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Ducati Multistrada 950 – Road Test Review

Ducati Multistrada 950 – Road Test Review

Snapshot: With the introduction of the Multistrada 950, has Ducati proven ‘Less is more?’

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Multistrada, the name is colossal, speaks of itself, ‘Many Roads’. The new Multistrada 950 is the gateway to the series with its smaller 937cc engine used in the Hypermotard 939. With a smaller and less powerful engine on board, you might think it is lesser of a bike, but you are about to find out why you might be mistaken for thinking so.

It is challenging to design a good-looking adventure bike but the Multi clearly stands apart. For peasant's eyes, the Multi 950 looks like a cloned out version of its bigger sibling but it’s only when you get into details you find out it’s not. The front twin headlamps along with its beak-like nostril-ic air-intakes make it intriguing and if it was an animal in the food chain, it would have been on the top (at least for scaring the onlookers). The beak comes finished in matte black which looks raw. It doesn’t fancy the LED headlights like the ones on the bigger Multis, and also misses out on the single-sided swingarm. Rest, the fit & finish levels on the motorcycle are what you expect from the Italian brand, phenomenal! And there is clearly nothing to complain about in its looks department.

It features an LCD instrument panel brimming with information such as speed, rpm, total distance covered, current gear, engine coolant temperature, fuel level, riding modes information and much more, which of course I won't list down to avoid making the review sound like a specification sheet. But the display is intelligent, it literally has everything or even more than what you might demand.

Engine and Performance -

To make the Multistrada range more accessible, the company decided to slap it on with the Hypermotard/Supersport derived 937cc, liquid-cooled 90-degree twin engine, and rest is history. The engine on the Multi 950 gets a retuned intake system and ECU which totally changes the way the power is delivered to the rear wheel. In terms of numbers, the engine kicks out 113PS of maximum power and 96Nm of peak torque. And comes mated to a 6-speed transmission. You can ride the Multi 950 in four modes - Sport, Touring, Urban and Enduro. The first two are full power modes while the last two are 76PS modes. Each mode has been designed to tackle a different terrain and offers different levels of traction control (8 level) and ABS (3 level), which is pre-set for each mode by default. But not to worry if you need personalized settings as each mode can be altered as per your choice using buttons given on the handlebar.

The engine revs freely and accelerates with a punch from as low as 3,000rpm. The power is delivered very smoothly offering a meaty mid-range with plenty of torque available between 3,500rpm and 9,500rpm. As per specs, the engine delivers 80% of available torque right between this range. The flexibility of the engine becomes evident when cruising around town as the power comes in a highly manageable manner, and is plenty to make quick passes without snapping it in lower gears. The Multi 950 is a delight to ride with its accessible and engaging power which available right where you need it. The power is satisfying but not too intimidating in case you want to thrash it around your local race track.

Comfort -

What also surprises is the fact the Multi does not heat up even in stop and go Delhi traffic which I encountered a number of times during my test. And it gets a big thumbs up for that.

The fact that it has an 840mm high seat will shy away half as many of the Indian riders as we are not the tallest ones, but it can be adjusted to 820mm, which may however workout. Its flat and wide handlebars are great to give you a solid grip on the motorcycle, and that along with center foot pegs position and wide & comfy saddle makes up for a highly comfortable riding posture. You can cruise all day long, and munch as many miles on it as you want but wouldn’t have to pull over even for small tea breaks, the Multi 950 offers such a ride. The front large windscreen is a manual adjusting type, which can be done very easily, and saves you from major wind lashes on high speeds. But at the same time, some of it manages to unsettle your lid from the top.

Handling and Ride -

The handling on the Multi is easy, light and neutral. It is intuitive and stable enough to tightly hug cornering lines when desired.

It uses a fully-adjustable Kayaba fork with 170mm travel at the front, and a fully-adjustable Sachs monoshock at the back. The setup uses progressive springs at either end, creating a supple feel on minor bumps while bigger ones are absorbed without any drama. On the daily roads, the bike simply glides over everything, flattening out even the most rugged roads you wish to ride on.   

It runs on a 19-inch front wheel and 17-inch rear wheel combination which proves to be impressive on or off the road. However, there are still better options from Ducati if you have a serious desire to play in the dirt with.

Talking about the brakes, it offers two front Brembo M4.32 monobloc 4-piston calipers which work well with enough stopping power and feel as they bite on the 320mm semi-floating discs. At the rear, 265mm disc and 2-piston caliper is a similar setup as seen on the 1200 Enduro and I have no complaints as I enjoyed skidding my way around the dirt in the Enduro mode using the rear brakes.

The final words –

With the new Multistrada 950, Ducati has proven that less is more. It can technically do everything you have in mind, be it long distance traveling, dirt, daily commute, or even a race track, it can handle it all. It is simply one of the most complete motorcycles I have put my hands on, a bike you’ll never wish to upgrade from. For me, the Multistrada 950 comes out as the most practical package in the range, as it allows you to use it to the peak within the real world restrictions. 

Photography - Mohd. Nasir

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