Alun Davies and the big Multistrada eat up a dry Salisbury Plain.
There’s a majestic horse chestnut tree near the ABR office. It towers over the surrounding fields and features a magnificent, bell-shaped, dark green canopy under which I’ve sat many a time, looked out over the Warwickshire countryside and put the world to rights.
Over the past few days, I’ve noticed a rather dramatic change: the canopy has started to wilt, is losing its strong and distinctive shape and, from a distance, the lush dark green is taking on a yellowish hue. Judged purely on appearance I would have said it looks like the onset of autumn. Yet we’re in mid-summer and it’s not rained in our part of the world for over three weeks.
We’re experiencing fantastic riding weather, but the lack of precipitation is taking its toll. The lush green fields are dry and turning the colour of straw, the grass on the Davies lawn has stopped growing (that’s good news by the way) and we’re going through sunscreen by the barrel rather than tube.
On the plus side, the dry and sunny days have inspired me to take a lot more trips on the Ducati and with the long, summer days I’ve been riding further afield and to areas I’ve had on my ‘re-visit list’ for far too long. One such area is Wiltshire and the military training ground at Salisbury Plain.
The last time I was down these parts there had been torrential rain for weeks and an amphibious landing craft, rather than a motorcycle, would have been more suitable for taking on the green lanes. They were in no condition for checking out the off-road prowess of a £19,000, 232kg adventure motorcycle.
On my recent visit the opposite was the case. The lanes were bone dry with dust and rock-hard ruts replacing the challenges of thick, deep mud and saddle-high water splashes. In my view, just perfect for the Multistrada 1200 Enduro Pro.
The Multistrada 1200 Enduro Pro is an adventure bike that truly defies its colossal size and weight in off-road situations and is capable of taking on far more difficult terrain than the parched trails of Salisbury Plain.
First off, the Pro comes equipped with an almost tank-like (very apt on Salibury Plain) bash plate and fitted crash bars. The footpegs are wide, comfortable and grippy, and the ergonomics when standing are, for my 6ft 2in frame, perfect out of the box.
Having ridden this bike at the original press launch in Sardinia and having spent a considerable amount of time green laning on the lower specified ‘Enduro’ I’m well aware that the number one feature that will restrict the off-road challenges that the owner is prepared to take on is the price.
Even when riding a long-term loan machine provided by Ducati, my heart (or wallet to be more accurate) still jumps into hand when I have an off-road wobble or two.
Switching the power into the more manageable off-road mode and heading off down heavily rutted lanes laced with bomb crater-sized potholes this bike is a total revelation. The suspension is phenomenally good at taking the punishment and keeping you on course and, even though the bike is a behemoth in size and weight, it is exquisitely well balanced, poised and responsive.
The dry lanes of Salisbury Plain offer little in the way of technical challenge for such a competent adventure bike as the Multistrada 1200 Enduro Pro. In fact, they offer a great testing and training ground for all ABR readers who own larger capacity machines.
Just make sure the Army are not out having a play on the day you visit and remember to pack a snorkel when the weather pattern changes back to normal.