Ducati Multistrada 1260 Enduro (2019) | Review

Simon Hargreaves
By Simon Hargreaves
SimonHbikes Simon rides motorbikes, and then writes about them. He also co-presents the Front End Chatter podcast and plays bass guitar rather well.

 

When Ducati launched the Multistrada 1200 Enduro in 2016, it was simple to describe: a Multistrada 1200 S with added enduro mojo – 19in front wheel, 200mm long travel suspension, high bars, tall seat and loads of ground clearance. As a proper dual-purpose Ducati with a 30-litre tank, it was a blindingly obvious bike for Ducati to make, given the success of BMW’s GS Adventure. It was a full factory face-palm; the Multistrada that Ducati should have built from the start.

 

So when this year’s road-going Multistrada 1200 S was updated into the 1260 S with a bigger, torquier, more powerful motor and updated electronics and dash, it was only a matter of time before the Enduro got the same treatment. The only question was how many years it would take. 

 

The answer is one. Welcome to the 2019 Ducati 1260 Enduro.

 

two-bikes

Red Multistrada 1260 Enduro, or a beige one? Oh, hang on, it’s ‘Sand’. 

 

Multistrada 1260 Enduro prices

 

Ducati Red: £17,755

Sand: £17,955

Ducati Red + Touring Pack: £19,652

Sand + Touring pack: £19,852

 

Packs available include:

 

Touring Pack: heated grips, Touratech aluminium panniers, handlebar bag

Sport Pack: Termignoni exhaust, black water pump cover, billet aluminium front brake and clutch reservoir caps

Urban Pack: Touratech aluminium top box, tank lock tank bag and USB hub

Enduro Pack: LED fog lights, Touratech crash bars, radiator guard, oil cooler guard, sprocket cover and rear brake disc guard

 

Cornering3

Still primarily a road bike but with off-road chops, the 1260 Enduro is the Multistrada that makes most sense. 

 

Power and torque

158bhp @ 9500rpm

94 lb.ft @ 7500rpm

 

Castle

Note: beige Enduros camouflaged against building plaster.

 

Engine, gearbox and exhaust

The aristocratic and very Italian Castello di Nipozzano, an hour east of Florence, is home for the Ducati Riding Experience enduro school – and the rolling Tuscan hillside trails and purpose-built obstacles make an obvious venue to debut a revamped Multistrada 1260 Enduro. 

 

The region is famed for olive groves and viticulture... but for the quality of its roads, not so much. Yet the tarmac is where dual-purpose adventure bikes like the Enduro spend most of their time – the 1260’s behaviour on the solid stuff is arguably more important than its ability to leap tall hedges in a single bound. 

 

But so far it’s been a slightly frustrating morning on the new Enduro, queuing up behind logging trucks and locals crawling along in beaten-up Fiat Puntos. The road is sketchy too, all bumps and corrugations repaired by haphazard strips of splattered mastic, making the ride a point-squirt-brake-point-squirt affair.

 

But to-ing and fro-ing between second and third gear, short-shifting up and down the neat, newly quickshifted/autoblipped gearbox against the backdrop of a spudding-great big V-twin, at least shows the Multistrada 1260 Enduro’s motor has lost none of its fantastic gruntability. It’s still variable valve-timed, but it’s now bigger, torquier and more powerful than before. But, using only a bum-dyno and adjectives, it’s hard to quantify by how much.

 

In 2016 the first Enduro was launched on fast, smooth, fancy-free roads knotted like tarmac shoelaces around the coastline of Sardinia, and where the 1200 Enduro’s considerable motor – the 1198cc, variable-valve timed Testastretta V-twin lifted directly from the 1200 S – was able to stretch its telescopic legs and deploy a hefty chunk of its claimed 160bhp. The way it barged off like a supercharged Sardinian fishing trawler, it was evident there’d been no de-tuning, re-tuning, capping of power or playing silly buggers with reined-in engine management. This was a full-bore Multistrada motor on stilts, and off its veritable tits with giddy performance. It made the flat twin in the R1200 GS feel more flat than twin. 


And so, just as the 1200 Enduro’s motor was a straight lift from the 1200 S, so the new 1260 Enduro borrows the even-more-full-on 158bhp, 1262cc motor from last year’s enlarged Multistrada 1260 S.

Engine

158bhp, 1262cc variable-valve timed V-twin is lifted straight from the Multistrada 1260 S. 

 

Woah there, hang on, say you – you’ve correctly spotted Ducati claiming the new, larger motor makes 2bhp less than the old, smaller engine. Some mistake, surely? 

 

Call it a clerical error, m’lud. In August 2017 Ducati revised all their power figure claims downwards, in the light of a discrepancy between the numbers they claimed in public and those they submitted for homologation. There was no intent to mislead, they said; just different methods of dyno measuring (hem hem) – but to avoid confusion, all figures would henceforth be the lower, homologation measurement. Thus although there was no actual power reduction, the Multistrada 1200 S’s claimed power dropped to 152bhp at 9500rpm.

 

Which means the new, bigger 1260 engine is now said to make 158bhp, also at 9500rpm – so it’s an increase of 6bhp over the 1200. Glad we got that cleared up.

 

At first, 6bhp doesn’t sound like a great return on an extra 64cc – BMW’s new, enlarged R1250 GS gets 13bhp from an 84cc hike. But the new Enduro 1260’s extra capacity comes purely from increased stroke length, from 67.9mm to 71.5mm, necessitating new rods, cylinders and crank. Longer stroke tends to favour tuning for more bottom-end and midrange torque rather than chasing peak horsepower through extra revs – so we’d expect to see the new Enduro engine make a lot more torque than the old one.

 

And it does... the 1260’s claimed peak figure is identical to the 1200’s – 94 lb.ft peak at 7500rpm – but the 1260 has more torque elsewhere in the rev range. Ducati say it’s making up to 17 per cent more torque at 5500rpm than the old motor, thanks not just to longer stroke, but also to changes in the 1260’s variable valve timing configuration and a new, optimised exhaust and intake system (the exhaust can is indeed larger, but I didn’t open up the airbox to check the intake). 

 

The new engine also fills a dramatic-looking dip in the old motor’s torque curve, between 4500rpm to 6000rpm. Which is great – although having said that, I’ve done thousands of miles on the old 1200 motor, in both Enduro and 1200 S guises, and never found either lacking in midrange. If anything, the Enduro felt even perkier than the 1200 S thanks to lower gearing. The new 1260 maintains the same gearing – and gearing differences over the Multistrada 1200 S – as before, and it it’s no surprise it still feels incredibly potent, capable of charging off into the wild blue yonder on a sliver of perfectly behaved ride-by-wire throttle. For a big adventure bike with a 30 litre tank and a 280-mile range, the Enduro possesses monstrous performance that would annihilate many sports bikes of not too long ago. For perspective, Ducati’s claimed peak power is much the same as a Suzuki GSX-R1000 K5. 

 

Is it better than the Multistrada 1200 Enduro? Almost certainly, but second and third gear corners at part throttle don’t allow much in the way of comparison. We could look at the old v new dyno graphs Ducati provide... but any more than a bored glance shows how manufacturer’s dyno graphs are relative and can be modified to suit various purposes. For example, in isolation, the graph from the 2016 Enduro launch (below) looks pretty healthy – marvel at the torque-enhancing effect of variable valve timing!

 

Original-Enduro-1200-dyno

Original Ducati 1200 Enduro dyno graph from the launch in 2016. Looks pretty impressive torque curve, in red, right? No significant bumps or dips?

 

Now compare with the graph Ducati have produced for the new engine (below), which also shows the old 1200’s torque curve for comparison (in blue). The two torque curves for the 1200 look so different they could be from a different engine. 

 

 



New Enduro 1260 dyne copy

Ducati’s torque curve for the new 1260 Enduro motor (red), compared with the old bike (blue). Notice how different the blue line is to the previous graph, but they’re supposed to be the same curve.

 

In fact, they’re using a different length X and Y axis. If we Photoshop both X and Y axis to scale (below), the original curves suddenly look very lumpy – but at least both old and new 1200 curves match each other (although Ducati seem to have exaggerated the old graph’s dip at 5000rpm on the comparison). Ah well, appearances can be deceptive, eh? 


1260-V-1200-STRETCHED

An overlay of the two graphs, now stretched to an equivalent X axis (ignore the numbers on the Y axis). The bottom red and blue torque lines should be identical; they’re both what Ducati claim for the 1200 motor. Notice how the dip is more pronounced on the current graph, to exaggerate the improvement of the 1260 motor (the top red line).

 

Anyway, the takeaway from all this is there are three things that really matter about the new, long-stroke 1260 motor:

 

1) whichever way you draw it, the shape of the 1260 Enduro’s torque curve is much improved and the quantity of torque available has greatly increased in the most important part of the rev range – Ducati say around 4000rpm is the most common...

 

2) ... but it’s really hard to tell at part throttle in third gear, and...

 

2) ...the new Enduro’s peak torque figure is still some 12 lb.ft shy of BMW’s new R1250GS. It is, however, 24bhp more powerful.

 

Which leads to inevitable comparisons with BMW’s new R1250 GS. So while we’re comparing dyno graphs, here’s BMW’s claimed graph, re-sized and overlaid to compare with Ducati’s (below). 


125GS-v-1260MS

This looks messy, but it’s an overlay of torque curves: BMW’s claimed R1200 GS (light grey), R1250 GS (dark grey), Ducati’s claimed Enduro 1200 (blue) and Enduro 1260 (red). Basically, the new GS wins.

 

 

The R1250 GS seems to disprove with Ducati’s claim the 1260 Enduro is “the motorcycle with the highest torque (at 4000rpm, that is the most common rev rate while riding) in its category.” Maybe Ducati were unaware of just how improved the new BMW R1250 GS really is when they wrote their press release. 

Having ridden both, I’d say the new BMW engine is smoother and less visceral than the Ducati motor, and the Ducati is a more vibrant and soulful engine than the BMW – it depends how you prefer your adventure touring served. In terms of outright, full throttle performance the Ducati will still be ahead, but not by as much as before. And when it comes to part throttle midrange performance... my money would be on very little between them. 

 

tank

The 1260’s 30 litre tank is slightly reshaped to allow for a new, lower, handlebar position. This pic nicely shows off the Sand colour’s textured finish. You could strike a Swan Vesta on that.

 

Economy

Ducati claim 5.5 litre per 100km, or 51.4mpg, for the new 1260 Enduro; they claimed 5.6 litres per 100 km, or 50.4mpg for the 1200 Enduro. On a 30-litre tank, that’s a theoretical improvement of an extra 6 miles’ range, from 333 miles to 339 miles. Either is a lot of miles in one go.  

During the stop-start road ride in Italy, the Enduro was showing 6.1 litres per 100km, or 46.3mpg – a range of 306 miles from full to empty. 

 

cornering 1

Leaning the new 1260 is one way to show off the Enduro’s redesigned bash-plate. 

 

Handling, suspension, chassis and weight

Like the Enduro 1200, the 1260’s chassis is based on the Multistrada 1260 S road bike, using the same frame, but with a bunch of adaptations: a longer, double-sided swingarm adds more wheelbase and stability, while re-designed wire spoked tubeless rims are a total of 2kg lighter than previously, still 3.00 x 19in at the front and 4.5 x 17in at the rear, with Pirelli Scorpion Trail II tyres in 120/70 and 170/60 sizes. 

 

Semi-active 48mm Sachs forks (with an offset axle increasing trail and wheelbase) and Sachs rear shock are still longer than the 1260 S’s, but by less – wheel travel is down 15mm front and rear, to 185mm on the new bike. This significantly reduces seat height (down by 10mm to 860mm, which is in the middle of the new BMW R1250 GS’s high and low settings) and also put the Enduro 1260’s pegs closer to the ground. Handlebars are also lowered, by 30mm (they were raised by 50mm on the original 1200, so now they’re only 20mm higher than a Multistrada 1260 S).

 

These ergonomic changes make the Enduro 1260 less lankily intimidating and broaden its fit for a wider range of humans. It certainly feels about right for a relatively nervy off-road novice to manage – being closer to the ground is a good thing – and the trails around the Ducati Riding Experience enduro school are the appropriate level of difficulty to just about keep the Enduro 1260 upright. 

 

Whether off-road would be any more or less challenging on the old bike is moot – but in the showroom, the larger number of folk who can get their feet on the ground the better – it makes sense; there’s no point alienating your potential audience by being wilfully off-roady, when very few of your customers go there. Just employ some hero riders who can make it look good for your PR campaign, and everyone will believe it anyway. 

 

Ground-clearance2

The 1260’s lowered ride height could lead to ground clearance issues for enthusiastic riders. Not sure how long the panniers would last...

 

Normally, lowering ride height can compromise off-road handling – there’s less ground clearance and less scope for suitable suspension set-up. But, like the old bike, the new Enduro handles well for its size on and off-road, pretending to be a machine half its weight on tarmac but with enough sturdy solidity to encourage loading up for a continental crossing (with even more payload capacity than before; it’s now increased by 20kg to 231kg). Total kerb weight is maintained at the same 254kg as before. 

 

There’s still a substantial desire for weight transfer under braking, but the sophistication of Ducati’s next-generation semi-active suspension algorithms mean it’s controlled and sensitive; you can feel the springs setting themselves up and reacting differently as you scroll through the various riders modes, from saggy an baggy at the back with heavy steering (Enduro mode), through soft and bouncy (Touring) to tight and controlled (Sports). With a 19in front on the end of 185mm of travel it’ll never feel as secure and direct as a conventional Multistrada on the road, and the Enduro lacks the isolated waftery of BMW’s GS – again, as a rider, you might prefer the Enduro’s more immediate, primal handling. 

 

brakes

Big Brembo radial monobloc calipers, with more ABS options than you can wave a stick through the spokes.

 

Brakes

The Multistrada 1260 Enduro comes with the same Brembo M4.32 radial four-pot monobloc calipers and 320mm discs (with a slightly modified design) as the 1200 Enduro. Like the 1200, it also features cornering ABS, but with the latest algorithms integrated with a Bosch IMU to provide three different combinations of brake performance spread across the four riding modes (and which are, of course, customisable). 

 

Level one is for off-road riding, and disables rear wheel lift and switching ABS off at the rear. Level two is for sports riding, and also disables rear wheel lift, but leaves cornering ABS on set for sports riding. Level three is for touring and town riding, and links front and rear brakes for balanced braking, with full rear wheel lift detection and sensitive cornering ABS.

 

The 1260 Enduro also features the same hill hold control as the 1200 Enduro: apply the brakes at standstill and the rear caliper remains engaged, holding the bike on an incline, and is released when the clutch is fed out.

 

1260-MS-v-1200-MS-riding-pos

Comparison of 1200 Enduro (yellow) and 1260 Enduro (red) riding position changes; seat and pegs are lower on the new bike, but the bars have dropped significantly. 

 

Comfort

The Enduro 1260’s ergonomic changes run the risk of compromising its on-road comfort – legroom between seat and pegs is the same, but the bars are lower relative to body position – which exaggerates the classic adventure bike slump, where the rider sits deep in the bike, in a heavily sculpted, well-padded saddle, but no weight is carried through the arms, leading to saggy-elbow/curved-spine syndrome. It’s the sort of collapsed body position that office health and safety bods hate, persuading staff to sit in bizarrely shaped ergo chairs – or even to stand – instead.

 

So although adventure bikes initially feel comfy in the showroom, they can lead to back problems in later life. Oh, hang on, that’s already where some of us are. 

Clocks

 

Equipment

God damn, this is where the list gets really long. The Enduro has semi-active suspension (with variable damping all round and self-adjusting spring preload at the rear, depending on rider mode), riding modes (with different throttle responses and power maps), variable traction control, cornering ABS, various wheel lift functions, variable engine braking and wheelie control. Almost all are configurable within a blanket rider setting, which is now more easily navigated with a new system of input from the back-lit switchgear and displayed, often with pictograms, on the crisp, colour, 5in TFT dash. 

 

Most of the systems are updated to the latest software algorithms for 2019 – for example, engine braking control and torque delivery now have differentiated responses per gear, rather then a blanket setting according to rider mode. It’s a deep level of sophistication. 

 

Of course, the 1260 also has a battery of other extras: cornering LED lights, the one-handed adjustable screen, heated grips, two 12v sockets (that will actually power a heated jacket – BMW, take note), a USB port under the seat, keyless ignition with recovery PIN system – and the new quickshifter/autoblipper is fun but prone to the odd double-tap stutter if you aren’t careful (no-one other manufacturer has a problem!).

And last but not least, the Ducati’s systems are Bluetooth integrated and can be controlled via a Ducati app from your smartphone – yes, you can set-up your suspension using an iPhone.  

 

stand-up

 

2019 DUCATI MULTISTRADA 1260 ENDURO VERDICT

 

Is the 1260 Enduro an improvement on the 1200 Enduro? Yes – the engine is beefier, the electronics more sophisticated than ever, and the new ride height means it’s available to a wider audience. The things that made the 1200 great – stonking performance, great handling, decent off-road ability, 30-litre tank, tons of electronics – are still present and mostly improved. And the Enduro is still the Multistrada that makes most sense. It’s the version I’d choose, over the 1260 S. 

But should you choose one over a new BMW R1250 GS? The answer depends on the kind of rider you want to be and riding experience you want to have. If you value the sensory overload of riding a bike with a very open, beating heart and one that places a premium on the experience of riding for the sake of it, as opposed to just getting somewhere – then you might find the Enduro more to your taste than the Beemer. If you’d rather be cossetted and whisked along by the highest levels of refinement – and at a rate not a million miles away from the Ducati; faster in some case – then the R1250 GS could be your ticket instead. 

 

Three things I love about the 1260 Enduro

• Engine performance – it might have long legs, but it’s got the heart of sportsbike

• Comfort – if you can avoid the spine problems, you can ride it all day, every day, for the rest of your life

• Concept – the Enduro is the Multistrada that brings meaning to the range. Why Ducati don’t make an Africa Twin-rivalling Multistrada 950 Enduro is beyond me

 

Three things I don’t…

• Top gear gearing – 70mph shows 4500rpm, which top gear can pull but it’s not comfortable, preferring 5th. I’d gear it down even more

• Sand colour option – at least, I think I don’t like it. It’s beige. Or then again, maybe I do

• Plastic trim in the dash – is cheap and flimsy, for a flagship machine

 

2019 Ducati Multistrada 1260 Enduro Specifications

 

Capacity

1252cc

Bore x Stroke

106.0 x 71.5mm

Engine layout

90°V-twin

Engine details

8v dohc, Desmodromic, l/c

Power

158bhp @ 9500rpm

Torque

94 lb.ft @ 7500rpm

Top speed

145mph (est)

Average fuel consumption

46.3mpg (on test)

Tank size

30 litres

Max range to empty (displayed)

339 miles

Rider aids

Multi-level traction control, rider modes, cornering ABS, hill hold, cornering ABS, quickshifter/autoblipper, cornering LEDs, wheelie control

Frame

Steel tube trellis

Front suspension

48mm Sachs usd forks

Front suspension adjustment

Semi-active rebound and compression damping

Rear suspension

Sachs monoshock

Rear suspension adjustment

Semi-active rebound and compression damping, electronic preload adjustment

Front brake

2 x 320mm discs, four-pot radial calipers, adjustable cornering ABS and linked braking

Rear brake

265mm disc, two-pot caliper, adjustable cornering ABS and linked braking

Front tyre

Pirelli Scorpion Trail II120/70 R19

Rear tyre

Pirelli Scorpion Trail II170/60 R17

Rake/Trail

25°/112mm

Wheelbase

1592mm

Seat height

860mm (840mm/880mm versions)

Kerb weight

254kg

Warranty

unlimited miles / 2 years

Website

www.ducati.com/gb

 

To insure this bike, click here

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