First Ride

Ducati Multistrada 950S (2019) review

The baby Multistrada gets a nose in front of the pack thanks to electro-goodies and some classy styling tweaks

Details
Manufacturer:
Ducati
Category:
Adventure
Price:
£ 13355
Overall
4.5
Handling, Comfort, Style, Build quality
Slightly fiddly to change modes,

Brakes

Taking care of the stoppers are Italian icons Brembo (who else eh?!) with their M4-32 radially mounted, Monobloc calipers and 320mm discs at the front. They’re matched to trick looking, and feeling, radially mounted adjustable Brembo levers. The system works really well, providing enough bite to stop the bike from motorway speeds without any bum-clenching moments, and sufficient feel that you can trail brake right into the corner apex.

The Bosch corning ABS also provides a nice security blanket should you need it and I only felt it cutting in on a couple of occasions but when it did, it was smooth and helped maintain the bike's composure. During the test, we spent about 20-30 miles racing from one hairpin to another and there wasn’t any brake fade or a spongey lever in sight.

Handling

I was more than pleasantly surprised by the little Multi’ – I had a preconception that it’d be less thrilling to ride than the bigger 1260 version but it’s completely the opposite. The slightly slimmer and taller profile to the rear tyre, coupled with the 19” front wheel, make it a much easier machine to flick from side to side. It’s a bike that you can really build up a flow with and rides more like a 1000cc naked than a long-legged tourer.

Where some bikes of this set-up are all point and squirt, the 950 is a bike that loves melting its way from one bend to another. It holds a line well and, with the more balanced front and rear tyre sizes, doesn’t understeer like its bigger brother. The only time I did feel the back-end buck and weave was while crossing white lines or on slightly dusty surfaces – a tad too much righthand would sometimes see the rear spin up and start to let go. Thankfully the traction control was on hand to scoop me up and get me back on my way.

Comfort

For a manufacturer that’s keynote speech is fast exciting bikes it always surprises me how long I can stay in the saddle of a Multistrada for without complaint. The upper body riding position is neutral, with a comfortable reach to the bars, keeping a slight bend in your elbows. The thick pads on the footpegs are designed to damp some of the vibes from the L-twin but if you feel the legroom to be a bit cramped – pop the rubber pad out and you’ll gain an extra inch of comfort there.

The adjustable screen is easy to use on the fly and only needs one hand although I always find even on the highest setting, my bonce still protrudes into the breeze a couple of inches, which makes long-distance cruising a noisy affair.

Verdict

The addition of the Skyhook system and electro-wizardry to the 950 has completely elevated the bike and set it apart from the rest of the mid-weight touring pack. There are bikes here that have electro suspension, like the Turismo Veloce from MV which I’ve ridden, but the Skyhook system works better, is easier to adjust and doesn’t come with a near £20k price tag.

‘Less is more’ was a phrase that was bouncing around my head on the day we spent riding around Valencia and it’s 100% true. I couldn’t have gone any quicker on those roads if I’d been riding one of the latest 1000cc super-tourers. And I’d have only been using 70% of what the bike could offer. On the 950S you could extract 99% of the bike’s potential and revel in the feeling of wringing the neck of it, yet still be riding in a safe and controlled way.

Ducati Multistrada 950 S (2019) spec

Capacity

937cc

Bore x Stroke

94mm x 67.5mm

Engine layout

Ducati Testastretta, L-Twin

Engine details

Liquid-cooled, 4 valves per cylinder

Power

113bhp (84kW) @ 9000rpm

Torque

71lb-ft (96 Nm) @ 7750rpm

Top speed

135 mph

Transmission

6 speed, chain, slipper assisted clutch

Average fuel consumption

51.4mpg claimed / 47mpg tested

Tank size

20 litres

Frame

Tubular steel trellis

Front suspension

48mm fully adjustable usd fork

Front suspension adjustment

Electronic compression and rebound damping adjustment with Ducati Skyhook Suspension Evo (DSS)

Rear suspension

Fully adjustable monoshock

Rear suspension adjustment

Electronic compression, rebound damping and spring pre-load adjustment with Skyhook Suspension Evo (DSS), Aluminium double-sided swingarm

Front brake

2 x Ø 320 mm semi-floating discs, Radially mounted Brembo monobloc 4-piston 2-pad callipers, Radial Master Cylinder, Bosch Cornering ABS

Rear brake

Ø 265 mm 2-piston 2-Brembo floating calliper, Bosch Cornering ABS

Front tyre

Pirelli Scorpion Trail II 120/70 ZR19

Rear tyre

Pirelli Scorpion Trail II 170/60 ZR17

Rake / trail

25° / 106mm

Wheelbase

1594mm

Seat height

840mm (820mm and 860mm seats optional)

Kerb weight

227kg (S: 230kg, S with spoked wheels: 235kg)

Warranty

24 months, unlimited miles

Service intervals

9,000 miles / 12 months

(Valve Clearance Check at 18,000 miles)

Website

www.ducati.com

Handling, Comfort, Style, Build quality
Slightly fiddly to change modes,

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