2016 Ducati Multistrada 1200 Enduro First Ride Review: Pavement

First impressions from our road ride on the Multistrada Enduro

2016 Ducati Multistrada 1200 Enduro first impression
Check back in a couple days for a comprehensive First Ride review with more riding impressions of the 2016 Ducati Multistrada 1200 Enduro.©Motorcyclist

I flew over 9,000 miles to ride the new Multistrada Enduro for about 90 miles. That ratio may seem a little out of balance but it was totally worth it because if I had to rate the roads of Sardinia on a scale of 1 to 10, I'd give them an 11.

Jumping on the Enduro, you notice that it’s tall and it’s big. An extra 1.2 inches of suspension travel translates to a 35-inch seat height, meaning that I was on my tiptoes at stops. Spreading out before you is the massive tank, which Ducati expanded in all directions so it would hold another 2.6 gallons of gas. Capacity has swollen to a full 7.9 gallons, suggesting a range of over 300 miles. Needless to say, we didn’t need to stop for fill ups during today’s ride.

2016 Ducati Multistrada 1200 Enduro press launch in Sardinia, Italy

Heaven On Earth

A fantastic bike + world-class roads + views of the Mediterranean coast make this motorcyclist's face hurt from smiling. This morning we pounded pavement on the new Enduro, and this afternoon we'll ride it in the dirt.©Motorcyclist

The roads on Sardinia are narrow and deliciously twisty, and the views of the coastline are like something you’d see in a travel magazine. Devouring these roads on the Multi was a blast, but the Enduro gives up a fair bit of sporting prowess to the standard Multistrada. (To the standard Multi’s credit, it’s incredibly athletic, and in my mind is really just a sportbike on stilts.) The Enduro’s extra weight (over 50 pounds), longer wheelbase, and longer suspension make for heavier steering and a less planted feel at speed. Hard braking and quick direction changes are where it loses the most ground to the standard Multistrada, but for such a large machine the Enduro can still hustle down a twisty road.

The Testastretta engine with DVT (for an explanation of Desmodromic Variable Timing, click here) deserves most of the credit for the Enduro's speed. Besides a shorter first gear, this is the same engine we're familiar with, but revised ignition mapping yields significantly stronger midrange performance. And man is this thing smooth down low! Twist the throttle open at 2,500 rpm and the bike gallops forward, and the power just builds from there. Fingers crossed that this superb character is preserved on bikes headed to the US, because this engine is as close to perfect as it gets for this type of motorcycle.

2016 Ducati Multistrada 1200 Enduro dirt test

Dirty Ducati

The Enduro is the first Ducati designed for off-road use, and based on the mud that's spattered on this bike we're in for a fun afternoon!©Motorcyclist

One area where the Enduro bests the standard bike is in terms of comfort. The bigger tank offers more wind protection for your legs and lower body, and in combination with a sizable and easily adjustable windscreen, you’re pretty well protected from the elements. The handlebar is 50mm higher, and as a result your arms extend forward at a very natural and comfortable angle.

Riding the Enduro along the coast was a fantastic experience, but pavement riding isn’t why Ducati made the Enduro model, and it’s not why I came to Sardinia. No, the road riding was just an introduction to the bike. Later this afternoon we’ll head out for some off-road exploration, which I’m really looking forward to. I have plenty of experience on the standard Multistrada off road (check out the On Two Wheels video here), so I’m in a good position to determine if and how much better the Enduro is in the dirt. Check back later for that info, and expect to see a comprehensive First Ride review in a few day’s time. I’ve got a lot more riding impressions to share and there’s quite a bit of intriguing technical info to cover, so don’t miss out!