Ducati Multistrada 950 vs rivals: Specifications comparison

Ducati Multistrada 950 vs rivals: Specifications comparison

15th Jun 2017 3:08 pm

We take a look at how the new Multistrada 950 compares with its rivals, the Triumph Tiger 800 and Honda Africa Twin.

Ducati has just launched the 2017 Multistrada 950 in India at Rs 12.6 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi). At this price, it rivals the likes of the Triumph Tiger 800 and the newly launched Honda Africa Twin CRF 1000L. While other rivals like the Suzuki V-Strom 1000 and Kawasaki Versys 1000 are priced similarly, they are, however, no longer available as they don't meet BS-IV norms. Updated Euro-IV versions of these bikes are available overseas, meaning it's only a matter of time before they reach our shores. Click here to read our first ride review of the Ducati Multistrada 950 or scroll down for a specification comparison between this bike and its two main rivals.

Engine and performance

The Multistrada 950 may look identical to its bigger brother, the Multistrada 1200 S, but packs a smaller engine borrowed from the Hypermotard/Hyperstrada 939. This 937cc L-Twin uses Ducati's trademark Desmodromic valves but without the bigger Multi's advanced DVT variable valve timing system. It generates a peak power of 113hp, while torque stands at 96.2Nm. While these numbers sound conservative ahead of the Multistrada 1200's explosive 160hp and 136Nm torque, they are, in fact, segment leading, being 20hp more than the Tiger and 26hp over the Africa Twin. It is worth noticing that the Africa Twin produces nearly as much torque, 91.9Nm, as the Multi but it peaks a fair deal lower than the other two at 6,000rpm. This strong mid-range is typical of an off-road-focused machine and should make for an entertaining dance partner off the beaten path.

At 229kg, the Multistrada 950 weighs just 3kg less than its bigger brother but is still a good 16kg lighter than the automatic-only Africa Twin. The Triumph only shares dry weight figures, but even with a rough 25kg addition to account for fluids, fuel and the battery, the Tiger XRx still weighs a good deal less than its rivals. Regardless, we expect the Multi to be the quickest of this lot, but only a road test will confirm that.

Engine and Gearbox
Ducati Multistrada 950Triumph Tiger 800 XRxHonda Africa Twin
TypeL-twinInline 3-cylinder Parallel twin
Capacity937cc800cc999.11cc
Max Power113hp@9,000rpm93.8hp@9,250rpm87.16hp@@7,500rpm
Max Torque96.2Nm@7,750rpm78Nm@7,950rpm91.9Nm@6,000rpm
Gearbox6-speed manual6-speed manual6-speed DCT

The Africa Twin, with its DCT gearbox, promises to offer a unique riding experience. We expect to ride the Honda shortly and can't wait to discover if the lack of a manual gearbox is something to be missed. Highway manners on all three should be spectacular, with a tall, commanding view, big windscreens and a fat torque band. The automatic gearbox on the Honda should ease low-speed riding within the city, something the smooth and highly tractable Tiger also handles quite well. The Multistrada 950, like most big V-Twins, will probably be a bit grumpy below 3,000rpm but should smooth out nicely above that.

Purpose and ability

Adventure bikes these days are available in varying levels of off-road ability. The Multistrada 950, with its 19-inch front wheel and fatter tyres, indicates a road bias with a willingness for some light off-roading. On the other hand, the Rs 12.9 lakh Africa Twin's spoked wheels (21-inch front/18-inch rear) and extra suspension travel hint at more serious off-road capability. The Triumph Tiger 800, meanwhile, lets you choose what flavour you'd like; it's the only one here that offers different variants, four to be precise. The base Tiger 800 XR is a tarmac-focused machine with basic, non-adjustable suspension (pre-load only at the rear) and alloy wheels – 19-inch up front and 17-inch at the rear. The Rs 11.83 lakh Triumph Tiger XRx retains the same wheels and suspension but adds three riding modes, an adjustable windscreen, hand guards and a centre stand. Then, you have the two off-road biased models. First, the Rs 12.95 lakh Tiger XCx that builds on the feature set from the XRx with fully adjustable, longer travel suspension – 220mm up front and 215mm at the rear. It also gets a radiator guard, an aluminium sump guard and spoke wheels with a larger 21-inch front unit. The Rs 14.02 lakh range-topping XCa variant of the Triumph Tiger further builds on that, with LED auxiliary lights, machined foot pegs and a more powerful alternator to handle the load from heated grips and seats.

Chassis
Ducati Multistrada 950Triumph Tiger 800 XRxHonda Africa Twin
TypeTubular steel trellisTubular steel trellisSemi-double cradle frame
Front Tyre120/70 R19100/90-1990/90-21
Rear Tyre170/60 R17150/70 R17150/70 R18
Front SuspensionKYB 48mm fully adjustable forks, 170mm travelShowa 43mm non-adjustable upside down forks, 180mm travel Showa 45mm fully adjustable upside down fork, 230mm travel
Rear SuspensionSachs fully adjustable shock, 170mm travelShowa preload adjustable shock, 170mm travelShowa fully adjustable shock, 220mm travel
Seat height820mm810-830mm820-840mm
Fuel capacity20 litres19 litres18.8 litres
Kerb Weight227kg191kg *dry245kg

It is worth noting here that the motorcycles with alloy wheels have tubeless tyres, while the spoke wheels are wrapped with tubed ones. This shouldn't be a problem for more hardcore off-road riders, but casual users will certainly miss the convenience of fixing a puncture in a tubeless tyre. Only the expensive, full-size adventure bikes, like the Multistrada 1200 Enduro and BMW R1200 GSA, come with the more expensive style of spoke wheels that accommodate tubeless tyres. However, Ducati offers these tubeless spoked rims for the Multistrada 950 as an optional extra. The Multistrada 950 can also be optioned with various packs – Sports, Touring, Urban and Enduro – which offer additional kit, including luggage, LED auxiliary lights or extra protection, depending on which pack you choose.

Features

All three bikes get ABS and traction control as standard. However, each takes it a step further. The Ducati Multistrada 950 offers eight levels of traction control, with levels 1 and 2 best suited for off-road use. Similarly, the ABS system has three levels of adjustability, where level 1 is aimed at off-road use with rear ABS and rear lift mitigation (RLM) disabled, level 2 has ABS active on both wheels but with the RLM system deactivated, while level 3 provides full ABS function along with RLM for maximum braking stability. In addition, the Multi also offers four riding modes – Sport, Touring, Urban and Enduro – which vary throttle response as well as ABS and traction control intrusion. The Multistrada is also the only bike here to offer variable power modes. Sport and Touring modes provide the full 113hp while Urban and Enduro restrict output to around 75hp.

The Honda Africa Twin counters with full-LED dual headlamps and stacked digital meters inspired by the rally-raid bikes, like the ones you see in the Dakar rally. The six-speed DCT automatic transmission allows manual shifts through controls on the handlebar. Users can choose to leave the transmission in Drive mode for smooth shifts in normal riding conditions. For spirited rides, there's the Sport mode that offers three sub-modes – S1, S2 and S3 – each offering progressively sportier responses. The Honda Selectable Torque Control works with the ABS system and offers 80 different combinations of response to aid lesser-skilled riders off road. An additional 'G switch' helps improve traction in challenging off-road situations by providing half-clutch control. Honda says this boosts confidence in loose and steep surfaces and we can't wait to try it out.

The base Triumph Tiger XR offers simple on/off ABS and traction control systems. Opting for the more expensive models introduces three riding modes – Road, Off-road and a configurable Rider mode. The Tiger is the only bike here to offer cruise control. The base Tiger offers a 12V charging outlet while the mid-spec models get two outlets and the top-spec XCa offers three.

Features and pricing
Ducati Multistrada 950Triumph Tiger 800 XRxHonda Africa Twin
Riding modesYesYes*Yes
Power modesYesNoNo
Cruise controlNoYes*No
LED HeadlampsNoNoYes
Price (ex-showroom, Delhi)Rs 12.6 lakhRs 11.83-14.02 lakh12.9 lakh

* Available on Tiger XRx, XCx and XCa

Summing it up

The 2017 Ducati Multistrada 950 brings segment-leading performance and high levels of sophistication at an attractive price. From our experience with the bigger Multistrada 1200, we expect this bike to offer sports bike-like levels of performance, paired with real world ability that our conditions demand. It is worth noting that the launch price of Rs 12.6 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi) takes into account the upcoming GST regulations. These regulations will make small bikes more affordable but high-capacity machines can see a bump in price by 10-12 percent for bikes in this price bracket, depending on the region. With that in consideration, the Multistrada 950 looks like a tremendous package. We can't wait to ride it on familiar roads.

* Available on Tiger XRx, XCx and XCa

 

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