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Saturday, October 1, 2022
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Ducati DesertX: Ducati builds a classic rally raid bike (sort of)

After the usual weeks of teasing the Ducati DesertX is finally officially unveiled … and, it’s gorgeous (objectively speaking of course).

Styled after classic big-bore rally raid bikes of the 1980s and 1990s, the DesertX comes with a big race-style fairing, 21-inch front wheel and 18-inch rear wheel, 250 mm of ground clearance, and long-travel suspension (230 mm up front, 250 mm in rear). This bike doesn’t just look like an offroader, it is an offroader.

But, it’s got a lot of jam for the street as well, sporting the liquid-cooled V-twin motor from the Panigale V2. It’s slightly detuned when compared to the superbike, with 110 hp and 67 lb-ft of torque (the Panigale makes 113 hp and 70 lb-ft of torque). However, it’s still a big, powerful engine.

There are four separate, selectable engine power modes, and six riding modes, including Rally and Enduro modes for offroad use (Enduro is for easier offroad riding, Rally give you full-power fun). Of course, you also get up-to-date traction control, ABS, engine brake control, an up/down quickshifter and so on. This is a premium bike, with premium features, not a budget-oriented machine from the Scrambler 800 lineup.

Electronics are managed behind the scenes by a new Bosch IMU, and rider adjustments are done through a five-inch TFT screen interface (with Bluetooth connectivity, for infotainment purposes).

Ducati ships the DesertX with a 21-litre fuel tank; officially, Ducati claims a 223 kg wet weight. However, bolt on some of Ducati’s many official accessories (fog lamps, hard side panniers and topcase, centrestand, heated grips, even an 8-litre accessory fuel tank), and you’ll feel the bike gain weight quickly.

But, if you aren’t planning to ride offroad much, that won’t matter. Realistically, that’s the future for many DesertX models, just like the first-generation ADVs they’re modeled after. Many of these will spend a lot of time in a Starbucks parking lot, and little to no time on the trails. Like the original bikes, though, these machines appear to be capable of all sorts of offroad fun, if their owners dare push their own personal limits.

Ducati says the new DesertX should be available in Canada next June, priced at $19,295 CAD plus assorted dealer/delivery fees and taxes.

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