Most of the time, sexy and dirt aren’t in the same sentence. Maybe dirty is, but dirt, not so much. However, when you think sexy in the Motorcycle world, you probably think of one brand.. Ducati. Up until this point, Ducati has not entered the enduro market, save for the iteration of the Scrambler Enduro and the Scrambler of yore (1962-1974). Outfitted correctly, the Scrambler Enduro is quite a fun little bike, but that’s another story.
When the Multistrada Enduro was first announced, most pundits were quick to point out that Ducati isn’t in the dirt bike business, Ducati is overpriced (have you seen BMW 1200 GS prices?), that Ducati has no idea what they are doing in the World Traveler/ADV/Enduro sector, etc, etc, etc. Thing is, Ducati has every right to make a claim anywhere they damn well please! Why? They have been making bikes since 1926! I think they might have a clue! Now, granted, unlike the Japanese manufactures, KTM, etc, they have not concentrated their efforts in the dirt. But, let’s face it, BMW hasn’t either and that is exactly where Ducati and every other manufacturer has taken straight aim… BMW.
I won’t give a history lesson on the BMW GS, but suffice to say that it was a road bike that has evolved into an ADV bike. No matter, the BMW 1200 GS is arguably the industry standard in ADV motor bikes. It is the Swiss Army knife of motorcycles and IS the bike to beat in terms of public acceptance. Like Harley-Davidson’s legacy for cruisers, the likelihood of another ADV bike out numbering sales of the GS is low. However, just like the KTM 1190 and the others, if you can just dip into what has become the fastest growing segment of motorcycling, you will make some money!
Enter, the Multistrada Enduro…
Who can make dirt sexy? Ducati can! … and powerful. Here’s the ballistics on the motor: EURO 4-approved 1198cc L-Twin engine, with a 106mm x 67.9mm bore and stroke and 12.5:1 compression ratio. Power output across the board is claimed at 160 horsepower at 9500 rpm and 100.3 lb-ft torque at 7500 rpm. So, let’s look beyond the mechanics of the machine. Main question: Can it handle? Power means very little if your bike can’t handle. The KTM 1190 had the power, but folks were still won over by the low end grunt of the Beemer. Dancing along funky trails, fully loaded with a fast bike means shit if the bike is unstable.
The Multistrada has earned several Pikes Peak wins and that accounts for handling… road handling… but, with some slick and washed out roads. Bottom line, the Multistrada does handle. Again, dirt, ruts, sand, hills, whoops and birms all have a different affect on different bikes. So, how does Ducati plan on making the Multi Enduro a fully capable off-road ranger? The Multi Enduro sports something called Vehicle Hold Control system. VHC holds the motorcycle steady by applying rear brake pressure to make starts on uphill terrain easier. In the Enduro riding mode, the bike’s setting limits to 100 horsepower and the “Skyhook” suspension system changed to handle tough and/or worsening terrain. Traction Control optimizes grip while wheelie control is disengaged. ABS is set to Level 1 and rear wheel lift detection is deactivated as well as the cornering and ABS function at the rear wheel to allow the rider to lock the back if so desired. So… Bottom line is this, the Multistrada Enduro appears to be a very capable ADV bike on paper. The video is enticing, (although they don’t have a Chris Birch doing the riding!). We shall see…
- Rikki Rockett