2013 Ducati Multistrada MTS1200 S Touring review — Road Tests: First Rides…

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Ducati Multistrada 1200

2013 Ducati Multistrada S Touring review

New Panigale-style wheel. Slap me in the face a kipper but; I prefer the

In the world of motorcycle RD, improving a has to be one of the tougher jobs; it was already good. Now, how, of an audience of eager, experienced and current owners, do you make it

While there are a raft of Ducati’s Skyhook Suspension a semi-active suspension — the of which we’ve reviewed on HP4 is the most obvious addition.

have sold 20,500 1200s since its launch in and it surprised me to see that, for 80% of buyers, was their first Ducati. ride, on average, 50% more the typical Ducati owner (no please) and the stat that out most is that the previous MTS1200 owners came is equally split between … bikes and adventure

It’s easy to see why: claim the Multistrada is 4 motorcycles in 1 and that’s a slightly sugar-coated term, the original Multistrada was the adventure-style bike that represent a step down on the ladder for a sportsbike or big … rider. Infact for most of the that the average UK biker the Multistrada is an upgrade: it features a 1198-dervied engine, ABS, modes and traction control most superbikes didn’t when the Multistrada was launched in and it had the riding position and wind to make … bike envious.

But it was raw. Despite the styling and touring pretentions, a in 150bhp Sport mode was bit the 1198 experience; hot-headed and the motor was easily capable of the Pirelli Scorpion Trail and fairly basic traction A slightly unhinged adventure is an entertaining proposition, but perhaps not the desired feature a 45-year old owner looks for.

have addressed this the 2013 model, it’s that this isn’t performance, it’s about All the changes outlined below are off the slightly rough edges of the bike.

The ABS system is Bosch’s latest 9ME as used on flagship sportsbikes Ducati’s Panigale and BMW’s Ducati’s traction control on the new Multistrada now features the latest update meaning it’s obvious than before. ABS and DTC are automatically adjusted depending on riding mode you’re in of course, can be switched off completely.

It features a progressive rear yes it’s Sachs not Ohlins but be a huge plus for anyone two up or with luggage.

The engine broadly the same with the of a second spark plug in cylinder and a revised injector — now positioned at a flatter — to allow the fuel space to vaporise and that, with the second plug achieve a cleaner, more burn. A secondary air-bleed allows the engine to run richer exceeding emissions regulations.

system has been around for at a decade in bikes and it’s cheating but the result of this is torque, increased by 4.3ftlb to at 7,500rpm, roughly a 5% gain. also claim the increased efficiency results in an up-to-10% in fuel consumption (tested at

As on the original version, the Multistrada four riding modes, Touring, Urban and Enduro. here to see how the modes change the settings.

Visually and ergonomically, are a few tweaks, some useful, purely to satisfy the Italian for style. The front fairing has redesigned, resulting in an 18mm screen, that’s also wider. There’s also a new and slide’ adjuster that one-handed screen height It’s so simple, yet works There’s also the addition of new LED headlights but the main beam conventional.

The wheels are styled to that of the Panigale; personally I the old ones.

So to Ducati’s Skyhook Suspension features on the S versions of the Multistrada. suspension was first used in on the Mitsubishi Galant in 1987. reliably informed that the used on the Multistrada uses the technology as that on Maserati’s

The name Skyhook comes the concept that the suspension is constantly being measured and to keep the chassis stable and wheels planted, as if the motorcycle is marketing speak alert) from the sky’.

Sensors and rear measure the travel and of travel of the suspension. This is interpreted by Ducati’s algorithm and the is adjusted accordingly via a solenoid. It just 10 milliseconds for the adjustment to be

It takes 300 milliseconds to blink.

The DSS depending on what riding you’re in and even then it can be up and down by two steps, so harder or You can also manually adjust clickers, as before, but obviously as a Toolbox required.

I have a 99% of owners won’t bother.

All well but what if it fails? It go loopy but the suspension defaults to its setting. You can feel what would be like with the off, the bike feels

It would be ridable but you’d rather that didn’t as you ventured off across African

DSS divided the assembled hack’s more than I’ve seen on any new model launch. others eulogised about it the first few kilometres, I don’t admitting I was sceptical about the and dubious as to whether I could it working.

Starting off in Sport on the motorway, the suspension feels but not so firm as to chip tooth Switching to Touring mode you can feel the suspension soften up; the vibes at the bars evaporate and the feels like it’s Switch to Urban mode and it slightly softer still.

However, at motorway speeds, DSS is to firm up the ride, so everything at the stiffer end of normal. Drop to town speeds and Sport still feels firm, in Touring and Urban mode, that you can see aren’t translated bumps you can feel.

I don’t mind what a bike’s on a motorway, or in town, but on the pre-DSS you could always change and it would adjust preload and or firm up the suspension. That’s 90% of the job I suppose DSS is that final a nice touch but not essential.

Out on country roads in Sport the DSS-equipped Multistrada feels if a little stiff. Country are where the original Multistrada into its own, it felt

At first, I couldn’t get my head the DSS-Multistrada. You see, it won’t let the bottom out good thing, I but at the same time, the firmness of the suspension is broadly speaking proportional to the amount of braking you do. So the front does move, it move as much as you’re it won’t dive.

Diving in my book — isn’t a bad it’s a point of reference, one of the most obvious ones you can

It’s not as if when riding a bike, you bottom the forks out at corner, so in this instance DSS a problem that a solo has 1% of the time, while the remaining 99% of the it makes the riding experience vague. Hacking down a road on your own, I think you need DSS. Two up, luggage, braking into tarmac?

I could see a benefit.

I definitely notice DSS, but in a way I didn’t think was positive. It what it’s supposed to do the bike stable but by smoothing out the transfer I lost some of the that I clearly need to a bond with a bike.

At pace, the riding experience is three-dimensional and while my experience me grip was there, the feedback neutral. I like weight on the front, it gives me the impression there’s grip there and to be found. Getting on the gas, you can the rear end of the bike tense up.

It make the bike do anything it just feels awkward.

100 miles I started to feel with DSS. I think the is to let go and not second-guess what the bike is or what you think it might do. standard suspension, you’re the data that’s coming at all those bumps in the road and of tarmac are coming at you in noughts and When they’re intercepted by DSS and with by the Sachs CDCi, my starts to overheat.

I’m and doing one thing and feeling It’s a bit like when you put glasses on your brain to adjust to what you know you can see and or later you go cross-eyed.

Ducati Multistrada 1200

Despite the as a package, it’s still a animal to the likes of the GS1200. The is sublime, it’s punchy and but without doubt more than the first version; it like a well mapped of the original. Setting off on the original had an element of ‘launch’ about it, it was to do smoothly. The bottom-end is now much controlled but it’s still an excited puppy if you want it to be.


Take on twisty with just 2nd and 3rd gear in arsenal and you’ll struggle to a more involving riding The Multistrada bolts on speed in feels like 10mph every rotation of the crank. another 30 mph.

Traction steps into the 21st and is so much more subtle before. The default for the old traction when you broke the Pirelli grip was to skip the fannying with retardation and quickly cut the which is like being around the head with a pan. Appearing to come out of it would throw your forward and when happy it had the under control, throw all the back at you again.

Now the traction control is more a firm prod in the ribs, but if you it, ignition will be cut but not as severely as

It’s worth pointing out although the Pirelli Scorpion tyres do a good job, if I a Multistrada I’d replace with proper road something like a Metzeler Z8 or Michelin Pilot Road 3. The have a tough job to do: they to handle the Multistrada’s power, with fully loaded and last the distance. Oh and look adventure tyres, too. I the carcass is too stiff and an all-weather tyre would suit the better.

When given the of modes and settings, I always opt for power, sharpest feeling. Because I like precision and to base my riding around that’s more of a fixed than a sloppy, gutless of metal. However, the Multistrada’s mode isn’t bad. town it’s soft to soak it up where precision paramount.

On motorways, it takes the and jolts out of the experience, which be welcome on longer journeys, but up the pace and the bike feels as as when in Sports mode. I can’t imagine it gets to go back to Touring mode-proper if cutting a dash down a road. It feels like in mode, the Multistrada steps up to the when the going gets

The only thing this lacks, when taking on tourers is cruise control.

I myself using the screen because it’s so easy to On the last model, I never Sure it’s not electronic on a decent tourer, but it takes the amount of effort with left hand to alter the and it makes a big difference.

Perhaps that 4 bikes in 1 isn’t so bold after

It took me a day to get my head around it, but DSS works. Call me a luddite, but have to go back-to-back with the old to be able to say for definite whether it for me.

At £12,395 for the ‘standard’ MTS1200 it’s £2,800 cheaper the S touring. Sure, it doesn’t DSS, a centre stand, grips or panniers, but I could with that.

With the new model, you’ve got all the improvements you realistically ask for compared to the old version: the is more refined, the traction less blunt and less the ABS more advanced and the small like the screen, progressive spring, comfier seat and LED are a definite step forward and it cost any more than the old

Twelve-thousand pounds is a lot of money but for the standard bike is capable of it’s a bargain.

Ducati Multistrada: £12,395

Ducati Multistrada S Touring: £15,195

MTS1200 Multistrada GranTurismo: (est.)

Ducati MTS1200 Pikes Peak: £17,250

January 2013

Ducati Multistrada 1200
Ducati Multistrada 1200
Ducati Multistrada 1200
Ducati Multistrada 1200
Ducati Multistrada 1200


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