Du­cati’s dual-pur­pose, Gs-ri­valling Mul­tistrada En­duro flag­ship bounces back with a big­ger en­gine and added user-friend­li­ness…

BIKE (UK) - - CONTENTS - By Si­mon Har­g­reaves Pho­tog­ra­phy Du­cati

SEC­OND GEAR, THIRD gear, sec­ond gear, third gear... Du­cati’s up­dated 2019 Mul­tistrada 1260 En­duro has been en­joy­ing a short­shift­ing tap dance for the last 20 min­utes on twisty, bumpy roads around Du­cati’s off-road school in Tus­cany – and, al­though the scenery and gor­geous weather is ap­pre­ci­ated, this isn’t the most scin­til­lat­ing tar­mac in Europe. But it’s a good thing, be­cause the stop-start ride demon­strates the new bike’s many small yet cu­mu­la­tively sub­stan­tial im­prove­ments over the pre­vi­ous, orig­i­nal Mul­tistrada 1200 En­duro.

The 1260, as the name sug­gests, gains an ex­tra 64cc, more torque and power, an up and down quick­shifter, re­vised rid­ing po­si­tion and ride height, up­graded en­gine man­age­ment and a re­vamped sys­tem of menus to help nav­i­gate the bike’s mul­ti­ple sus­pen­sion and en­gine mode op­tions. The en­gine and elec­tron­ics changes bring the En­duro in line with the cur­rent Mul­tistrada 1260, and the new er­gonomics and in­ter­face are de­signed to make the En­duro ac­ces­si­ble to a wider (or at least phys­i­cally smaller) range of riders. The En­duro’s new en­gine and quick­shifter shine brightly. The pre­vi­ous model used the 152bhp, vari­able-valve timed, 1198cc V-twin from the Mul­tistrada 1200 S – and, on the road, it hardly lacked midrange grunt or top end. On the dyno, though, a torque curve dip emerged be­tween 4500rpm and 6000rpm. I’d never no­ticed it, pos­si­bly be­cause the 1200 En­duro’s lower gear­ing masked the dip. But ei­ther way, the new, longer­stroke, 1262cc 158bhp V-twin is no­tice­ably fat­ter and more en­er­getic across its rev range. Du­cati say it’s mak­ing 17 per cent more torque at 5500rpm and I be­lieve them – the 1260 leaps from apex to apex on a sliver of eas­ily con­trol­lable ride-by-wire throt­tle, punt­ing out dra­matic gobs of drive and with much of Du­cati’s tra­di­tional driv­e­train chat­ter all-but elim­i­nated by the smooth­ing com­bus­tion of its vari­able valve tim­ing sys­tem (re­vised on the new mo­tor to help fill in the torque curve). The quick­shifter also helps with bark­ing up and down the ra­tios – but al­beit with an oc­ca­sional, lurch­ing dou­ble-tap from a clumsy foot. The 1260’s chas­sis changes are more sub­tle – shorter sus­pen­sion travel has dropped seat height by 10mm, brought pegs closer to the ground, and low­ered the En­duro’s cen­tre of grav­ity. Com­bined with ’bars set 30mm lower, the changes are de­signed to grant En­duro ac­cess to hu­mans with non-gi­raffe legs. Changes such as th­ese would usu­ally com­pro­mise off-road per­for­mance, but in re­al­ity only for pro off-road riders. For us novices an af­ter­noon rum­bling along Tus­can moun­tain trails re­veals the new bike to be eas­ier to man­age off-road as well as on it. The new En­duro’s fi­nal sig­nif­i­cant changes are soft­ware-based; a new sys­tem of menus and switch con­trol in­puts make nav­i­gat­ing set­tings more in­tu­itive. And it re­ally does; four global modes (Sport, Tour­ing, Ur­ban and En­duro) still ad­just en­gine re­sponse, power, trac­tion con­trol, brak­ing and semi­ac­tive sus­pen­sion set­tings, but ac­cess­ing deep menus is eas­ier and quicker than be­fore. Fi­nally, the En­duro comes in a tex­tured Sand op­tion for an ex­tra £200. But I’d take the smoother fin­ish.

Bike says: ‘The new 1262cc 158bhp V-twin is no­tice­ably fat­ter and more en­er­getic across its rev range’

New so ware makes menus eas­ier to ac­cess

New Mul­tistrada sits lower, for the less long of leg

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