There’s no doubt that Ducati’s excellent Multistrada 1200 is just a little too crazy for some riders. With its variable valve timing Testastretta V-twin motor making around 160bhp, could it be that the Multistrada 1200 is actually turning away some riders from Ducati’s sporty adventure bike?
Ducati may think so, and have just launched the new softer 113bhp Multistrada 950 to fill the gap in their range.
The Multistrada 950 just landed in UK dealerships at £10,995 in red, with plenty of dealers having the bikes on demonstration shortly. To put it into perspective, the standard Multistrada 1200 costs £13,432, though the price of the Multistrada 950 in white rises to £11,195.
Looks wise, the Multistrada 950 is every bit a Multistrada, in every possible, slightly beaky way. It sits tall and carries its all-round adventure bike size well. There’s that trademark beaky front end, sweeping headlights, a tall, adjustable screen, a 19” front wheel, and a 17” rear wheel.
What gets you about riding the new Multistrada 950 after spending a bit of time on the Multistrada 1200, is that you never feel like you want more. Sure, it hasn’t got that maniac punch of the 1200, but for 90-per cent of the time in the real world, it has more than enough grunt from the Hypermotard-based 937cc V-twin.
The engine is basically the same as the 937cc motor from the Hypermotard and Ducati SuperSport but in a chassis from the Multistrada 1200, with seat unit and front-end shared with the Multistrada Enduro.
The single-sided swingarm of the Multistrada 1200 is replaced by a double-sided swingarm for the 950 too. It also uses the same geometry as the 1200, with 25.2 degrees of rake and 105.7mm of trail, but with a longer wheelbase at 1594mm because of the new swingarm. The Multistrada 1200 sits at a total wheelbase of 1529mm.
That geometry, combined with the bigger 19 inch front wheel means the 950 doesn’t feel quite as agile to turn in, but this is offset by the 950 weighing in 5kg lighter than the 1200, so it’s horse for courses.
It’s still every bit as much fun as the 1200 through the corners. It turns in well, holds a line and is very stable in the faster corners.
One thing that does feel very different to the 1200 though is the suspension set-up. It’s set much softer than the 1200, and is especially noticeable when on the brakes. but can be easily adjusted as the forks are fully adjustable. However, it meant that the bike is great on the excuse for pot-holed trails in the UK that our roads seem to have become in the last few months.
The engine itself outs out a whopping 80 per cent of torque from 3500rpm to 9500rpm, which means there’s good mid-range and a wide spread of power for the kind of riding we do in the UK. There’s more than enough power to cruise at legal speeds, it is very comfortable, and the power means you can go for an overtake without having to change down a gear.
At slower speeds, it’s much friendlier than the 1200 too, and at low speeds is much smoother.
We tried the different riding modes the bike features, including the Urban riding mode which cuts power to 75bhp. It’s great to use in the wet too and turns up the adjustable traction control to full, and increases the level of anti-lock braking on the Brembo brakes. Though, unless you really try to find the ABS and traction-control, it’s unnoticeable and a great safety aid.
It’s big, it’s comfortable over long distances, and averaged 48mpg over our test period, giving a realistic 210-mile tank range from its 20-litre fuel capacity.
It may not be quite as exotic as the 1200 Multistrada, but it’s still a Ducati you’d be proud to own and show off. It’s also a lot cheaper than the bigger bike and day-to-day you don’t miss the ludicrous power and higher-spec technology like cornering ABS, cornering lights and semi-active suspension that the Multistrada 1200S offers.
|ENGINE TYPE||Testastretta, V-twin, 4-valves per cylinder. Liquid-cooled.|
|BORE X STROKE||94 x 67.5mm|
|MAXIMUM POWER||83.1kW (113bhp) @9000rpm|
|MAXIMUM TORQUE||96.2Nm (71ft-lb) @ 7750rpm|
|FRONT SUSPENSION||KYB 48mm full-adjustable upside down forks|
|FUEL TANK||20 litres|
*Based on our average customer 52 year old, 9 years NCB, garaged, WA14 postcode, no claims/convictions, 4000 miles Comp cover is £617.44 with a £700xs. Get your Ducati Motorbike insured with Carole Nash