With every passing year, motorcycles in the adventure touring segment are slowly getting complex. Bikes like the Multistrada 1200 are perhaps some of the greatest ever, but models like these need a lot of sensors and electronics for safety. And Ducati have decided to offer the Multistrada with a smaller motor.
Power for the course
The Ducati Multistrada 950 looks like a scaled-down version of the 1200, and Ducati Bikes have done it on purpose. The Italian brand has plonked in a 937cc L-twin engine, producing 111bhp and 96.2Nm of torque. However, the Ducati Multistrada 950 does not feature a pair of spark plugs from the bigger 1200 and neither is it equipped with Desmodromic Variable Timing. That aggressive acceleration found on the 1200 is absent on the Ducati Multistrada 950, but that is no bad thing since the 950 is not slow either. A twist of the wrist results in the bike pulling away, thanks to all the torque available. The bike pulls away without having to use clutch inputs and tractability in the mid-range is good enough to help you shoot the bike out of corners. Even in a straight line, this bike does a great job of hitting a top speed of 150kph. It isn’t as sprightly as the 1200, but performance on the 950 is far from being a letdown.
Ducati Bikes have equipped the 950 with multiple electronics, like Ducati Safety Pack that features Bosch’s 9.1 MP three-level ABS and eight-level Ducati Traction Control. Apart from that, you also get four riding modes: Sport, Touring, Urban and Enduro. You can extract the most power from the first two riding modes, while the other two calm things down a bit. In Enduro mode, the bike can be taken off the road with the ABS coming down to level 1. When DTC is switched to level 2, the rear wheel spins whilst keeping it controlled in the muck. In Sport mode, we didn’t feel the electronics kick in and that made the rear feel a little unnerved. But the Pirelli Scorpion Trail ll tyres provide plenty of grip if need be.
The 950 does not feature an Inertial Measurement Unit from its larger sibling either, meaning traction control and ABS are fully dependent on wheel speed information. The DTC on the 950 can’t match the 1200 for finesse; there’s no cornering ABS and wheel control either. The 950 is a bike that needs a responsible rider; that’s all it takes having fun on this motorcycle. There is no Skyhook electronically adjustable suspension, but the 950 comes with fully adjustable ones. At 170mm, suspension travel is good and the bike feels properly sprung and that means riding on uneven patches is easy work. The setup up-front is soft but when you brake suddenly, the bike dives forward quite a bit. Ducati could perhaps sort it on their updated version. Now while the 950 is supposed to be smaller, you don’t actually feel that way when you’re seated on the bike. The rider’s triangle is similar to that of the 1200 and there’s that typical tall seat height. The saddle is comfortable even for full-sized adults and pillions, and the adjustable windscreen keeps wind blast at bay.
On the saddle
The 950 is lighter than the 1200 and the central panels are removed, making it look a bit more slender and agile around bends. The 950 is equipped with a 19-inch front wheel; this helps with stability when darting in and out of corners and helps where there’s lots of gravel too. The bike also features a double-sided swingarm and a high-mounted flattened exhaust. Turn-in on the bike is predictable and the motorcycle stays planted throughout. The braking is top-notch, thanks to the Brembo brakes; there’s always sufficient bite. Jawa Forty Two – All about the 2021 model