By Yoann Genouvrier – Already during his static presentation we were charmed.
By taking iconic dual optics front, with a straight crown and enclosing hood, 21-inch wheels at the front, large tank and long, flat seat, the Ducati designers knew they would bring everyone back to the good old days with Dakar in Africa.
It’s before everything the work of Jérémy Faraud, French designerwhich had offered a taste of Desert X with a concept based on Scrambler.
Presented at Eicma, this model had attracted positive reviews. Ducati did not hesitate to push the cursor a little further with this track, which plays even more the nostalgia cardas it is offered in this unique color strongly inspired by Cagiva Elephant from the 90s.
And from the international trials organized in Sardinia, the Bologna Trail has been able convince for all reasonss, from the road to the track via test lots and the highway.
It is difficult to make a more comprehensive test of the Italian, under all conditions and straightforwardly.
Full possibility of transalpine
The Italian path leads us back to the good memories of African rallies from a design point of view, but it is clearly rooted in our time.
It stands out with a high-flying talent, since powerful mechanics to the efficient cycle part through a high level of electronics. The builder left nothing to chance.
We thought it would be a markedly transformed Multistrada V2, but it is not. Desert X is almost 100% new, with the exception of the engine, which, if already in the range, has been completely redesigned here.
The 937cc block delivers an output of 110 hp at 9,250 rpm and a torque of 92 Nm at 6,500 rpm, with a revised gear ratio to offer more off-road performance.
Thus, 1st and 2nd gear are shorter than on the Multistrada V2, and this shows all its interest once on the handlebars. But before we go on the road, we are entitled to an orientation in rules, due Desert X is crammed with electronics.
She enjoysan inertia unit signed Bosch but fully developed internally, to be able to offer accurate and valuable aids.
The list of electronic functions is long: acceleration control, steering modes, Adjustable curve ABStraction control, wheelie control, engine brake control, cruise control …
The track has nicely advanced its appetite on the track, hard to do better in terms of gear. Everything is controlled according to predefined programs.
We thus find nothing less than six driving modes, two of which are dedicated to off-roadfour power modes or an adjustable ABS on three levels and even interruptible.
It is also possible, for the most demanding, to customize all settings. The bike is therefore suitable for all riders, especially since you can also choose different saddle and footrest heights ; no wonder everyone finally found the Ducati adapted to their size.
To avoid wasting anything, access to all features is easily done via simple stems, all transcribed on a 5-inch TFT color screen perfectly readable and logical.
The manufacturer has given a nod to the enduro by installing a vertical screen in roadbook style. It’s smart, but we’m sorry it’s not not reclinedespecially for off-road driving.
A connector is mounted on the side to connect a GPS, a feature we would have appreciated directly on the screen, but which is not yet planned. Only smartphone connection will be possible in the longer term for simplified navigation.
Desert X: A damn fine toy
The well-designed ergonomics allow you to get going quickly without asking too many questions, especially when possible play with the modes while driving, turn off the throttle.
Immediately, the motorcycle of just over 200 kg want to be reassuring and easy to carry. The 21-inch front wheel, the first for the Ducati in a very long time, provides good stability and surprisingly does not hamper handling.
The surprise comes from the suspensions, which are almost soft at the front and rear. It is surprising at first but perfectly balanced. Especially since it is possible to adapt them completely to the driving style and whether you are on the road or on the track.
A configuration that we will test through these 250 km tests without finally having to move on to a more precise adjustment of the fork as of the shock absorber. On the road, the path shows great agility.é.
The engine is voluntary and offers a surprising extension. The up and down quickshifter is precise and comfortable for the ear with a small competition-style throttle at each gear change.
The electronics avoid unpleasant surprises and we quickly find out to tilt the Desert X at the angle carelessly. The grip of the Pirelli bracket is very reassuring brakes signed Brembo remains progressive and bites if necessary, front and back.
At heavy braking, the fork tends to sink slightly, it must be said that the journey is considerable, and this will show all its interest in all terrain.
Stiff as desired, the frame absorbs the limitations and allows the pilot by its finesse to offer a wonderful feeling.
At high speed, the path keeps course without any movement from the front, the steering damper proves to be very effective. Much more than the protection, which apart from small sizes quickly shows its limits.
Ducati offroad stone
After great performance on the road, the Dakar-style track had to handle the task off-road.
In the turn of a turn, our route leads us on a dusty track, dotted with rocks and crossed by impressive hemorrhages,ideal for testing the Italian.
Enduro mode selected, here we go to attack the many marked trails in Sardinia. Always a little restrained in the beginning, you quickly feel comfortable.
Ergonomics is not only designed for sitting position, but also stands for practicing enduro with especially one form of specific tank, containing 21 liters.
Besides the fact that it is impossible to look at the counter because it remains fixed, the path does not really have any faults nor for this type of piloting. The footrests, which can be turned to off-road mode, and the rear brake pedal provide a good grip.
The suspension absorbs shocks well., we then understand all the interest in such a movement. In addition, the steering damper makes it possible to limit any untimely steering when attacking a little too hard in a groove.
Our test model had two options, namely motor protection screen and grilleinevitable in this region where there are many rocks.
The track makes it easy to get around in maneuvers like tight hairpins due to its size, its interesting turning radius and the rather high handlebars.
The outputs of curves across are mastered very quickly by electronics. In more complicated areas, Rally mode provides an ideal electronics setupwith ABS disconnection at the rear.
A real toy on earth and sand, Desert X bears its name particularly well, especially since Ducati has developed all a range of accessories for the end of the world.
There is a rigid side luggage set with top case that attaches to the rear buckle, as wellan ingenious extra 8-liter tank systemwhich follows the shape of the motorcycle to an inflated range of 600 km!
Only downside, the two are not compatible … Too bad it was ideal. The company Bologna really did not fail in the pursuit of the versatile track, surprisingly for the first time!
We understand why the machine has become so coveted. The price is still quite elitist, the price of freedom No doubt.
- The timeless look
- Powerful electronics
- The high-flying bicycle part
We love less
- Non-tilting screen
- Limited protection
- The high price
Ducati Desert X: technical sheet
- Engine: L-twin, 8-valve, liquid-cooled, 937cc3
- Bore x stroke (mm): 94 × 67.5
- Transmission: with chain, 6 gears
- Power (hp @ rpm): 110 @ 9,250
- Torque (Nm at rpm): 92 at 6,500
- Weight (kg): 223
- xwide (mm): not available
- Wheelbase (mm): 1608
- Saddle height (mm): 875
- Tank (l): 21
- Front brakes: double 320 mm discs, Brembo 4-piston calibers
- Rear brakes: 265 mm single disc, 2-piston caliper
- Front-wheel suspension travel (mm): 230-220
- Front-rear tires: 90 / 90-21 – 150/70 R 18
- Price: € 16,590
Pilot equipment: HJC C80 helmet – RST Maverick outfit
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