Thoughts On The Ducati Multistrada 1200 Enduro

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This evening I took this Ducati Multistrada 1200 Enduro for a short spin. I managed to touch 180 kmph before traffic got in my way. The standing position is perfect for a 6 footer like me. Seated riding position is also awesome. This should be an extremely comfortable long distance tourer.

The V-twin engine does feel a little rough though. There were noticeable vibrations at low RPM’s, something that I’m not used to while riding premium adventure motorcycles.

No, I’m not looking to upgrade from my Tiger 800 XRx. This test ride was just to satisfy my curiosity, that’s all. If at all I do swap my Tiger for another adventure motorcycle it will be for something lighter with more or less similar power. Maybe something like the KTM 690 Enduro with a wider seat. That would be much more practical motorcycle for long distance riding on and off-road.

I put the Multistrada 1200 Enduro in the same bucket as the BMW R1200 GS Adventure and the KTM 1290 Super Adventure. Big, tall and heavy adventure motorcycles carefully designed for off road use but 99% of which are ridden to coffee shops on a Sunday or to some biker destination along a highway. Personally, I think this set of premium adventure motorcycles are a solution looking for a problem. There is very little that these 1200 cc heavy motorcycles can do which a relatively lighter 800 cc or even a 650 cc motorcycle cannot.

You need to be insanely talented to be able to ride a 240+ kg motorcycle on a serious trail. And that is with just with a tank full of fuel. Add panniers and other luggage and these behemoths become completely unmanageable to normal riders like me. You drop one of these giants and you will need to remove your luggage so that you can get them upright again.

But these big adventure bikes do have a great road presence. Their tall height and beefy build makes them look mean, purposeful and extremely cool. I guess that’s the main reason most people buy them. Of course, there are those who actually take them off road and make use of all those fancy off-road features. But I think they are the exception and not the rule.

These motorcycles are the equivalent of SUV’s that are equipped with a bull bar, winch and snorkel, but never ever leave the tarmac or come close to a stream. They feel great to own and can be excellent conversation starters. But very few actually end up doing the stuff they were designed to do.

There is nothing wrong with that. People buy and ride motorcycles for different reasons. I think the more motorcycles like these on Indian roads, the better. At least manufacturers will stop looking at India as a market for just 100cc commuters and start introducing different models. As of now there is no proper light and powerful dual sport motorcycle available in India. The Hero Impulse died a horrible death and no other company has dared to venture into that segment. Hopefully the success of motorcycles like the Ducati Multistrada 1200 Enduro will go some way in changing that perception of the Indian leisure and adventure motorcycle market.


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