All You Need to Know About the Ducati DesertX With Integrated Turn-by-Turn Nav

Ducati DesertX 24 photos
Photo: Ducati
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On the first day of February 2023, Italian bike maker Ducati announced the launch of an integrated turn-by-turn navigation system for the DesertX motorcycle. The off-roading two-wheeler thus becomes the first in the Ducati range to offer such a thing. But it will not be the last, so we reckon a closer look at what this is and what it can do is in order.
But first, a reminder about the bike. The DesertX was first shown by Ducati a little over a year ago as an evolution of a concept first presented in 2019. It was introduced as a machine meant to bring with it Dakar vibes and capabilities, but also impressive looks one usually does not associate with a Ducati. It became the first bike in the company's modern age to use a combination between a 21-inch wheel at the front and an 18-inch one at the rear, both wrapped in Pirelli tires.

Packing a water-cooled, twin-cylinder 937cc Desmodromic Testastretta engine in the middle of the new steel trellis frame, the 202 kg/445 pounds (dry weight) bike is capable of moving down the road or off the beaten path with the power of 110 hp and 92 Nm of torque at 6,500 rpm (Euro 5 configuration).

For the 2023 model year, the bike has been refreshed only visually, and it’s presently available in two variants. The first is called Matt Star White Silk and, like the name says, comes into the world as a combination of white on the main body parts and black everywhere else. The second, the top-of-the-range model, if you will, is the RR22, which throws into the mix black, grey, red, and white - colors that were allegedly inspired by the ones used on the Audi RS Q e-tron that took part in the Dakar rally. Prices for the two versions of the bike start at $17,695 and $18,295, respectively.

But the biggest novelty for 2023 is, as said, the turn-by-turn navigation system for the DesertX. It’s not included in the bike per se, meaning it's not offered from the factory as standard, but it can be purchased as an accessory through Ducati Performance.

2022 Ducati DesertX
Photo: Ducati
What do you need
At the time of writing, turn-by-turn is not listed separately on the bike maker’s website, so we have no official info on the price. We do know however the system is based on the Ducati multimedia system, and that one retails for $298.48.

The multimedia system, which usually shows phone calls, messages, emails, and allows listening to music, can be installed either from new on a motorcycle, or it can be fitted on DesertX machines that are already in possession of their owners.

The system uses the DesertX’s TFT cluster instrumentation to display the route to be taken to the destination. It takes the info it needs for that from an Android or iPhone smartphone that run the most recent version of the Ducati Link App. For the app, user license activation is required.

How does it work

The phone connects via Bluetooth to the bike, but also to the rider’s earphones. Using the Link App, you can set your destination and the necessary calculations are automatically made, based on pre-selected preferences – depending on that, the calculated route will be the fastest, most efficient, or the one with no toll roads, for instance.

Ducati DesertX turn\-by\-turn navigation
Photo: Ducati
Once the route is set, the phone can be stored away, with no need for the display to be on. The route should appear on the bike’s screen as navigation directions. Not only these bits of info are displayed, but also data on the next turn and an indicator for approaching turns. Speed limits can also be shown if the rider needs this bit of info. All of these can be sent the rider’s way either as visual or visual and audio signals.

Ducati’s turn-by-turn uses downloadable maps, which can be used both in online mode, and that’s when you also get real-time traffic indications, or offline, when journeys take riders to areas with poor coverage, for instance. It’s unclear at this point how many places on this Earth the Ducati maps cover (we’re told coverage is extensive), but we do know for certain more of them (including China, South Korea and Japan) will be added in the coming months.

For those who truly cherish their time on a motorcycle, the system allows the recording of the route, complete with all the relevant numbers: speed, lean angle, and even the photos taken during the trip using the connected smartphone.

As said, the 2023 model year DesertX is the first Ducati to get this integrated turn-by-turn navigation system, but it will not be the last. The Diavel V4 will also get this functionality, and a number of other, for the time being undisclosed models, will follow. Oh, and Ducati also promises continuous upgrades to the system’s functionality as more and more people will adopt it.

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About the author: Daniel Patrascu
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Daniel loves writing (or so he claims), and he uses this skill to offer readers a "behind the scenes" look at the automotive industry. He also enjoys talking about space exploration and robots, because in his view the only way forward for humanity is away from this planet, in metal bodies.
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