A Ducati for the dirt

A few years ago the idea of taking a Ducati off road would have been about as appealing as walking that particular piece of road on one’s hands and knees. A Ducati was a bike that was designed for the race track, but was predominately used to get owners to their favorite coffee shop. However with the recent boom in adventure style bikes and the introduction of the second generation Multistrada, Ducati has firmly planted itself as a favorite in the pseudo off road bike market. Today’s release of the 2016 Multistrada 1200 Enduro at the Milan Motorcycle Show sprinkles a little more dirt into the now proven Italian recipe.

That extra sprinkling of dirt consists of throwing the 17 inch cast wheels aside in favour of a pair of ‘so hot right now’ spoked wheels (19 inch up front and 17 inch out back) fitted with optional aggressive Pirelli Scorpion Rally tyres. Interestingly the swingarm is no longer single sided which shows that the enduro refresh of the Multistrada goes more than just skin deep. Fuel capacity is up 10 litres to fairly substantial thirty and the variable valve timing (DVT) equipped Testastretta L twin’s exhaust has also been re-routed in a bid to increase ground clearance. The Skyhook semi-active suspension has also been fettled and now features a fairly gargantuan 200mm of travel. Definitely a first for a Ducati.

200mm of suspension travel means that the 1200 Enduro can do this more than once.

200mm of suspension travel means that the 1200 Enduro can do this more than once.

Another first is the addition of Vehicle Hold Control (VHT) to the Enduro’s suite of Bosch electronics, which holds the bike stationary when its nose is pointing up hill. A bonus when you’re trying to do a hill start in slippery conditions on a 220 plus kilogram bike. In addition to VHT the Enduro also features traction control, lean angle sensing ABS, cruise control (and wheelie control) and four ride modes. These modes cover touring, urban, sport and enduro (obviously). Enduro mode cuts back the 1200cc’s power from the massive 160 horsepower to 100, softens up the Skyhook suspension and backs down ABS assistance to just function on the front wheel (much like KTM’s 1190 Adventure R). Enduro mode will also turn off wheelie control which will be helpful when trying to hoist that 19 inch front wheel over any obstacles and if you don’t quite make it then a standard fit bash plate should protect the oily bits.

So by the look of it Ducati has done a pretty thorough job of turning their adventure styled Multistrada into a proper adventure bike that will be as comfortable off road as rivals like BMW’s R1200GS Adventure and the previously mentioned KTM. Now they just have to convince the people to ride past their favourite coffee shop to some far-and-away place. I don’t know about you, but after watching that video I’m sold.

Ducati Multistrada 1200 Enduro

Lengthened double sided swingarm should make sliding the Enduro a slightly less twitchy experience than its road going cousin

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