Ducati Multistrada 950 S motorcycle test


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A few generations of bikers have dreamed of the ultimate bike, one that adapts to context and mood, needs and desires. As our ancestors fantasized about the washing machine, running water and television. The Ducati Multistrada 950 S emanates from this old dream. She shows off her "S" as the other claims it in red on his broad torso molded into his jumpsuit. She is a sort of motorcycle superhero, like all contemporary big cars. The S differs from the Multistrada 950 by its electronic package resulting from the Multistrada 1260. Programmable engine modes, controlled suspensions, dashboard adapted to the brightness, traction control in various modes, a host of acronyms come to name these electronic assistance systems. whose sole goal is to define a personalized motorcycle, on the basis of a road, more than a trail. Because, despite appearances, deceptive, the Multistrada 950 does not really compete with the Honda Africa Twin, Triumph Tiger 800 XCx or BMW F 850 ​​GS. Ah good ? We tell you why, even if the red mark tries to make us believe otherwise. Test on the side of Valencia…

Ducati Multistrada 950 S review


Stefano Tarabusi, product manager, responsible for the design of the range, nevertheless places the new Multi 950 S among the trails (we say adventure bikes in the rest of the world), specifying its particularity compared to others: style and sophistication. Despite its 19-inch front rim and wide handlebars, the 950 S does not evoke a trail like we Gauls, steeped in Paris-Dakar culture and other telluric fantasies, hear it..

Headlight of the Ducati Multistrada 950 S

Of course, its long wheelbase (1,594 mm) and the large sweep of its front axle (106 mm) evoke trail dimensions, but the travel of its suspensions (170 mm) has nothing to do with, for example, that of a Honda Africa Twin 1000 (230 mm for the fork). Moreover, among the 2019 developments that concern the Multistrada 950, S or not S, are the new spoke rims, 0.5 kg lighter than before and an aluminum swingarm from the 1260 Enduro. You can also opt for spoked rims, but that’s 600 euros more. However, stick rims are more suitable for a road than a trail.

The spoked rim of the Ducati Multistrada 950 S Touring

Another unmistakable sign, among the multitude of programmable driving modes, there is a Track mode on the dashboard, for circuit…. Anyway, it’s a Ducati, with asphalt in its blood. But the segment of the trails, in full maturation, very competitive, obliges the main manufacturers to be there. Each in their own way. Another special feature of the 950 is its high level of finish and in particular its superb narrow exhaust silencer, completely integrated into the line.

Ducati Multistrada 950 S

You have to spend 2,000 euros extra for the 950 S compared to the 950! 16,490 euros against 14,490 euros, because of its electronic pack. Gadget? If you like the alphabet and Anglicisms, we already tell you what the famous pack consists of:

  • the DSS (Ducati Skyhook Suspension). The suspensions are managed electronically and adapt to road conditions, driving, duo with or without luggage etc. You can also freeze a mode among those preprogrammed because, yes, freedom remains an essential principle (for the moment….).
  • the DQS (Ducati Quick Shift up & down), a shifter that dispenses with the clutch to up and down gears (speed …).
  • VHC (Vehicle Hold Control), to avoid holding the brake on a hill. Press and hold the rear brake pedal and the motorcycle comes to a stop for 15 seconds. Another short press immobilizes it again for 15 seconds etc. Nothing to do this time with the reports ….
  • of course the famous DTC system (still nothing to do with the reports….), for Ducati Traction Control, presides over the destinies of the rear tire by containing its possible evasions.
  • the 950 S also inherits the DCL (Ducati Cornering Lights): two additional lights are illuminated according to the angle taken in a curve.
  • a cruise control is added to the panoply, useful on the motorway.
  • this army of sensors is managed by a Bosch 6-axis inertial unit (out of the question this time about gears!) which characterizes the Ducati Safety Pack. Included are the different engine modes, Touring, Sport, Urban, DTC and ABS intervention levels etc. Ducati estimates a total of the possibility of setting up to 400 combinations, more than a biker life could wish for. But the virtual potential is enough to impress.

In the saddle

Back to real life. My meter sixty-eight is a past master in the art of judging trails according to their welcome to gnomes. The Multistrada 950 S is not very high for a trail (840 mm saddle height, with the possibility of choosing two other saddles to reach 820 mm or 860 mm) but this saddle and the tank are a bit wide. At the red light, I find a support, only one and again on half a foot. The handlebars and the saddle offer a comfortable, but unique driving position: the hollowed-out shape of the saddle prevents it from moving backwards or varying its position while riding, which is appreciable after a few hours on the road. We are still there aboard this Multi; the commodos are easily handled with a movement of the thumb, the screen is manually adjusted while rolling, with one hand. The motorcycle starts with the key in the pocket, the transponder sends the take-off authorization to the electronic control unit, all you have to do is press the starter.

Ducati Multistrada 950 S Commodos

If you still have 1,200 euros more, the Touring Pack version (17,638 euros) adds two side cases, a central stand and heated handles, the last accessory which one wonders why it is almost always optional, as if we offered the optional heating in a new car…. Besides, the 950 S has the good idea to light up its switchgears, which should be obvious for all modern motorcycles. You would think you could see the leds of some Audi which offer interior lighting for the feet.

The Ducati Multistrada 950 S and the model with the Touring package

On the mechanical side, the 937 cm3 Testastretta 11 ° develops 113 hp at 9,000 rpm and above all 9.8 mkg of torque at 7,750 rpm. Sufficient values ​​for a motorcycle intended to take us everywhere, all the time, alone or in pairs, with the banana or without, depending on the hazards, the reports, all that…. This engine remains in all respects similar to that of the 950 and requires an oil change every 15,000 km and a check of the timing belts (possibly tension) every 30,000 km..
Ditto for the frame, the new swingarm common to both versions and braking.

Ducati Multistrada 950 S engine

The dashboard requires a few minutes of attention to understand how it works. Reading the information is easy, everything is there, from the time to the range, including the outside temperature, the battery charge, the engine temperature, the instantaneous consumption, we could spend hours there but caution recommends to watch the road ….

Instrumentation of the Ducati Multistrada 950 S

In the city

The route planned by Ducati begins in the industrial suburb of Valencia, Spain. First step for the crutch, which folds easily thanks to a well-made lug. The second goes to the clutch, very flexible, which I will not touch often after escaping urbanity, shifter requires. The engine, flexible, alert, stalled in Touring mode (the most consistent mode), barely coughs under 2000 rpm and benevolently submits to all rotations of the wrist. Still, I expected more banter at low revs, round muscle, promising. Like all Ducatis, the 950 pulls long (we are talking about final gear …) with its 15-tooth gearbox output pinion and its engine set low in carburetion to meet the antipollution standards is combined with this final reduction to remove a little punch from the big twin at low and mid-range. It would almost be worth it to add a tine or two at the rear, as some press park models from the 2000s knew how to transform the feeling of the bike..

The 950 S on a curve

Nice surprise, however, the handling, despite the 170 wide rear tire. We feel that it is favored by a judicious balance of the masses. The long wheelbase could have detracted from the liveliness of the 950 S, but it doesn’t. She sneaks in and out of a simple desire, always with a great sense of security.


A slip road leads to the A7 motorway, lightly loaded on Monday morning. Screen in high position, the protection in the helmet is correct, this is not the case in the shoulders. The bubble is too narrow. The legs wedged in the sides of the tank, the bust rested by the comfort of the saddle and the upright position induced by the handlebars, I call the kilometers to come to me. The 950 S has all the attributes of a pleasant traveler, obviously with the side cases. Otherwise, a large luggage rack can be used to secure a bag, without hindering the passenger’s position.

The Ducati Multistrada 950 S on expressways

The upright position, a little high, allows the leisure to anticipate braking in the distance or suspicious behavior, indirect effect of the "trail" but welcome.

The bi-purrs at 5,500 rpm at 130 km / h, the on-board computer indicates a consumption of 5.8 l / 100 km, the math is meant to be reassuring. Bitchy like the motorway, but reassuring. I take this opportunity to test the Sport mode, because a biker naturally gets excited at the sight of this invitation. Long press on the switch on the left stalk switch, in the Menu function: the biomechanics offer to tighten your muscles (okay …), Sport. Without changing my banal, straight line, I can feel the suspensions firming up. The engine responds more positively to the first application of the throttle, on the first few millimeters, but I do not see any sensational difference afterwards between Sport and Touring mode, even above 7,000 rpm. At the same time, electronics cannot do everything; it’s still a 937 cc engine with two cylinders, two connecting rods and eight valves.

The Ducati Multistrada 950 S on the road


Another slip road, this time off, offers an escape from the boredom of the A7’s long flat strips. Wheats like Algimia de Almonacid or Zucaina promise a fine pepper that the big highway sauce dish ignores. The roads are narrowing, the asphalt curls, the bends are expected to be numerous.

Ducati Multistrada 950 S road test

I can’t wait to do battle. This is typically a road landscape where keeping an average equal to the maximum authorized speed is impossible. As in the Cevennes or Lozère. At the end of the getaway (200 km of steep roads), the odometer will display an average speed of 64 km / h, without falling asleep too much on the handlebars.

The Ducati Multistrada 950 S in a corner

The 950 S confirms what it hinted at. Its stability is perfectly fine, its Pirelli Scorpion Trail II tires attract no criticism, the chassis is perfectly balanced. Few motorcycles show such healthy behavior, combining handling and stability wonderfully at any speed. Magic of the generous values ​​of the chassis geometry and the intelligent weight distribution and the quality of the piloted suspensions (Kayaba fork and Sachs shock absorber). The riding position is also very suitable here, I guide the bike from the footrests and give it direction from the handlebars, not too wide, with ideal dimensions, without ever tiring.

The Ducati Multistrada 950 S in the corners

The engine spins the same docility, but I would have preferred there even more peps at low and mid-revs. Under 6000 rpm, on small roads, it is efficient but not sensational. Ducati promised a wide torque range, 80% of the torque between 3,500 and 9,500 rpm, I don’t think so at all. For an almost 1000cc, it asks to be whipped to get some emotion worthy of Italy. He pushes hard, that’s not the problem, but lacks charisma. But a Ducati is also esteemed by its rocky accent, strong in taste.

The Ducati Multistrada 950 S in a curve


The 950 S therefore integrates the fairly closed circle of successful, homogeneous and efficient part-cycles. To me, a good bike is a reassuring front end. I don’t hate anything more than heavy front axles, which feel like pulling the bike inside the bend, or overly light, wriggling front axles. The Multi of the day has been able to fit perfectly between these two extremes. Its front axle is safe, precise, pleasant without being light. In Touring mode, the suspensions can start to waddle surreptitiously when you start to hog in a turn, but they warn by their progressive movement. The hydraulic compression and expansion constantly adjust to the imperfections of the road and to the pace of the driver, thanks to their electric assistance controlled by the central box, without ever disturbing the natural serenity of the chassis.

Ducati Multistrada 950 S fork


In front of and on either side of the rim, two 320mm discs get pinched by radial-mount Brembo M4 calipers – in short, intractable arresters. Behind it is a 265mm disc that serves and the front and rear are coupled. The central box, decidedly always there but never tired, calculates the ideal distribution of the braking. Its power does not deserve any reproach, on the other hand I find that it could be more progressive, softer in the grip of the lever and then more and more consistent. You are demanding with a motorcycle over 16,000 euros !

Front brake of the Ducati Multistrada 950 S


After a day of 300 km, most of which on secondary roads, no particular pain, except in the knees, due to the legs being a little too bent. But given my short legs, it can become awkward for a 1m85 stature. The protection, I said, can be improved on the shoulders. But the riding position and the saddle do not strain any part of the body that they require. However, it is not possible to move around on the saddle, the pronounced curve of which prevents backing up.

Ducati Multistrada 950 S saddle


If we trust the on-board computer, the average consumption (80% of departmental, the rest in town and on the motorway) would be 6.4 l / 100 km. But after 170 km, it was necessary to put back 12 liters, that is to say a consumption closer to 7 l / 100 km. I have to be honest, I didn’t personally refuel before setting out, so I cannot claim that the tank was filled to the brim. It will therefore be necessary to check the consumption during a next test.


Above all, the 950 S provides electronic added value compared to the 950 known until then (released three years ago). In terms of suspensions, therefore of comfort and handling, the gain is undeniable. I will be more reserved about the motor modes, known as Power Modes and their multiple potential configurations, the contribution of which is not demented..

Remember that the standard 950 already has traction control and engine modes, with less varied choices. The S-specific shifter is also an advantage, as is the automatic blinker reminder and the flamboyant TFT screen..

The Ducati Multistrada 950 S

Clearly, you have to be the man or the woman of the 21st century and recognize the qualities of these piloted suspensions, which are continually adapting. You also have to ride often and a lot. I’d happily buy a Multistrada 950 to ride all year round, I’m sure it would keep me pushing the mile, but the 2,000 euros that the S is asking for would give me pause. Frankly, I think I would use them to shorten the gear ratio of a standard 950 and give it a more chatty exhaust silencer..

Strong points

  • Handling
  • Quality of suspensions
  • Homogeneity of the motorcycle, as a road
  • Maneuverability
  • Engine flexibility
  • Equipment
  • Finishing

Weak points

  • Shoulder protection (high and low bubble)
  • Engine box below 5,000 rpm
  • High price
  • Single-position saddle

The technical sheet of the Ducati Multistrada 950 S

Video test of the Ducati Multistrada 950 S

Test conditions

  • Itinerary: 320 km under a radiant Spanish sun, outside temperature of 24 ° in the afternoon, sometimes degraded and dusty roads in the mountains, in the Sierra Espadan (magnificent landscapes, with large canyons).
  • Motorcycle mileage: 300 km
  • Problem encountered: RAS

Test equipment

  • Furygan Shield Jacket
  • Shoei Hornet ADV Helmet
  • VQuattro Mercury Gloves
  • Vanucci Tifoso VTS4 Shoes

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4 thoughts on “Ducati Multistrada 950 S motorcycle test

  1. Hello I have a 1200 vfr x cross tourer since April 2012 with 12,500 kms I am completely satisfied with my choice after having had a varadero with which I have completed more than 100,000 miles. My only criticism of this bike is the gearbox which slams a lot 3rd-2nd and first, with a gimbal noise when I slow down when I roll in 3rd cool (supposedly the cross-members response of my mechanic). In addition I have not seen any ride or meet on the road since April, I only meet 1200gs but where are they? do you have the answer thank you

  2. Quotebilly
    Hello I have a 1200 vfr x cross tourer since April 2012 with 12,500 kms I am completely satisfied with my choice after having had a varadero with which I have completed more than 100,000 miles. My only criticism of this bike is the gearbox which slams a lot 3rd-2nd and first, with a gimbal noise when I slow down when I roll in 3rd cool (supposedly the crosspieces response from my mechanic) .

    This is indeed the major criticism I have made after trying it twice: the locks of the standard gearbox are excessively firm, imprecise and noisy, which leads to missing some gear changes. For everything else it seemed to me to be a very well born bike.


  3. hello, despite everything after asking for an adjustment of the selector the gears go much better and more smoothly, but the selection to lower gears is still rough and dry, I remain confident for the future. however, I am always satisfied with my choice because this bike offers a lot of pleasure against the competition.

  4. Hello, I have just recovered my 1200 vfrx motorcycle which was being revised for its 12000 kms, I had indicated as only problem, the adjustment wheel of the shock absorber which was very hard, shock absorber result to be changed; the adjustment wheel is located in the wheel arch without any protection from water, gravel and any other that requires the installation of a wheel washer that protects the whole not giving this piece of plastic 175 Ђ. In addition, I got part of the answer to my question! Honda accessories (suitcases and others were not available) I myself had to do the forcing to get my suitcases and high screen from Honda. See you

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