Desert X - Mini Review

The Desert X.

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My Multistrada V4S was being serviced the other day and the dealership gave me a Desert X to have a little play around on, although I could only have it for the morning as it was booked out later that day for another couple of test rides. Also, sadly, as the dealership is in the middle of a conglomeration of industrial estates and housing estates on the edge of Dublin City, and as the nearest possibility of taking it off road is over an hour's ride away, there was no opportunity to test ride on anything other than tarmac. I'd love to have it for a weekend out here, off the beaten track, in West Cork and really put it through its paces.

AA181BE7-0E9B-48F5-850D-6AF028B46A71.jpeg


First impressions, it feels much smaller than the Multi, which of course it is width wise. The seat feels higher, but on checking, the seat height is 850mm and I have my Multi seat on the high setting at 860mm so actually, it's slightly lower. I think the impression of the increased height may be becuase the rider seat pad is slightly wider than that on the Multi so your legs are spread wider, which in turn lifts them higher off the ground. It wasn't a problem for me at 187cm to put both feet flat on the ground but for those of shorter stature you my wish to make sure it's comfortable for you.

It uses the same 930cc V2 11° Testastretta engine as the new Multi V2 so it's putting out 110bhp/92Nm torque. There are 6 riding modes, yes 6😯, Sport, Touring, Urban, Wet, Rally and Enduro. As with other current model top of the range Ducatis the brains of the bike is the Bosch dash which controls, and is where you set, the various riding modes. Each of the riding modes have a factory default setting but each are customizable for
  • Power
  • ABS
  • DTC
  • DWC
  • EBC
  • DQS
I have to admit I'm not really sure what the difference between Urban and Wet riding modes are for the default settings are almost identical, the only difference being that DTC is set at 8/8, ie max, as opposed to the Urban setting of 7/8 🤷‍♂️

Screen Shot 2022-09-05 at 13.01.59.png


Rally and Enduro settings are for off-road use with a useful, and perhaps sensible, difference that Rally is set up for experienced off-road riders whilst Enduro is set up for beginners.

One observation is that the dash layout/display comes across as very complex, it's not as clearly laid out as the one on the Multi (or the Panigale) despite being the same unit. I don't know if it's the fact its set on the vertical plane rather tahn teh horizontal, or the graphics, or a combination or what it is. I'm sure one would get used to it after a while but first impressions weren't great.

7AC544F1-E56B-4AF9-90CA-F78166AC621E.jpeg


Also the riding modes can't be changed whilst on the move, which is somewhat annoying as you have to wait until the bike is travelling at 5kmh or less, so basically stationery, to be able to enter the settings menu and change them. Just imagine you're on tour, cruising along the highway in Touring mode and it starts to pour down. You have to stop and pull over to the side of the road in order to change to Urban or Wet. It's not the end of the world but if you cangen them whilst on the move on other models why not this? Perhaps Ducati will change it as the bike develops, after all it will only be a simple software update to do so.

So, what's it like to ride? Its good fun, its great fun. It makes a great urban bike(y) . It does a little 'agricutural' having just got off the Multi in as much as the gearbox is really clunky but I fully expect that would smooth out with use once it's fully run in (this one had only done 500Km) and just the general feel from the L twin engine is coarse but then I have just come off a V4 so its not a fair comparison, again, I suspect that as it gets run in it will improve.

The suspension, particularly the front, is very soft and there's a lot of dive under braking, especially if only using the front brake lever (NB the brakes are linked, the front brake lever operates both front and rear brakes but not vice versa). I guess this is a consequence of what the bike is designed for plus it does have a massive 230mm of suspension travel at the front. The suspension is all manually adjusted and I'm sure that owners will play around with it to get it to the way they like it and, if using it mostly around town and on tarmac, will dial out the softness at the front.

Ducati handily provide suggested settings for owners depending on the terrain they are on which can be used as a starting point.

Screen Shot 2022-09-05 at 13.53.12.png


Surprisingly, for a Ducati, the rear brake is excellent. The best I have ever experienced on any bike and especially on any Ducati. There is loads of feel from it and it actually slows and stops the bike, in traffic and at traffic speeds, just as well as only using the front brake. In fact due to the softness of the front suspension I soon found myself using only the rear brake to bring the bike to a halt or to slow down when in traffic. Now if Ducati can get the rear brake on the Desert X to be that good why can't my Multi rear brake have the same feel and efficacy 🤔

6570794A-DA91-46A6-9F52-CF68D0776CFD.jpeg


The bike is fitted with Pirelli Scorpion Rally STR tyres as OEM which actually give loads of feedback and feel really good on the street. As I mentioned above I couldn't try them off road but I'm sure they are more than adequate for the amount of time most owners will spend off-road.

The riding position is comfortable but there is an awful lot of buffeting and wind noise from the screen at anything over 80kmh (50mph), so much so that I really wouldn't want to be riding this bike for long distances over tarmac at those speeds and higher. I'd prefer there were no screen as on all the naked bikes I've had in the past it's never been as noticeably bad as this. So either no screen or something that is a lot more effective than the OEM one. Its' clear this bike has been nowhere near a wind tunnel (unlike the Multi which has the rider sitting in a pocket of still air) but then it's not really designed for long distance touring at highway or even motorway speeds, its been designed for riding across the Sahara.

One other thing to note is there's a lot of heat from the engine felt by the rider. The exhaust doesn't route under the seat but the heat felt between the rider's legs is akin to that on any of Ducati's superbike range where the exhausts do route under the seat. It's not unbearable, as soon as you move off it dissipates but in slow moving traffic its very noticeable and its something I've never noticed on my Multi.

A couple of other observations. It has cruise control, I'm not sure why Ducati bothered with this for its not adapative and I can't see many, if any, owners using it, at least not without doing something to manage the windflow better. Secondly, it has a 21 litre tank and I'm sure it will be significantly more economical than the V4 engine in the Multi but you can add an 8 ltr auxilliary tank from which you can automatically pump fuel into the main tank once the main tank is on reserve, which when you're crossing the Sahara is probably a useful feature.

In summary, would I buy one? Yes. Unequivocally. It really is a good bike and great fun to ride. I wouldn't be buying it to tour around Europe though, not unless I planned my route to be mostly on unpaved roads as, in my opinion, it's simply not suitable for touring at speeds above 80kmh, the buffeting would just get too tiresome. However, as a bike for taking off road on long distance trails or even just riding around the Urban Jungle, is where it really excels.

Finally, servicing. Service intervals are an annual inspection, an oil change every 15,000 km (which may or may not coincide with the Annual Inspection) and the Desmo/valve service every 30,000 km, the costs for which, in the UK at least, are approximately £270 for the Annual Service/Oil change and £550 for the Desmo service.

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If you're reading this and there's no photos that's because I'm just uploading them now. It's easier to write this out on the laptop, publish it, then access it via my phone to upload the photos.

My Multistrada V4S was being serviced the other day and the dealership gave me a Desert X to have a little play around on, although I could only have it for the morning as it was booked out later that day for another couple of test rides. Also, sadly, as the dealership is in the middle of a conglomeration of industrial estates and housing estates on the edge of Dublin City, and as the nearest possibility of taking it off road is over an hour's ride away, there was no opportunity to test ride on anything other than tarmac. I'd love to have it for a weekend out here, off the beaten track, in West Cork and really put it through its paces.

First impressions, it feels much smaller than the Multi, which of course it is width wise. The seat feels higher, but on checking, the seat height is 850mm and I have my Multi seat on the high setting at 860mm so actually, it's slightly lower. I think the impression of the increased height may be becuase the rider seat pad is slightly wider than that on the Multi so your legs are spread wider, which in turn lifts them higher off the ground. It wasn't a problem for me at 187cm to put both feet flat on the ground but for those of shorter stature you my wish to make sure it's comfortable for you.

It uses the same 930cc V2 11° Testastretta engine as the new Multi V2 so it's putting out 110bhp/92Nm torque. There are 6 riding modes, yes 6😯, Sport, Touring, Urban, Wet, Rally and Enduro. As with other current model top of the range Ducatis the brains of the bike is the Bosch dash which controls, and is where you set, the various riding modes. Each of the riding modes have a factory default setting but each are customizable for
  • Power
  • ABS
  • DTC
  • DWC
  • EBC
  • DQS
I have to admit I'm not really sure what the difference between Urban and Wet riding modes are for the default settings are almost identical, the only difference being that DTC is set at 8/8, ie max, as opposed to the Urban setting of 7/8 🤷‍♂️

View attachment 58516

Rally and Enduro settings are for off-road use with a useful, and perhaps sensible, difference that Rally is set up for experienced off-road riders whilst Enduro is set up for beginners.

One observation is that the dash layout/display comes across as very complex, it's not as clearly laid out as the one on the Multi (or the Panigale) despite being the same unit. I don't know if it's the fact its set on the vertical plane rather tahn teh horizontal, or the graphics, or a combination or what it is. I'm sure one would get used to it after a while but first impressions weren't great.

insert photo of dash here.

Also the riding modes can't be changed whilst on the move, which is somewhat annoying as you have to wait until the bike is travelling at 5kmh or less, so basically stationery, to be able to enter the settings menu and change them. Just imagine you're on tour, cruising along the highway in Touring mode and it starts to pour down. You have to stop and pull over to the side of the road in order to change to Urban or Wet. It's not the end of the world but if you cangen them whilst on the move on other models why not this? Perhaps Ducati will change it as the bike develops, after all it will only be a simple software update to do so.

So, what's it like to ride? Its good fun, its great fun. It makes a great urban bike(y) . It does a little 'agricutural' having just got off the Multi in as much as the gearbox is really clunky but I fully expect that would smooth out with use once it's fully run in (this one had only done 500Km) and just the general feel from the L twin engine is coarse but then I have just come off a V4 so its not a fair comparison, again, I suspect that as it gets run in it will improve.

The suspension, particularly the front, is very soft and there's a lot of dive under braking, especially if only using the front brake lever (NB the brakes are linked, the front brake lever operates both front and rear brakes but not vice versa). I guess this is a consequence of what the bike is designed for plus it does have a massive 230mm of suspension travel at the front. The suspension is all manually adjusted and I'm sure that owners will play around with it to get it to the way they like it and, if using it mostly around town and on tarmac, will dial out the softness at the front.

Ducati handily provide suggested settings for owners depending on the terrain they are on which can be used as a starting point.

View attachment 58517

Surprisingly, for a Ducati, the rear brake is excellent. The best I have ever experienced on any bike and especially on any Ducati. There is loads of feel from it and it actually slows and stops the bike, in traffic and at traffic speeds, just as well as only using the front brake. In fact due to the softness of the front suspension I soon found myself using only the rear brake to bring the bike to a halt or to slow down when in traffic. Now if Ducati can get the rear brake on the Desert X to be that good why can't my Multi rear brake have the same feel and efficacy 🤔

The bike is fitted with Pirelli Scorpion Rally STR tyres as OEM which actually give loads of feedback and feel really good on the street. As I mentioned above I couldn't try them off road but I'm sure they are more than adequate for the amount of time most owners will spend off-road.

The riding position is comfortable but there is an awful lot of buffeting and wind noise from the screen at anything over 80kmh (50mph), so much so that I really wouldn't want to be riding this bike for long distances over tarmac at those speeds and higher. I'd prefer there were no screen as on all the naked bikes I've had in the past it's never been as noticeably bad as this. So either no screen or something that is a lot more effective than the OEM one. Its' clear this bike has been nowhere near a wind tunnel (unlike the Multi which has the rider sitting in a pocket of still air) but then it's not really designed for long distance touring at highway or even motorway speeds, its been designed for riding across the Sahara.

One other thing to note is there's a lot of heat from the engine felt by the rider. The exhaust doesn't route under the seat but the heat felt between the rider's legs is akin to that on any of Ducati's superbike range where the exhausts do route under the seat. It's not unbearable, as soon as you move off it dissipates but in slow moving traffic its very noticeable and its something I've never noticed on my Multi.

A couple of other observations. It has cruise control, I'm not sure why Ducati bothered with this for its not adapative and I can't see many, if any, owners using it, at least not without doing something to manage the windflow better. Secondly, it has a 21 litre tank and I'm sure it will be significantly more economical than the V4 engine in the Multi but you can add an 8 ltr auxilliary tank from which you can automatically pump fuel into the main tank once the main tank is on reserve, which when you're crossing the Sahara is probably a useful feature.

In summary, would I buy one? Yes. Unequivocally. It really is a good bike and great fun to ride. I wouldn't be buying it to tour around Europe though, not unless I planned my route to be mostly on unpaved roads as, in my opinion, it's simply not suitable for touring at speeds above 80kmh, the buffeting would just get too tiresome. However, as a bike for taking off road on long distance trails or even just riding around the Urban Jungle, is where it really excels.

Finally, servicing. Service intervals are an annual inspection, an oil change every 15,000 km (which may or may not coincide with the Annual Inspection) and the Desmo/valve service every 30,000 km, the costs for which, in the UK at least, are approximately £270 for the Annual Service/Oil change and £550 for the Desmo service.
Do you get any beard oil with the purchase of said Desert X?:unsure:
 
Great write up and very timely, thanks.

A French Morrocan colleague suggested a tour through Morroco next year which I'm up for providing my back's fully fixed by then, and I was thinking of one of these for that.

Bit worried about the buffeting though; I tried four different screens on my Multis and never fully eradicated it, and it's a big thing for me, hate it. But I'm 175cm so a fair bit shorter than yourself so still worth giving it a go (especially with the touring screen).

It's still on the list.
 
Great write up and very timely, thanks.

A French Morrocan colleague suggested a tour through Morroco next year which I'm up for providing my back's fully fixed by then, and I was thinking of one of these for that.

Bit worried about the buffeting though; I tried four different screens on my Multis and never fully eradicated it, and it's a big thing for me, hate it. But I'm 175cm so a fair bit shorter than yourself so still worth giving it a go (especially with the touring screen).

It's still on the list.
I have one of these. The height and angle can both be adjusted infinitely so its very easy to get clear air on pretty much any bike. It takes seconds to fit to any bike screen but best of all , its a thing of great beauty as anyone can see.

 
This bike is getting a lot of good reviews.
It’s approximately £14K but by the time you put on the extras such as luggage it gets very expensive.
They need to put CC on the SFV4.
 
The v2 engine no matter what bike its in is just a really hot engine. That said, I've always liked the look of it and the reviews do peg it as a pretty fair everyday bike
 
Seems to be yet another bike that has taken more than 10 yrs to NOT improve over the KTM 990 adv significantly.
You would really think that there would be a major market for a large capacity trailie that is light enough for mere mortals
to enjoy offroad, yet grunty and comfortable enough to munch the miles across a european tour. Instead we have adventure hyperbikes or
range fillers from the major players.
Wish I'd never let my KTM 1090R go a few yrs back. Bah humbug!
 
Looking on the Duc website - it weighs more than the Multi V2...was expecting it'd be significantly less.
 
Although it has the v2 engine and I do like the look of it, stu's comment does throw up the obvious comparissons.

If you were a two upper regular euro tourer then you would obviously choose the multi and not the Desert X

My own perception is that if you are looking at the desert X at 202kgs dry weight and £14,095, would it also be worth looking at the yamaha Tenere 700 rally edition at 204 kgs wet weight and starting at £11,200 ?

Ténéré 700 Rally Edition - motorcycles - Yamaha Motor
 
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Although it has the v2 engine and I do like the look of it, stu's comment does through up the obvious comparissons.

If you were a two upper regular euro tourer then you would obviously choose the multi and not the Desert X

My own perception is that if you are looking at the desert X at 202kgs dry weight and £14,095, would it also be worth looking at the yamaha Tenere 700 rally edition at 204 kgs wet weight and starting at £11,200 ?

View attachment 60715
You would be daft not to :oops:
 
The Desert X.

View attachment 58531

My Multistrada V4S was being serviced the other day and the dealership gave me a Desert X to have a little play around on, although I could only have it for the morning as it was booked out later that day for another couple of test rides. Also, sadly, as the dealership is in the middle of a conglomeration of industrial estates and housing estates on the edge of Dublin City, and as the nearest possibility of taking it off road is over an hour's ride away, there was no opportunity to test ride on anything other than tarmac. I'd love to have it for a weekend out here, off the beaten track, in West Cork and really put it through its paces.

View attachment 58530

First impressions, it feels much smaller than the Multi, which of course it is width wise. The seat feels higher, but on checking, the seat height is 850mm and I have my Multi seat on the high setting at 860mm so actually, it's slightly lower. I think the impression of the increased height may be becuase the rider seat pad is slightly wider than that on the Multi so your legs are spread wider, which in turn lifts them higher off the ground. It wasn't a problem for me at 187cm to put both feet flat on the ground but for those of shorter stature you my wish to make sure it's comfortable for you.

It uses the same 930cc V2 11° Testastretta engine as the new Multi V2 so it's putting out 110bhp/92Nm torque. There are 6 riding modes, yes 6😯, Sport, Touring, Urban, Wet, Rally and Enduro. As with other current model top of the range Ducatis the brains of the bike is the Bosch dash which controls, and is where you set, the various riding modes. Each of the riding modes have a factory default setting but each are customizable for
  • Power
  • ABS
  • DTC
  • DWC
  • EBC
  • DQS
I have to admit I'm not really sure what the difference between Urban and Wet riding modes are for the default settings are almost identical, the only difference being that DTC is set at 8/8, ie max, as opposed to the Urban setting of 7/8 🤷‍♂️

View attachment 58516

Rally and Enduro settings are for off-road use with a useful, and perhaps sensible, difference that Rally is set up for experienced off-road riders whilst Enduro is set up for beginners.

One observation is that the dash layout/display comes across as very complex, it's not as clearly laid out as the one on the Multi (or the Panigale) despite being the same unit. I don't know if it's the fact its set on the vertical plane rather tahn teh horizontal, or the graphics, or a combination or what it is. I'm sure one would get used to it after a while but first impressions weren't great.

View attachment 58527

Also the riding modes can't be changed whilst on the move, which is somewhat annoying as you have to wait until the bike is travelling at 5kmh or less, so basically stationery, to be able to enter the settings menu and change them. Just imagine you're on tour, cruising along the highway in Touring mode and it starts to pour down. You have to stop and pull over to the side of the road in order to change to Urban or Wet. It's not the end of the world but if you cangen them whilst on the move on other models why not this? Perhaps Ducati will change it as the bike develops, after all it will only be a simple software update to do so.

So, what's it like to ride? Its good fun, its great fun. It makes a great urban bike(y) . It does a little 'agricutural' having just got off the Multi in as much as the gearbox is really clunky but I fully expect that would smooth out with use once it's fully run in (this one had only done 500Km) and just the general feel from the L twin engine is coarse but then I have just come off a V4 so its not a fair comparison, again, I suspect that as it gets run in it will improve.

The suspension, particularly the front, is very soft and there's a lot of dive under braking, especially if only using the front brake lever (NB the brakes are linked, the front brake lever operates both front and rear brakes but not vice versa). I guess this is a consequence of what the bike is designed for plus it does have a massive 230mm of suspension travel at the front. The suspension is all manually adjusted and I'm sure that owners will play around with it to get it to the way they like it and, if using it mostly around town and on tarmac, will dial out the softness at the front.

Ducati handily provide suggested settings for owners depending on the terrain they are on which can be used as a starting point.

View attachment 58517

Surprisingly, for a Ducati, the rear brake is excellent. The best I have ever experienced on any bike and especially on any Ducati. There is loads of feel from it and it actually slows and stops the bike, in traffic and at traffic speeds, just as well as only using the front brake. In fact due to the softness of the front suspension I soon found myself using only the rear brake to bring the bike to a halt or to slow down when in traffic. Now if Ducati can get the rear brake on the Desert X to be that good why can't my Multi rear brake have the same feel and efficacy 🤔

View attachment 58526

The bike is fitted with Pirelli Scorpion Rally STR tyres as OEM which actually give loads of feedback and feel really good on the street. As I mentioned above I couldn't try them off road but I'm sure they are more than adequate for the amount of time most owners will spend off-road.

The riding position is comfortable but there is an awful lot of buffeting and wind noise from the screen at anything over 80kmh (50mph), so much so that I really wouldn't want to be riding this bike for long distances over tarmac at those speeds and higher. I'd prefer there were no screen as on all the naked bikes I've had in the past it's never been as noticeably bad as this. So either no screen or something that is a lot more effective than the OEM one. Its' clear this bike has been nowhere near a wind tunnel (unlike the Multi which has the rider sitting in a pocket of still air) but then it's not really designed for long distance touring at highway or even motorway speeds, its been designed for riding across the Sahara.

One other thing to note is there's a lot of heat from the engine felt by the rider. The exhaust doesn't route under the seat but the heat felt between the rider's legs is akin to that on any of Ducati's superbike range where the exhausts do route under the seat. It's not unbearable, as soon as you move off it dissipates but in slow moving traffic its very noticeable and its something I've never noticed on my Multi.

A couple of other observations. It has cruise control, I'm not sure why Ducati bothered with this for its not adapative and I can't see many, if any, owners using it, at least not without doing something to manage the windflow better. Secondly, it has a 21 litre tank and I'm sure it will be significantly more economical than the V4 engine in the Multi but you can add an 8 ltr auxilliary tank from which you can automatically pump fuel into the main tank once the main tank is on reserve, which when you're crossing the Sahara is probably a useful feature.

In summary, would I buy one? Yes. Unequivocally. It really is a good bike and great fun to ride. I wouldn't be buying it to tour around Europe though, not unless I planned my route to be mostly on unpaved roads as, in my opinion, it's simply not suitable for touring at speeds above 80kmh, the buffeting would just get too tiresome. However, as a bike for taking off road on long distance trails or even just riding around the Urban Jungle, is where it really excels.

Finally, servicing. Service intervals are an annual inspection, an oil change every 15,000 km (which may or may not coincide with the Annual Inspection) and the Desmo/valve service every 30,000 km, the costs for which, in the UK at least, are approximately £270 for the Annual Service/Oil change and £550 for the Desmo service.

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View attachment 58528
View attachment 58525
Great feedback on this bike

Personally speaking no matter what it does I could not own it as it looks revolting and I would rather fire a load into Susan Boyle

But it’s a great write up and will no doubt help others in their next purchase but if they buy that they need outside help, and Ducati what the fuck is that? You are an absolute shambles of a company now, you have totally lost your way
 
I am so disappointed with Ducati they have sold their soul they are no longer exquisite drool bikes they have gone mass produced basically Italian Japanese and sell on name alone but reality is they are now a Japanese company with Ducati branding, at least we all knew Ducati when it was legit special and different … progress? Nah
 
I am so disappointed with Ducati they have sold their soul they are no longer exquisite drool bikes they have gone mass produced basically Italian Japanese and sell on name alone but reality is they are now a Japanese company with Ducati branding, at least we all knew Ducati when it was legit special and different … progress? Nah
Japanese 🤔 nah, more German 😜
 
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