‘Multi feels like a lightweight dirt bike in a fat suit’
Andy learns the skills to make the huge Enduro float off-road
‘With all the hill techniques we learnt earlier the Multi felt more like a toy’
DUCATI MULTISTRADA 1200 ENDURO £16,690 FUEL 30 litres @ 47.82mpg = 316 miles WEIGHT 254kg SEAT 850mm POWER 157bhp TORQUE 100ftlb
Rolling green hills spread out in front of me, laced with hidden trails and rock-strewn tracks. I look down, wondering how the hell we got up here as the wind reverberates inside my helmet. It feels as though we are as high as we could get in South Wales, and I never expected to get up here so easily on the Multistrada Enduro.
But then again, I wouldn’t have got up here at all if it wasn’t for Dakar racer Craig Bounds. I signed onto a one-to- one class with Black Desert Training (£ 185, www. blackdeserttraining.com) with the aim of getting expert tuition on how to ride this monster on the rough stuff.
The three-and-a-half-hour ride from the office was spent worrying about handling this big beast off-road and timing my petrol consumption so I wouldn’t have a full 30-litre tank to manhandle. Once I arrived, we stripped off the panniers and top box, flicked it into Enduro mode, whipped the rubbers out of the footpegs and dropped the tyre pressures. I then followed Craig onto some of the most stunning tracks in Wales, where we went through the basics of body positioning, getting on and off such a huge bike and covering the clutch and brake levers.
Carefully watching my every move on the mighty Multi, Craig picked up on my body positioning bad habits, and quickly corrected them. On top of a lime green hill we went through turning drills in ever-tightening circles. Elbow up, body weight on the outside peg and chin raised. Suddenly, the once hugely intimidating and heavy Multistrada Enduro now had its bars at full lock, on grass, going round and round in circles like it was nothing. I couldn’t help but laugh as Craig encouraged me to take my inside foot off the peg to prove the point that as long as you weight the outside peg with your body the bike won’t go down.
Turning this monster at 2mph, fully locked on grass with one foot in the air was both brilliant and revealing – this beast can be tamed. This specific skill was the Holy Grail for me, as I’m 5ft 7in and I often end up having to muscle bigger bikes around off-road. But transferring my body weight to the outside peg allowed me to turn in incredibly tight circles on tracks where I would have once done a three-point turn. As our day went on the Multistrada’s weight melted away until I eventually became convinced it was a lightweight dirt bike in a fat suit.
Everything on the Ducati is built for purpose − not one component feels gimmicky. Ducati really pulled out all the stops in turning this into a seriously competent and capable off-road weapon. The suspension is impeccable.
“It’s the best suspension I’ve ever tried on an adventure bike, full stop. It feels like a seasoned rally rider has tuned it to be perfect,” said Craig, an EX-BMW off-road instructor. “As soon as I rode it I felt at home, and wanted to find big hills and enduro tracks. It has a lovely engine, is very powerful and has an old-school kind of torque to it, where it pulls rather than spins.”
To prove the point, Craig took me to the steepest hill I’ve ever ridden up. Tricky, narrow and peppered with jagged, protruding rocks − with no run-up to help me get up it. While I would have thought twice about it on most bikes I knew the Multi could handle it. The 100bhp on tap in Enduro mode was more than enough to blitz up. Coming back down was trickier, but there’s still a slither of ABS on the front wheel in Enduro mode and that stopped the front from locking. And with all the hill techniques we learnt earlier in the day the Multi felt more like a toy.
The Multistrada is still a weapon, seriously versatile, superbly set up and powerful, but a day’s worth of expert training has opened all of that up to me and made it useable. It’s amazing what difference a day made to my confidence and skill level. And now I can’t wait to tackle a bigger, longer off-road adventure on the Multistrada Enduro.
Dakar racer Craig Bounds of Black Desert Training gives Andy some pointers
Super-smart Collie was on hand to help Andy with his tricky new rearsets