2019 Ducati Multistrada 950 First Look

John Burns
by John Burns

Ducati takes the high road, the low road, and All the roads...

Ducati‘s smallest “multibike” is designed to provide all the excitement of the Multistrada in a more accessible package. Designed to put performance within everyone’s grasp, says Ducati, the new Multistrada 950 is for those who want to get in some touring – possibly with a passenger and some luggage – and those who want an agile, fun bike that’s ideal for everyday use. Not to mention fashionable.

Now there’s also an S version, which offers the latest technology: Electronic suspension via Ducati Skyhook Suspension (DSS) continuously adjusts fork and shock absorber damping so the suspension responds instantaneously to changes in road surface. Ducati Quick Shift, up and down, (DQS) allows clutchless upshifting and downshifting, and the bike also features an LED headlight, 5-inch color TFT display, a Hands Free system, Cruise Control and backlit switchgear controls.

The base Multistrada 950 came in for some upgrades also, including a 6-axis Bosch IMU (Inertial Measurement Unit), Bosch Cornering ABS, Vehicle Hold Control (VHC) for easier uphill starts, and a hydraulic clutch.

The Multistrada 950 combines Multistrada 1260 and Multistrada 1260 Enduro design features, taking the ‘lightest’ elements from both. The distinctive horizontally extended headlight, beak, adjustable screen, wings and tank are lifted from the Multistrada 1260. The seat, rear grab rail, exhaust, swingarm and wheel sizes come from the Multistrada 1260 Enduro.

New aluminum alloy wheels and the now spoked wheels available for the S version are both lighter than before.

Built with long-range touring in mind, the Multistrada 950 has been designed to ensure outstanding comfort even when fully laden. This has resulted in an ergonomic “triangle” that guarantees, for rider and passenger alike, comfort and control whatever the situation. It can easily seat two people, says Ducati, even with top case and side panniers mounted. A wheelbase of 1,594mm (62.8 in.) is fairly longish.

Seat height is 840 mm (33 inches), with 860 and a 820 mm seats available.

The Multistrada 950 windscreen allows for one-handed vertical adjustment within a range of 60 mm; the accessory line also includes a lower screen. There are two 12-volt power sockets, one in the zone immediately beneath the passenger seat, the other in the dashboard zone. These can be used to power items such as thermal clothing, intercoms or mobile phone chargers. The Garmin sat-nav, available as a Ducati Performance accessory, is powered via a dedicated connector. There’s also a USB port underneath the seat, which can be used to charge smartphones.

The Multistrada 950 is powered by the 937 cm3 Testastretta 11° with Desmodromic timing. Euro 4-rated (in countries where Euro 4 standards apply), this liquid-cooled engine has four valves per cylinder and bore and stroke measurements of 94 and 67.5 mm. Maximum power is claimed to be 113 hp at 9,000 rpm, and maximum torque of 96 Nm (71 pound-feet) at 7,750 rpm. Compression ratio is 12.6:1. Two 53 mm cylindrical-section throttle bodies controlled by an advanced Ride-by-Wire system feed the engine; the exhaust system is of the 2-1-2 type with lateral silencer. Maintenance intervals are 15,000 km (9,320 miles) or every 12 months, with valve clearance inspections required every 30,000 km.

A new self-servo wet slipper clutch requires less lever effort thanks to the new hydraulic control system.

The Multistrada 950 frame uses a solid trellis section with large-diameter, low-thickness tubing and two lateral sub-frames, closed off by a rear load-bearing techno-polymer fibreglass element to maximise torsional rigidity. A enhancing the vehicle’s dynamic performance.

A new, lighter, shell-cast aluminium twin-sided swingarm is painted black.

The Multistrada 950 has a front upside-down 48mm fork with 170mm (6.7 in.) travel, with adjustable spring preload, and hydraulic compression and rebound damping. A single rear shock connects the swingarm to the left cast subframe – again with adjustable spring preload via remote hydraulic knob, also compression and rebound damping. The rear spring is progressive, rear wheel travel is also 170 mm.

The Multistrada 950 is available in Ducati Red while the Multistrada 950 S comes in Ducati Red and Glossy Grey.

Ducati’s copywriter was up late with all the details; why should we take all the credit?

Ducati Press Release:

Ducati Multistrada 950

  • Colours

o Ducati Red with Ducati Red frame and Glossy Black wheels

  • Main as-standard features

o 937 cm3 Testastretta 11° engine with 113 hp at 9,000 rpm and 96 Nm at 7,750 rpm o Exhaust with single silencer o Tubular steel Trellis frame with cast aluminium double-sided swingarm o Seat height 840 mm o Height-adjustable screen o Fuel tank capacity 20 litres o New cast alloy wheels mounting Pirelli Scorpion Trail II tyres, 120/70 ZR17 at the front

and 170/60 ZR17 at the rear o Fully adjustable 48 mm fork with 170 mm of travel o Fully adjustable shock absorber with 170 mm of travel o 4 Riding Modes (Sport, Touring, Urban, Enduro) o Ducati Safety Pack (3-level Bosch Cornering ABS, 8-level DTC) o Vehicle Hold Control (VHC) o LCD Instrumentation o Ready for Ducati Multimedia System (DMS) o Ready for Ducati Quick Shift up & down (DQS)

Ducati Multistrada 950 S

  • Colours
  • Ducati Red with Ducati Red frame and black wheels with red trim (or spoked wheels) 2. Glossy Grey with Ducati Red frame and black wheels with red trim (or spoked wheels)
  • Main as-standard equipment – as per the Multistrada 950 except for:

o Hands Free System o Semi-active electronic suspension with Ducati Skyhook Suspension (DSS) system o Ducati Quick Shift up & down (DQS) o Full LED headlight with Ducati Cornering Lights (DCL) system o Cruise Control o Dashboard with 5″ TFT colour screen o Backlit switchgear controls o Cast alloy / spoked wheels option

Personalisation packages

  • Touring Pack: panniers, heated grips, centre stand
  • Sport Pack: type-approved Ducati Performance silencer by Termignoni (complies with EU homologation requirements), water pump cover in billet aluminium, LED indicators.
  • Urban Pack: top case, tank pocket bag with Tanklock flange, USB port to charge electronic devices
  • Enduro Pack: supplementary LED lights, engine crash bars, aluminium radiator guard, aluminium sump guard, steel footpegs.

This new Multistrada 1260 Enduro is also compatible with the Ducati Link App: this lets riders set ‘journey mode’ (a combination of Load Mode and Riding Mode) and personalise the parameters of each individual Riding Mode (ABS, Ducati Traction Control, etc.) in a user-friendly manner via their smartphones. This versatile App also provides comprehensive maintenance deadline info, a user manual and a Ducati Store locator. Furthermore, the Ducati Link App lets riders record performance and routes so they can share their new Multistrada 950 experiences with the Ducatisti community that already uses the App.

Slick design Clean surfaces, taut lines and contrasting front and rear volumes remain the Multistrada hallmarks, but this time they reach new heights of quality and style. The latest Multistrada 950, in fact, features new side wings, taken from the Multistrada 1260, which make the front end even cleaner and more streamlined.

The Multistrada 950 S is, instead, equipped with the Ducati Skyhook Suspension Evo (DSS) system, based on a 48 mm diameter fork and rear shock (both electronic). Rebound and compression damping are adjusted continuously according to a semi-active approach that ensures optimal vehicle balance.

In practice, the system keeps bike attitude constant whatever the road surface, thus minimising swaying of vehicle, rider and passenger and significantly boosting comfort and safety.

The Skyhook name stems from the unique sensation experienced during riding, as if the bike were suspended from a hook in the sky, keeping it balanced, stable and extremely reactive to any change in attitude. This innovative technology outperforms conventional, passive suspension systems via constant control of dynamic wheel behaviour. Thanks to the smart DSS Evolution system, nearly all the negative effects of too soft or hard a setting are eliminated without any compromising on performance or safety.

DSS Evolution technology analyses data from numerous sensors on the sprung and unsprung weights of the bike to calculate and set the damping needed to make the ride as smooth as possible. An accelerometer on the steering yoke, together with another inside the control unit that tracks the DDS Evolution, provide data on sprung weight, while an accelerometer on the fork bottom provides input on unsprung weight. At the rear, another sensor measures suspension travel. The DSS Evolution processes this information via a semi-active control algorithm that, by referring to an imaginary fixed point in the sky above the bike, makes extremely rapid adjustments to the hydraulic dampers to minimise vehicle movement in relation to this point: just as if the bike were suspended from it (hence the term “skyhook”).

To smooth the load transfers associated with acceleration and deceleration, the system also makes use of the Ducati Traction Control (DTC) longitudinal accelerometer sensor, ABS system pressure detectors (for instantaneous calculation and activation of a response that reduces the resulting vehicle swaying) and data from the Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU), which dynamically reveals the bike’s attitude.

The DSS Evolution system allows fast, user-friendly bike set-up via the new Multistrada 1260 Enduro HMI interface, ensuring suspension is exactly as desired whatever the ride conditions. Just select the desired riding mode (Touring, Sport, Urban or Enduro) and the load configuration: rider only, rider with luggage, rider with passenger or rider with passenger and luggage. Moreover, it’s possible – without any need to tackle complicated sittings – to act on fork and shock absorber separately to fine-adjust front and rear suspension. The system has practically unlimited configuration potential, as the rider can electronically select 400 parameter combinations via the new interface. Riders can also mechanically adjust front fork preload.

Tyres and wheels The Multistrada 950 features redesigned wheels that reduce overall weight by 500 g compared to the previous model. Wheels measure 3.0” x 19’’ at the front and 4.5” x 17’’ at the rear and mount Pirelli Scorpio Trail II tyres (120/70 ZR19 at the front and 170/60 ZR17 at the rear).

This tyre offers a perfect blend of off-road racing capacity and great road performance. Designed for the most demanding motorcyclists, its plus-points include high mileage, consistent performance throughout its life-cycle and first-class performance in the wet. The innovative tread pattern on the SCORPIONTM Trail II combines the off-road approach applied across the SCORPIONTM line with the experience gained by Pirelli in developing the ANGELTM GT, Pirelli’s best sport touring tyre, considered the segment benchmark. The side grooves of the new SCORPION Trail II tyres are designed to ensure optimal drainage in the rain, while the layout and shape of the central grooves not only boost water drainage performance but also ensure better traction, greater stability and more even wear.

Compared to its predecessor, this new tyre guarantees higher mileage without compromising cornering performance and, above all, ensures excellent wet weather performance. The SCORPION Trail II profiles derive directly from those used on the ANGEL GT. Thanks to a shorter, wider contact patch, the profile helps reduce and even out tread wear, thus extending mileage. New profiles have also improved handling, which remains consistent throughout the product life-cycle.

The Multistrada 950 S is also available with tubeless tyre wheels with aluminium rims that have 40 cross-mounted spokes and gravity-cast hubs; these mount chunky Pirelli SCORPION Rally tyres, better suited to off-road riding.

Bosch Brembo brake system with Cornering ABS system The entire Multistrada family features a Brembo braking system with the ABS 9.1ME Cornering device, an integral part of the Ducati Safety Pack (DSP). Bosch Cornering ABS makes use of the Bosch IMU (Inertial Measurement Unit) platform to optimise front and rear braking power even in critical situations and with the bike at considerable lean angles. Through interaction with the Riding Modes, the system provides solutions suitable for any situation or riding condition.

Thanks to an ABS control processor, the Multistrada 950 uses an Electronic Combined Braking System (which merges front and rear braking). This is optimised for Urban and Touring Riding Modes but has a lower degree of intervention in Sport mode where fully automated control is less desirable. The combined braking system increases stability by using four pressure detectors to allocate braking power optimally between front and rear.

Designed to improve rear tyre control during hard braking, the ABS wheel lift detection function is fully enabled in Urban and Touring Riding Modes yet disabled in Sport and Enduro mode. The ABS function can also be limited to the front brakes, a feature the Multistrada uses in Enduro Riding Mode to let the rear wheel drift when braking on uneven surfaces. Nevertheless, the ABS can also be disabled via the instrument panel in Enduro Riding Mode and settings can be saved and recalled at the next Key-On.

The system integrates perfectly with Ducati Riding Modes and has three different levels. Level 2 ensures, in Sport mode, equilibrium between front and rear without rear wheel lift detection but with the Cornering function on and calibrated for sports-style riding. Level 3 optimises, in Touring and Urban modes, the combined braking action with rear wheel lift detection on for maximum safety and the Cornering function on and calibrated for maximum safety. Level 1 offers maximum off-road performance by eliminating rear wheel lift detection and allows drifting by applying the ABS at the front only.

The Multistrada 950 features Brembo M4-32 monobloc radial calipers with four 32 mm diameter pistons and 2 pads, a radial pump with adjustable levers and dual 320mm front discs. At the rear a 265 mm disc is gripped by a floating caliper, again by Brembo. Such top-drawer components ensure unbeatable performance, a feature that has always been a Ducati hallmark.

Ducati Traction Control (DTC) On the Multistrada 950, Ducati Traction Control (DTC) detects and subsequently controls any rear wheelspin, enhancing both bike performance and active safety. The system lets riders select from among 8 different profiles, each calibrated to provide a rear wheelspin tolerance that matches progressive levels of riding ability (classified from 1 to 8).

Vehicle Hold Control (VHC) The Multistrada 950 mounts an ABS that features the Vehicle Hold Control (VHC) system. When activated, the latter holds the vehicle steady by applying rear wheel braking (if unused, automatic deactivation occurs after 9 seconds). The function is activated when, with the bike at standstill and the kickstand up, the rider applies high pressure on the front or rear brake levers.

Hands Free System The Multistrada 950 S can be started without an actual mechanical key thanks to the new Hands Free system that raises security standards. Just walk up to the vehicle with the electronic key in your pocket: once within 2 metres of the bike the key code will be recognised and ignition enabled. At this point just press the key-on button to power up the control panel and then start the engine.

Ducati Riding Modes Ducati Riding Modes, first introduced on the Multistrada in 2010, allow selection of different pre-set modes that optimise bike behaviour according to individual riding styles and road conditions. The Multistrada 950 has four Riding Modes (Sport, Touring, Urban and Enduro), each programmed to act on the electronic Ride-by-Wire (RbW) engine control system and the ABS and DTC levels. The available modes stem from a combination of cutting-edge technologies. Riding Modes can be changed on the go, while personalised ABS and DTC settings need to be made with the bike at standstill and the throttle closed.

Touring Touring Riding Mode delivers a maximum power of 113 hp with progressive Ride-by-Wire throttle twist response, DTC is set higher as is ABS, maximising both braking stability and wheel lift-up prevention.

Sport Selecting Sport Riding Mode transforms the Multistrada 950 into an adrenaline-fuelled bike with a maximum power of 113 hp. This Riding Mode is characterised by a direct Ride-by-Wire throttle twist response, a low DTC setting and low ABS setting with no rear wheel lift-up prevention.

Urban Urban Riding Mode delivers a maximum power of 75 hp with progressive Ride-by-Wire throttle twist response; DTC is set to an even higher intervention level as is the ABS, maximising braking stability and wheel lift-up prevention.

Enduro Enduro Riding Mode gives the Multistrada 950 a maximum power of 75 hp with progressive Ride-by- Wire throttle twist response; DTC intervention is suitable for off-road use and the ABS setting is low, deactivating rear wheel lift-up prevention.

Instrumentation The Multistrada 950 instrument panel with revised, upgraded interface, consists of a large easy-to- see LCD showing primary and secondary information. The S version, instead, has a high resolution TFT display, the same as the one on the Multistrada 1260 S and Enduro. Easy to read even in direct sunlight, this display features an extremely user-friendly interface that makes menu browsing and setting adjustments easier. To manage the new HMI, the Multistrada 950 S has the same backlit switchgear controls as the Multistrada 1260.

Headlight, tail light and indicators Like other bikes in the Multistrada family, the 950 has an assertive-looking, high-tech headlight. At the rear there is a LED tail light. On the S version, the headlight assembly is a full-LED model featuring Ducati Cornering Lights (DCL) which optimise lighting on bends according to the bike lean angle. The Multistrada 950 has an all-new function that switches off indicators automatically according to lean angle. Thanks to the IMU (Inertial Measurement Unit) the indicators shut off after completing a turn or travelling a prolonged distance.

John Burns
John Burns

More by John Burns

Join the conversation
2 of 4 comments
  • Alaskan18724 Alaskan18724 on Nov 05, 2018

    An interesting bike. I appreciate the emphasis on a comfortable triangle for rider and pillion, although the contact patch for the passenger looks sorta thin....

  • Andrew Capone Andrew Capone on Nov 06, 2018

    I have the 1260S, and in Urban mode, it puts out 100 BHP, which makes it essentially this bike when you want it to be. It really does transform it to a docile and tractable thing.