Ducati Multistrada Enduro 1200 - bike that should not be this good
Sometimes bike reviews don’t go at all how you think they will. Before actually riding this bike, I already had introduction for this review written out: it went like this:
A Recent interview with MV Augusta CEO said that in exclusivity Ducati is like motorcycle world Porsche and MV Augusta like Ferrari. If that's so then Multistrada Enduro must be SUV, so motorcycle worlds Cayenne. And that resemble is quite big - Porshe started making Cayennes when they were in strong financial trouble because people just did not buy enough sports cars, same way Ducati brought out its last Multistrada in the big recession because there weren't enough customers to buy super hypers sports bikes. And if regular Multistrada is exactly like Cayenne - big and muscular but who would take it offroad, it always has been more to show around town. Then this Enduro version is made to prove, it actually can go to the path least traveled. And the third comparison to Porshe as well - it cost a fair amount more than the competition. KTMs Adventure R costs around 15K, Honda African Twin 13000. Ducati whopping 21000 Euros.
So basically I had decided that this bike is more for fat rich dudes who can live out their midlife crisis. Oh, how I was wrong.
But let's start from bad stuff before I can get to good stuff. Ducati says Multistrada is 4 bikes in one: sports bike, city bike, traveling bike and off road bike. Let's make one thing clear this enduro version is by no means city bike. It's enormous - I’m 185cm long and I can not but both of my heels down, toes yes, heels no. So tight city work between traffic is definitely not its strong suit. What does help in traffic is its massive looks? I was sitting in traffic and because of the size of this thing figured I will not go lane splitting between bus and lorry. So there I was playing with throttle because of the boredom. Probably because of the looks and noise it makes as soon as traffic started moving, nice wide third lane between cars appeared. This is the first bike in years that I would not change the exhaust on. Stock version is nicely loud but not so much to make your head hurt and looks incredibly cool straight from the store. Other manufacturers please follow suit, why are you making those ugly things and put them on otherwise beautiful bikes.
Talking about equipment more - yes this bike is expensive but almost anything is in included in the package - exhaust I already mentioned, but also led lights that turn the corner, extra fog light, keyless go, skid plate, cruise control and so own. This list will be long. If you equip its main competitor BMW 1200GS to the same level, Ducati is the only couple of hundred more. So yes the cost of this thing is the main downside, but you get a heck of a lot for this money.
So city bike it is not, but sports bike is for sure. The engine is just amazing, it's not just powerful but insane. I was tackling back roads when I got behind a small car doing barely 70km/h, when passing switched down to 3 gear and accelerated, when the revs hit about 7000 it shoots you forward like a bullet. Ending the overtake, I peaked at the speed and it said 168km/h!!!!
I haven’t felt this violent acceleration sense KTM RC8R first edition (RC8R first year model had gas that was on off mode only, following years they smoothened it out). Maybe it's the body position and the size of this bike so you don’t expect it to be this violent but anyway, you have to be careful with this one - in a heart beat you are at speeds that will not just give you a ticket, it will give you some prison time. But you always can argue with police, that - come on look at this bike, it's an off-road travel bike and you are saying I was doing 240???? Your measuring device must be malfunctioning!
After first 50Ks I pulled over and switched the traction control and all the aids off. First acceleration was like holstering a loaded gun without safety, kind of like expecting that you ar about to blow your toes off. Only difference / more fun. Long skid marks on the dirt next to the road and 3 gear small wheelies. I really think this safety electronics in bikes is bad / would one manufacturer just make an adventure bike without those electronics and discount like 5K from the price tag.
Turns come easy but as the bike is really tall and top heavy because of the enormous fuel tank, you have to pick it up a bit after turns.
So you don’t just get a traveling bike, you are getting a serious sports bike. It's a wolf in sheepskin, Panigale in GS skin. Making long trips with nothing, if you only would not have to worry about losing you license all the time.
So when had my fun on the backroads I arrived in small town, where railroad passes. In Estonia next to our railroad there is usually maintenance road - basically a path on the fields where railroad company can go with their trucks. Pulled overturned the enduro mode in and took the rubber pads of the foot pegs / that brings out steel (not aluminum, so it would be strong) footbeds that help you to hold on. The girl now we can see are you a really country girl to have fun with or are you just pretending to be one for looks - I said and headed straight to mud. 200 meters later I was frustrated with traction control, even in lowest settings it did not the backend to be loose like I wanted in mud. Dive into menus and take it off. Ducati menu system is so much better than KTMs, you can adjust every setting really easily for your preference and it remembers it. But was really annoying was that mirrors are connected to the brake and clutch levers. Standing up position requires the lever to be a couple of millimeters lower, so you could grab them more easily when you adjust these, mirrors move out of place became completely useless. 1 guess when you have 160hp, you don’t really have to worry what's behind you anyway.
But adjustments were done, butt off the seat and now fun just began. 200+ kg bike should not be good offload but it is and some. Third gear 70km/h and you are enjoying yourself more than should be legal. Muddy places let the back end drift a bit, small puddles, load front a bit and add the small amount of gas and with a glorious rumble from the exhaust you are wheeling over it. In mud this bike is a religious experience, you are feeling closer to God with it. I can not put it into words how much fun this bike is in the mud. We landed in places where there really was mud and no road at all and it took everything. when you are standing up, you are forgetting you are riding 200+ kg bike. Before I know it there was a small jump and both wheels were suddenly off the ground, landing pushed suspension in completely, slowed down and adjusted the suspension to be firmer. That's what so cool as well that you can adjust everything in the menu to your liking.
If it would be my bike I would have sports mode in zero electronic aids, max engine power and, firm suspension. Rain and feeling tired mode - traction control on, the engine in 130hp and mid soft suspension.
Gravel road mode - engine med, traction control on just a bit, if I get too bold.
And mud mode - engine 100hp, no TC, and firm suspension.
To be honest tough traction control was a bit uneven, there were spots where it allowed me to do 10-meter drifts and then there were moments where it pulled the power straight away.
One small minus more. Every time I test some bikes, I send pictures to ladies who don’t know anything about bikes just to get their opinion on looks. Three of them said it looks weird. Maybe it's the massive front and no luggage in the back or something else, but if you are buying this bike to impress ladies then I would look elsewhere.
This bike should not be as much fun on the road but it is.
It should not be so good in the mud but it is and some.
I never thought I would say 21 000 euros for a bike is a good deal but its so good, that it does not matter what it costs.
I really want one.