Back in 2010, when Ducati transformed the Multistrada from Pierre Terblanche’s ugly duckling into a sharp-beaked, 150-horsepower swan, it injected a healthy dose of performance and technology into the burgeoning adventure bike category. The new Multistrada 1200 introduced the “four bikes in one” concept, with throttle-by-wire enabled riding modes that changed engine output, throttle response, traction control and Öhlins electronic suspension (the latter on S models only) to adapt to Sport, Touring, Urban and Enduro riding conditions.
The Multistrada 1200 has undergone several revisions since 2010, incorporating new technology (such as semi-active Ducati Skyhook Suspension [DSS], cornering ABS and Desmodromic Variable Timing [DVT]), improving comfort, rideability and wind protection, and adding spin-off models like the Pikes Peak and Enduro.
For 2017, Ducati is expanding its adventure line with a smaller displacement model, the Multistrada 950. Like its big brother, it’s powered by a version of the liquid-cooled, 11° Testastretta L-twin, but it displaces 937cc instead of 1,198cc, making a claimed 113 horsepower and 71 lb-ft of torque (it’s the same engine found in the Hypermotard 939 and new-for-2017 SuperSport). The engine is mated to a 6-speed transmission with a cable-actuated assist-and-slipper clutch and final drive is via chain.
The new Multistrada 950 offers the same four riding modes, with Sport and Touring offering the full 113 horsepower while Urban and Enduro reduce output to 75 horsepower. Equipped with the Ducati Safety Pack, which includes the latest Bosch 9.1 MP ABS with 3-level adjustment and 8-level Ducati Traction Control, each riding mode adjusts ABS and DTC to suit riding conditions.
As a more accessible—and affordable—version of the Multistrada, the 950 foregoes some of the more advanced technologies and electronic riding aids found on the 1200, such as DVT, DSS, Ducati Wheelie Control and cornering ABS.
Sticking with Ducati convention, the Multistrada 950’s Testastretta L-twin is carried in a tubular-steel trellis frame, with a 62.8-inch wheelbase, 25-degree rake and 4.2 inches of trail, and the cast aluminum swingarm is two-sided. Suspension is fully adjustable, with a KYB upside-down fork and a Sachs shock with remote preload adjustment, both offering 6.7 inches of travel. Braking is handled by a pair of Brembo monobloc radial 4-piston calipers gripping 320mm semi-floating discs up front and a single 2-piston floating caliper gripping a 265mm disc out back. Cast aluminum wheels (19-inch front, 17-inch rear) are shod with Pirelli Scorpion Trail II tires.
With its 5.3-gallon fuel tank full, Ducati says the Multistrada 950 has a wet weight of 500.4 pounds. Standard seat height is 33.1 inches, but accessory low (32.3 inches) and high (33.9 inches) seats are available, and under the seat is a storage compartment that includes a USB socket for charging devices. The windscreen is height adjustable and instrumentation is fully LCD.
To personalize the Multistrada 950, accessory packs are available to suit each riding mode: the Touring Pack adds saddlebags and a centerstand; the Sport pack adds a Ducati Performance Termignoni exhaust and billet aluminum frame plugs and front brake fluid master cylinder cover; the Urban Pack adds a top case, tank bag with tank lock and a USB charging hub; and the Enduro Pack adds LED lights and Touratech bolt-ons: engine guards, radiator guard, sump guard, larger kickstand pad and off-road footpegs. All four accessory packs are compatible, should someone want to go all-in.
The 2017 Ducati Multistrada 950 is available in Ducati Red ($13,995) or Star White Silk ($14,195), both with a Racing Grey frame and Matt Grey wheels. Bikes should be in dealerships beginning January 2017.