MARK TWAIN ONCE SAID, “LET US CON­SIDER that we are all par­tially in­sane. It will ex­plain us to each other; it will un­rid­dle many rid­dles.” So, we take that as the core premise in our story and build from there, that we (bik­ers) are all par­tially in­sane. Once we’ve ac­knowl­edged this, then it’s easy for us to un­der­stand the needs of peo­ple who want even big­ger and more pow­er­ful mo­tor­cy­cles than the ones you’ve al­ready seen in the pre­vi­ous pages. And, are will­ing to pay sig­nif­i­cantly more for the dif­fer­ence. Upto `5 lakh more, that is. The Tri­umph Tiger Ex­plorer XCx and the Du­cati Mul­tistrada 1200 En­duro are for this set of peo­ple who crave more than what the Tiger 800, Mul­tistrada 950 or the Honda Africa Twin can pro­vide and are will­ing to pay the dif­fer­ence to scale up to an Ex­plorer or a 1200.

Given that this isn’t a com­par­i­son, we will go al­pha­bet­i­cally and start with the Du­cati. Pow­ered by a liq­uid-cooled 1198cc L-twin with 150bhp and 128Nm, this Ital­ian thor­ough­bred could have you think­ing that we are talk­ing about su­per­sports. But it isn’t. This is a six-feet tall, dyed-in-the-wool ad­ven­ture tourer where you sit at an Alpine 850mm (non-ad­justable) from terra firma. To dis­tin­guish the En­duro from the road-bi­ased S, the bike gets a 19-inch front wheel, spoked wheels at both ends, 200mm of wheel travel at both ends and a 30-litre petrol tank. Un­for­tu­nately, the Pirelli Scor­pion Rally tyres that you get over­seas aren’t avail­able here and you have to manage with Scor­pion Trail II rub­ber, which is par for the course once the tar­mac gives way to dirt. There is some com­pen­sa­tion of course from the elec­tronic sus­pen­sion that Du­cati calls Sky­hook and for those who like their gad­gets, there is the full colour 5-inch TFT in­stru­ment also. Adding peace of mind is Du­cati’s Safety Pack, an in­valu­able safety net should things go wrong.

Be­fore you ride it off-road how­ever, we rec­om­mend that you put it in En­duro more so that it re­stricts the peak out­put to a “mere” 100bhp! The sus­pen­sion too is soft­ened a bit for bet­ter off-road rid­ing char­ac­ter­is­tics. While these make the Multi more man­age­able off-road, es­pe­cially with that ex­cel­lent trac­tion con­trol sys­tem try­ing to en­sure grip at all times, fact is the bike is too front heavy and shows a re­mark­able ten­dency to slide around at the tail end. More­over, in spite of the re­stric­tion on out­put, the de­liv­ery is still ag­gres­sive and you’ll need to ex­er­cise cau­tion when you’re open­ing the throt­tle. Or she will hap­pily chew you and spit you out. Er­gonomics too are bet­ter suited for tall riders and if you’re 5’ 8” or shorter then you may not like it as much. The fact that it is En­gine 1215cc, in-line 3-cyl, liq­uid-cooled Trans­mis­sion 6-speed Power 137bhp @ 9300rpm Torque 123Nm @ 6200rpm Weight 253kg (dry)

Price `18.75 lakh (ex-show­room)

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