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New Ducati Desert X Moves From Concept Sketch to Full-Size Bike

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Ducati’s been teasing us with sketches of its Desert X Scrambler concept, positioning it as a throwback to the glory days of Paris-Dakar, circa 1990, when Edi Orioli won the race on a Ducati-powered Cagiva Elefant. And now that the Italian marque has pulled the wraps off an actual concept bike at the EICMA show, it looks like they weren’t kidding. 

First impression: there’s a lot of fuel capacity on this bike. It sports front and rear tanks, which appear to be split into left and right compartments. That means four separate gas caps, so plan a little extra time at fuel stops if this design sees production. We’ve seen reports that the tanks hold 30 liters (7.9 gallons) of gas, so at least those stops won’t be frequent. 

Ducati Desert X adventure bike conceptThe Desert X is equipped with dirt-oriented 21″/18″ spoked wheels and 8.3 inches (210 mm) of suspension travel. Total fuel capacity is 30 liters (7.9 gallons).Ducati Desert X engineAt the heart of the Desert X is a 1079cc, two-valve, air-cooled, Desmodromic L-twin pumping out 86 horsepower and 65 ft.-lbs of torque.

The tanks and fairing lend the bike a muscular, sculptured look that both honors and updates the Elefant’s aesthetics. Twin, round LED headlights are another nod to the original, as is the tall windscreen that looks like it would actually be useful at blocking wind. Videos of the reveal show a TFT display nestled behind the screen. The spot where the pillion seat would normally go is inhabited by a cargo rack. And there are no passenger footpegs on the concept bike, but we’d guess that a production model would come with a passenger seat and pegs.

Ducati Desert X fairingDucati Desert X wheelsThe Desert X’s spoked wheels are shodded with Pirelli Scorpion Rally tires.

The engine is from the current Scrambler 1100, a 1079cc, two-valve, air-cooled, Desmodromic L-twin that produces 86 horsepower at 7,500 rpm and 65 ft.-lbs of torque at 4,750 rpm. The upswept Termignoni exhaust system, a work of art in itself, terminates in a single silencer.  

Ducati has not announced official complete specs  for the bike yet, but the Italian website put the bike’s weight at 190 kilograms, just under 420 pounds. Wet weight of the current Scrambler 100 is 465 pounds, so that number may be in the ballpark. The concept has also been revealed to have 10.8 inches (275mm) of ground clearance, 8.3 inches (210mm) of suspension travel and a carbon fiber skid plate. Ducati has further reported the bike is equipped with dirt-oriented 21-inch front and 18-inch rear spoked wheels wearing Pirelli Scorpion Rally tires. 

The Desert X debuted alongside the 800cc Motard Scrambler, and both concepts are aimed at broadening Ducati’s lineup using existing platforms. Ducati seems to want input on the designs, so leave a comment below and let them know if you think they should put these bikes into production.


Author: Bob Whitby

Bob has been riding motorcycles since age 19 and working as a journalist since he was 24, which was a long time ago, let’s put it that way. He quit for the better part of a decade to raise a family, then rediscovered adventure, dual sport and enduro riding in the early 2000s. He lives in Arkansas, America’s best-kept secret when it comes to riding destinations, and travels far and wide in search of dirt roads and trails.

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