Since its inception, the Ducati Multistrada has been a favorite amongst sport-touring riders looking to travel long distances in comfort. But with the performance edge, Ducati motorcycles are known for.
It’s only lately, however, that Ducati has taken this segment seriously, and the Multistrada 1260 Enduro is the most adventure-worthy Multistrada yet.
More than just a standard Multistrada with wire-spoke wheels, Ducati really focused on making the 1260 Enduro a worthy competitor to the BMW R1250GS and KTM 1290 Super Adventure.
The Testastretta DVT 1262cc V-Twin makes loads of power, but by having the DVT variable valve timing it also delivers loads of low-end torque so you don’t need to rev it out to get moving.
But there’s no getting around it. The Multistrada 1260 Enduro is a big bike. It needs to be if it expects to compete with the BMW and KTM. Lately, consumers and manufacturers alike have realized these big motorcycles – while immensely capable – can be scary and intimidating. A smaller version would be a great way to appeal to intimidated masses.
Enter the Ducati Multistrada 950 S. You can call the 950 S the result of Ducati sticking the 1260 Enduro in the dryer and setting it on high. This marginally shrunken version is the result.
With its smaller dimensions, reduced weight, lower seat height, and 937cc Testastretta 11º engine, this could be the answer many are looking for. Ducati even equips the 950 S with wire-spoke wheels for the more adventure-oriented amongst you.
So, this begs the question: Which one is better for Adventure? The answer depends on your personal preferences, but here we’ll examine each version of the Multistrada so you can decide which one is right for you.
The obvious difference between the two models lies in what’s between the frame. With the Multistrada 1260 you get Ducati’s Testastretta DVT 1262, which makes 158 hp and 94 lb-ft of torque. Equipped with DVT, or Desmodromic Variable valve Timing, the 1262 makes a broad spread of power that you can tap into whenever you need it.
On the other end, the Multistrada 950 is powered by a 937cc V-Twin called the Testastretta 11º. This references the 11º valve overlap, which helps the engine deliver a nice range of power for its size. Specifically, the Multi 950 is rated at 113 horsepower and 71 lb-ft of torque.
If 45 horsepower and 23 lb-ft of torque don’t sound like much of a difference (even though they are!), remember that the 1260 is a bigger motorcycle in every sense of the word. It’s physically larger, which results in a motorcycle weighing around 60 lbs more than the smaller 950.
That said, Ducati reimagined the 1260 Enduro to separate it from the normal 1200cc road-biased Multistrada. The suspension travel is less, which brings down the seat height to make it more manageable.
Critical geometry figures like wheelbase, swingarm length, rake/trail had to be reconfigured to suit the conditions the Enduro would face, from high-speed road riding, to tackling off-road adventures.
Besides the fact the 950 was always imagined as a road-biased sport-touring bike first, its optional spoked-wheels do lend it some off-road ability. The handlebars will let you stand up on the pegs to maneuver, but its overall geometry still favors pavement over dirt.
And when you look at the bottom of the motorcycle, you’ll see the bash guard is much more robust on the 1260 compared to the 950. A light fire road is easy enough to manage, but using the 950 to follow the 1260 Enduro into more technical terrain is probably a bad idea.
Both the 1260 Enduro and 950 come with Ducati’s Skyhook suspension. An electronic, semi-active suspension system, the Skyhook suspension lets the rider adjust the attitude of the fork and shock independently with buttons instead of tools.
You can tailor the settings for the conditions, the terrain, or the amount of weight on the motorcycle (like whether or not you have a passenger or luggage or both). On road anyway, the Skyhook suspension is a great feature for long-distance touring and the different conditions you’ll face. The jury is still out on its off-road and adventure performance.
The Multistrada 1260 Enduro was made for adventure and wears a 19-/17-inch wheel combination. A recent addition to the 950 lineup, the version with spoked wheels also sees a 19/17 setup.
Pirelli rubber is on both bikes – the Scorpion Trail II, in a 120/70-19 front and 170/60-17 rear for both. For more aggressive rubber in the dirt, both Multistradas can wear Pirelli’s Scorpion Rally tire in the same sizes.
One of the hallmarks of modern Ducatis is the amount of rider aides they come packed with. Both of these Multistradas are clear examples of that trend. Obviously, safety is paramount in motorcycling, so both bikes come with a six-axis Inertial Measurement Unit that basically act as the brains for the Ducati Safety Pack.
What you get with the Ducati Safety Pack is Cornering ABS, traction control, riding modes, power modes, cornering lights, and vehicle hold control, which activates the rear brake when you come to a stop on a hill. Then when you’re ready to go again, the rear brake keeps you from rolling backward (and potentially stalling the bike) while you play with the throttle and clutch to move forward.
The 1260 Enduro goes a step further and adds wheelie control, too. Apart from wheelie control though, both bikes also have the Skyhook Suspension, up/down quickshifter, cruise control, a 5-inch color TFT display, LED lights, and self-cancelling turn signals.
Besides the engine size and intended environments both were meant to thrive in, the next biggest difference between the two is price. Starting at $17,595 USD, the Multistrada 950 S undercuts the 1260 Enduro’s $22,095 USD starting price by quite a bit.
Judging by the fact it has Enduro in its name, it’s easy to think the Multistrada 1260 is the better adventure bike. We can’t blame you for thinking that, either. It was designed for adventure.
The 950 S, even with its spoked wire wheels, simply isn’t as capable off the beaten path as its bigger stablemate. However, choosing which one is right for you is a different matter. If an adventure-first Ducati Multistrada is what you’re after, then the 1260 Enduro is the obvious choice.
But there are several reasons to opt for the 950 S. Its smaller size, lighter weight, easier maneuverability, and lower price are all important considerations if light-duty adventure is more your thing, but you also see yourself spending more time on the road.
So there you have it. An adventure-focused breakdown of both the Ducati Multistrada 1260 Enduro and Multistrada 950 S. Choose wisely and happy riding.