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.
Read our 2016 Ducati Multistrada 1200 Enduro review
Read our 2015 Ducati Multistrada 1200 DVT S vs 2016 BMW S 1000 XR comparison review
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.
Two questions: First, why can’t consumers order the options wanted (like most cars) at the point of purchase? I have never bought a brand-new car and then had to remove parts in order to put the parts I wanted. Secondly, why can’t the mid-displacement adventure bikes be fitted put with the same options and state of the art technical features as the hummercycles? I guess I’m not representative of a significant marketing niche, but what I want is a mid range lower weight bike with all the technical features available on the heavier more powerful machines. Is that too much to ask? Apparently it is.
I second that opinion. Why can’t manufacturers develop high quality, higher content bikes in the lower or middle weight category, in a size that still fits american riders? A V-Strom 650 and a BMW F800 come close but still lack some of the features. A more advanced Honda 500 series might be a good model. A good size 250 with some storage/case(s) would be fun for a bum-around bike. Seems to me that there should be a market for this type of size, especially to attract new techie riders and keep the aging riders in the game. These buyers have the money to buy the additional content for more fun, comfortable and manageable bikes. These buyers also appreciate the difference between a jewel and a big rock. In the current crop of street bikes, as the displacement get smaller the bikes chassis seems to shrink also making them undesirable for taller and full size riders.
The answer is probably straightforward:
They are afraid that producing such a top-notch mid-displacement adventure bike will cannibalize the sales of the ‘hummercycles’.
Triumph does it though. The Tiger 800 has everything that the Tiger Explorer has and even came out before the hummercycle did. That is one pretty advantage The tiger 800 has.