Bikes

Up-Close with the Ducati Scrambler Desert X Concept

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While the Streetfighter V4 S was center stage at the Ducati stand at EICMA, our eye drifted over towards the Scrambler setup, where the Italian brand was showcasing two concept bikes for the Milan show.

At the Ducati launch event in Rimini, the Ducati Scrambler Desert X concept was the big tease, with the Italians saying very little about the bike.

Really, all that was revealed (beyond a couple sketches) was that the motorcycle would use the brand’s 1,079cc air-cooled engine, and instead Ducati encouraged fans to see the bike at the EICMA booth, if they wanted more than a rendering. So, we obliged.

For us, the Ducati Scrambler Desert X concept was the star of the Ducati EICMA experience, perhaps because we knew so far in advance that the Streetfighter V4 was coming, and had a pretty good idea about what this 205hp street-shredding machine would look like.


Getting to spend some time with the bike, it is clear that Ducati is channeling its Elefant days with Cagiva, building a concept that is very retro-modern in its ADV bike.

Much like the work we have seen from Walt Siegl with the L’Avventura, this Dakar Rally inspired motorcycle fits into the retro vibe that the Scrambler brand has cultivate, and adds another radian to the circle that Ducati is building around the true off-roading sector.

As for details, the first thing that strikes you is what Ducati is doing with the Desert X’s gas tank situation, with tanks at the front and the bike, both with fuel caps on either side.

The front fuel tank is as you would expect it, while the rear fuel tank goes under the seat (it is the seat, actually) and into the tail section fairings.


Splitting the tanks on the rear is a robust luggage rail, which also looks like a solid place to put a hand when you’re lifting the Desert X out of dune, mud hole, or standard-sized NYC pot hole.

The “1100” two-valve air-cooled motor breaths thanks to a very Plain Jane exhaust from Termignoni, which helps keep things period specific, we suppose, but does sort of scream boring from its tubular cavities.

The dual round LED headlight at the front has been ghosted out by a translucent black piece of plastic, which gives that round retro vibe, without having to really have two big round bugged-eyed headlights at the front (we like this approach).


The bike has a 21″ front wheel, with an 18″ hoop on the back, which should give plenty of knobby options to those that want to go hard in the dirt. Interestingly, Ducati has fit Pirelli’s off-road variant for the Scorpion lineup, rather than its ADV model.

Other nice touches include the hard plastic handguards, the toolkit in the trellis frame, and tall TFT dash that mimics a rally-raid tower.

Will we see something like the Ducati Scrambler Desert X concept going into production?

Talking to a few people at the Italian brand, they say the response to the bike has been overwhelming, and they might have to build the bike just so there isn’t a Ducatisti revolt.


Photos of the Ducati Scrambler Desert X Concept:

Photos: © 2019 Jensen Beeler / Asphalt & Rubber – All Rights Reserved

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Jensen Beeler

Despite his best efforts, Jensen is called one of the most influential bloggers in the motorcycle industry, and sometimes consults for motorcycle companies, whether they've solicited his expertise or not.

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