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Old 13th December 2017, 17:28   #1
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Default Review: Ducati Multistrada 950

This would be my first ever review on T-BHP, so am excited about that.

Before I start off, please excuse me as I do not have many pictures of my own bike. For some reason, I do not like to take photographs, am never satisfied with any picture I take. So I have posted a few taken by others

Little bit of history:
My first bike was the Duke 200 bought out of sheer necessity to navigate through Bangalore traffic in 2012. Of course, I was always keen to ride bikes, my wife nudged me to buy it eventually. I immensely enjoyed the Duke. Until then, I had ridden the Samurai and Rx135 a couple of times. The power and agility provided me a kind of freedom I hadn't known until then. After about 5 years of ownership, I could hit the rev limiter in every gear and the thirst to upgrade hit again. Now, I was a full-on biker (mind you, biker in me was born after age 35!). I was being extra careful in riding, often found myself frowning and shaking my head at other bikers who would recklessly weave through traffic and zip between signals. At 40, the mature rider in me was born. I felt this was the right time to upgrade.

Cut to May 2017:
We needed to buy a 7-seater car. Test drove Ertigas, BR-Vs, Innovas, XUVs and Hexas. With a fixed budget, we almost finalized on the Hexa. But then, that would leave us with almost no funds to ugrade the bike. After pushing some vague suggestions to wifey, she finally got the hint and we went "bike shopping" one Saturday. First was the Triumph Tiger. Then, we hopped into the BMW and Harley showrooms, did not test ride any bikes there. BMW was impressive, the RR1000 looked good, but little out of reach (financially). Next hopped to the Ducati showroom (Thank god, all of them are collocated!). Immediately strode over to the Multi! Wow, the first look literally blew us both away! But then I thought the specs and pricing made it a bit impractical at that point. We test rode the Hyper-motard. Impressive bike, but the heat exuding made me understand the term so popular in this forum (tandoori thighs)!! We were pre-warned about this heat and we also expected it. Though the heart had fallen for the multistrada, we almost booked the hyperstrada (comfortable seat, side panniers, front windshield), when the good sales guy (Naganandan) told us MTS-950 launch. Meanwhile, I wanted to see the Kawa Versys up close and visited the Bangalore showroom a couple of times. It was always crowded and the hassled sales guys couldn't offer me a dekko, let alone a test ride! This was in late June. To avoid further dilly-dally from my side, one afternoon, wifey just went ahead and bought the Ertiga and the following week we booked the MS950 by just looking at the pictures! My family downgraded our car for my bike!!!

First ride:
It was a long wait of more than a month. I had an outstation trip coming up in August. Early August, we were told that the stock of Multis has arrived. Wife, kids and me drove down to the spacious service station and lo and behold, what a welcome sight! My good biking buddies were there too, to partake in the celebrations. The initial explanations that Naganandan was giving became a blur, I was all smiles and absorbing the wondrous site in front of me. The bike was being displayed indoors and while I flicked the start switch, the engine rumbled, sounding more like a growl indoors. I was aware of its weight and nervously got on to it. I felt as if I was sitting "in" the bike, with the handlebars and display, windscreen encompassing me from all sides.

It was a hard press down to shift to first. It was accompanied by a loud "thak", "its normal" they assured me and I slowly rolled down the ramp to the outside. I gently pressed the brake and the bike just froze still right then, forcing me to bring my foot down quickly - sharp brakes. I tried to move the gear to neutral again and it refused to budge. "It normal, won't happen till running in" they said. But I could turn the engine off and move it to neutral. I just nodded, still not out of the surreal world. Quick signatures, shake of hands, and I was ready to hit the roads. It was rather late by then and the staff left a little before I bid goodbyes to my buddies.

I slowly rode out of the gates with both legs straddling and immediately hit the traffic. I turned it off at the signal right outside the gate and when I tried to turn it back on, it just would not start! After a couple of seconds of mild panic and retrying after pumping the clutch, the bike still wouldn't start. I shifted to neutral and tried again, the engine roared to life. Embarrassed by the traffic piling behind me, I quickly moved out. I noticed the next issue - the windscreen and the display console were both rattling! The ride home was excruciating. The new found issues, heavy clutch, heat, weight of the vehicle and extreme slow pace made me introspect if this was the bike I wanted!

Back to the service station:
I was back at the service station the very next day to fix these issues. I was infuriated that the PDI was not done. After small apologies, the rattle issue was fixed by tightening a bolt. The clutch switch that enabled the bike to start on gear was kaput and the replacement would arrive in 2 weeks only. Had to "adjust maadi" till then. But the staff is knowledgeable, friendly and well mannered, so dealing with them was easy. No false promises were made and they were pretty transparent.

I had to rush out of the country to resolve some office issues, and the bike was lying almost unused! Wifey's weekly duties included on round around the block

Last edited by Rehaan : 19th December 2017 at 14:34. Reason: Adding a bit of formatting :)
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Old 18th December 2017, 15:15   #2
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Default re: Review: Ducati Multistrada 950

Review: Ducati Multistrada 950-img20170811wa0014.jpg

Let the review begin:
I was back home and itching to go on a ride. The first ride was to a farm near Anekal. After the struggle of the first day, I was mildly surprised by the ease of its handling and response on open roads. Wifey was too comfortable on the rear seat. Okay, enough of stories, lets get to the real review:

Handling:
* Its a breeze at speeds above 20. Oh, she just abides by your command and swiftly weaves through narrow gaps like any other bike, mind you above 20 only.
* Below 20 kmph, mood completely changes. She is upset and you feel the weight and the heat and the clutch, oh they all return!
* Below 15 kmph (I get this everyday in Bangalore traffic) - half clutch is a must else I stall her! More heat, more weight.
* U-turns - I need training and more practice. I have to straddle the struggle for every U-turn. I need more confidence!
* A small stone below the wheel at very slow speeds can cause the handle to turn sharply, need to be careful.

Power and ride modes:
* It modifies the power, ABS level and Ducati traction control (called DSP - Ducati Safety Pack)
* Beautiful feature, must have for a powerful bike as this.
* Urban - the bike is delivered in this mode, its a low power with maximum ABS and traction control. Perfect for the first timer. Brings the power down to 75 BHP.
* Touring - Full power of 113 BHP, medium ABS and TC settings.
* Sport - Full power, instant response. Wheelie control turned off, lower intervention by safety aids.
* Enduro - 75BHP, rear ABS is turned off to allow sliding during off road rides.
* Can change these modes on-the-go, but observed an odd niggle. When I change the modes on the go, the horn behavior is changed. I press the horn and the it beeps after a second, only for a couple of seconds. Then, I need to leave and press again!

Clutch and gear change:
* Hard clutch is troublesome during the stop-go city rides, but no issues otherwise. Clutch action is smooth and completely disengages the wheel.
* Gear is hard and required a firm push to engage any gear. "THAK" sound heard while changing gears, if not pressed firmly, false neutral comes in. Not very impressive gear changes.
* Gear ratios are evenly spread, though the first gear can be a little lower. As I mentioned earlier, it can stall below 15 kmph if clutch isnt used. This is troublesome in city traffic.

Brakes:
* Confidence inspiring, super sharp, does its job very well.
* Little too sharp at slow speeds, I have dropped the bike once because I grabbed the brakes during a turn and panic braked. The bike just stood still tilted too much by the time I could get my foot down.
* Hard braking at highway speeds works superbly.
* I have used only front brake till now, cannot comment about rear brake action.

Comfort and Ergonomics:
* Seats are plush and comfortable for both the rider and pillion.
* Feels like sitting "in" a bike, perfect reach on the handle bars, access to clutch and brake levers (They are a little large though)
* Thumb reach to the buttons on the handlebar is also comfortable.
* Display has some room for improvement.
* Brightness should be sensitive to ambient. It is sometimes too bright for night highway rides.
* There is no permanent display for time.
* The process to rest the trips are complex! I still have not figured it out.

Suspension:
* Soft and perfect for the city roads.
* Too soft for the highways. I once slightly flew off a gentle dip on the highway, luckily landed without any shudder.
* Slight unevenness can cause bouncy ride under higher than regular highway speeds.
* I am personally satisfied with the ride quality on bumpy city roads.

The ride:
* Adjustable windscreen is a boon. I have used only the top and bottom most settings and both work well. There is little to no wind blast at highway speeds, though cross winds can cause some pain.
* Comfortable cruiser, sports bike, city weaver, all molded into one design - definitely multistrada!


Positives:
1. Smashing Looks, best looking adventure sport bike - It is debatable and personal, but many would agree that MTS is a looker. (PS: Unexpectedly, it is not a chick magnet, in fact, schoolboys, cabbies and guys on the road have literally stopped me just to drool at the bike!)
2. Ergonomics - good reach to all levers and switches.
3. Power - It can go on and on like there is no limit! Control on the right wrist is a must!

Not-so-positives, some areas of improvement:
This is not a perfect bike. Could have been better, read on to find out more.
1. Just throws all the road debris back into the bike. Muck and dirt from the tyres just flies and covers all interiors, plasters the pillion seat. There has to be a provision for a mud-guard.
2. Gear shift, definite room for improvement here in terms of quality of shift.
3. Automatic brightness control required for the display.
4. Strong vibrations felt at 5K RPM - this may be specific to my bike only, but the response from the service station for this is rather non-committal. I am going to get back and get this fixed for sure.
5. Rear brake is like non existent. I have never felt the use for it till now, but just tried to apply it a couple of times, just to see its affect. Felt like I was pressing a dead pedal.
Panel gap noticed between the plastics on the tank.

Safety equipment bought till date:
1. HJC IS-17 Helmet
2. Dainese mesh jacket with chest and back protection
3. Mototech Bulwark bionic knee and shin guard
4. Bluetooth communication device for helmet

Accessories bought from the dealer:
1. Urban package - top box (great to carry groceries), tank top bag, USB hub.
2. Center stand - great for cleaning the bike, lubricating the chain. Need two people to put it on center stand!
3. Engine guard - also known as crash guard.
4. Radiator guard and
5. Oil cooler guard.

Planned purchases:
1. Riding pants
2. Full gantlet gloves
3. Tank pad

This is my first big bike and my first review, I am open to suggestions from experts here. Thank you.

Review: Ducati Multistrada 950-img_20170812_162026237.jpg

Review: Ducati Multistrada 950-img_20170814_105750655.jpg

Review: Ducati Multistrada 950-img_20171019_163739192.jpg

Review: Ducati Multistrada 950-img_20171020_172841313_burst000_cover_top.jpg

Review: Ducati Multistrada 950-img_20171020_182503410.jpg

Review: Ducati Multistrada 950-img_20171112_125739666_hdr.jpg

Review: Ducati Multistrada 950-img_20171119_084340565.jpg

Last edited by Rehaan : 19th December 2017 at 14:35. Reason: Adding a bit of formatting :)
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Old 19th December 2017, 10:01   #3
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Default Re: Review: Ducati Multistrada 950

Thread moved from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section) to the Big Bikes Section. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 19th December 2017, 11:00   #4
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Default Re: Review: Ducati Multistrada 950

What an amazing choice! It will help a lot of married folks if you elaborate the hint part here
Nice use of luggage box
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Old 19th December 2017, 11:19   #5
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Default Re: Review: Ducati Multistrada 950

First Multistrada 950 ownership review on Tbhp! Congrats mate. Amazing choice. Between the Tiger and this, I think that this one is more highway oriented and more sporty. This would be my choice too when I plan to move to an ADV bike, budget permitting.

And this is the first time I am seeing vegetables being transported on a Ducati
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Old 19th December 2017, 12:01   #6
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Default Re: Review: Ducati Multistrada 950

Quote:
Originally Posted by wanderlust View Post
Not-so-positives, some areas of improvement: This is not a perfect bike. Could have been better, read on to find out more.
4. Strong vibrations felt at 5K RPM - this may be specific to my bike only, but the response from the service station for this is rather non-committal. I am going to get back and get this fixed for sure.
I suggest you to drain the engine oil and replace with freshoil irrespective of the odo reading.
This will surely help you in gear shifting and vibration issue.
New engines are gruff, hopefully it will improve.
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Old 19th December 2017, 12:50   #7
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Default Re: Review: Ducati Multistrada 950

Quote:
Originally Posted by aabhimanyu04 View Post
What an amazing choice! It will help a lot of married folks if you elaborate the hint part here
Nice use of luggage box
Thanks Abhimanyu! I missed mentioning in the review that the primary requirement was that of a comfortable pillion seat. Wifey loves riding with me, so that made the job rather easy. Also, I had come to a point in time where anytime later would have been too late (age wise ) for a purchase as adventurous as this.


Quote:
Originally Posted by anshumandun View Post
First Multistrada 950 ownership review on Tbhp! Congrats mate. Amazing choice. Between the Tiger and this, I think that this one is more highway oriented and more sporty. This would be my choice too when I plan to move to an ADV bike, budget permitting.

And this is the first time I am seeing vegetables being transported on a Ducati
HAHA, thanks! Both bikes have their own positives, I was pretty impressed with the Tiger as well. You cannot judge much with a 15-minute ride. What tilted in MTS favour is the comfortably plush seat and absolutely smashing looks! Also, the once a year, 15K service interval is attractive. Grocery shopping without any bags? the MTS is truly multi!

Quote:
Originally Posted by gauravanekar View Post
I suggest you to drain the engine oil and replace with freshoil irrespective of the odo reading.
This will surely help you in gear shifting and vibration issue.
New engines are gruff, hopefully it will improve.
Thanks Gaurav. I have completed 3.5K kms till now, I guess I will get it changed at 5K once before the mandatory 15K replacement.

Last edited by Aditya : 20th December 2017 at 10:02. Reason: Extra smiley deleted. Please limit the number of smileys used to two per post.
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Old 19th December 2017, 13:18   #8
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Default Re: Review: Ducati Multistrada 950

Congratulations Wanderlust!!
Thats a great review. The motorcycle looks awesome and good see that you are keeping the better half entertained too (including the veggie shopping).
Have fun ride safe. Hope you join you some time for a short break.
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Old 19th December 2017, 13:57   #9
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Default Re: Review: Ducati Multistrada 950

Quote:
Originally Posted by wanderlust View Post

Thanks Gaurav. I have completed 3.5K kms till now, I guess I will get it changed at 5K once before the mandatory 15K replacement.
Congrats bro. Good to see a versys touring with you.

I recommend changing the oil asap and not wait for 5k kms. Drain that oil out and put good fresh oil in there with a new filter. What does ducati recommend? I think its shell advance ultra 10w40. I use this on my versys too, fantastic oil as recommended by a well experienced friend.

Hope to see you on the road some day. Ride safe
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Old 19th December 2017, 14:03   #10
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Default Re: Review: Ducati Multistrada 950

Congratulations on your Ride. But, we expect a lot more photographs of the bike

swami
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Old 19th December 2017, 14:04   #11
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Default Re: Review: Ducati Multistrada 950

Congrats Wanderlust!
Another bike which I was following closely . The looks!

The "urban package" description - man! thought you were joking till I saw the pix.
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Old 19th December 2017, 14:50   #12
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Default Re: Review: Ducati Multistrada 950

Quote:
Originally Posted by wanderlust View Post
1. Just throws all the road debris back into the bike. Muck and dirt from the tyres just flies and covers all interiors, plasters the pillion seat. There has to be a provision for a mud-guard.
Congrats on the bike Its a great choice for touring

For the road debris problem, have you tried the 'Rear Splash Guard'. It doesn't resolve the issue completely, but reduces it quite a bit. It covers the area on the rear tyre, right below the number plate.

Its available as an accessory for Multistrada 1200, haven't seen it on a 950 yet.
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Old 19th December 2017, 15:03   #13
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Default Re: Review: Ducati Multistrada 950

Quote:
Originally Posted by wanderlust View Post
Congratulations! This one is a candid write-up with candid pictures (the one with vegetables makes a great shot ). There seems to be a Versys in your friend circle. I am keen to know if you have had a chance to ride the Versys after you bought your bike? And, your perspective on both - particularly on highway riding. Ride safe.
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Old 19th December 2017, 15:24   #14
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Default Re: Review: Ducati Multistrada 950

This is just how, an honest Multistrada review, ought to be! Very well done on covering the practical minutiae, which sometimes other reviews tend to miss, in the euphoria of owning a new motorcycle.

Wishing you many happy (s)miles on the Multi and I commend you on the choice. I personally feel that Multi 950 is more than adequate for Indian road and traffic conditions. The larger Multi (due for a replacement soon) is a fire-breather and perhaps, only an experienced SBK rider / tourer can extract the latent potential, which otherwise escapes the casual wanderer.

And the Urban pack makes so much sense, I must say! Thanks for sharing the grocery pics. It should also help ease the office commute too (although, for city duties, the Versys twins should be more apt) and short weekend rides. Would you mind sharing the cost of the Urban pack? The centre-stand is a god-send and should help with easy maintenance.

A wonderful purchase & this should help you with many more adventures for years together. Happy riding!
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Old 19th December 2017, 15:28   #15
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Default Re: Review: Ducati Multistrada 950

Congrats on the new bike Wanderlust. Good to see the first MTS 950 ownership review here. Great choice on the Anekal route for the inaugural run. The internal road from Krishnagiri dam to Denkanikottai and then Bangalore is another enjoyable route.

For the muck throwing, you can go in for a front fender extender & rear splash guard. Probably Puig makes it for the MTS.

Wish you many many enjoyable miles on your new Steed.
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