Ducati’s 2016 World Premiere: More than Red, there is Black, Wild and Pop

Yesterday, Monday 16th 2015, was the day we learned what Ducati meant by its More than Red campaign for 2016 and beyond.  Several new bikes were introduced as Ducati continues to expand its product line. Red is about new bikes under their traditional line of bikes, Pop relates to new bikes under the Scrambler Ducati or what they’ve also been referring as the yellow brand, and then we had the two new product variations for this year, Black and Wild.  This is what we learned yesterday.

Scrambler Ducati (Yellow, Pop)

On the yellow front, the “pop” per Ducati’s marketing campaign, there are three new Scrambler models and no changes to the current 803 cc Scrambler line.

The four 803cc Scramblers remain unchanged (Icon, Classic, Full Throttle and Urban Enduro)

The four original 803cc Scramblers remain unchanged (Icon, Classic, Full Throttle & Urban Enduro)

The first new model under the Scrambler brand is a 400cc motorcycle, called the Sixty2. Lighter and less expensive than the current four models, it is tuned to meet the European motorcycle endorsement (power restrictions) for new riders.

2016 Sixty2 Scrambler Ducati

2016 Sixty2 Scrambler Ducati.  It comes in orange, black or light blue (although it is called ocean gray)

Then there is the Flat Track Pro.  It is a variation on the Full Throttle theme, based on the 803cc motor.  It has different touches and accessories here and there, separating it a bit more from the other three 803cc bikes than the Full Throttle does.  It is sort of a special edition, a theme on the Full Throttle based on Troy Bayliss flat track racer bike.

Flat Track Pro, a variation on the Full Throtle theme

Flat Track Pro, a variation on the Full Throttle theme

Then there will be yet another Scrambler to be launched in December in the United States.  No word on what that is all about. We will know in a month or so what this new Scrambler will be.

To summarize, the Scrambler Ducati brand will start 2016 offering seven models in their line up:

  • 400cc Sixty2 (orange, light blue, and black)
  • 803 cc Icon (red and yellow)
  • 803 cc Classic
  • 803 cc Urban Enduro
  • 803 cc Full Throttle
  • 803 cc Flat Track Pro
  • Another model, yet to be announced

Red

For the “red” side of the Ducati brand, Ducati CEO, Claudio Domenicali, announced three new models.

The first is the revised Hypermotard family, with the Hypermotard 939, the Hypermotard 939 SP and the Hyperstrada 939. The most important change on these bikes is the new 937cc motor, delivering a few more horses (113 hp) and torque (72.2 lb/ft) than the 821cc motors.  And there are a few improvements on electronics and additional information will be provided on the dash display.  This was mostly an evolutionary change.

2016 Hypermotard 939 SP

2016 Hypermotard 939 SP

Claudio also announced evolutionary changes on the midrange Panigale.  The 899 is now the 959, with an increased displacement to 955cc, delivering 157 hp at 10,500RPM and 79.2 lb/ft at 9,000 rpm.

2016 Ducati Panigale 959

2016 Ducati Panigale 959

Still on the “red” front, Claudio announced the new Pikes Peak.  Besides the Pikes Peak livery and a good dose of carbon fiber, this bike differs from the other DVT models by the return of the Öhlins 48 mm fully adjustable forks on the front and fully adjustable Öhlins TTX36 on the back.

2016 Ducati Multistrada Pikes Peak

2016 Ducati Multistrada Pikes Peak

Wild

Now let’s go to the “wild” side of Ducati’s 2016 World Premiere.  Ducati announced their first enduro/adventure motorcycle – if we don’t count the Cagiva days, that is.  It is the Multistrada Enduro.

2016 Multistrada Enduro

2016 Multistrada Enduro

It comes with the same four riding modes as the regular Multistrada (Urban, Enduro, Sport and Touring), same motor, and the Skyhook suspension.  Its list of accessories are directed at adventure riding.  Besides some “adventure” design cues that differentiate it from the regular Multistrada, the Enduro comes with a bash plate, more suspension travel, more ground clearance, a larger tank (almost 8 gallons), a 19 inches front wheel size, and tubeless spokes wheels.

Multistrada Enduro with bags

Black

The real star of the show was the XDiavel (in two models, XDiavel and XDiavel S). Ducati did take their Diavel one step closer to a cruiser.  Feet forward, re-designed exhaust, longer wheel base, new tank, exposed trellis frame, belt drive, and the list goes on.  However, it still has a high performance motor and can lean to 40 degrees.  A cruiser that can handle some level of aggressive riding.

2016 Diavel X

2016 XDiavel

It comes with a new DVT motor (not the Multistrada’s motor), with a 1,262 cc displacement delivering 156 hp at 9,500 RPM and 95 lb/ft of torque at 5,000 RPM.  These numbers don’t look as good as the Mutistrada’s DVT until you realize the motor delivers good torque numbers very low on the RPM engine.  It has been designed to deliver low speed torque, or what Ducati has been calling “low speed excitement,”  with very small compromises on what one would expect from a Ducati motor’s performance at higher RPM ranges.

Diavel X Torque and Power Curves

XDiavel Torque and Power Curves

One interesting feature of the Diavel’s DVT motor is that there are no coolant hoses on the outside the motor.  Everything is run inside engine cases.  Like Claudio mentioned, it’s like a diamond inside the frame.

The Diavel X DVT Motor

The XDiavel DVT Motor

This bike offers good levels of customization, including 60 possible combinations of ergonomics (four footpeg positions, three handlebars and five seat options).  It comes with a full host of technology including cornering ABS, traction control, riding modes, cruise control, blue tooth, TFT dashboard, LED lights, electric locks and there is more.

My Thoughts on the 2016 Ducati Models?

The most interesting bike of this bunch, in my opinion, is the Multistrada Pikes Peak.  I can finally see a Ducati that could replace my 2013 Pikes Peak.  Not something for 2016 though, maybe for 2017. Second in my book is the Diavel X.  I’m interested in eventually taking one of these bikes for a test run and see what’s all about.

Scrambler?  My favorite Scrambler continues to be the Full Throttle with the Classic seat, Classic tank sides, and the Urban Enduro headlight protector.  Nothing new for me on that front, except to congratulate Ducati for reaching out to an even younger and newer customer base.  The promotional video of the Sixty2 was shot in Rio de Janeiro, showing this bike’s role in opening new frontiers, gathering new Ducasti in new markets.  Claudio Domicali hinted to the idea that the Scrambler brand will continue to expand.  I assume this is beyond the one 2016 Scrambler model that is yet to be revealed.

Full Throttle meets Urban Enduro and Classic

My own version of a Scrambler – Full Throttle meets Urban Enduro and Classic

On the “traditional” Ducati, the red side of things, the Hyperstrada’s evolution did not motivate me.  I agree with Claudio, it is a bike where the destination is not what matters,  it’s all about the fun of riding.  That’s what I thought about the 821cc model when I test rode it.  Now with the 937cc it could tell an even better going nowhere story.  In my view of things, the Hypermotard idea is a niche bike.

I would say it is time for Ducati to get out of the “motard” theme in at least the Hyperstrada version of its motard line, offering that same bike under a different skin.  It could still be a hooligan motorcycle, just in disguise, a classier hooligan. Check the Turismo Veloce, for example.  It offers more amenities, it is a more complete mid-size adventure/touring package.  The Hyperstrada is just something that is not here, nor there.

2016 Hyperstrada 939

2016 Hyperstrada 939

The new 959 Panigale is another uninspiring bike to me. You want a Panigale, go for the full version. Having said that, the mid-range Panigale is now closer to the real Panigale in terms of performance. The 899 was not a best seller, I doubt the 959 will change that.  I understand the importance of having a mid range motorcycle, though.

The real star of the red show to me was the 2016 Pikes Peak.  It is interesting that Ducati has decided to offer the Öhlins package again on its Multistrada line.  Now that I’m used to and enjoying the Skyhook suspension?  Not sure the wheels are forged Marchesini wheels like on my Pikes Peak.  Besides the DVT, another advantage of the Pikes Peak is that it now comes with the Termi exhaust also for the American market, which was not the case when I bought mine.  The Pikes Peak continues to be the lighter of the Multistrada versions.

2016 Multistrada Pikes Peak

2016 Multistrada Pikes Peak

Ducati gone Wild? Not for me, thanks.  I’ve taken my Multistrada on gravel roads, it actually does it very well.  I just don’t see the point of going off pavement on such a motorcycle.  I’m sure, and I hope there will have plenty of people buying the Multistrada Enduro, even it is only to take it on a Starbucks run.  Not a problem.  There may be a few who will really take it on gravel roads.  But I will be looking forward to seeing the very few who will be taking these bikes on real adventures.

No questions, Ducati is aiming squarely at KTM here, returning the favor delivered by KTM when it introduced its 1190 Adventure and then the 1290 Super Adventure.  Almost eight gallons of fuel… really? It’s a tanker, not unlike the BMW R1200GS Adventure and the KTM 1290 Super Adventure.  Who are these riders going for these beasts at these rarefied heights of the motorcycle adventure spectrum?  Apparently these large behemoths continue to sell well. Ducati’s version will be the lightest of the bunch, it seems.

Multistrada Enduro in Action. Besides journalists, and professional riders who else will ride it like this?

Multistrada Enduro: besides journalists, and professional riders who else will ride it like this?

If Ducati had asked my opinion for which way to go wild, I would have pointed to the Hyperstrada instead of the Multistrada (or in addition to).  You see, for off pavement performance, I would favor the mid-range motorcycle.  The Hyperstrada could have been re-designed as a classier motard as I explained above, but it could also be offered as a true adventure machine with 21 inch front wheel, good suspension travel, it already has a good torquey motor, and it probably can be done under 500 lbs.

Ducati, we just learned, suffers from the same illness as other adventure motorcycle manufacturers, building or paying more attention to large adventure bikes that will never see a spec of dust. Well, the consumer continues to favor larger motorcycle at this higher end of the market.  Manufacturers know they sell those bikes.  Instead I’m after something different, a real adventure and enduro multi-cylinder motorcycle.

Last but not least, there is the Black side of things, the XDiavel.  I actually found that bike interesting. From all these new bikes, that’s the one I want to try first. It has some quirks in its design, such as a passenger seat with back rest (all bikes come with this seat and you install it if you want).   This is not a bike for a passenger, in my opinion, but it shows it can be done.  Another quirk is the Ducati Power Launch (DPL), for fast moving from a stop.  Ducati continues to offer the Diavel, but after learning about the X, the regular Diavel looks more out of place than it has ever been… And it has always been way out there.

X Diavel with Passenger

X Diavel with Passenger

Overall, Ducati continues to grow by developing new models year after year, expanding its range of motorcycles and reaching out to a broader spectrum of riders.  2016 is the year when Ducati turns 90, it seems Ducati is in route to celebrate increased sales in this important anniversary.

What are your thoughts about the new Ducati motorcycles?

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5 Responses to Ducati’s 2016 World Premiere: More than Red, there is Black, Wild and Pop

  1. Fred says:

    Very nuce review! Thanks.

  2. WyldKard says:

    I pretty much agree with your take on things. The 400cc Scrambler is a bit underwhelming – I wish they would have used a single-cylinder engine and cut the weight more. At a mere seven pounds or so difference, there’s almost no reason for anyone in the US to get the smaller displacement bike, unless price is a real issue. Overall, Ducati owns this segment though – the BMW Scrambler is too heavy if you really want to push the off-road potential, and Triumph doesn’t have a new one (just an aesthetic Scrambler “kit”). That said, I do think the BMW Scrambler is better looking.

    I always did like the Diavel, and the XDiavel only ups the ante. Unfortunately, owning more than one bike at the moment is out of my wheel-house, and I can only see owning the XDiavel as a second or third bike, not as a my primary one.

    • cesardagord says:

      I agree on your take on the 400cc Scrambler and that’s why I think Ducati is not targeting the American market with this bike either, like probably you would agree as well.

      The BMW Scrambler will probably be on another league in terms of price. And yes, aside of price it is a completely different motorcycle when compared to the Ducati Scramblers.
      Agree on your take on the Triumph, and I would extend that to the Guzzi V7. They are an option or one configuration on a standard motorcycle. But then, that’s how Scramblers were born. There is some merit to that way of arriving at a Scrambler. Having said that, Ducati is the only who built one from scratch to be a Scrambler.

  3. Tommy says:

    Hey Cesar,
    I’m really disappointed about the new Pikes Peak. No forged Marchesinis, no semiactive suspension. The new look is nice but so much money for some good looking decals, the öhlins replacing skyhook and some carbon fibre. No, I stay happy with my 2013 Model especially with all the goodies i’ve added the last two years.

    All Best
    Tommy

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