2016 Ducati Multistrada 1200 Enduro First Ride Preview

Live from Sardinia with the new Multistrada Enduro

Ready For Anything

Some of the bikes parked around the villa grounds are shod with Pirelli’s Scorpion Rally knobbies. It’s possible the Enduro may be factory equipped with the aggressive off-road Pirellis, similar to the way BMW’s R1200GS Adventure is available with Continental’s proven TKC-80s.©Motorcyclist

Do 600-plus-pound motorcycles belong off road? Ducati evidently thinks so. With the release of the new Multistrada 1200 Enduro (see our EICMA First Look here) Ducati has joined the ranks of manufacturers that offer a big ADV that's purpose-built to handle rough terrain.

This new model in the Multistrada family is designed for ambitious adventurers and aimed squarely at the BMW R1200GS Adventure and KTM 1190 Adventure R, two bikes that dominate the off-road segment of the vast ADV class. Compared to the base-model Multistrada—which is a fantastic all-round machine with a feisty personality, sportbike handling, and all-day comfort—the new Enduro has more suspension travel (nearly 8 inches), a larger fuel tank (7.9 gallons!), a bigger front wheel, and numerous other changes aimed at making it more capable off road. According to Ducati, the Enduro has 266 new or redesigned parts, and that doesn't include simple stuff like fasteners.

More Than Just A Makeover

These are just a few of the major components that were redesigned to adapt the Enduro to off-road work. Ducati says that 266 components are new or significantly altered. Look closely and you’ll see a new (double-sided) swingarm, new fork (with more travel and greater offfset), and lots of other major parts.©Motorcyclist

To put the bike through its paces Ducati flew journalists to the rugged island of Sardinia, located in the Mediterranean west of the Italian peninsula. A teaser video released late last year showed the Enduro catching big air on a motocross track, and the invite for the launch included a line warning that "Only extremely experienced off-road riders will be present for the launch." The invite also suggested bringing both touring apparel and motocross gear—will we be charging it on a Vet track tomorrow? I'm not sure, but I'm up for anything!

Standing Room

The Enduro’s bar is 50mm higher, a bit closer to the rider, and features a new bend. The changes are intended to improve ergonomics while in the standing position off road. The mirror stalks were changed for the same reason.©Motorcyclist

More likely we’ll be bashing about the island’s rough interior. Just inland of our posh beachside villa are some seriously rugged-looking mountains. Is the new Enduro rugged enough to handle them? I’m here to find out. Check back in a few days to see how the new bike performs.

Tomorrow won't be the first time we've ridden a Ducati off road, but it will be the first time we've ridden a Ducati that was designed for it! Last year Zack Courts and I took a Ducati Scrambler deep into the Rocky Mountains (click here to watch Scramblers in the Rockies now), and on another occasion we took a Multistrada 1200 S off-road (click here for On Two Wheels: Tested to the Limit), to the track, and too the dragstrip!

Abuse-Friendly Components

The Enduro has steel cleated footpegs (with removable rubber inserts) as well as a steel shift lever (with folding tip) and steel rear-brake lever (with height-adjustable tip) for better durability. Bend a steel lever and you can bend it back—that doesn’t work with cast-aluminum parts. The Enduro also has a larger, more robust skid plate that’s mounted directly to the frame via forged-aluminum brackets.©Motorcyclist