Let’s get this out there, my biking preference has been for Yamaha’s offerings: FS1E, XT125, RD200, RD250, RD350LC, XJ650, a certain YZF600R, FZS600, FZ6 Fazer, FZ8 Fazer and most recently a MT09 Tracer. So how on earth did I end up on the 2021 Ducati 950s Multistrada?
I Have Been Assimilated!
Well the seed was sown back in 2011, when a friend of mine took a gamble and bought a Ducati 848. Prior to that he had ridden only Japanese sports bikes such as the Kawasaki 636. Well ever since then I have had the pleasure of following his various Ducati machines about and watched how things developed.
Fast forward to February 2023 I took him and my boss (without whom the last few bikes would not have been possible), along to Pidcocks, the Ducati dealer in Nottingham. I did the deed and bought myself a Ducati: It was with some disbelieve that it would ever happen and have to say the service I received there was exceptional. I cannot recommend them enough. A 2021 950 Ducati Multistrada is now my ride!
A fine looking piece of kit, it has to be said
The first trip I ever did on the 950 came on April Fool’s day of all days! My old friend was with me. He now rides a rather lovely V2 Panigale. It was over to Sheffield to his bike serviced and it was bloody freezing: Only 3º degrees! To be honest was bricking it having never had anything this expensive!!!. The ride back was much better temp wise as we got a max of 7º degrees, positively balmy
But my thoughts were maybe had made a mistake: The Multistrada didn’t feel as lively as my old MT09 Tracer or as involving. I was thinking when does the power come in? When we got back and said to my friend that I thought he had taken it steady for me. He replied no, he’d just rode back in his usual style. Well normally he would have had to wait sometime for me to catch up! So clearly the 950 is a deceptively quick bike.
The seating and riding position for me is just perfect: My battered body is now unable to take foot pegs mounted too high that force my legs to be bent back too far. The Ducati I can ride for hours on end with no pain or aches, other than those I would normally get from being in one position for that long.
Well Judged Equipment Levels
The toys with this model are just what I need. There is no Satnav. Even the new Yamaha Tracer 9GT can have that in the dash now, but comes at a price: £15k for a Yamaha? Seems somehow expensive to me. Back to the Multistrada and Cruise-control, cornering ABS, Heated grips, electronic suspension, LED & cornering lights , illuminated switchgear, keyless ignition , Quick-Shifter and a colour TFT screen are all fitted. The list goes on! Remember the conveyor belt on that 11970’s game show The Generation Game? I half expected a cuddly toy to appear!
Crisply presented TFT screen in both day and night modes
I haven’t done as much riding as I wanted to this year. In fact due to the sudden economic downturn that has hit so many of us, I have considered selling. But I’ve hung in there. Chin up eh. I have gone on trips up into the Yorkshire Moors with friends to reccie for a group ride out we organise. These gave me a chance to gel with this bike. Prior to that the longest trip was my when I attended a fwllow biker’s funeral. This was in weather best described as interesting and a chance to start adjusting to the V Twin concept.
On the ‘Taste of Lincolnshire’ run with a group of like minded souls
Now having spent time going to work on it etc and some smaller trips I was beginning to understand how to use the gears better: Ride the torque curve rather than rag the arse of it .
Then came the bike group ride out, (‘ToL’ or Taste of Lincolnshire) , which I was a bit nervous about. This would be the first time in a large group and wondered if I could keep up and the momentum going. I need not have worried. The ride went perfectly as did the Multistrada and me!
Now , the good points:-
- The electronic suspension: What can I say? It’s just sublime. The ride is just bang on for me, totally adjustable, so much so that when I took a pillion to Sheffield to pick his bike up, I set it up so I couldn’t tell the difference between having him on it and not!. There is something like 450 settings for the suspension and abs, engine , luggage etc.
- Handling is just so much easier and it doesn’t bounce and wobble as the Tracer did when set for me. There is a definite difference between the 3 main settings , Touring, Sport and Urban, or as I see it Medium, Hard or Soft
- Hydraulic clutch: So much easier for my left hand and smoother for setting off
- Heated grips! Thank you Ducati!
- Cruise control. The first time I have had it on a bike and really like it
- Quick shifter. Love it, but more in the bad points
- Fit and finish is exceptional
The Not So Good points:-
1) Quick shifter: When it works it is great! However I had a lot of issues when I first got the bike. But after phoning the dealer and being told to do a tyre calibration it has been a lot better, Although I wouldn’t say 100 %
2) There is a vagueness on the edge of the front tyre when leant over in a bend. I can’t say whether it’s the electronic suspension or the 19 inch wheel.
3) Price of extras: If I had bought this new with all the kit on it has , we would be talking close to 18k
4) Screen: It protects very well, but I have lot of buffeting from the lower sides with wind noise on the shoulders no matter where I put it. I have fitted aftermarket Iconic Parts screen-risers. This has made a big difference to the point where I have not felt the need to change things further.
5) No keyless tank lock. The bike comes with keyless ignition, but you need a key handy to put fuel in. WTF is the thinking behind that? Ducati want ANOTHER £250 for this! It would cost them nothing really to add this to the S model surely?
Composed and Capable
The ride is smooth and comfortable, the power delivery is good with bags of torque and engine braking. When it really gets going there is an excellent roar from the air-box.
Brakes, Brembo front and rear, are excellent compared to other bikes I have tried. Being both progressive and really biting when needed. However I cannot comment on the ABS as it has not kicked in as yet. Gearbox is a lot less clunky than the Yamahas I have owned. Yamaha are notorious for this. No whining either!
Controls are light and easy to use and placed logically. For example the switch for high-beam is far better than the Tracer. But the TFT from the V4 Multistrada would be a welcome update.
If an update were to be done properly I would put a slightly detuned engine from the V2 Panigale. A boost to 125 bhp would be great! having said that this it is very quick bike when needed. This is being nit-picky on a 3 year old machine which to be honest has more power than the Superbikes from not so long ago.
I am a Happy Bunny
So in conclusion I would have to say I have fallen for this bike: Like any other it has got its issues: The flaky quick shifter, service costs and that front end vagueness. These are outweighed by all the positives. I love the fact I can get an easy 200 mile tank range , in comfort and pressing on where required. Having only just started to ride in low light and near darkness I can say the lights are fantastic, and the cornering lights really do work! Even when I’m going down Elsham Hill!
If I don’t keep the Ducati very long I can at least say I had one and tried a bit of exotica! This has been the best adventure and leap of faith I have taken. I have to say it has paid off for keeping me going on bikes. The Ducati 950 Multistrada is a truly great ride!
Words and Pictures: Pete Worsley (aka ‘Mechy’)