Adventure Time? Ducati bring the DesertX To Detroit

Lyle Ellerbee

Ducati came to Detroit as part of their roadshow to show off the new DesertX ADV style motorcycle. Ducati took styling cues from the Cagiva Elephant but did not go full retro with it. The headlights and fairing shape recall those Dakar bikes of the 90s but bring them into the 2020s.

The DesertX is powered by a 937cc V-Twin engine. This is the same powerplant as the new Monster, so 937cc with 111hp and 68lb/ft of torque. It’s a non-desmo valvetrain, so you can go 18,000 miles between valve adjustments. The DesertX has a 5.5-gallon main tank and a 2.1-gallon aux tank. If you figure 45mpg, this should give you a total range of 315 miles and 25 miles of reserve.

The big news is that a tubeless 21-inch front wheel comes on the bike, the first Ducati since the 1960s to have one. The rear will have an 18-inch tire, and the weight is around 450-460 full of fluids. The 21-inch front will provide plenty of options for those that want to switch up front tires to perhaps something even more off-road focused.

The seat height is 34 inches. However, there will be low seat height options and lowered suspension kits available at or shortly after the launch. Having swung a leg over the bike with my 32-inch inseam, I couldn’t flat foot the bike, but I wasn’t on the tips of my toes either.

The vertical TFT dash calls back to the scrolling maps of decades past yet is fully featured and quite bright. The DesertX has a full electronic suite of rider aids, as you would expect on a modern bike. Including several riding modes specifically for offroading.

The price will be $16,700 and should be in dealers by early July. The fit and finish of this pre-production bike looked excellent, and this matte white paint was very striking.

As you would expect, Ducati will offer a ton of accessories and a clothing line centered around DesertX.

Phil Read, Marketing Director for Ducati NA, said the adventure market is still the strongest section of the market, and specifically, this middleweight segment is really taking off. While I was not at the media launch currently going on in Sardinia, I am aiming to get one to test later this year.

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