2007 Ducati Multistrada 1100 –

15 Jan 2015 | Author: | Comments Off on 2007 Ducati Multistrada 1100 –
Ducati Multistrada 1100
Ducati Multistrada 1100

The new 1,100cc size offers a very unique mix

Photos by R. Herman

After a panini and coffee break, the seriously demented group I’ve been riding with was ready to hit the road again. I met them at the entrance to one of my beloved twisty roads, the one that climbs to the observatory above the village of Erba. The GSX-R750, 636 and CBR600 — all with gumballed tires and very throttle-happy dudes aboard — were a tough challenge for me and the new Ducati 1100 Multistrada.

On the short uphill straights, no amount of throttle-cable stretching managed to leave an impression on these middleweights. Having plenty of torque is always helpful when exiting slow hairpins, yet not enough to really put me in a position to show’em who’s boss; these guys were good. The uphill stretch was well paved, the mild winter sun managed to dry all the wet patches and the road was as good as it gets; perfect conditions.

A few turns into the nasty downhill bit and the 636 simply lets me through as if he’s standing still, another stretch and the GSX-R guy gives up as well. Hey guys — everything OK? Up ahead, the CBR rider is seemingly doing all he can to put on a decent show but after two scary moments in one wet curve with nasty bumps, he declares defeat.

At the road’s exit I stop to wait: it’s almost a sin to not pull out a cigarette, break it in half and light it in order to put on the full It’s half an hour that I’m waiting for you guys show.

As they pull over I can already hear the cursing:

What a s%$*y stretch! says GSX-R guy.

Yeah. there was gravel all over! responds Signore636.

Almost lost the front on those bumps, did you see it? says CBR while massaging his wrists, looking like the downhill braking loads almost killed him. I bow slightly, acknowledging their pain and ride on towards another direction, a bit shocked at just how unruffled the Multistrada was over the same tarmac. What a heartache indeed, isn’t there justice is in this world?

I for one never said there was any.

It’s been almost four years since I last rode a Multistrada in anger and the treasured memories of following Paul Smart at the Multi’s launch in Sardinia are still vivid in my mind. As much as I enjoyed that ride, riding a bike on sinfully perfect roads is one thing, but putting it through its paces in a myriad of conditions is quite another. The other journos and I left that Sardinia launch quite elated by the Multi’s capabilities but after a first year of relatively good sales, Ducati’s mutant ninja failed to leave an impression on the market and became a bit of an oddity.

On the other hand, during the last three years I’ve come across a few Multistrada owners and never found one that wasn’t deeply attached to his steed; I’m talking about will never sell it! levels of attachment. Strange, isn’t it? So I’ve been dying to take a Multi for a proper test for a while now and with perfect timing, Ducati has released the first seriously upgraded Multistrada with a 100cc-bigger engine and other small touches.

Ducati Multistrada 1100
Ducati Multistrada 1100

Will ten days in its company be enough to understand the spell that the Multi has cast over its devotees or at least show me why it fails to click with the public at large so far?

First, the upgrades. Displacement gets bumped up from 992 to 1,078cc courtesy of a simple bore job, and a wet clutch now handles power-disengagement duties while being quieter than the rattly old dry unit to boot. The exposed foam seat was the target of some reproach in the old model. Though my own personal cushions felt OK after a day’s ride during the press launch, the unit has been replaced by an upholstered one with a seemingly different shape.

It’s worth adding that at some point in time the Multi got a taller screen that supposedly increased the wind protection, another problem point of the first model.

Some features are worth pointing out to whoever missed the Multi altogether. The Multistrada was first shown in 2001 and caused massive eyebrow raising as well as some favorable comments. By slotting the air-cooled twin into a Supermoto-like frame that’s stiff as a concrete block thanks to heavy triangulation, Ducati created one of their weirdest scoots (that crown still belongs without doubt to the ill-fated TL600).

The main debate point wasn’t so much about the very idea of a do-it-all Duc but rather the polarizing design. A scooter face with a Mike Hailwood Replica tail, I wrote at the time and I wasn’t the harshest critic by a mile.

In Italy, though still not a common sight, we did get used to seeing the thing but still, Terblanche’s design decisions mean it’s a scoot that you either love or hate. My girlfriend for the last year has already seen me straddling a myriad of bikes. Not really knowledgeable yet, she has still developed some fine taste in the period, really liking the Derbi Mulhacen and the Ducati GT1000, for instance.

Over the phone she was excited: Are you coming to pick me up with a red 1100 Ducati? Wow! Unsurprisingly, as soon as I pulled into her parking lot, her tone changed: What the $%!@ is this? A Ducati?

Are you sure? Well, it’s really strange; I don’t like it at all. Don’t expect to pull the birds with this one, oh no.

Ducati Multistrada 1100
Ducati Multistrada 1100

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