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ser friendly. That’s the characteristic Ducati had in mind when it set about revamping the Enduro variant of its Multistrada adventure bike. As well as bringing the latest electronics and rider assistance, Ducati has updated the instruments to improve the way you change and customize modes. The suspension is new, the engine is new, and the styling, well, they figured that wasn’t broken, so best leave it alone. In the words of Project Manager Stefano Tarabusi, “Three years since Ducati entered the Enduro segment with the Multistrada and it is time for a face-lift. But this is a functional face-lift, not an aesthetic one, to make the bike more enjoyable, more accessible, and more intuitive.” We had 120 miles of breathtaking riding around the mountains of Tuscany to find out if they succeeded.

When choosing a location for its off-road riding school and to launch its latest Multistrada, how could Ducati pick anywhere other than a region famed for fine Chianti wines and olive oils? Tucked up in the hills outside Florence in Tuscany, Italy, is the Castello Di Nipozzano and its surrounding estate, home to the Ducati Riding Experience (DRE) Enduro Academy. Headed up by ex-Dakar rider Beppe Gualini, the aim of the Enduro Academy is, in his words, "To show what can be done by an ordinary rider on a big twin-cylinder enduro bike, and to allow riders to discover the capability of the bike because a good bike with a bad rider is no good."

2019 Ducati Multistrada 1260 Enduro jump
The Multistrada 1260’s suspension has been refined with slightly less travel to lower its overall CG.Milagro

His take on an enduro school is perfectly Italian—running events from May through to September because that is when the weather is good, and housing visiting riders in five-star accommodation. With hundreds of miles of off-road tracks through vineyards and forests, it is adventure bike heaven, especially for those who enjoy a glass of wine after a day in (or out of) the saddle. It seemed a bit of a mystery how an off-road school could come to be based out of a 17th century villa but, as Beppe points out with a smile, it helps that the owner of the estate is also an enduro rider.

2019 Ducati Multistrada 1260 Enduro
The styling, well, Ducati figured that wasn’t broken, so best leave it alone.Milagro

To evaluate the new model, we had 80 miles of winding mountain road, climbing to 3,400 feet, before heading back down to the villa to switch to off-road tracks. On the road we tested a bike dressed in Sand color, with a unique matte, rough finish to give it the appearance of desert sand. The road bikes also had aluminum boxes from the Ducati accessory catalog along with a taller screen, and they wore Pirelli Scorpion Trail II tires. For the off-road test, the bikes came in the second color option, Ducati Red, lost the luggage, gained a smaller screen, and sat on the more-aggressive Pirelli Scorpion Rally tires.

2019 Ducati Multistrada 1260 Enduro
The Multistrada really looks after you off road, helping you find traction on the loose stone climbs out of the vineyards.Milagro

Bigger is better right? That’s what the guys in Ducati’s engine development center are saying, so the new Multistrada Enduro gets the latest 1,262cc Testastretta engine for 2018. This engine has the torque-boosting DVT (Desmodromic Variable Timing) valve system, helping it to produce 85 percent of its maximum torque from as low as 3,500 rpm. What that translates to in the seat is a bike that requires less gear shifting and less revs to make good progress on a twisty road.

2019 Ducati Multistrada 1260 Enduro
Each of the riding modes can be customized to your own preference, by making tweaks to suspension, power, ABS, Traction Control, Wheelie Control, and just about anything else you can think of.Milagro

Winding out through the vineyards, I challenged myself to stick to one gear for as long as I dared. What a waste of a challenge—the DTV-equipped motor laughs off hairpins tackled in third gear, pulling smoothly from impossibly low rpm. Rolling through mid-rpm turns, I could feel occasional surging at small throttle openings, but with the throttle response backed off to a softer map, this was barely noticeable. As the roads open out, still in third I wound the throttle back and let the 158-hp motor rip right to the redline. Holy cow this thing is a missile; nothing this comfortable should be able to go so damn fast. Mercifully, the huge Brembo brakes are equally awe-inspiring at hauling the sand-colored express back down to earth, with the cornering ABS function there to mop up any excess speed that overspills into the turns.

2019 Ducati Multistrada 1260 Enduro
The standard seat height is 0.4 inch lower than the previous 1200 Enduro, making tricky U-turns and awkward parking spots that little more manageable.Milagro

Not that you need to be going slow for the turns—the Multistrada loves to play in the bends, going exactly where you ask it to with minimal fuss. A couple of times in Touring mode I got carried away thinking I was on a sportbike and found the suspension moving around a little more than I wanted. But a switch to the firmer suspension settings in Sport mode had everything back under control and composed again.

2019 Ducati Multistrada 1260 Enduro visor
The tall screen allowed comfortable visor-up riding up to around 50 mph and gave good protection beyond that.Milagro

Not only has going stupidly fast never been so easy, but it has never been safer, or more sophisticated for that matter. Once the preserve of fancy executive cars, now you get a 5-inch TFT display on your adventure bike, with easy-to-select riding modes and enough information to fill an hourly status update to the folks back home about your ride. Each of the riding modes can be customized to your own preference, by making tweaks to suspension, power, ABS, Traction Control, Wheelie Control, and just about anything else you can think of. We were told there are around 400 possible combinations available and, I have to be honest here, I did not test them all. Ducati has simplified the process, by supplying presets for riding solo, with pillion, luggage, or both. And for those who cannot sleep at night for worrying about their riding mode settings, you can now connect your smartphone to the bike via Bluetooth and upload presets using the Ducati Link app.

Ducati Multistrada L-Twin engine
The Multi’s L-Twin engine has the torque-boosting DVT (Desmodromic Variable Timing) valve system, helping it to produce 85 percent of its maximum torque from as low as 3,500 rpm.Milagro

While 80 miles of mountain riding isn’t enough to give the bike an iron butt stamp of approval, it did highlight that the accessory low seat (33.1 inches, 0.8 inch lower than standard) was as stiff as a board. At 5-foot-8 I found the standard seat height fine, helped by what is, for an adventure bike, a pretty narrow chassis between your legs. The standard seat height is 0.4 inch lower than the previous 1200 Enduro, making tricky U-turns and awkward parking spots that little more manageable. The tall screen allowed comfortable visor-up riding up to around 50 mph and gave good protection beyond that. The aluminum side cases are produced by Touratech and have a combined capacity of 18.7 gallons, complemented by an 8.3-gallon top case. Lucky then, that the new wheels are both lighter and stronger, allowing a 44-pound increase to the total payload, now 509 pounds.

2019 Ducati Multistrada 1260 Enduro clutch
The Enduro version has a lower first gear compared to the regular Multistrada, giving your clutch hand an easier time on slow technical sections.Milagro

When we switched to the off-road-prepared bikes, another side to the Enduro 1260 came to light. With the boxes removed and a low screen, the comfortable tourer suddenly felt more nimble, more compact, and ready to tackle any terrain. The default settings for Enduro mode set the power to 100 hp with a soft throttle response. In this setup, the Multistrada really looks after you off road, helping you find traction on the loose stone climbs out of the vineyards. The traction control allows a degree of sliding if you are smooth, but quickly grabs the reins if things get out of hand.

2019 Ducati Multistrada 1260 Enduro seat
Ducati has simplified the touring process, by supplying presets for riding solo, with pillion, luggage, or both.Milagro

The Enduro version has a lower first gear compared to the regular Multistrada, giving your clutch hand an easier time on slow technical sections. The quickshifter that allows clutchless up- and downshifts was a little clunky off road, working much better during normal road riding. The lightened alloy sump guard barely noticed the rocks and stones clattering in to it, keeping the important bits of your bike safe. The hand guards, however, were not so fortunate and out of three bikes dropped on the trails, two needed replacement hand guards and the integrated indicators contained in them.

5-inch TFT display
Once the preserve of fancy executive cars, now you get a 5-inch TFT display on your adventure bike, with easy-to-select riding modes and enough information to fill an hourly status update to the folks back home about your ride.Milagro
2019 Ducati Multistrada 1260 Enduro
To evaluate the new model, we had 80 miles of winding mountain road, climbing to 3,400 feet, before heading back down to the villa to switch to off-road tracks.Milagro

On the road, the Multistrada 1260 Enduro is blisteringly fast, yet sophisticated enough to get itself out of whatever trouble your right hand gets it in to. The riding modes provide a Jekyll and Hyde style contrast, giving a bike that’s also happy cruising along in a single gear while you stare out across the vineyards and daydream about retiring to an Italian mountain. The numerous changes across the whole bike have evolved Ducati’s adventure enduro model into a much easier, far more forgiving bike to ride. The wild 158-hp tire shredder is still there if you want it, but now it’s a stunning adventure bike that flatters riders of all abilities both on road and off.