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Quickspin – Ducati Multistrada 1200 Enduro | Bike Tests | Latest Tests | Top Sellers in Australia

Ducati finally has the Multistrada to take on many Roads

‘Jeez, it’s big’ one of the gathered dirt-bikers remarked dubiously, as I waited to sign the Ducati Multistrada Enduro in at the local motocross track. ‘Yeah, but it doesn’t feel that big when you’re riding’ I say, for what feels like the 100th time. 

The Enduro’s imposing size has been by far the most commented-upon feature since I picked it up, but it’s no bigger or smaller than its rivals in the top-end adventure bike segment. It’s just the size it needs to be with the ground clearance, luggage and fuel range requirements of true cross country bikes. You wouldn’t build a midget adventure bike any more than you’d build a giant sports bike. And when you’re in the supportive seat it’s easier to put your feet down when you come to a stop than on some other adventure bikes, which can have you hopping and dancing like Michael Flatley doing the River dance. The ride position feels roomy and natural, seated or standing on the pegs.

The intent of Ducati’s most dirt focussed weapon is obvious when you take in some of the details over the standard Multistrada, like the savagely sharktooth footpegs, heavy engine bashplate, knobby tyres, hand guards and brushed steel fuel tank. It looks pretty hardcore, but there are still some nice flourishes to let you know it’s an Italian designed bike, such as the gorgeously sculpted tail light and integrated LED indicators. The cockpit is just as functional and classy, with the keyless start leaving plenty of space for the large central LCD display, just as well considering the plethora of electronic settings and information on offer.

Keyless start has to be the number one feature I didn’t know I wanted. Chuck the key in your pocket, and forget about it til you need to refuel, which is not often with a 30-litre tank.

There are four ride modes on offer, Sport, Touring, Urban and Enduro, which feature customisable suspension, engine, ABS, wheelie and traction control settings. The sub menus are slightly fiddly but once you’ve adjusted things to your liking they’re saved for the next ride. Sensibly, the engine is limited to 100hp (75kW) in Enduro mode as you really can’t use more than that in proper loose stuff, though it was much-o fun to try! For most situations I preferred the highest engine settings. The throttle response in ‘Touring’ seemed a little reluctant, whereas in Sport mode the engine is fully juiced and snarls to life with the slightest grip-twist. There’s something gloriously alive about big Ducati twins that you could identify blindfolded. Though terrifically smooth and tractable, it likes to be warmed up a bit on freezing Melbourne mornings (thank god for the heated grips!), but when you do get going, the growling powerplant begs to be let off the leash.

Sport riding is in Ducati’s DNA, but it’s still surprising how capable the Enduro is on tarmac, slurping up winding blacktop like tasty spaghetti. I didn’t come across any sportsbikes in our time together but with the suspension damping stiffened up in Sports mode, I reckon I could have annoyed a few of them. Credit is due to the Pirelli Scorpion tyres, offering great feel on both sealed and loose surfaces.

One thing missing was a quickshifter, though the smooth drivetrain and clutch meant it didn’t really bother me.

In Enduro mode the suspension is softened and the ABS is disconnected from the rear brakes, allowing the chassis to flow over bumps and undulations.

When the tyres started to slide it felt predictable and controllable, giving me the confidence to lairise a bit – though it pays to remember you don’t want to be lifting the 250kg, $29K Ducati out of a ditch.

And therein lies my only issue with the MTS 1200 Enduro. It’s a bike that’s big on features, personality and possibility, but as with other top-end adventure machines it’s almost too much bike for real cross country riding.

But if you’re after a bike that’ll get you to work in comfort during the week but get down and dirty on the weekend, the MTS Enduro will let you have your (mud)cake and eat it too.

PROS 

  • All day Comfort 
  • V twin Goodness
  • Feature laden
  • Skids

 CONS

  • Weight
  • Price
  • No quickshifter

  Words Damien Pelletier   Photography Russell Colvin