A sad end to a great year
My year with the Ducati Multistrada Enduro has been cut short, thanks to callous thieves in Northampton. A colleague borrowed the bike for the evening, left it outside the front doors of a cinema and once the movie ended so did my time with the Multistrada.
A call to Northampton Police, and we’re informed there’s nothing they can do… unless the bike is caught on the roads by an Automatic Number Plate Recognition camera. Not much help really, as the Ducati is unlikely to be stolen by kids looking for a joy ride. It’s far more likely to be in the back of a van on its way out of the country. The only cameras the cinema has are pointing at its bins – what a load of rubbish that is – and the footage from the camera in the car park is owned by the police, who made it clear that they’re not prepared to sift through two hours of recordings to catch criminals. Aside from my fury over the incident, it’s probably better to remember the good times I had with the Strada instead.
Getting to know you
It was never love at first sight, more like ‘What the hell is that?’ This huge, snarling red devil stood in the car park, towering above everything and everyone. I took a deep breath and clambered aboard, flicked her into life and sunk into the cockpit, surrounded by gizmos, throttle maps and rider modes. She may look like a beast, but the Multi is built to take care of you. Once I got over my fear of heights (thanks to the lower seat option) and my anxieties about dropping such a heavy girl, I fell in love. Buzzing around sweeping bends on what is effectively a sportsbike clad in adventure clothing was mesmerising. Blasting along 100 non-stop miles of straights on my commute home is like relaxing in a LA-Z Boy Power Recliner – supremely luxurious thanks to cruise control, plenty of wind protection, a 350-mile range, plush semi-active suspension and more power than a Bullet train.
School of Rock
But this isn’t a bike purely for the roads. It’s Ducati’s most serious foray into the adventure bike market. With that comes the promise of an accomplished off-road machine, as the name suggests, and the Italian factory has certainly delivered. I booked in for one-to-one training with Dakar legend Craig Bounds at Black Desert Training. Within no time we were flying up steep, shale-peppered and jagged inclines, floating over ruts, balancing a turn at 2mph with the bars locked and having more fun than I thought possible on a 254kg machine. Switch the Multi into ‘Enduro’ mode and the traction control and ABS are softened, but I ended up switching them off completely. Power also drops from nearly 160bhp to 100, which is more than enough.
Just like on the road, once you get over its size, the Strada instantly becomes an incredibly talented and exhilarating multi-purpose machine.
The Multi was recently up against the other two long-term test bikes in the office – the Honda Africa Twin and BMW F800GS – in an off-road battle. The test conditions were slippery and mucky, which stopped the Multi from smashing the competition. The Africa Twin was the most capable on the slippery stuff, but despite the Enduro being the heaviest of the bunch, and not the best suited to slushy off-roading, it still performed exceptionally well and could do everything the Honda could. Had the conditions been drier and not so nadgery, the Multi would have blitzed it, especially if we were on gravel tracks. Besides, leaving the offroad centre for the ride home, I could only just about make out the Honda and BMW in the rear view mirrors.
What it does best
From eating massive mileage for breakfast to chewing up gravel tracks like sweets, everything the Multistrada turned its hand to, it did well. Flying round bends while tucked behind the screen one minute to standing tall on the pegs and flying through country trails the next is probably some of the best fun you can have on a motorcycle. So, farewell to the Ducati Multistrada Enduro – a world class adventure bike. Q For more on Black Desert Training visit www.blackdeserttraining.com
‘Get over its size and the Strada becomes an incredibly talented and exhilarating machine’
Backroads, motorways, gravel trails. It truly is a go-anywhere motorcycle
It might have an angry, beaky face but the Multi is a total joy to ride 254kg of Ducati gets airborne in the mud
ANDY DAVIDSON Experienced adventure rider and long-distance motorcyclist HEIGHT 5ft 7in WEIGHT 73kg