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Article posted: Thursday, December 27, 2018

EJ’s Multistrada 1200 Enduro Pro Ride

EJ’s Multistrada 1200 Enduro Pro Ride Review

If you value brevity; purchase the bike.   If not, read on.

Background: I am 5’10” with a 32’ inseam.  210lbs. Age 49 1/2 (going on 20).  I traded in a BMW F800GSA and a Kawasaki Z900 on the Enduro Pro….  Hoping to get the best of both bikes.  In the past 8 years I have owned a Kawasaki Concours 1400, a Yamaha Super Tenere, a Kawasaki Ninja 300, a Yamaha WR250 X, and a Buell Ulysses.  I am not a Moto journalist to ride a multitude of bikes, but I have a little variety with which to compare to the Ducati.

First ride:  Dec 20th. Southern Indiana. 40 degrees and a constant light rain.  The roads are covered in a sheen of water, salt, sand, mud and manure.  Do I really want to take this bike out for its first ride?  Damn straight, I do, it’s an Adventure bike, dammit.

First impression:  Rolling it out of the garage and around my pebble/gravel driveway is that it is heavier than my F800.  (Well; of course, it is, you idiot.)  All I mean by this is that it takes more work to push it around in the gravel.  I will get used to it …. And I may even be a little more careful about dropping it.  It is also a little more awkward to hop aboard and get started.  The F800GSA is ½ an inch taller at the saddle, but the Multi seat is broader. The Buell had a very flat tall seat which made kickstands and getting on and off awkward.  I got used to it. And I will get used to this.  So far, the only real issue is deploying or retracting the kickstand on uneven ground.  Everything else is simply a matter of sliding the body around.

Once underway… Wow!  So much more stable than the F800GSA on pavement.  The front end is planted, yet, I am in this wonderful upright Adventure Bike riding position.  The big, wide handlebars taking my slightest input and changing it into fabulous steering response.  Stable but responsive.  My first thoughts in the first few miles were, “Wow…. this is going to be an amazing touring bike.”  The right amount of effort and comfort.

Then I hit some tight twisties. Remember: new engine, new knobby tires (it has the Pirelli Scorpion Rally), new loan, and a sheen on the road made of varying slippery stuff.   So, I took it easy.  But; power roll-ons out of corners had me giggling like a school boy on the playground.  Slow into a slippery corner, “gently” roll on power in Touring Mode, exit the corner giggling as this amazing L twin thrums out of the corner.

This engine.  Oh, I am going to fall in love with this engine.  Power when I want it.  Refined when I want it.  I admit, I was concerned about the Termignoni exhaust and about engine noise and harshness when not actively thrashing the bike.  In everyday riding, I want a nice, semi refined ride.  I do not want to constantly hear a 152hp beast ready to devour a road or to constantly fight an engine that has twitchy throttle response and can only be ridden fast.  (Did I mention that I turn 50 next year?) My fears are gone.  The Enduro may not be as smooth as my Concours 1400 or the Z900, but it is only just a slight step below them.  …… WITH that amazing Ducati L twin sound and Thrum.

Wow.  Wow is all that I can say.  I walked away very impressed for a first day riding 100 miles in 40-degree rain on twisty, debris covered, Southern Indiana roads.  I cannot wait for my second ride.

Second ride:  Dec 24th.  Christmas Eve day.  40 degrees again.  But the sun is shining, and the roads are clear of the sheen.  Now it is just salt, sand, mud, and manure…. but dry.

Still not treating the bike like I stole it; but now opening the throttle quite a bit more.   I thought that I was giggling before?!?!  My mouth hurts so much from this constant huge smile.  I really cannot stop smiling.  What happened?  A few days ago, I was telling myself that I purchased an amazing Touring bike.  No way!  I purchased an amazing Sport bike!  Roll on throttle… THRUM….  Slow down for a corner with a downshift…. THRUM…. What fun!   What is there to add from the first ride?  I used the engine more and started to trust the bike and tires on the dry pavement…. Holy Cow!!!  I bought a Sport bike!  A sport bike with amazing fueling, steering response, suspension…. and comfort and refinement.

Did I mention the rough twisty roads under a variety of repair/construction?  After a few miles, I rarely thought of correcting my ride to avoid bad road sections.  The Skyhook suspension just ate it up, no questions.  All without punishing my body and while giving me amazing feedback. No, it didn’t “eat up the road.”  It moved over it like magic.  Serious Gandalf/Dumbledore/Harry Dresden/Rand Al’ Thor Magic.  The road disappears while still allowing me to be in complete control of the bike.

3rd Ride: December 25th. Christmas Day.  Sunny 45 degrees.  Today is the off-pavement ride.  I am lucky enough to live near Bloomington Indiana in the Southern part of the state.  Glaciers left us wonderful hills, valleys, ridgelines, and curvy roads.  Paved and unpaved.  I have explored several fabulous unpaved roads on my F800GSA and before that 2-up rides exploring the area on the Tenere.  I had a route planned out.  Well… just as the bike excelled on road, it showed itself worthy off road as well.  My one planned route became one planned route and “Wow, what will this thing do up Eldridge Road?!”

The Multistrada Enduro Pro blows the Tenere out of the water.  The Tenere was a tank, a great two-up exploration machine, and I loved it. But it is not in the same class.  The F800GSA…. well……  The BMW is easier to ride off pavement.  It is lighter, smaller, has a 21’ front wheel, a soft suspension, and a parallel twin that just burbles along slowly.  I loved exploring back roads slowly with the F800GSA.  Truly perfect for that.

The Enduro Pro did not want me to ride slowly.  At one point, I flipped my visor down, turned to the bike and said, “fine you obstinate Italian, I will ride faster… but this is really going to hurt when we go down on this slippery, slimy, hard packed gravel.”  Never went down.  The bike just kept controlling it all and urging me to play.  A glance at the speedo, “Wow!  How are we going that fast?!”    Slow down for a 90-degree turn, kick the rear end around.  “Wait!  Did I?  A street rider.  Just. Kick. The Rear. Around?!?     What are you doing to me; you Crazy Italian Siren?”

The combination of the engine, electronics, suspension, and bike layout makes this bike an absolute hoot off pavement.  If I was never going to see pavement for weeks on end and I was carrying gear for a month excursion, the F800GSA would get my vote.  But I am not.  I will take many Adventure trips in the future, but pavement will always be a part of everyday riding.

Wrap up:

The bike is amazing. –THRUM-- It really is 4 bikes-in-one.  Believe the Marketing.  Believe that a team of magicians worked on the Skyhook system. It used to be that being a Jack of all Trades meant that you were Master of None.  Maybe the Multi Enduro Pro isn’t a “Master” at them all… but it comes closer than any bike has a right to.  Believe it.


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