Ducati is good at a lot of things, not the least of which is stoking anticipation for its latest and greatest advancements in motorcycle development. The DesertX, though, marks a new chapter in the Borgo Panigale-based manufacturer’s brand story. While it’s no stranger to off-road styling, it hasn’t historically delved deeply into the realm of true adventure machine development. The DesertX means to change all that, packing enough off-road capability to match its aggressively impeccable styling. 

Will it succeed? It’s now the beginning of June, 2022—the month when Ducati initially announced that it planned to start making the DesertX available for purchase by customers. To help stoke the excitement to heretofore unseen levels, Ducati just released a new Making of DesertX video on its YouTube channel. It’s a 17-and-a-half minute-long romp through the high points of going from concept to reality, guided by DesertX project director Claudio De Angeli. 

Incidentally, De Angeli himself notes that he’s a road guy—not an off-road guy. It was important to those working on the DesertX project to have input from both seasoned off-road riders and those who preferred road riding, in order to better serve the most Ducatisti (and future Ducatisti) possible. Thus, the DesertX production bike had to have serious off-road chops—but also be easy and fun to ride. That’s no small feat, but the team believes and hopes that’s what it has achieved. 

First, De Angeli takes us to visit Andrea Ferraresi, head of Centro Stile Ducati. He talks about developing the concept show bikes for EICMA 2019, which first garnered nearly universal praise from across the motorcycling world. As he explains it, with such a high level of acclaim, it felt nearly impossible to Ducati not to develop the DesertX into a real, tangible bike that could actually be ridden by real human beings.  

Ferraresi calls out some of his favorite stylistic elements of the DesertX, from the double DRL headlights to the vertical display meant as an instant visual reference to rally navigation towers. The bonus fuel tank at the tail of the bike is also a favorite element, illustrating where form and function can come together to make something beautiful. 

From there, De Angeli takes us to hear from DesertX’s technical director, Pierluigi Zampieri. He talks about walking the fine line between making a bike that feels like you’d expect a Ducati to feel on road, while also having considerable off-road capabilities as well. That’s why, as Ducati has repeatedly stated, this is the company’s first bike to ever feature a 21-inch front wheel. Other important features include the narrow saddle to make standing up on the pegs easier. The vertical windscreen not only looks good, but is also very functional for the riding experience. Likewise, that vertical display isn’t only done for style’s sake; it’s also much easier to read, Ducati says, when you’re standing up. 
Next, it’s off to speak with the DesertX development team: Matteo Graziani and Luigi Mauro.

In Mauro’s case, he says he approached the project from the standpoint of wanting to maintain Ducati’s character, while folding the off-road nature of the DesertX into the essence of what makes a Ducati a Ducati. Graziani, an experienced rally rider with decades of international events (including three Dakars) under his belt, was there to make sure the DesertX had what it needed to live up to its off-road aspirations.  

Finally, De Angeli caps things off with a visit to five-time enduro world championship winner Antoine Meo. It’s his riding you see in the video where the DesertX is jumping over sand dunes, and it’s those scenes in particular that most DesertX team members recall stirring incredible emotions as the project neared completion.  

Now all that’s left is to see what customers think once they have the chance to ride the Ducati DesertX. Are you looking forward to it? Let us know in the comments! 

Got a tip for us? Email: tips@rideapart.com