Ducati is a brand close to my heart. They are one of the most recognisable and aspirational brands in the world. They have achieved incredible success in both motorsport and on the showroom floor, creating some of the best and most beautiful bikes ever to grace the highways and byways. 

I was recently given the opportunity to ride the Desert X and Hypermoto Mono at a Ducati media day, That’s an invitation I’m not going to turn down.

The DesertX is an adventure bike first released in 2022 to rave reviews and for very good reason.  

Ducati slotted in their 937 cc testastretta L-twin, 4 valve engine. I love this engine in the Streetfighter V2 and Hypermoto, but in the Desert X it’s re-tuned to make 110 HP at 9,250 rpm and 92 Nm (68 lb-ft) torque at 6,500 rpm. It loves to rev and is punchy with plenty of character.

On the launch of the Desert X, Ducati’s marketing department focussed on its unbelievable off-road ability. The marketing language was rightly heavily weighted towards off-road, showing us how capable this bike is off the beaten track, be it desert, forest or anything in between. 

Ducati proudly told us that Desert X has been developed to take on the most challenging off-road trails. They said they have worked by drawing on the very best of their ergonomics, engine, aerodynamics, and electronics know-how and developed a new chassis that is off-road specific.

Having said all this, I had a very interesting chat with a Ducati PR person. It seems that more recently, Ducati’s marketing speak has changed a little and is now looking at the Desert X through fresh eyes. We know how good it is off-road, but have you considered it as a tourer?

It’s practical, comfortable, handles well on road, it’s fun and can do anything an Africa Twin can and more. 

Ducati offers hard luggage and a few choice extras to enhance the touring ability of the Desert X. 

The Touring accessories package (£2,264.32) includes aluminium side panniers, plug-and-play heated handgrips and the practical central stand.

You could pair this with the Urban accessory package (£1,109.32) consisting of a large aluminium top case (with attachment plate), functional handlebar bag for personal belongings and top case cushion for passenger comfort.

For our media experience, we had a couple of hours of riding around on the Warwickshire twisty roads. Factor in a couple of stops for photo and video opportunities and it makes it all too brief.

This is such a fun and incredibly capable all-rounder, that you don’t want to stop. I would happily have ridden all day, 

Being a Ducati, the build quality is excellent. Some might say the Desert X has a face only a mother could love, but regardless, the ownership experience is special, no matter how brief.

My press bike was in the optional  Saturn Grey / GP 18 Grey / Racing Red colour scheme (£500) and looked stunning. 

DesertX is equipped with spoked wheels, 21-inch at the front and 18′-inch at the rear

Wrapped in Pirelli Scorpion Rally STR tubeless tyres. (A wide selection of alternative tyres is also available.) The Pirelli Scorpion is a great tyre. I love the way they ride on the road, they grip well, inspire confidence and move around predictably but do tend to wear quickly. 

The suspension is fully adjustable KYB front and rear and does a great job. Being an adventure bike, there’s plenty of suspension travel, but it’s great over our terrible roads, soaking up bumps and potholes and making this an incredibly effective way to get somewhere fast and in comfort. 

I didn’t have the time to mess about with the electronics, but as you would expect, there is a full suite; 6 riding modes with Bosch IMU (Inertial Measurement Unit), offering the rider the ability to adjust Engine Brake Control (EBC), Ducati Traction Control (DTC), Ducati Wheelie Control (DWC), Ducati Quick Shift (DQS) Up & Down and ABS Cornering. There’s also a 5” colour TFT display, and full LED lights.

  • Seat Height: 875 mm (34.4 in) / 890 mm (35.0 in) with high seat accessory / 865 mm (34.1 in) with low seat accessory / 845 mm (33.3 in) with low seat + low suspension kit accessory.
  • Wet Weight No Fuel: 210 kg (463 lb)
  • Engine: Liquid-cooled, 937cc Desmodromic V-twin engine.
  • Power: 110 HP at 9,250 rpm and 92 Nm (68 lb-ft) torque at 6,500 rpm.
  • 6-speed gearbox.
  • 21-inch front wheel and 18-inch rear wheel.
  • Long-stroke fully adjustable Kayaba suspension.
  • 6 riding modes to adjust power delivery, traction control, and other settings.
  • 5-inch color TFT display.
  • Full LED lights.
  • Front brakes: Brembo M50 monobloc radial 4-piston callipers. 2 x 320 mm front discs with aluminium flange. Brembo axial master cylinder with adjustable levers.
  • Rear brakes: Brembo dual-piston floating calliper. Single 265 mm disc.

Price: From £14,995

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