If you were put off by the old bike’s towering riding position and never got past trying it for size at the dealership, you'll be pleased to hear things have changed. With a lower centre of gravity the 1260 Enduro isn’t so much on stilts now - more platform shoes. Seat height is down 10mm to 860mm and a thinly padded 840mm accessory seat is also available.
Ducati has also shaved 10mm off the footrest rubbers and lowered the handlebars by 30mm. For a six-foot rider knees are actually quite squished with the standard perch, so for the long-legged the 880mm option seat is the one to go for.
Chassis tweaks are minimal, but useful. Front and rear suspension stroke is reduced by 15mm for tighter on-road handling, rake is increased by 1mm for extra stability and half a kilo is shaved from the double sided swingarm. Ducati has even lightened the sump guard to save a few grams. Forks are tweaked, electronic suspension settings refined and the spoked wheels are 2kg lighter and stronger - payload is up 20kg to 231kg.
A compromise on the tarmac
With its still-long travel suspension and big front wheel the 1260 Enduro is always going to be a compromise on the tarmac. Handling is off-road lazy and not as crisp as the standard Multistrada, but you can still get a surprising lick on.
Ducati has made no bones about the fact this is an unashamed, niche enduro bike. It’s built for the committed and makes up for just 15-20% of total Multistrada sales. It’s loved the most in Italy and Germany and for its size and it’s more capable than you’d ever imagine, especially in the hands of a pro.
But thanks to the motor’s extra grunt and manageable riding position the Enduro 1260 will flatter the less experienced, too. It’ll happily tackle the most nadgery of trails, but with all that power the Ducati is born to boss bum-clenchingly fast terrain.
Powered by the stroked, 156bhp, 1262cc DVT motor found in the 2018 Multistrada 1260 (which started life in Ducati’s XDiavel cruiser), it’s 6bhp up on the old Enduro 1200 and oozes big V-twin flexibility. At 5500rpm there's 17% more torque and 85% of those grunt globules are delivered at 3500rpm, so every time you spin the throttle tube you’re rewarded with big dollops of instant, thunderous propulsion.
Shorter overall gearing and a shorter first gear ratio gives the 1260 Enduro even more low and high speed urgency, compared to the standard, lazier-geared Multi. Service intervals are blissfully long with oil changes every 9000 miles and valve checks every 18,000.
All of this impressive grunt is now meted out and controlled by the latest incarnation of Bosch’s 6-axis inertial measurement unit (IMU).
Multistradas aren't without their electronic and mechanical issues. Regular dealer servicing is a must for Ducatis and dealer back-up is excellent if any problems occur.
The logic of a massively complex and expensive mega-enduro bike might sound hard to justify, but you really can't fault how amazingly effective the Ducati Multistrada Enduro is.
That said, it’s a lot of money for a big dirt bike, so make sure you have the skills to ride it off road – as when it topples there’s not much you can do about it falling over and breaking something expensive.
You get lots of goodies in standard trim, including cornering traction control and ABS, cruise and wheelie control, up/down shifter, hill hold, rider and power modes, LED cornering lights and a centre stand. You can also add Touring, Sport, Urban and Enduro packs and a raft of official accessories.
Just like the Multistrada 1260 and Panigale V4 the 1260 Enduro runs Ducati’s latest high-res, Bluetooth-friendly 5” colour display and switchgear operating system. It makes life easier to navigate, via natty dash graphics, around the bewildering array of IMU-controlled rider aids, engine maps and semi-active Sachs suspension settings (there are a mind-boggling 400 preload and damping parameters alone).
It takes a while to figure everything out, but once you get the hang of it, you can make your 1260 Enduro as soft, stiff, calm or crazy as you want, all at the flick of a switch.