| 5.3°C Dublin

First look Meet Ducati’s DesertX: a cross between a Scrambler and Cagiva Elefant –with serious credentials

Close

The Dakar-inspired DesertX from Ducati

The Dakar-inspired DesertX from Ducati

The Ducati DesertX has an optional eight-litre additional tank for serious mile-munching

The Ducati DesertX has an optional eight-litre additional tank for serious mile-munching

A 21-inch front wheel and long suspension travel add to the DesertX's off-road appeal

A 21-inch front wheel and long suspension travel add to the DesertX's off-road appeal

/

The Dakar-inspired DesertX from Ducati

The history of Italian motorcycle brands and how they melded with each other can be somewhat bewildering. It’s a little bit like trying to trace the British royals’ family tree over the last 150 years. It just gets confusing, so we stop. Cagiva, however, deserves a little bit of exploration.

Cagiva was an incredibly powerful brand set up in the 1950s. It was very successful in a variety of racing disciplines. Randy Mamola, Eddie Lawson and John Kocinski all raced for the company. As well as being dominant on track, Cagiva was also somewhat of a powerbroker in the world of Italian motorcycles. At one point it owned Moto Morini, Husqvarna and even MV Agusta. The big one was always Ducati.

Here the company hired Massimo Tamburini. He was the designer who went on to give us the iconic Ducati 916. It was the early 1990s and the Dakar Rally where Cagiva earned serious kudos for winning the gruelling event on their Elefant 900, a bike that shared a motor with the 900ss from Ducati, in both 1990 and 1994.

A lot of oil has been changed since then and all of those brands are now owned by a variety of different people. We’re not too sure but it would appear that MV Agusta may actually own the Cagiva brand at this point. Then again, there are several people who reckon that Prince Philip was German.

Ducati, meanwhile, is flourishing under new ownership with the new Panigale range, the reborn Multistrada and the revived Scrambler sub-brand. The Scrambler was one of its offerings in the 1970a before it was discontinued. Several years ago it was re-introduced to the delight of a whole new generation of motorcyclists. This week the Scrambler and the Elefant met up. Now it’s our pleasure to introduce their love child, the ‘DesertX’.

Close

The Ducati DesertX has an optional eight-litre additional tank for serious mile-munching

The Ducati DesertX has an optional eight-litre additional tank for serious mile-munching

The Ducati DesertX has an optional eight-litre additional tank for serious mile-munching

At first glance, the bike looks like the Elefant of long ago. It has the same wide front and short wheelbase. The flush LED lights and the paint scheme suggests that it means business.

It sits in a 21” front and an 18” rear. These enjoy a fully adjustable Kayaba suspension set-up that has 230mm of travel. The DesertX is propelled by a reworked and lighter 937cc Testastretta 11 degree twin that is well proven elsewhere in Ducati’s range, including the new, bigger, Scrambler offerings.

Like all Ducati machines, it sits in a trellis frame and is full of the latest tech. The USD forks are complimented with a set of Brembo calipers on both ends. The braking set-up is customisable through the rider modes and there’s even a choice of cornering ABS settings, with the six riding modes including two dedicated to off-road riding.

Close

A 21-inch front wheel and long suspension travel add to the DesertX's off-road appeal

A 21-inch front wheel and long suspension travel add to the DesertX's off-road appeal

A 21-inch front wheel and long suspension travel add to the DesertX's off-road appeal

The tech continues with wheelie control, traction control, engine brake control, a quick shifter and even cruise control. All of the tech is managed via the TFT screen which is modelled on the road book feature on the older desert bikes. This is, of course, easy to marry up to your smart phone for navigation.

A number of options are available, including three pieces of luggage, a lowering kit, a taller screen, main stand, a bench seat, engine bars as well as additional lights. Our favourite, however, is the additional rear-mounted tank which holds an additional eight litres of fuel to compliment the main tank’s 21-litre capacity. The whole thing weighs in at only 202 kilos dry.

Sunday World Newsletter

Sign up for the latest news and updates

This field is required This field is required

Talk to Declan at Ducati Rosso on 01-4642211 about yours…

Tech spec: Ducati DesertX

Engine: Liquid-cooled Testastretta 11 degree L Twin

Power: 110 BHP

Torque: 92 Nm

Seat height: 875mm (Optional lowering kit available)

Tank capacity: 21 litres (additional eight-litre tank available)

Dry Weight: 202kg

Wet weight: 223kg

Download the Sunday World app

Now download the free app for all the latest Sunday World News, Crime, Irish Showbiz and Sport. Available on Apple and Android devices


Privacy