With the traction provided by the Scorpion Rally tires, I was working my way up rocky and rutted roads with confidence. The skidplate was there to take the occasional rock bash, and other guards made me feel like I didn’t have to worry too much about dropping it—not to mention that any repairs weren’t coming out of my wallet.
Although I have extensive off-road experience, adventure bikes always make me nervous in the dirt. They’re heavy and powerful, and often don’t have great tires. The Ducati Multistrada 950 Enduro Pro solved those problems for the most part.
The suspension—48mm KYB fork and Sachs shock on a double-sided swingarm—transitions to the dirt without pulling out tools for damping changes. No, it is not because you get electronic suspension adjustment—it’s due to the fact that Ducati got the settings nicely in the ballpark right from the factory. As I wasn’t at race speeds on either the street or dirt, the compromise settings suited me nicely.
The standard 950 is just 500 pounds with the 5.3-gallon fuel tank filled, which isn’t bad for a Big Enduro bike, though this kitted 950 weighs a good amount more. The 950 motor is a sweet one, especially in the Enduro mode. With ABS and traction control held at bay, plus the big Rally knobbies, you truly can ride it like a big dirt bike.
While I know that Associate Editor Jess McKinley could take the 950 Enduro Pro places that would have me turning the bike around, this modified 950 gave me the confidence to explore places I would never dream of riding any standard ADV bike—and it did it solo.
Braking, turning, and acceleration are all fully intuitive, and that is exactly what you need in the roughest terrain. I was even able to get some air on small jumps, as well as powerslide the 950 out of smooth corners. It’s a blast to ride!
Taking the remarkably twisty and steep Hot Springs Road down to the blistering San Joaquin Valley from the cool Sierra Nevadas, the Multistrada was clicked back into the Sport mode for some spirited riding on an empty road. The Rally tires make themselves known, though once adapted to, satisfying speed and performance is there for the taking.
The Touring mode resumed once I exited Granite Road north of Bakersfield. US Route 99 took me south at high-speed to the foot of the Grapevine, which guards the north end of the San Emigdio mountain range and the San Andreas Fault.
There, I stopped for personal refueling at Panda Express at Wheeler Ridge. While I was enjoying broccoli beef and grilled teriyaki chicken, an older lady walked up to my window seat. Outside was the Multistrada 950.
“Is that your motorcycle?” she asked. I smiled and told her it was. She responded with, “It’s beautiful.”
Later in the meal, a young female employee came up and said emphatically, “That is a cool motorcycle!” If you’re looking for a motorcycle that will give you plenty of pride of ownership, this is it.
Taking the Multistrada 950 up the steep Grapevine grade was a treat. On crowded Interstate 5, offense is a good defense, so I was passing lagging cars in clumps. One of them had the nice lady in the passenger seat as her husband was plodding his way up the hill in their SUV. I waved and she smiled—I can only imagine what she was thinking.