FIRST LOOK: 2024 DUCATI DESERTX RALLY!

9 months ago | Words: Matt Holmes | Photos: Ducati Media House

Back in August, we had a li’l think about the future of Ducati’s DesertX. We figured a big-travel, thoroughly specced “Rally” variant was inevitably on the cards. This was off the back of Ducati’s racing efforts and of course following suit from the big Multistrada Rally variant, launched earlier in the year. Well, call us Nostradamus, as come October 3, Ducati unveiled their new DesertX Rally in all its glory. And we aren’t ashamed to call it that we kinda saw this coming. Pushing ever forwards, Ducati’s 1980s-inspired DesertX Rally silhouette is made even more epic, thanks to a dedicated Iron Giant livery, a high front fender, longer travel closed-cartridge fork, Excel rims for true off-road ability, and a bunch of billet bits.

Developed and tested in the heat of competition, the DesertX Rally prototype was the tool of choice for Antoine Meo (multiple Enduro World Champion and European Supercross Champion) in the Iron Road Prolog at Erzbergrodeo 2023, taking it to the top step of the podium in the twin-cylinder category.

That Meo bike spawned more than a few knock-off sticker kits, so Ducati has brought mass-coloured plastics and adhesive PVC graphics to the table, meaning any scratches are a lot less visible. But, while the special livery and red subframe are seriously cool, it’s the upgrades to the Rally model’s Kayaba suspenders that piques our interest most – because the gold, Kashima-coated fork sliders, increased travel (up to 250mm) and closed-cartridge fork internals are a big step up from the OG model.

A new rear shock with larger piston mounts to the aluminium swingarm with a new attachment point, increasing travel to a solid 240mm. Finally, to improve handling on the most demanding off-road terrain, the DesertX Rally is fitted with an adjustable Öhlins steering damper, fixed directly to the handlebars. Of course, with the longer legs comes more ground clearance – now 280mm, which is up from 250mm.

Stronger and lighter (21” x 2.15” and 18” x 4”) wheels come laced with Takasago Excel rims with an inner tube, and to underline the versatility of the DesertX Rally. And as with the DesertX, triple homologation is envisaged for the tyres with Pirelli Scorpion Rally STR as original equipment. To enhance its off-road capabilities, mount the even beefier Scorpion Rally, while for those who prefer to ride the bike on asphalt, the Scorpion Trail II is available.

Just like the original, the DesertX Rally is equipped with the 937cc Ducati Testastretta 11° twin-cylinder engine, which pumps out 110hp at 9250rpm, with a maximum torque of 92Nm at 6500rpm. Six riding modes tame the beast (Sport, Touring, Urban, Wet, Enduro, Rally) and all have Cornering ABS, Ducati Traction Control (DTC) and Ducati Wheelie Control (DWC) recalibrated to the new chassis and aimed at more off-road use. Also of note is the carbon forged sump guard – aside from looking dialled, it’s a truckload lighter and tougher than its metal brethren.

All the tech functions of the DesertX Rally are managed through the vertically oriented display, positioned to offer optimal visibility even when riding standing. Plus, it’s designed to integrate with the Ducati Multimedia System – which allows you to connect your phone, activating new functions like music control, call management and Turn by Turn navigation (optional) with road directions directly on the dashboard. Bonus is the DesertX Rally offers the Utility Bar as standard for mounting of your own GPS/Satnav.

All up, and thanks to the use of race-bred components, the DesertX Rally has a dry weight of just 1kg more than the standard model.

At this stage, the DesertX Rally is expected to land in our part of the world in the second half of 2024 with a ride-away price of $36,600. If you’re like me, you’ll be skipping a few meals and saving coin until then! Hit up Ducati for more details, and check out the Ducati World Premiere video below to get your mouth watering…

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