It’s often said that good things come in threes, but so do the challenging ones – especially when purchasing motorcycles. When it came to seeking out Ducati DesertX parts to upgrade, it was no different.
Reflecting on the motorcycles I’ve brought home over the past three decades, I’ve consistently upgraded three key components: the seat, the windscreen, and the lighting. It’s become almost a ritual, something I’ve come to term the “trinity crisis,” an inevitable part of every new or used bike purchase.
Seats and windscreens are a bit of a wild card, highly subjective to the rider’s preferences. A seat’s comfort can vary wildly depending on whether you’re decked out in full gear, just cruising in your everyday jeans, or if your back end has a bit more, um, natural padding. As for windscreens, your torso height, posture, and seat position drastically affect turbulence and buffeting.
When it comes to lighting, the discussion shifts. Here, it’s less about personal preference and more about safety under dark conditions, from night riding to longer tunnels to riding through a line of trees that create a dark canopy effect on the trail. And it’s not just about how bright your lights are but how far and wide they can throw their beams.
This brings me to my current favorite adventure bike — the Ducati DesertX. A beauty for sure, but not without its own trinity crisis. The stock seat was decent for a quick 80-mile jaunt. The windscreen did its job off-road and at slower speeds but on the highway? Not so much. And let’s not even start on the need for better night illumination.
Enter Wunderlich, a name synonymous with top-quality BMW accessories. To my pleasant surprise, the German company also offers a tailored lineup for the DesertX, including the Aktivkomfort seat, Marathon windscreen, and LED Microflooter 3 auxiliary lights.
I put all three to the test, hammering the DesertX both on and off the road for 1,200 miles. And since the DesertX spends about 90% of its time off-road, I also added the Wunderlich axle sliders to keep things safe during those inevitable drops and crashes.
Ducati DesertX Parts: Wunderlich Aktivkomfort Seat Review
Market leaders like Corbin, Saddlemen, and Sargent have been my go-to for aftermarket seats. I’ve personally used each of these brands across my collection, including a heated Sargent seat on a Multistrada for well over 40,000 miles with zero complaints.
While researching the Wunderlich windscreen, I discovered the other Ducati DesertX parts, so I figured I’d pivot from the typical brands and test the Aktivkomfort seat, one of the first aftermarket seats for the DDX. The unique name caught my eye, as did the specs.
The seat is offered in standard, high, and low versions. I went with standard, which is about a half-inch higher than the stock seat of 34.5 inches. I have a 32-inch inseam and can flatfoot the DesertX with the OEM seat. With the Wunderlich, I am not fully flat-footed, something I’m used to after many years of riding taller bikes like the KTM 1190 Adventure R.
The Aktivkomfort focuses on an ergonomic 3D contour, which is claimed to promote a more natural posture than the OEM seat. The seats are constructed to prevent “buckling” of the padding, distributing sitting pressure evenly across a larger area. Wunderlich also makes another bold claim here, saying the design significantly reduces pressure on your behind and coccyx, the small bone in your lower spine that typically aches after long rides.
After the first few miles with the seat, I agreed with these two claims, and after 1,000-plus miles of riding, I agreed even more. The seat does take some time to break in. Mine felt better after 500 miles (likely less if sat more often, but I spend a lot of time standing off-road). Also, some wider seats are comfortable while sitting but push on the inner legs while standing. The Wunderlich Aktivkomfort is barely noticeable while standing.
Another notable feature is the ThermoPro technology, which keeps the DesertX’s seat up to 77 F cooler in direct sunlight during summer heat than standard untreated cover materials. This is a significant advantage over the OEM seat, which quickly heats up in the sun. And just like every Ducati, right legs tend to bake naturally, although the DesertX, by far, is my coolest-running Ducati. The cooler seat cover helps alleviate some of that feeling when the sun is beating on the bike, something that happens often in open off-road sections while standing for longer periods of time.
To further enhance comfort when riding in hotter conditions, the seats are made with a sweat-reducing cover material, combined with Alcantara pin-tucks and refined, dropped “cut” seams. These materials are not only durable but also offer, along with the shape, optimal grip for stability under hard acceleration and braking.
The seams are taped and welded using modern air welding machines, ensuring 100% tightness. The seat shell is constructed from high-strength RoburC material, indicating the high quality and durability of these seats.
Overall, the Wunderlich Aktivkomfort seats are a significant upgrade over the stock OEM seats for both rider and passenger. By a long shot. It does take some time to break in, and a heated version would provide additional advantages for East Coast riders like me. Also, there may be some sticker shock; the rider seat sells for $600, and the passenger seat is $550.
The seat is offered in all black or the black and red version I have on my bike.
Ducati DesertX Parts: Wunderlich Marathon Windscreen Review
In stock form, the DesertX’s stock windscreen results in some buffeting at higher speeds. This is also attributed to the round mirrors, but the solution there is simple: Rotate the mirrors back about an inch, and that middle-chest blast on my nearly 6-foot frame subsided.
I tried the OEM touring screen, which helped with buffeting, making it tolerable even at highway speeds.
But the Wunderlich Marathon windscreen is by far the best option, offering significantly lower wind buffeting on the head and upper body. The results are a more comfortable and less fatiguing ride, particularly over long distances on highway rides.
The windscreen also complements the distinctive styling of the DesertX, enhancing the bike’s overall appearance by mimicking the stock screen’s looks.
Made from high-quality PMMA plastic, the Marathon is scratch-proof and UV- and petrol-resistant, ensuring durability and clarity over time. It measures 15.4 inches tall (stock is 14 inches), 14.3 inches wide at the top (stock is 8 inches), and 19.0 inches wide at the bottom (stock is 14.5 inches), with a thickness of about 0.2 inch.
Besides being larger, the key design elements that help buffeting are the more contoured profile and the bottom portion of the Marathon wrapping around the fairing more, helping push more air off the chest area.
The windscreen’s edges are hand-polished, eliminating the need for separate edge protection. This meticulous craftsmanship not only improves the windscreen’s aerodynamics but also reduces wind noise, contributing to a more enjoyable riding experience.
It also reduces vibrations, thus preventing muscle tension, especially on long routes. The consistent aerodynamic shape ensures a laidback, relaxed, and upright sitting posture, which is crucial for comfort during extended rides.
The windscreen is designed to seamlessly integrate with the DesertX’s cockpit and overall layout. It preserves and emphasizes the bike’s lines, underscoring its Italian character. This integration ensures that the windscreen does not detract from the bike’s special character but rather enhances it.
Installation is straightforward, as the windscreen can be easily swapped with the OEM unit. Have some patience, though, especially when positioning the washer that goes between the windscreen and the upper fairing.
As for pricing, the screen is available in clear or tinted and will set you back around $278.
Ducati DesertX Parts: Wunderlich LED Microflooter 3 Auxiliary Lights Review
With the seat and windscreen covered, the next big upgrade to my DesertX was some extra lighting – a must for adventure motorcycles due to night riding and dark, tree-covered trails.
Compared to those on the market, the Wunderlich LED Microflooter 3 is one of the brightest currently available for the DesertX, providing an extra 8,000 lumens of light. And the absolute best part? These are designed for an easy plug-and-play installation with zero wire splicing. I hate playing with wires, and this quick install makes life simple.
You hook the wiring harness to the battery, route the wires (I ran mine along the left side of the trellis frame), and plug that harness directly into each light. There is also a third wire that you can run along your clutch line to your left controls that turns them off and on.
Take note: These only turn on when the bike is running. I have no clue how that works, but I thought I had some issues when I first attached it to the stock lithium battery.
Each light houses two individual LEDs, ensuring not only an intense luminous flux but also redundancy – if one LED fails, the other continues to function, ensuring continuous operation. This dual-LED setup also contributes to the lights’ distinctive and recognizable illumination pattern, a signature feature marked with the Wunderlich brand logo.
The lights arrive with fold-down protective grids to not only protect from rocks, tree branches, or whatever else hits them but also for easy cleaning. Simply flip up the hinged cover and clean the lights.
They are operated via an illuminated handlebar switch, integrating seamlessly with the bike’s controls. The color temperature of the lights matches the main headlight, providing a uniform and realistic color spectrum that reduces rider vision fatigue during night rides.
The auxiliary lights significantly broaden the field of vision, especially in low-light conditions. They not only improve the rider’s visibility but also make the bike more noticeable to other road users thanks to their ability to optically enlarge the motorcycle’s front silhouette. This feature is crucial for enhancing both active and passive safety in a variety of lighting conditions, thereby reducing the risk of accidents due to poor visibility.
The Microflooter 3’s housings are made from black anodized aluminum, and the brackets are crafted from black powdercoated stainless steel, ensuring durability and resistance to the elements.
Another note: These don’t work with the OEM crash bars. I took my crash bars off to install them with the brackets but later reinstalled the bars. I am currently creating a bracket to attach these directly to my crash bars versus the brackets that are included.
Here are some stats:
- Light output: Each headlight delivers an impressive 4,000 lumens, totaling 8,000 lumens.
- Energy efficiency: Operating on 12 V/40 W.
- Longevity: Approximately 100,000 hours of service life, equivalent to about 4,000 days.
- Water resistance: IPX7 tested, ensuring performance in all weather conditions.
- Integration: Specific brackets that blend with the body and are simple to install with four bolts (two on each side). But again, remember that these don’t work with Ducati crash bars.
These lights not only improve the riding experience but also significantly contribute to safety due to more visibility for other drivers and riders. With their easy installation – again, no wire splicing! – and impressive features, the Microflooter 3 lights at $600 are a worthy addition to any Ducati DesertX.
Ducati DesertX Parts Review: Concluding Thoughts
Each of these Ducat DesertX parts from Wunderlich not only addresses the “trinity crisis” but elevates the overall riding experience to new heights. They blend seamlessly into the DesertX’s design, enhancing its capabilities and, I argue, enhancing its aesthetics.
While the investment might seem steep at first glance, the value these upgrades bring to your riding experience is immeasurable. It’s like giving your DesertX some added superpowers – and who wouldn’t want that?
If you’re looking to transform your DesertX into a machine more worthy of long-distance travel while not sacrificing off-road worthiness, Wunderlich has got you covered. It’s not just about fixing what’s wrong; it’s about taking what’s right to a whole new level.
For additional information, visit the Wunderlich DesertX page.