Ducati Multistrada 950 review
- Published On: 7 June 2017
- 5 min read
Does the smaller Multistrada 950 offer as much excitement as its larger siblings?
Ducati has managed to scale down bikes well in the past - the Panigale 959, is more manageable and, in some ways, more fun than the 1299, while the Monster 821 feels better than the 1200. Ducati took the same route with its Multistrada – this bike features a smaller 113hp, 937cc L-twin engine (from the Hypermotard and SuperSport) and isn’t as overloaded with features as its larger sibling.
From the saddle
That ferocious acceleration when you twist the throttle right from the get go is gone – it’s more restrained now. Open the tap and the bike leaps forward - 80 percent of the motor's 96.2Nm of torque being available right from 3,500rpm. At slow city speeds, and even when in slightly higher gears, you barely need to use the clutch. On a straight road, the 950's motor performs quite admirably, even when you’re riding at speeds of 150-160kph. Overall, the 950's performance is far from disappointing but if it’s raw thrill you’re seeking, however, the larger motorcycle makes more sense.
As far as the electronics package is concerned, the bike gets the Ducati Safety Pack (DSP) that features Bosch's 9.1 MP three-level ABS as well as an eight-level Ducati Traction Control (DTC). There are four riding modes – Sport, Touring, Urban and Enduro – and each mode comes with its own presets for how much the ABS and DTC can intervene. The fantastic Pirelli Scorpion Trail II tyres offered plenty of grip at all times even through tight bends.
The IMU (Inertial Measurement Unit) from the big Multistrada is missing on the bike - the traction control and ABS rely only on wheel speed information and doesn’t read how the bike reacts along multiple axes. Cornering ABS is missing too. The 1200's cutting-edge 'Skyhook' electronically adjustable suspension is not available on this bike either. However, the 950's suspension is fully adjustable, but manually. The suspension travels a healthy 170mm at both ends, and the bike is very well sprung, so riding on rough roads is relatively hassle-free. The stock setup for the front of the bike feels rather soft and the bike almost violently stands up if you apply the brakes hard into a corner. The dive is quite pronounced when braking in a straight line too. This can be fine tuned by any expert, so it’s not something you should write home about.
This bike doesn’t feel like the smaller version of the Multistrada – you’re sat in an almost similar manner in the saddle, so you can’t tell right off the bat. The saddle is roomy even for large-sized riders and pillions, and you’re protected from wind blast well thanks to the manually adjustable windscreen.
At 229kg, the 950 is only slightly lighter but it feels slimmer and is nimbler around corners. The bike is fitted with a larger 19-inch front wheel (the 1200 has 17-inchers at both ends). The bike is now more stable through corners, and is exactly what you need if you ride on loose surfaces. Around twisty mountain roads, the M950 handles like a dream and takes on the trickiest of corners with ease. Braking is excellent, with precise feel and great bite.
Should you buy one?
Sure, this bike isn't as sophisticated as the larger 1200, but that’s not always a bad thing. It’s got all the electronic basics in place and doesn't require the mental performance its larger sibling demands either. Some impressive features such as the TFT dashboard, cornering lights, electronic suspension and even cruise control are missing, but the M950 is very involving to ride, more so than its bigger brother in some situations. And then there’s the price, the 950 is expected to cost around Rs 3 lakh less than the 1200, which could work in the smaller bike’s favour.