Best Sport-Touring Motorcycle of 2019: Ducati Multistrada 950 S
When I think back to how underwhelmed I was at my first read of the upgrades announced for the 2019 Ducati Multistrada 950 S, I have to chuckle to myself. The big changes appeared to be focused on the 6-axis Bosch IMU (Inertial Measurement Unit) and all the automatic adjustments to suspension, braking, and power delivery it offered. While this was good news, it was hardly the press release that would point to the motorcycle winning the year’s Best Sport-Touring Motorcycle MOBO. But here we are.
Yes, some of you will have quibbles about the 950 S’ adventure tourer looks plus the 19-inch front and 17-inch rear wheels – with Pirelli Scorpion Trail IIs mounted, no less. While the Duc could do some light off-road tasks, it is clearly more focused on the paved portion of the world. And the twistier the better.
For starters, you have the 937cc Testastretta 11°, a thoroughly modern, Euro 4-rated engine that delivers a claimed 113 horsepower at 9,000 rpm. The torque numbers are equally as smile-inducing, 71 lb-ft delivered at 7,750 rpm. A Ride-by-Wire throttle means ride modes and other niceties, like Ducati Quick Shift (both up and down). While the engine can be wrung out, sportbike style, in the high rpm, the 950 S seemed most at home riding the ample torque curve.
Now, mix in the Skyhook Suspension, which constantly tweaks the rebound and compression damping settings in a semi-active manner to optimize vehicle balance. With a healthy 6.7 in. of travel at both ends, the goal is to keep the chassis attitude consistent by monitoring and adjusting the suspenders to match the road and rider inputs. The Brembo M4-32 monobloc radial calipers were perfectly suited …read more