Ducati DesertX Rally (2024) - Technical Review

2024 Ducati DesertX Rally Review Details Price Spec_02a


Price: from £18,995 | Power: 110bhp | Weight: 224kg | Overall BikeSocial Rating: TBA


After launching the DesertX as its most off-road-capable bike yet Ducati has upped the ante once more with the higher-spec DesertX Rally – a version that targets even more extreme use than the Dakar-inspired original.

The DesertX Rally mirrors the upgrades made to Antoine Meo’s factory-backed competition bike, which won the twin-cylinder class of this year’s Iron Road Prologue at the Erzbergrodeo. As such it drops some of the rallye-raid looks of the standard DesertX, which has styling that pays tribute to the Ducati-engined Cagiva Elefants that took Edi Orioli to Dakar victory in 1990 and 1994, and replaces them with motocross-inspired elements including a high-mounted front mudguard and even taller, longer-travel suspension than the stock machine.


Pros and Cons

  • New suspension is the same kit used by Meo at the Erzbergrodeo
  • Chassis changes add even more off-road prowess
  • Weight-saving measures offset mass of the additional kit
  • No additional power or performance compared to stock DesertX
  • Lofty 910mm seat height, up from 875mm, excludes shorter riders
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Review – In Detail

Price & PCP
For and against
Engine & Performance
Handling & Suspension (inc. weight & brakes)
Comfort & Economy


2024 Ducati DesertX Rally Price

What is the price of the 2024 Ducati DesertX Rally? £18,995 – with deliveries not due until February 2024.

That puts it at the expensive end of the market when it comes to sub-1000cc adventure bikes, undercut by some very off-road-capable rivals like KTM’s 890 Adventure R, but the Ducati’s high-end components – not to mention the presence of the Ducati badge – carry an understandable premium. Few adventure bikes of any brand capture the Dakar zeitgeist like the DesertX, and the DesertX Rally’s even tougher style adds further to that appeal.


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2024 Ducati DesertX Rally Engine & Performance

The 937cc Testastretta 11° is one of the mainstays of Ducati’s range – powering the Monster, Supersport, Hypermotard and Multistrada V2 – and in the DesertX Rally it’s unaltered from the stock bike.

That means you get 110hp at 9,250rpm and 92Nm (68lb-ft) at 6.500rpm from an engine that ticks all the classic Ducati boxes including the 90-degree ‘L’ layout and desmodromic valvetrain, as well as some more recent family traits like long, 15,000km/24-month service intervals and 30,000km valve clearance checks.

Like the DesertX, the DesertX Rally mates the L-twin to a transmission with dedicated adventure bike ratios, geared shorter than its street-biased equivalents to improve acceleration and low-speed control when riding off road, although a long sixth gear makes long-distance, high-speed touring no chore. Ducati’s DQS quickshifter is standard, with programming that’s dedicated to the DesertX.

A restricted version with 35kW (47hp) is also available to suit A2 licence holders.

As on the standard DesertX, there’s a huge array of modes and settings to play with. These include six riding modes that preselect settings from a quartet of power modes, three levels of engine braking, eight traction control settings and four wheelie control strategies. They also change the settings of the cornering ABS, picking from three levels.

The six riding modes are Sport, with full power, Touring (dropping power to 95hp and softening delivery), and a 75hp Urban setting. There’s also a Wet mode that increases electronic aids, Enduro mode with 75hp and rapid throttle response, and Rally mode with all 110hp and a quick throttle, allied to minimal traction control and ABS, and deactivated wheelie control.


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2024 Ducati DesertX Rally Handling & Suspension (inc. Weight & Brakes)

This is where the DesertX Rally really departs from the standard DesertX. Ducati could have taken the easy option and just given the bike a cosmetic do-over to boost its off-road appeal – after all, even the standard DesertX is perfectly capable of hitting trails – but instead there’s a top-to-toe revamp of the suspension.

Starting at the front, the KYB forks are 2mm fatter than the standard bike’s 46mm units, with a diameter of 48mm, and use motocross-style closed-cartridge internals. That means the oil inside the forks is pressurised to prevent cavitation (which is when air bubbles get into the oil as it’s shaken up) to make sure their damping remains consistent.

As well as being fatter the forks are longer than before, with travel increased from 230mm to 250mm, and they’re given both a DLC (diamond-like carbon) coating to the sliders and a hard anodised Kashima coating to the fork tubes. New springs feature reduced front-end stiffness, dropping from 6N/mm to 5N/mm.

The forks are bolted to new top and bottom yokes made of billet aluminium that increase the offset by 1mm.

The rear changes are just as comprehensive, with a new 46mm rear shock – also from KYB – and a redesigned swingarm with a revised attachment point. As well as remote adjustable preload, it’s got separate high- and low-speed compression damping adjustment and adjustable rebound. The rear spring is stiffer than the stock DesertX, rated at 96N/mm instead of 90N/mm, and wheel travel is increased by 20mm to 240mm.

All these changes contribute to an increased ride height, with 280mm of ground clearance instead of 250mm, and the seat height shifts up from 875mm to 910mm.

While the wheels are the same diameter as the standard DesertX – 21 inches at the front, 18 inches at the rear – and there’s no change to the 90/90-21 and 150/70-18 tyre sizes, the back wheel is half-an-inch narrower, at 4 inches, to improve off-road grip. The wheels themselves have hubs machined from solid aluminium, carbon steel spokes and Excel rims. Pirelli Scorpion Rally STR tyres are standard, as on the normal DesertX, but with options of more off-road-oriented Scorpion Rally rubber or street-biased Scorpion Trail II rubber.

Those wheels are lighter than the standard DesertX versions, and along with the new billet triple clamps, gear shifter and brake pedal help offset the extra weight of the longer-travel suspension parts, keeping the overall mass just 1kg heavier than the standard DesertX at 203kg dry, 224kg wet.

The brakes are unchanged from the standard DesertX, with Brembo M50 Monobloc calipers at the front on dual 320mm discs, a Brembo two-pot and 265mm disc at the rear, and cornering ABS controlled by a Bosch IMU.


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2024 Ducati DesertX Rally Comfort & Economy

The 910mm seat height of the DesertX Rally puts it on a par with some of the most hardcore adventure bikes on the market – the BMW R1250GS Adventure with its seat in the tallest position, for example, or the Extreme Edition of Yamaha’s Ténéré 700 – so if you’re stubby of leg, it might not be the bike for you.

That seat itself is exclusive to the DesertX Rally, with a design similar to the optional Rally seat available for the DesertX, but a textured coating intended to improve grip.

Other changes from the standard Desert X include the gear shifter and brake pedal, both machined from solid alloy and adjustable to suit off-road or on-road use.

Ducati hasn’t announced homologated fuel efficiency figures yet but given the identical engine settings and gearing to the standard DesertX, it should offer much the same economy. The stock DesertX manages 50.4mpg, and with a large, 21 litre tank that means a range of around 230 miles between fill-ups. An extra 8-litre tank, fitted on the tail, is available as an option, to gain another 90-odd miles of range.


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2024 Ducati DesertX Rally Equipment

Additional kit on the DesertX Rally includes the sump guard, made of forged carbon fibre and bolted to aluminium brackets extending from the trellis frame.

The bike’s bodywork is pre-coloured rather than painted, with PVC stickers for the graphics, so scratches shouldn’t mar the appearance to severely. The high-mounted front mudguard also changes the bike’s look compared to the standard DesertX and won’t get clogged with mud.

An adjustable Öhlins steering damper, on brackets machined from solid alloy, is another element that sets the Rally aside.

Although the DesertX Rally comes as standard with the same exhaust as the DesertX, there are two optional Termignoni pipes – a street-legal one and a race version, as used by Antoine Meo’s Erzbergrodeo bike, that ups power and torque by 7% for peaks of around 118hp and 73lb-ft.

The dash is the same portrait-oriented, 5-inch TFT used on the standard DesertX, with two visual modes – Standard and Rally – that change the layout to suit different uses. As usual, there’s connectivity for smartphones to give control over music and calls as well as turn-by-turn navigation. For more extensive navigation there’s a ‘Utility Bar’ to mount a standalone satnav.



2024 Ducati DesertX Rally Rivals

The DesertX Rally clearly competes with some of the most extreme middleweight adventure bikes on the market, but there are cheaper alternatives. KTM’s 890 Adventure R is perhaps closest in terms of power, weight and off-road ability, but lacks the Ducati’s 80s-inspired Dakar looks. BMW’s new F900GS Adventure might also be in the mix, and buyers may also be tempted by Yamaha’s Ténéré 700 World Rally, the most high-end version of that bike.


KTM 890 Adventure R | Price: £13,299

Power/Torque: 105bhp/74lb-ft | Weight: 200kg (dry)


Yamaha Ténéré 700 World Rally | Price: £13,000

Power/Torque: 74bhp/51lb-ft | Weight: 219kg (wet)


BMW F900GS Adventure | Price: £14,600

Power/Torque: 105bhp/69lb-ft | Weight: 246kg (wet)


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2024 Ducati DesertX Rally Verdict

We'll let you know once we've ridden it.


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2024 Ducati DesertX Rally - Technical Specification

New price

From £18,995



Bore x Stroke

94 x 67.5mm

Engine layout

90-degree V-twin

Engine details

Desmodromic valvetrain, 4 valves per cylinder, liquid cooled


110bhp (81kW) @ 9,250rpm


68lb-ft (81Nm) @ 6,500rpm


6 speed, chain final drive, quickshifter

Average fuel consumption


Tank size

21 litres

Max range to empty


Rider aids

Six customisable riding modes, four power modes, three power levels, three-level cornering ABS, four-level wheelie control, eight level traction control


Tubular steel trellis

Front suspension

KYB 48 mm closed cartridge fork, 250 mm travel, Kashima coating treatments on the fork tubes and DLC on the sliders

Front suspension adjustment

Adjustable compression and rebound

Rear suspension

KYB shock absorber with 46 mm piston, 240 mm travel

Rear suspension adjustment

Adjustable in compression at high and low speeds, in rebound and preload

Front brake

320mm discs, four-piston Brembo M50 monobloc radial calipers

Rear brake

265mm disc, two-piston Brembo caliper

Front wheel / tyre

Spoked with billet hub, 21” x 2.15”, carbon steel spokes and high-strength Takasago Excel rims with inner tube. Pirelli Scorpion Rally STR, 90/90-21

Rear wheel / tyre

Spoked with billet hub 18” x 4”, carbon steel spokes and high-strength Takasago Excel rims with inner tube. Pirelli Scorpion Rally STR, 150/70 R18

Dimensions (LxWxH)




Seat height



203kg (dry)


2 years/unlimited miles


9000 miles/24 months

MCIA Secured Rating

Not yet rated




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What is MCIA Secured?

MCIA Secured gives bike buyers the chance to see just how much work a manufacturer has put into making their new investment as resistant to theft as possible.

As we all know, the more security you use, the less chance there is of your bike being stolen. In fact, based on research by Bennetts, using a disc lock makes your machine three times less likely to be stolen, while heavy duty kit can make it less likely to be stolen than a car. For reviews of the best security products, click here.

MCIA Secured gives motorcycles a rating out of five stars (three stars for bikes of 125cc or less), based on the following being fitted to a new bike as standard:

  • A steering lock that meets the UNECE 62 standard
  • An ignition immobiliser system
  • A vehicle marking system
  • An alarm system
  • A vehicle tracking system with subscription

The higher the star rating, the better the security, so always ask your dealer what rating your bike has and compare it to other machines on your shortlist.