Test ride review: Ducati Multistrada 1260 Enduro
Steven Spielberg created the stuff of nightmares for kids like me (in 1993) with the first Jurassic Park film. I was so terrified of the Velociraptor kitchen scene that I couldn’t sleep for days, forget heading to the kitchen to grab my favourite ice-cream from the fridge. 25 years later, my chemistry with ADVs is the same. These machines are mighty, super powerful, and feature such advanced tech that they almost can open doors on their own, like the raptors! Okay, that seems like a far-fetched idea, but you get the point, don’t you? I have always been this black top kinda guy, and had no affinity towards loose surfaces. But when the Ed deputed me for a Ducati ride amidst the picturesque locales of Italy, I couldn’t dare to say no. Even when it’s Ducati’s flagship, off-road oriented version of the Multistrada. Presenting to you the Multistrada 1260 Enduro. Basically, the raptor from my childhood days was back to haunt me again. And things didn’t go as I had planned. At all! Let me tell you how.
Just how Jurassic is it?
I have seen people being overwhelmed by the 1200 Enduro in the past, simply refusing to even get onto the saddle thanks to its gigantic dimensions. I was apprehensive as well at first. But the 1260 is a different kind of animal… erm, raptor. It’s slightly more docile thanks to a seat that has been lowered by 10mm (860mm now) and the suspension at both ends has a shorter stroke at 185mm (lowered by 15mm). The handlebar has been lowered by 30mm and the pegs too have been brought down by 10mm. The wheelbase is longer for more stability but the rake remains a sharp at 25deg, to retain Ducati’s sporty genes. But the piece de resistance is definitely the XDiavel derived 1.3-litre V-twin that churns out 156bhp, 4bhp up over the 1200 Enduro. The USP here is the torque though. The new motor churns out more torque at 4000rpm than any of its big-bored rivals. 85 per cent of the total 128Nm is available at just 3500rpm and now there’s 18 per cent more torque at 5500rpm. Abhishek had sampled the Multistrada 1260 a few months ago and was all gung ho about its supersonic highway abilities. He obviously did not have the pleasure of taking it off-road unlike me, but he did mention that it’d be far better than its predecessor, thanks to the engine’s newly developed traits. And he was right, but more on that later. Thanks to lighter but stronger wheels and swingarm, the loading capacity has gone up by 20kg. And albeit with added cee-cees, the 1260 Enduro weighs the same as the 1200 Enduro.
Form and fiction:
Now the terrain around Tuscany, Italy is similar to what I have seen on Isla Nublar, the fictional island featured in the Jurassic World flick. The road ride lasted for more than 120km in which we tackled twisties along the mountains and some straights. The 1260 Enduro feels at home here. A nicely weighted clutch swiftly allows you to shift into first and once you get past 10-15kmph, you forget that you’re riding a 254kg behemoth. It picks up speed like an ornithomimids, the fastest dinosaur that ever walked on earth. Your fears too seem to disappear at a similar pace and within no time you’ll have hit 200kmph, and it’s just the third cog! You don’t have to downshift if you get down to even 1500rpm. The torque takes care of everything. The fuelling is precise unlike Ducatis of the past, and power delivery is a different ball game as well. And honestly, looking at the surroundings, I had missed my line a couple of times during the ride. But the cornering ABS along with the electronics package takes care of you. Whenever I made mistakes, she embraced me like a mother and allowed me to live another day. The quickshifter too is brilliant and I hardly encountered any dead shifts and then there’s cruise control! Many people are contemplating an intercontinental ride on this beast, but I think it can even do intergalactic travel. The Moon would be perfect if you consider its off road abilities. And that I did discover, thanks to the 60km trail that we all were taken through on a bike that was equipped with the optional Pirelli Scorpion Rally rubber.
Improved off-road cred
This is where it all actually comes together! Even for a noob like me, everything fell into place easily. Standing and riding is second nature on the 1260 Enduro. In Enduro mode with the TC off, sliding the rear was a joy and if you pushed too hard, the electronic nannies would take care of you. And this is where the magic of torque comes into play! The Tigers have always been badass when it comes to off-roading thanks to their precise gear ratios and bottom-end torque. This is the closest the Multistrada has ever come to the Triumphs when it comes to off-roading prowess. I mean, obviously, the Multi is the king of the road in the ADV game, but the Enduro now makes it a strong contender even in the off-road specific genre, especially with the advent of the BMW R 1250 GS. That said, the 1260 Enduro was slightly lazy on the road thanks to its long stroke suspension and longer wheelbase. But to have fun on the tarmac, you always have the regular Multistrada 1260 S. The Enduro then caters to the hardcore 10-15 per cent of Multistrada buyers who know what they actually want from their machine. That is, sheer off-roading ability for all, including amateurs like me.
Things have moved on you see. Cut to 2015 and Chris Pratt has already domesticated a bunch of Velociraptors in the Jurassic World movie. The 1260 Enduro has been a similar case for me. It scares you when you look at it, but you always know that you can play around with it if you train it well. It’ll be happy to wag its tail around just like your pet dog! And now that I have lived with one, I can’t wait to have one of my own. Such is the impact of the Multi! Maybe I’ll go for the 950 then. And I have already thought of a name for it. Blue. Google ‘jurassic world blue’ and you will know why.
Missed out on EICMA 2018? Read about the new KTM 790 Adventure and ‘R’ here