In the annals of Dakar Rally history, Edi Orioli's triumphs in 1990 and 1994 aboard Cagiva Elefant motorcycles, fueled by Ducati's air-cooled V-twin engines, stand out. Fast forward to 2023, and Ducati—now under Audi's umbrella since 2012—is hinting at a Dakar comeback with its 2024 DesertX Rally.
This beast is an amped-up version of the Ducati DesertX, which debuted in 2023 as an all-terrain maverick designed for aggressive trail action.
This revamped DesertX Rally remains loyal to the 937-cc V-twin engine, also found in Ducati's Hypermotard 950, Monster, and Supersport 950 lineups. The engine churns out 108 horsepower and 68 lb-ft of torque, while weighing in just a kilo heavier than its predecessor at 447 pounds.
For those in search of an adrenaline rush, a Termignoni race exhaust can dial up the output by an estimated 7%.
Where the DesertX Rally truly shines is in its newly-added features. Starting with the billet triple-clamp and Ohlins steering damper, these components enhance rigidity and riding stability.
A race-grade, 48-mm adjustable KYB front fork now offers 9.8 inches of travel, while a diamond-like coating reduces friction on the anodized tubes. Changes to the suspension alone have nudged up the ground clearance to 11 inches and raised the seat height to 35.8 inches.
Additional highlights include a revised front mudguard designed to prevent dirt accumulation, a swingarm with a new attachment point, and larger adjustable KYB shock at the back.
These modifications extend the rear wheel travel by another 0.8 inches to 9.4 inches in total. All the DesertX Rally's riding modes—Enduro, Rally, Sport, Touring, Urban, Wet—have been fine-tuned to align with the new specs.
For added protection, Ducati has incorporated a forged carbon skid plate underneath the aluminum shift and brake pedals. The wheels come with carbon steel spokes and billet hubs that support Takasago Excel Wheels with inner tubes. As for the rubber, the bike ships with Pirelli Scorpion Rally STR tires, while alternatives like Pirelli Scorpion Rally or Pirelli Scorpion Trail II are available as optional extras.
The 2024 Ducati DesertX Rally will hit American shores around March next year, carrying a price tag of $22,995—$5,000 more than the standard DesertX.