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 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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?