Ducati Multistrada 1200 S Touring – Motorbikes Reviews, News & Advice…

31 May 2015 | Author: | Comments Off on Ducati Multistrada 1200 S Touring – Motorbikes Reviews, News & Advice…
Ducati Multistrada 1200 S Touring

Ducati Multistrada 1200 S Touring

Four reasons in one day? Can the Multistrada be all things to all people: the only bike you’ll ever need? It certainly builds a compelling case

“Yes, but do you really need all that?” The “all that” in question belongs to Ducati’s new Multistrada 1200S, and the question’s just left the lips of my non-riding girlfriend. It makes me think for a second as I consider if semi-active suspension, a 150hp engine, ABS, traction control and a 30-grand price tag are the answer to any adventure riding situation.

Ducati claims this Multistrada (meaning all, or many roads) bike can be all things to all people – four bikes in one (according to the thick volume that fronts as the bike’s press release). With Sport, Touring, Urban and Enduro modes, it’s clear there is some credibility behind this claim. But there can also be a world of difference between what an enthusiastic press release screams and what the real ride offers.

First things first. The semi-active suspension (Ducati’s Skyhook Suspension – DSS) is awesome. You’ll notice it from the first 10 metres and will be reminded of it most of the time – because the ride is more controlled, more luxurious than you’ve been used to up to now.

There’s no need to have your bike’s suspension removed, resprung and tuned by a specialist – the machine’s brain now becomes your onboard personal technician.

With data being received from both sprung (chassis) and unsprung (wheels) sensors, this information is fed into the pre-determined ECU program that constantly evaluates the situation and offers the best compression and rebound rates for the terrain. It’s really noticeable when breaking heavily into a sharp corner.

In this situation, the front dives noticeable less than on a ‘normal’ bike, and this means the front stays higher and your weight isn’t automatically transferred towards the bars. You remain in more control on the level machine than if it had transferred all the action to the front wheel and it started to push wide.

Each engine mode comes with its own standard suspension settings but these are fully adjustable. There’s a quick electronic menu that allows you to adjust the system for a pillion or extra luggage (the panniers come as standard), but you’ll have to dive into the main menu to individually adjust the Marzocchi forks or Sachs shock further. In most situations, you can just let the computer auto-tune the suspenders for you and be assured of a mightily smooth and controllable ride.

And that controllability extends to the engine. Nestled between the frame tubes lies Ducati’s second generation Testastretta DS engine, drinking through a new fuel injection system and breathing through a ‘narrow head,’ which refers to the angle (11 degree) that the valves form. In Sport and Touring modes, the full 150hp is on tap, though delivered in vastly different ways.

Likewise, the Urban and Enduro’s 100hp cap offers different paths to the same goal.

Around town, in the growing traffic madness, the Urban mode calms the engine into a smooth and driveable friend. The V-twin’s vibration disappears from little more than tickover and the journey to the redline is linear and rapid. Yup, even with ‘just’ 100hp waiting at the end of the fly-by-wire throttle, she’s a quick bike.

But select Sport mode and wake the beast. At 194kg, the 1200 S isn’t a superbike-like waif, but when the engine’s flowing full-fat, it’d give those flagship bikes a worryingly hard workout.

High bars, that suspension and the Brembo monoblock brakes means that in many (and most) situations, riding a Multistrada fast would be easier (and more rewarding) than being head-down, arse-up on a rocket racer. In full-fat mode, the engine’s pretty rude – it’ll wheelie off the throttle in the first three gears and will worry your licence with every click of the not-quite-Japanese-slick gearbox.

It also takes an extra 1000rpm to smooth out those V-twin vibes over the Urban mode’s 2500rpm. In Touring mode, those 150 horses become less frantic and that makes this the setting for twistier vistas, where it becomes easier to drive out of corners rather than try to tame the Sport mode’s pure aggression.

So what’s not to like about the 1200 S? For all the high level electronics, there’s no cruise control offered, the panniers detract from the beauty of the back end of the bike (and although the left pannier eats a full-face lid, the right side box is more show that go as it has to sit proud of the twin-tipped short muffler) and the handlebar controls for the menu and as-standard heated grips can be a bit fiddly with a gloved finger. Also, the $28,490 price tag means it’s not the cheap alternative to the growing army of do-anything bikes out there. (Aprilia’s new Caponord 1200, which also features semi-active suspension, will be on sale here for $6K less). Out of the entire riding experience, the Enduro mode is the hardest to sell – it might cut down the bike’s traction and ABS systems for a more pure experience off-road, but pretty bodywork, mirrors and rubber-topped footpegs that don’t aid standing-up riding, and the profile and cut of the Pirelli tyres mean that decent enduro action is the domain of the mad, bad or just cashed-up.

With awesome handling, a comfortable riding position (the screen can be manually adjusted) and a cool aurora, the new Multistrada is a fine evolution of this now decade-old family. The only bike you’ll ever need? Possibly not.

But it will probably be closer than whatever you’re currently riding.



Type: Liquid-cooled, Desmodromic, eight-valve L-twin

Capacity: 1198cc

Bore x stroke: 106.0mm x 67.9mm

Compression ratio: 11.5:1

Fuel system: Electronic fuel injection

Claimed maximum power: 150hp (110kW) at 9250rpm

Claimed maximum torque: 124.5Nm at 7500rpm


Ducati Multistrada 1200 S Touring

Type: Six speed

Final drive: Chain

Clutch: Wet, with slipper action


Frame: Tubular steel

Front suspension: 48mm upside down fork with electronic compression and rebound damping adjustment with Ducati Skyhook Suspension, 170mm travel

Rear suspension: Electronic compression and rebound damping adjustment. Electronic spring preload adjustment with aluminium single-sided swingarm, 170mm travel

Front brakes: Twin 320mm discs with radially mounted four-piston Brembo callipers, ABS

Rear brake: 245mm disc with two-piston caliper

Wheels: 10-spoke light alloy, front 3.5 x 17, rear 6.0 x 17

Tyres: Pirelli Scorpion Trail, front 120.70-17, rear 190/55-17


Rake: 25 degrees

Trail: 110mm

Claimed kerb weight (90 per cent of fuel): 234kg

Ducati Multistrada 1200 S Touring

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