A sad end to a great year

Motorcycle News (UK) - - Garage - andy.david­son@motorcyclenews.com

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.

Favourite mo­ment

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

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