Multistrada is not just a romantic name. It’s a boast, a statement, an expression of confidence. Many types of terrain. Ducati’s Multistrada 950 is packed full of wizardry, allowing riders to scoot anywhere, at maximum speed, with minimum effort.
MULTISTRADA 950 ENGINE
The 937cc Testastretta 11-degree, L-twin, 4-valve-per-cylinder, Desmodromic, liquid-cooled engine provides lawless and ample power delivery. The same proven motor powers the company’s 939 Hypermotard and SuperSport.
There are four ride modes: Sport, Touring, Urban and Enduro. A few clicks of the left thumb selects and activates modes on the fly. Sport and Touring run with full horsepower and slightly different traction control and ABS response. Urban and Enduro modes cut the power by a third, for more economical and manageable delivery. In Enduro mode, the MS still delivers plenty of power, rather than feeling neutered. Traction control and ABS are configured manually, to the rider’s preference.
MULTISTRADA 950 ERGONOMICS & HANDLING
Ergonomics are just right, with a cushy and comfortable seat of ample spread. The Handlebars are perfectly positioned for either seated riding or standing on the grippy steel enduro pegs. A protective silver exo-frame, made by Touratech, wraps around the engine.
The handling is nearly the equal of any sportbike. The comfort is bagger-worthy. Usually, these break down once the bike is turned loose on dirt, as big-bore dual-sports tend to lumber. They can’t help it, with weight twice that of an actual dirt bike. Top-heavy and slushy, the bike becomes even more of a challenge than the terrain, thus fire roads are about all they’re good for.
The Multistrada 950 is different. It bounces along, light and nimble. Ride from driveway to desert and veer off-road without missing a beat. Gone is the tractor-like handling, the constant bottoming-out and pounding of the undercarriage. Just a few turns of rear suspension preload and softening the forks made a big difference off-road.
The real chore lies in making a bike balanced and nimble in more technical situations, but Ducati’s engineers succeeded. The Multistrada 950 is maneuverable on single track, climbs hills easily and, remarkably, handles soft sand well. About the only thing the bike didn’t excel at was rolling whoops, where we clanged the skidplate a few times.
The Multistrada 950’s balance and light feel are certainly surpassed by its gorgeous, flowing styling. The front headlight cowl deflects a good bit of wind to the rider’s midsection. The small, hand-adjustable windscreen does a surprisingly good job of reducing blasts to the head. The Scorpion Rally tires provide plenty of off-road traction, which means they sing at 70 mph on pavement.
MULTISTRADA 950 VERDICT
The ideal dual-sport is light and stable, accelerates and corners like a sportbike, is as comfortable as a bagger and handles off-road terrain like a dirt bike. We’re not there yet, but it seems like Ducati’s Multistrada 950 has taken a few steps closer to making this dream a reality.