Article posted: Tuesday, March 15, 2016
Riding the Multistrada Enduro
This was the day I have been waiting for during the last several months; a chance to ride the new Multistrada Enduro. It has been on my mind since the Dealer meeting in Sardinia where I got the opportunity to see and sit on the new bike. I have also been teased by the videos of the Ducati test riders testing the bike on a closed motocross track and some very challenging off road terrain.
It was 43 degrees and sunny when we pulled away from our 4 star hotel in Cannes. Ducati set us up first class as they usually do. I was conservative on my alcohol intake the night before so I would be sharp for the Enduro. This was extra important because the six hour time difference from Indy totally screwed with my sleep. It was about an hour bus ride to the resort in the foothills of the mountains ,about 75 kilometers from the hotel.
We had a mandatory two hour classroom on the Enduro before we were cleared to ride it. The session focused on the features of the bike that were developed by Ducati’s engineering and project development staff over the past two years. The goal was to make it competitive with other similar bikes on the market. The aim was at the BMW 1200GS and KTM Adventure and to a lesser degree the Triumph 1050 Adventure. As we compared the Ducati to the other bikes mentioned it was clear that the development team has not only met the competition, but it appears may have surpassed the competitor bikes in some areas. Time and experience will tell ,but the Enduro has the following features:
-All the electronics of the Multistrada S.
-Wire wheels – 19” front, 170 rear tire.
-Higher ground clearance - 8.07in.
-30 liter gas tank – 7.9 US Gal.
-200MM of suspension travel.
-Adj. brake pedal – higher off road position.
- Seat height – 35” – 33.5 with adj. seat.
-Steel skid plate bolts to frame.
-Double sided swing arm.
-Vehicle hold control for better hill starts
-Off road enduro settingABSlevel 1 and wheelie/rear lift control shut off.
-The bike can come with Pirelli Scorpion Trail II 90/10 or Pirelli Rally 60/40 tires.
-Many Touratech accessories only available from Ducati dealer.
Enough of the specs, but how did the bike perform?
Now, I would evaluate my off road capabilities as merely adequate, so I stretched a little and rated myself as intermediate for the off road ride. So, I was a little apprehensive when I learned that the staff that was to lead our ride included Beppe Gaulini, a professional test rider and Paris to Dakar competitor and Andrea Rossi, another off road professional. Both were featured in the video “The wild side of Ducati #2” riding the Enduro on a closed Motocross track and serious off road segments getting serious air.
By the time we were out of the classroom and into our riding gear the temperature had risen to the low 50s. Our tires had been set at 23psi for riding off road. About half of our group had elected to ride off road. As we headed out on the asphalt under bright sunlight with snow capped mountains in the distance I was feeling pretty good even though my tires felt squirrely due to the low pressure, but soon stabilized as they gained heat. After about 20 minutes of road riding on some nice twisties we came to a fork where the off roaders went one way and the other guys continued on the asphalt. At the fork we transitioned to dirt that was an access road to get to the olive groves in the foothills. Beppe and the first two riders in line checked out at once. I was riding in the middle of the pack trying to get comfortable and confident on the bike. About a mile into the ride I started picking up speed and shifted into 3rd gear. There was a fair amount of mud from the previous day’s rain and some good sized rocks and uphill portions that the bike handled well. All I had to do was give it some serious throttle to control the bike just like I do my dirt bike. By the time we arrived at our turn around point I was feeling fairly confident keeping in mind that I was riding a bike that wasn’t mine. The bike handled much better off road than the 2013 or 2015 Multis. Even though it is 50 lbs heavier it feels lighter off road due to the wheels and suspension travel. The variable valve timing allows the bike to be smooth at low revs, but still deliver the torque when you need it to raise the front wheel over an obstacle. The bike is tall with the standard seat at 35”, but with the optional low seat you can adjust the height to 33.5”. It was very comfortable riding in the standing position with the bar risors and off road setting on the front brake pedal. At the end of our off road portion of the ride I was just getting warmed up. I think I could ride this bike standing up for extended periods. I can only think how great it would be on the Dalton highway or some of the great fire roads in Colorado.
At our turnaround point Beppe and Andrea did a Q & A session on the bike and gave us some observations and good hints on body positioning to improving our off road capability. As we headed back down to the point where we joined the others that stayed on the asphalt I picked up even more confidence and speed.
On the 20 min ride back to base the tires felt even better and we got into some good high speed sweepers and even on the Pirelli Rally 60/40 tires the bike felt stable.
Now I am faced with the question I occasionally have had when returning from a Ducati sales training event. Should I have ordered more Enduros?