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How Ducati’s recently launched DesertX fits in its lineup

Is this just a rehash of the Multistrada, or something more?

This bike started out as a passion project within the skunkworks of Ducati that took a very serious turn to production. PHOTO BY SAM SURLA

Ducati Philippines launched its latest offering, the DesertX, at the recently concluded Makina Moto Show. And for most people, the question that immediately pops into mind upon seeing the new bike is: “How is it different from the Multistrada?”

Well, we’re here to answer just that.

The DesertX is powered by the same 937cc Desmodromic 11° Testastretta L-twin engine found on the Multistrada V2, making this specific variant a good benchmark for this comparison.

The first concept bike was launched at EICMA 2019, and the design remains largely the same on the actual model. PHOTO BY SAM SURLA

Though both bikes do share the same powerplant, the DesertX makes slightly less power at 110hp (with torque of 92Nm). Suspension is taken care of by a fully adjustable 46mm upside-down front fork, and a fully adjustable rear monoshock. Both dampers have extended travel for off-road use and are supplied by KYB.

It sports aluminum spoke wheels wrapped in Pirelli Scorpion Rally STRs, and if the wheel-and-tire combo is not enough to convince you of the DesertX’s off-roading intent, maybe the sizes will: 90/90 21 up front and 150/70 18 in the back. The seat is narrow and tall at 875mm for better stand-up ergonomics.

We're eager to find out how well the vertical screen works in real-life conditions. PHOTO BY SAM SURLA

There are some new features aboard the DesertX. The five-inch TFT dash is vertically oriented to mimic the looks of cyclocomputers found on modern racing bicycles, and to improve legibility when standing on the pegs.

Mounts on the rear are ready to accommodate optional accessories such as panniers or an 8L auxiliary fuel tank that integrates neatly into the bodywork.

The Multistrada has long been Ducati's sole ADV offering until now. PHOTO FROM DUCATI

In contrast, the Multistrada is equipped with thicker 48mm forks up front and a monoshock in the rear. Both have standard travel, and can even be ordered with Skyhook (a semi-active suspension) on the V2S for more comfortable touring.

Seat height is an approachable 830mm, while 19- and 17-inch wheels shod in Pirelli Scorpion Trail II tires make it obvious that the Multistrada is a road-biased bike.

So, there you have it. The Multistrada V2 and the DesertX share a lot of components and similarities, but a closer look at both reveals that their strengths lie in very different areas.

On paper, the former should dominate on road, while the latter looks to shine where there is no road to speak of, making it the only serious off-roader in Ducati’s lineup. Which one would you pick?

Simonn Ang

Simonn is just a regular guy who happens to love cars and motorcycles. He also loves writing about them, too.