Yes, the Ducati Multistrada 950! That is the bike to look forward to if you’re in the market for a ‘adventure touring’ motorcycle. In India, the Multistrada 950 will be launched in the second half of 2017, our guess is sometime around late June or July 2017, but prices of all the upcoming Ducati bikes are already out. The Multistrada 950 is the smallest capacity member in the Multistrada family (which already has the Multistrada 1200 and Multistrada Enduro) and is Ducati’s newest addition aimed at extending its popular adventure touring range.
The 950 looks similar to the 1200 in size and proportion, and gets a smaller engine. More importantly, it costs quite a bit less than the Multistrada 1200, which could be out of reach for many aspiring buyers due to its price tag. The Ducati Multistrada 950 will be offered at Rs 11.53 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi). And that price itself makes this Ducati a very attractive proposition indeed. So, what is the Multistrada 950 really, and what does it offer? We have yet to ride the bike, but let’s take a close look at the new Ducati Multistrada 950 anyway – what it is, where it’s positioned in the market and what it offers to the Indian motorcycle enthusiast.
2017 Ducati Multistrada 950
The Ducati Multistrada 950 looks quite similar to its bigger sibling, the Ducati Multistrada 1200. In fact, Ducati has taken bits of both the Multistrada 1200 and the Multistrada Enduro to design the 950, like the Enduro’s rider seat, rear grab rail, exhaust design and swingarm. Wheel sizes are similar to the Multistrada Enduro as well, but overall the 950 is more compact, and lighter with a kerb weight of 227 kg. Globally, the Multistrada 950 is available in two colours, but in India, we’ll only get it in red.
937 cc Testastretta L-twin engine
2. Engine and Performance
The engine is derived from the Hyperstrada; it’s the same 937 cc, Testastretta, 11-degree, L-twin but it’s been extensively updated, with new cylinder heads, and fuel-mix controlled by new throttle bodies. There’s a different intake, airbox and exhaust as well. The Testastretta L-twin’s output is rated at 113 bhp at 9,000 rpm and peak torque of 96 Nm kicks in at 7,750 rpm. So, even though the 950 loses out on the output bragging figures of the 1200, expect a generous spread of torque in the mid- revs, making for easy overtakes and decent two-up high speed touring. The six-speed transmission can be manipulated easily with the help of a slip-assist clutch. Oil changes are extended to 15,000 km and valve clearances at 30,000 km.
19-inch front wheel on the Multistrada 950
3. Cycle parts and suspension
Unlike the Multistrada 1200, the 950 gets a larger 19-inch front wheel – Pirelli Scorpion tyres shod on alloy rims offering both on-road touring and occasional off-road duties, if not a hard-core off-road capability. The chassis is shared with the Multistrada 1200 – a tubular steel trellis frame – and the sub-frame with the Multistrada Enduro. The swingarm on the 950 is double-sided, unlike the single-sided swingarm of the 1200. Suspension is fully adjustable, with a 48 mm KYB front fork and a Sachs single shock, but it has to be adjusted manually, unlike the active Ducati Skyhook suspension of the 1200.
Ducati Multistrada 950
4. Electronics and rider aids
The Multistrada 950 comes with ride-by-wire and four rider modes – Urban, Enduro, Touring and Sport, which automatically change power and engine characteristics along with ABS and traction control intervention. But there’s no semi-active suspension, or inertial measurement unit (IMU) for lean-sensitive ABS like the 1200. The Ducati Safety Pack does offer a Bosch 9.1 MP anti-lock braking system with 3-level intervention and an eight-level traction control system. That’s more than enough for the average rider really.
Ducati Multistrada 950
5. Price and positioning
At Rs 11.53 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi), the Ducati Multistrada 950 offers a motorcycle which has all the qualities of the Multistrada 1200 – imposing road presence, tall ‘adventure’ stance and two-up touring comfort. But it’s got much less intimidating power (the 1200’s 160 bhp on tap may be a little too much for many riders), spec and accessible price tag. Ducati has positioned the Multistrada 950 as a ‘do-it-all’ bike for all kinds of terrain, including the daily commute.
In India, the sub-Rs 15 lakh ‘adventure touring’ category is dominated by the Triumph Tiger 800. The new Ducati Multistrada 950 will be positioned slap-bang in the Tiger’s territory. Of course, the Triumph has more variants on offer, including different choice of wheels and suspension across those variants, but will the new Multistrada 950 help wean away some of those adventure-hungry riders? The jury is yet to be out on that, but keep watching this space, we intend to have some seat time with the new Ducati Multistrada 950 soon.