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Ducati Unveils New Paris-Dakar Inspired Adventure Bike Concept

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Ducati Desert X Concept Adventure bike

Ducati CEO Claudio Domenicali announced an array of exciting new 2020 models yesterday during the Ducati World Premiere 2020 live streaming video event. One small mention during the presentation could have gone easily unnoticed though and might be the biggest ADV news from the event — the preview of a new Ducati Adventure Bike concept. And based on the rendering displayed, it looks like it could give the current crop of off-road focused adventure bikes a run for their money. 

Domenicali mentioned that In an effort to continuously develop new and exciting models, Ducati Design Director Andrea Ferraresi was tasked with creating something both possible and unprecedented for the Italian marque. The result was two different concept bikes based on the existing Scrambler platforms.

Cagiva Elefant 900ie powered by a Ducati engineThe new ‘Desert X’ Adventure bike concept is inspired by the early 90’s Cagiva Elefant 900ie – powered by a Ducati air-cooled V-Twin.

The first one called “Motard” is a concept based on the 800cc Scrambler platform. It’s a sleek-looking design that appears to be a modern take on a dirt tracker. But what really grabbed our attention was the second concept – the Desert X – sketched by Ducati designer Jeremy Faraud.


The “Desert X” is a Paris-Dakar Rally inspired design that celebrates Edi Orioli’s victory in 1990 on a Ducati powered Cagiva Elefant. According to Ducati, the bike  is based on the Scrambler 1100 platform, powered by a 1,079cc 2-valve, air-cooled, Desmodromic L-Twin engine that produces 86 horsepower @ 7,500 rpm and 65 ft-lb @ 4,750 rpm. 

Ducati Desert X adventure bike previewThe Ducati ‘Desert X’ adventure bike is powered by a 1,079cc 2-valve, air-cooled, Desmodromic L-Twin engine. The machine will soon be shown to the public at EICMA.

Not a lot can be discerned from the sketch but a closer look reveals a similar paint scheme and bodywork to the early 90’s Cagiva Elefant 900 Paris-Dakar race bike and the repli-racer production models it spawned. The Desert X concept features Dakar-style rear fuel tanks (which would most likely not make it to production) and there’s also a beautiful upswept Dakar-esque Termignoni exhaust. The frame and engine look straight off the Scrambler 1100 production line but the rear banana swing arm and front forks signal this bike features significantly more suspension travel than the current model’s 5.9 inches (150mm). The Desert X also sits on more-dirt-worthy 21″ front and 18″ rear wheels, instead of the Scrambler 1100’s 19″ front 18″ rear combo.

The wet weight of the current Scrambler 1100 is 465 pounds, which isn’t a lot for the class. If Ducati were to add more suspension travel, more ground clearance and bigger wheels, without significantly increasing weight, the Desert X could be Ducati’s most off-road capable adventure model yet. The extra wind protection, rear rack and increased fuel capacity could make this an impressive long-range off-road travel bike as well, assuming the Desert X ever makes it to production.

Ducati Motard concept motorcycle previewThe Ducati “Motard” is a concept bike based on the 800cc Scrambler platform.

For now we only have sketches, but Claudio did mention that Ducati has created actual prototypes of these two concepts sketches, and we won’t have to wait long to see them. Both the Motard and Desert X prototypes will be on display during EICMA 2019 November 4-10 in Milan, Italy. Ducati says they will be looking for feedback on their new designs, which may have an influence on their decision whether or not to go to production. If you like what you see here, let them know in the comments below. We’ll put in our vote now with an emphatic YES!!!


Author: Rob Dabney

Rob Dabney started a lifelong obsession with motorcycles at the age of 15 when he purchased his first bike – a 1982 Honda MB5. Through his 20’s and 30’s he competed in off-road desert races, including the Baja 250, 500 and 1000. Eventually, his proclivity for exploration led him to dual sport and adventure riding. Rob’s never-ending quest to discover what’s around the next bend has taken him on Adventures in Mexico, North Africa, Europe, and throughout the American West. As a moto journalist, he enjoys inspiring others to seek adventure across horizons both near and far.

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