The Multistrada V2 will replace the Multistrada 950 and is likely to demand a price tag higher than the latter that was priced at Rs 15.49 lakh.Read more
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Could be Better
The Multistrada 950 is a more affordable version of the bigger Multistrada 1260. But it still gets decent amount of features and electronics. The Multi 950 is good off-road and even better for those long distance rides thanks to its frugile 937cc, L-Twin and comfortable ergonomics. Although it would be a better package with better set of tyres and the option of a centre stand.
Having spent a good number of hours on the Ducati Multistrada 950 S' saddle, we tell you the good, the bad, and the ugly about the ‘smaller' adventure-tourer from Bologna, Italy. And, if it would be your money’s worth over the BMW F900 XR and the Triumph Tiger 900 GT.
There was a time when a lower price tag meant lesser features and a smaller engine. And if you did manage to shell out more, you could enjoy the might of a larger displacement motorcycle with the entire platter of gizmos. But any toddler who has eaten too many candies can confirm, more is not always better. Cruising down the NH3 with the Ducati Multistrada 950 S, I realised that the logic applies to motorcycles as well...
So, having spent a good number of hours on the Multistrada 950’s saddle, we tell you the good, the bad, and the ugly about the ‘smaller' adventure-tourer from Bologna, Italy. And, if it would be your money’s worth over the BMW F900 XR and the Triumph Tiger 900 GT.
Walking up to the Ducati Multistrada 950 S, the first thing to notice is its stark resemblance to the Multistrada 1260. The flared nostrils that double up as air-intakes, the twin headlamps with full-LED lighting, the turn indicators built into the knuckle guards, and the large windscreen are all signature Multistrada family elements.
While we will get to the details of that nearly U-shaped seat and ergonomics in a bit, the large grab rail is a noteworthy feature as it also serves as a tail rack. But above all, when it comes to the Multistrada 950’s design, it is hard not to notice the front-heavy Rosso paint scheme that completes the Ducati badge. As for build quality and fitment, Ducati has left no room for complaints and is completely worth the Rs 15 lakh you’d be spending to get one of these home.
As with all ‘S’ versions in Ducati’s stables, the Multistrada 950 S is filled to the brim with electronic rider aids and features. To start with, it comes with a six-axis IMU that has paved the way for four riding modes- Urban, Touring, Sport, and Enduro. While each of these has its own presets, the Multistrada also allows the rider to customize the traction control, ABS intervention, engine output, and throttle sensitivity within each mode. And thanks to the Skyhook suspension, the preload and damping settings can also be customised with a few clicks on the switchgear.
You also get a Bluetooth-enabled TFT display that seems slightly complex to read at first but gets easier with time. Then there is the cruise control, hill hold control, heated grips, and cornering lights as well; all fitted as standard on the 950 S.
With all that bodywork, the Multistrada 950 S looks imposing. And with a standard seat height of 840mm and weighing 229kg, it would also be slightly intimidating for some individuals to mount and dismount. It is also quite a task to move around. However, once you get on, the Multistrada 950 S’ ergonomics feel nothing less than great. The seat is designed to encapsulate you and the shape of the 20-litre fuel tank ensures the thighs are well supported.
Having ridden over 200kms at a stretch, the seat never made me writhe or fidget and the windscreen, which can be adjusted on the fly offered enough protection for a quiet ride. Speaking of which, the ride experience the Multistrada 950 S offers is Cloud Nine material, thanks to the Ducati Skyhook active suspension. The system allows to set up preload and damping settings at both ends with just a push of a button on the left-side switchgear. It then adjusts the suspension automatically on the fly, almost like blending into its surroundings.
In the softer settings, the Multistrada 950 S feels the plushest and compliant over anything the road throws at it. Although, it does tend to dive and squat more and the feel from the tyres is a bit vague. Switch it to the medium or firmer settings and the ride is slightly more leveled and the response from the Pirelli Scorpion Trail II tyres are higher. What I also liked is that these settings are retained even after turning the bike off.
Now, the Multistrada 950 S with its wide handlebar offers a good amount of leverage. It holds the line on corners with accuracy, feeling more like a sporty streetfighter with a 19-inch wheel and long-ish fork than a typical adventure-touring motorcycle. It feels stable and agile on open roads but could be a task when maneuvering through traffic. That said, I loved the seating ergonomics on the Multistrada 950 although it feels a bit off for standing - something that can be fixed with a taller handlebar.
Nonetheless, each time I twisted the throttle, the strong nature of the 937cc, L-twin motor left me grinning. This motor, which the Multistrada 950 shares with the manic Hypermotard, churns out 113bhp and 94Nm. With the BS6 revisions, it feels smooth and so does the fueling - with no snatching action even when whipping the throttle. The Multistrada 950 holds a major chunk of its torque in the low to mid-range and offers ample power to get out of a corner or make a pass, without usually needing to downshift. Interestingly enough, the gearshifts are smooth but the lever action from the new hydraulic clutch could have been lighter.
On the open roads, the Multistrada 950 S feels unstoppable, and cruising over 130kmph is a no-brainer. Although, city life is not the Multistrada’s cup of tea, and it makes sure you know by heating up in a matter of minutes. And the wide handlebar means filtering through tight spots would need heavy calculations. The brakes on the Multi were upgraded a couple of years ago and the bike comes with cornering ABS. While the bite from the front end feels strong, the setup seems to lack feel at the rear- something we suspect could be an issue solely with our test bike.
Since it is an ‘entry-level’ model with a relatively smaller engine than the V4 and 1260, it is easy to presume the 950 S as a beginner’s ADV of sorts. Yes, the Multistrada 950 S is friendly and undemanding but it never felt bland, unconnected, or lacking in comfort or performance. In fact, with its responsive and engaging character, the bike would be a much more capable option for expert riders to ride more aggressively without pushing the limits. With a sticker price of Rs 15.49 lakh, the Multistrada 950 S is also around Rs 6 lakh cheaper than the Multistrada V4, so it is also relatively friendlier to the wallet as well. However, it is the most expensive among its rivals. But, the Ducati Multistrada 950 S is better equipped. It comes with customisable ride modes unlike the BMW F850 GS and since it also gets the fully adjustable electronic suspension, a feature the Triumph Tiger 900 GT misses out on, the Multistrada 950 S is a lot of bike for the price it demands.
What I also liked about the Ducati Multistrada 950 S is that it never pretends to be an off-road motorcycle. While it can handle bad roads if needed, it wasn’t intended for hardcore trails and it rather focuses on what it does best- comfortably seated, high-speed touring. But on the flip side, the Multistrada 950 S is a task to ride in the city considering its heating issues and the wide handlebar that hinders maneuverability in tight spaces.
Photography by Kapil Angane
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