening the gear ratios.

3.3 Incredible Fuel Storage Capacity

The Ducati DesertX features a large fuel tank capacity of 5.54 US gal and on top of it, you can also install additional fuel storage of 2.11 US gal for a remarkable range. The additional fuel storage tank is an accessory available at Ducati’s official website and is fitted at the rear end of the bike that fits perfectly below the passenger seat. With an incredible fuel mileage of 42 mpg, along with the large fuel tank size and additional fuel storage, the Ducati DesertX makes the best overall package for long-haul adventure tours and moto camping.

3.4 Revised Frame for Better Off-Road Handling

The Ducati DesertX has received a tubular steel trellis frame that is revised with new geometry and dimensions to make it fit for an ideal off-road function. The frame supports long-stroke suspensions for improved ground clearance, extended wheelbase, and a bigger trail and rake angle to complement its off-road capabilities.

3.5 Fully Adjustable KYB Suspensions

Though the Ducati DesertX does not feature electronically adjustable suspensions as found in the modern high-end ADV touring bikes, it comes with fully adjustable KYB suspensions that are highly functional. Upfront, there is a 46 mm KYB inverted front fork with an impressive wheel travel of 230 mm. Meanwhile, towards the rear, there is a single KYB monoshock installed, providing a wheel travel of 220 mm. Overall, the suspension system on this ADV bike supports all sorts of tough riding situations faced during off-road rides. A high ground clearance of 9.8 in also makes it easy to overcome large obstacles.

3.6 Off-Road-Biased Wheels and All-Rounder Tires

Tires and Wheels installed on a motorcycle are other major elements that decide how good they are on either paved or unpaved terrains. Talking about the Ducati DesertX, it comes with a large 21-inch front and 18-inch cross-spoked wheels which provide this bike a taller projection for extreme off-roading.

On the other hand, the Pirelli Scorpion Rally STR tires installed on this bike are considered to be the best available in the market for an all-round performance. They are knobby enough to keep you rolling on terrains with low traction.

3.7 Reliable Stopping Power with Brembo Brakes and Bosch ABS

One of the most significant considerations in the designing phase of an adventure bike is the selection of the brakes to make sure they are feasible for both on- and off-roading conditions. There are 320 mm dual front discs with four-piston calipers by the world's leading motorcycle brakes manufacturer, Brembo. At the rear wheel, there is a 265 mm single disc with dual-piston Brembo calipers, alongside Bosch cornering ABS. The braking equipment installed on this bike provides a perfect balance to ensure vigorous stopping power while riding on the road and adequate braking modulations, including cornering ABS, traction control, and riding modes to make sure it is fun and safe to ride on off-road adventures.

3.8 Ergonomics and Approachability

Overall, the Ducati DesertX is a plush-to-ride motorcycle due to its perfectly balanced rider triangle. The rider triangle is designed to make sure the rider can comfortably stand on the footpegs while maneuvering on challenging surfaces. However, when it comes to approachability and seat height, the Ducati DesertX is not a perfect choice for shorter riders due to a taller seat height of 34.4 inches. A 34.4-inch seat height is one of the tallest in the mid-range ADV bike category.

You can still make a few amendments to the seat using original accessories if you are a vertically challenged rider. The seat can be lowered down to 34.1 inches with a low seat accessory and to further bring the seat down to 33.3 inches, you can install a low seat, along with the low suspension kit available as optional features.

3.9 Tech Package

Being one of the most dynamic and versatile ADV bikes, the Ducati DesertX comes with six different riding modes to ensure both performance and safety while riding on both smooth and uneven terrains. The Sport Mode is the most aggressive intended to be used on roads and ensures a maximum power output of 110 hp with a dynamic throttle response.

The Touring Mode is also for the on-roading condition, restricting the peak power output to 95 hp and providing a high power mode and smooth throttle response. The Urban Mode restricts the power further to 75 hp with a low power mode and smooth throttle response. There is also a Wet Mode which is carefully designed for riding in rainy and wet conditions. The other two riding modes are off-road specific, including the Enduro and Rally. The Enduro Mode also restricts the power output to 75 hp. Meanwhile, the Rally Mode is specially programmed for expert off-road riders with full power mode, 110 hp of peak horsepower, and dynamic throttle response.

Tech Package
Photo credit: @Moto Bob

The traction control, ABS, cornering ABS, and six-axis IMU also come into play to ensure more fun and safety. There are three levels of engine braking control, three levels of ABS, four levels of wheelie control, and eight levels of traction control which provide multiple riding modes and options to riders. You also get cruise control and a Ducati quick-shifter for a distraction-free and relaxed cruising experience.

To manage all the riding information and to stay informed, there is a 5-inch TFT color screen display mounted in a vertical position for better visibility. The TFT display can also be connected to your mobile phone for music, calls, and navigation.

3.10 Value for the Money

Regardless of all the top features, capabilities, and uniqueness in its design and performance, the Ducati DesertX is still considered an expensive ADV bike in the middleweight category with a price tag of $17,695. There are high-end fully-dressed ADV tourers like the Triumph Tiger 900 Rally Pro with premium ADV touring equipment, including heated grips, adjustable windscreen, heated rider & passenger seats, shift assist, cruise control, handguards, 7-inch TFT screen display, and much more. The latest Tiger 900 Rally Pro comes for $17,395. When compared to the price of the Ducati DesertX, the Triumph Tiger 900 Rally Pro seems a more reasonable option.

Though the price of the Ducati DesertX is on the higher side, it has several plus points which make it a highly popular ADV bike and off-roader. It is capable of generating impressive horsepower and has perfectly integrated tech equipment for perfect execution on multiple terrains. When considering the uniqueness, unmatched off-road performance, styling, and overall package, the Ducati DesertX offers good value for the money.

4. Ducati DesertX Ups and Downs

4.1 Ups

  • True off-roader
  • Retro-inspired aesthetics
  • Functional tech package
  • Ideal suspensions for off-roading
  • Ideal off-road maneuverability
  • Stable bike
  • Agile

4.2 Downs

  • Expensive middleweight ADV bike
  • Extremely tall bike for vertically-challenged riders
  • Lacks ADV touring-oriented equipment and features

5. The Bottom Line

The Ducati DesertX is the most impressive and dynamic ADV bike in the middleweight category and is ranked as one of the top adventure bikes in the market. There are multiple reasons why it is rated as one of the best bikes thanks to its uniquely engineered design, off-road-inspired wheels and tires, large ground clearance, impressive engine power, top-of-the-line suspensions, and large fuel tank capacity. This bike not only stands out on paper when it comes to power specs, you can surely experience the best comfort and performance on both paved and unpaved terrains. Particularly for those looking for one of the best off-roaders in the ADV category, you may not find anything better than the Ducati DesertX.

Looking to transform your enduro-style ADV bike into an on-road-oriented ADV tourer? Viking Bags has a variety of luggage bags available at its online store. There are tail bags, tank bags, side cases, backpacks, bottle holsters, and accessories & organizers specially designed for your ADV tourers.

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