Ducati has been selling its full-size adventure tourer, the Multistrada 1200, and its variants (Multistrada 1200 S, Multistrada Pikes Peak and Multistrada Enduro) for quite some time now. While these are intended for more experienced and mature riders, enthusiasts who are relatively new to the world of adventure touring and looking for a slightly scaled-down, more accessible tourer had to look elsewhere. Addressing this gap in its portfolio, Ducati recently launched the smallest and most affordable motorcycle in the Multistrada family, the Multistrada 950. Ducati claims that this bike will be more accessible than its bigger 1200cc brethren. Now the question remains: Is the 950 a good enough alternative for the discerning buyer to save some cash and choose it instead of the 1200. Read on to find out. Also read: Spec Comparison: Ducati Multistrada 950 vs Triumph Tiger 800 XR vs Honda Africa Twin
Engine and Transmission:
The Multistrada 950 is powered by a 937cc Testastretta L-twin liquid cooled engine with one spark plug per cylinder. This engine makes 113PS of power at 9000rpm and 96.2Nm of torque at 7750rpm. Ducati claims that more than 80 per cent of torque is available between 3500rpm and 9500rpm. This should ensure good rideability for both city and highway roads. The throttle is actuated via ride-by-wire and the engine is mated to a 6-speed transmission with slipper clutch. The clutch is mechanically operated to keep costs down.
The Multistrada 1200 is powered by an 1198.4cc Testastretta L-twin liquid cooled engine with Desmodromic Valve Timing (DVT). DVT helps in offering the best balance between power and refinement. There are also two spark plugs per cylinder. The engine makes 160PS of power at 9500rpm and 136Nm of torque at 7500rpm. The powerplant is paired to a 6-speed transmission which comes with a hydraulically actuated slipper clutch.
The Multistrada 950 is built on a tubular steel trellis frame with two lateral aluminium subframes for maximum torsional rigidity. The bike features a double-sided swingarm to keep the costs under control. The frame is suspended at the front by a 48mm fully adjustable KYB inverted fork and at the rear by a fully adjustable Sachs monoshock unit with remote spring preload adjustment. Both front and rear suspension offer 170mm of wheel travel. The front end uses a 19-inch alloy wheel while the rear uses a 17-inch one. They come wrapped with Pirelli Scorpion Trail II tyres with the specifications - 120/70 R19 at the front and 170/60 R17 at the rear. The bike is anchored by dual 320mm discs at the front with Brembo Monobloc callipers and a single 265mm disc at the rear. ABS is standard equipment. The standard rider seat sits 820mm above ground while accessory seats that change seat height to either 840 or 860mm are available for taller riders. The ground clearance is 183.5mm for the Multistrada 950 and the bike weighs 229 kilos (wet weight).
The Multistrada 1200 has a trellis frame made of large diameter, light gauge tubing with two central cast aluminium sections, and a rear cast sub-frame. The front subframe uses die-cast magnesium to reduce frontal weight and enhance chassis control. The single-sided swingarm is made up of cast aluminium and offers high rigidity, low weight and superior stability at the expense of cost. Suspension duties are taken care by 48mm fully adjustable USD forks at the front and a fully adjustable Sachs monoshock with remote spring preload adjustment. The more expensive Multistrada 1200 S comes with the top-of-the-line Ducati Skyhook Suspension (DSS), which is a semi-active system that controls the stiffness and damping of the front and rear suspension electronically.
Both the Multistrada 1200 and 1200 S offer the same wheel travel as the 950 does (170mm on both ends). The Multistrada 1200 comes with 17-inch light alloy wheels at both ends and are wrapped with Pirelli Scorpion Trail II tyres measuring 120/70 up front and 190/55 at the rear. Braking is done by dual 320mm discs with Brembo Monobloc callipers at the front and a single 265mm disc at the rear and they come with cornering ABS. The bike comes with an adjustable seat with 825-845mm of play. This makes it just 5mm taller than the Multistrada 950 at the lowest setting. Also, with a wet weight of 232kg, the Multistrada 1200 is only 3kg heavier than the Multistrada 950! The ground clearance stands at 170mm (13.5mm lower than the 950).
The Multistrada 950 comes with Ducati Traction Control (DTC) which controls both spark advance and throttle body. There are eight levels in total which offer progressively increasing interference. Setting the traction level at one or two will allow expert riders to elicit a power slide. There are also four riding modes- Sport, Touring, Urban, Enduro, and the DTC is linked with the riding modes for optimum control. The DTC system can also be switched off. The switchable dual channel ABS comes with three levels of intervention. Level one acts only on the front wheel, while level three acts on both wheels, and also prevents the rear wheel from lifting off in the case of extreme braking.
The Multistrada 1200 is equipped with a number of electronic doodahs to keep things in check, all the while letting the rider exploit the machine to the maximum. For starters, the bike comes with four riding modes- Sport, Touring, Urban and Enduro. These riding modes are linked with cornering ABS and Ducati Traction Control (DTC). The Bosch 9ME multi-calibration cornering ABS works in conjunction with DTC to offer optimum levels of brake force at all times. When the rider brakes heavily in corners, the cornering ABS reduces the motorcycle's tendency to return to an upright position, leaving the desired lane. The DTC comes with eight levels out of which four levels are integrated with the riding modes. Ducati claims up to 60 per cent of torque can be reduced by delaying the ignition and for higher torque reduction, the system cuts off the fuel-injection. The DTC associated with each riding modes can also be customised by the rider.
Additionally, the bike also comes with Ducati Wheelie Control (DWC) which ensures maximum acceleration while maintaining safety. All these systems are controlled by a sophisticated Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU). To make highway riding more convenient, there is a cruise control system as well. The parking safety is also enhanced, thanks to the electrically actuated steering lock and an electronic key which offers hands-free ignition. The bike features LED headlights and the switchgear are backlit as well.
The Multistrada 950 retails at Rs 12.60 lakh, ex-showroom, pan India, based on GST which will be implemented from July 1st, 2017. The Multistrada 1200’s ex-showroom Delhi price is Rs 2.25 lakh more expensive than the 950. While there isn’t much of a difference when it comes to seat height and kerb weight between the two bikes, the extra premium gets you much more advanced electronics and a whole lot of power. If the rider is keen on sophistication and performance, then the 1200 makes sense. Otherwise, the Multistrada 950 would suffice. If the rider wants more off-road capability, the optional Enduro pack available with the 950 will do the job just fine, instead of opting for the Rs 17.44 lakh Multistrada Enduro. Granted the Multistrada 1200 Enduro offers a lot more off-road centric features, but we feel the premium of Rs 4.84 lakh is a tad too much for all that extra capability.
Rs 2.25 lakhs might seem a lot for the Multistrada 1200 over the Multistrada 950 but for that, you get 47PS more power (that's more power than the KTM 390 Duke), cornering ABS, Ducati wheelie control, LED headlamp and much more. If you want something more accessible without the bells and whistles, it is the 950 for you. Otherwise, the 1200 should be the one you should go for.
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