Ducati MULTISTRADA ENDURO | Bike Tests | Latest Tests | Top Sellers in Australia
The Ducati has oodles of power and a swag of completely adjustable electronic settings, so there isn’t a situation you won’t be ready for
Does the number 112 mean anything to you? No? It will as soon as you crack wide open the throttle of the Ducati Multistrada Enduro … best be sure you hang on tight!
The Multistrada Enduro – along with its even more highly specced brother, the Enduro Pro – is Ducati’s first really serious roll of the dice in the big-bore adventure bike stakes, first hitting the local market around 18 months ago.
Unlike the preceding Multistradas with their road-biased 17-inch front wheels, the Enduro touched down with a 19-inch front wheel and an updated suite of adventure-ready electronics in an engine and chassis package that promised to take the Multistrada badge further into the dirt than ever before.
With its dual-sided swingarm and 30-litre fuel tank, it’s clear exactly where the Ducati is targeted: the crosshairs of this Italian weapon are locked on to the longtime leader of the category, BMW’s R 1200 GS Adventure. Big tank, big motor, big spec list, big performance, big price; the Multistrada Enduro is big in every sense.
Oh, and let’s get this dealt with first and foremost: it does big slides, real B-I-G slides. There’s power to play with, in any gear, at any time, to the point where it’s a not question of asking yourself if you want to pull a slide, what’s far more pertinent is how long do you want the slide to go for? Which quickly leads to the obvious follow-up question: how long do you want your rear tyre to last?
Making this slide-fest possible is Ducati’s exhilarating Testastretta 1198cc V-twin engine with Desmodromic Variable Timing. It pumps out a gravel-road slaying 112kW (150hp) – and, just for the record, that’s more than any of the other bikes on this ride.
Ducati’s Riding Mode technology gives the pilot a choice of Enduro, Touring, Sport and Urban modes – all of which can be further customised from their standard parameters – via a suite of electronics that includes cornering ABS, traction control, wheelie control and Ducati’s semi-active Skyhook Suspension system that controls 200mm of wheel travel at each end.
Sport and Touring modes bring to the table the super-size serve of power and performance, and you quickly appreciate that the Enduro lives up to the renowned Multistrada reputation for producing rapid on-road performance.
The power delivery is remarkable and the planted feeling of the front-end inspires confidence on winding tarmac roads.
On the dirt, Enduro mode sets the power output to 75kW and traction control (level 1, minimum intervention) and ABS (rear wheel can be locked) are configured to off-road settings. On gravel roads, twin-tracks and fire trails, Enduro mode works well and it was impressive just how fast and how confidently the Ducati could be pushed through the bush and along twin-track trails for a bike that weighs in at 275kg – full fuel tank, with (empty) panniers. That’s a lot of motorcycle to be throwing about between the trees, and where you notice the weight and sheer bulk of the bike is on soft and sandy stuff. In those conditions, there’s just no avoiding the bike is a fair old handful.
Considering its sheer size, it’s comfortable to ride and the seating position and ergonomics put you neatly ‘in’ the bike more so than other bikes that plonk you ‘on’ them. Even the adjustable small screen and fairing/bodywork offers quite reasonable protection from the elements.
Beneath the screen, the Multistrada’s TFT dash rivals NASA’s mission control centre, with myriad mode and ride settings that are customisable and offer intricate adjustability, all at your fingertips, and which can be stored as ongoing personal settings. Mind you, it will pay to lock yourself in the garage for a week to learn how to put all this technology and adjustability to maximum use. It’s actually bewildering first time out.
Priced at almost $30,000 (plus on-road costs), the Multistrada Enduro certainly comes with a serious price tag. But right now your local Ducati dealer will happily do you a ride-away deal on 2017 run-out models starting from $24,790. He will also be quick to remind you this Italian stallion comes with plenty of serious and high-end features such as keyless ignition, cornering lights and hill start assist. In terms of handy hardware, there’s a centrestand, bash plate, five-inch colour TFT dash display, backlit handlebar controls, wrap-around plastic hand guards with integrated indicators, beefy foot pegs, Brembo braking package and long maintenance intervals (15,000km for oil changes, 30,000km for valve timing checks).
For a few grand more, you could even pony up for the Enduro Pro variant, which additionally scores Touratech crash bars with LED lights, Termignoni exhaust, sand-coloured body panels, a two-tone seat and black sub-frame, and clutch/alternator covers.
It’s a well-worn cliche that Italian beauty does not come cheap, but it does deliver a ride to remember, especially when you like to slide!
The Multistrada is the slide king thanks to that stonking 1198cc powerplant. Ergos are good for a bike with a 30L tank, and the seat/tank junction is reasonably slim.
It was the thirstiest bike on the ride – but, hey, if you’re going to ride the slide, you’re gonna guzzle fuel (and tyres)! At 275kg, it’ll take some heaving to lift if she goes rubber-side up.
Test Andrew Clubb
Photos Josh Evans