Ducati Multistrada 1200S Review Part 1 Ducati News Today

18 May 2015 | Author: | Comments Off on Ducati Multistrada 1200S Review Part 1 Ducati News Today
Ducati Multistrada 1100 S

Ducati News Today

Ducati Multistrada 1200S Review Part 1

The Ducati Multistrada 1200 has been subject to so much hype we almost feel we know what to expect before slinging a leg over the saddle. However just as with similarly overly promoted movies, no matter how good it is, it could easily disappoint when you get to see for yourself. Ducati News Today took advantage of the Multistrada 1200 National Premiere weekend and Ducati Motorcycles of Atlanta’s generosity to find out first hand.

Part 1 of our Multistrada 1200 Review is after the jump.

No it wasn’t the earth moving. For a second I couldn’t work out what was happening. And then, I realized that selecting ‘Enduro’ mode from amongst the four different riding modes available was causing stepper motors to automatically raise the the front and rear spring preload and thus the ride height of the new 2010 Ducati Multistrada 1200.

I guess this would be quite the embarrassment if a shorter rider were to do this only to find they could no longer touch the ground!

For so long, the Bologna twins have been associated with a simpler, more pure style of motorcycling than their cheaper, Japanese alternatives. Two cylinders, not four, often eschewing liquid cooling and even more than 2 valves. And as is so often the case with purity, significant compromise on the part of the rider was required.

Not any more. The Ducati Multistrada 1200 is definitely not your father’s Ducati.

A technological tour de force, the new Multi has just about every electronic convenience or safety helper you can think of thrown at it. Adjustable Traction control, ABS brakes, electronically adjustable suspension, a proximity aware ignition key that just needs to be on your person and ride by wire throttle which is a key component in allowing four pre-programmed riding modes dubbed ‘Urban’, ‘Sport’, ‘Touring’ and ‘Enduro’ that you can select while riding.

More than that it is only a flick of a switch to adjust for the addition of a pillion, luggage or both. Who would have thought that the race ECU enabled only traction control first seen on the homologation special Ducati 1098R would be the prelude to all this?

The immediate impact of this for me was not knowing how to start the bike. It turns out you slide down the switch on the right handlebar which wakes up the electronics. You are then treated to a light show as everything powers up. Next you slide the switch back up which locks with a click and reveals the start button below it.

The Testastretta 11º engine fires up immediately and settles into an even idle. The bike is setup in reduced power, urban mode (which restricts the horses to just 100), so I use the left push button on the bar to cycle through to Sport’ and hold for a few seconds to allow it to select.

The light clutch could be Japanese (yes this is a compliment!) and the engine snicks into first. With a crowd of fellow enthusiasts watching it is always a little nerve wracking to move off on a bike you’ve never been on before. Not to worry.

The light clutch lever is attached to a smooth and precise engagement wet clutch and the pokey motor has plenty enough poke to move off gently just above idle. The low speed balance is so good and feels so natural that later I’ll play at how long I can stay stopped with both feet on the pegs at lights just for the fun of it.

Ducati claims the Multistrada 1200 makes more power than the 1198 up to 6,000rpm and I have no reason to doubt them. What is more impressive than thus and immediately apparent, is how much more rideable the changes in valve overlap have made the low speed running of the engine. All large capacity twins suffer from lumpy running down low but this is as good as I’ve ever sampled.

The Multi develops smooth, easy to modulate power that makes commuting a breeze and fun on a Ducati. I’ll say that again. I had fun riding around town on a 4-valve Ducati. With judicious use of the throttle the bike responds smoothly and with some urgency from as low as 2,500rpm even in 4th and will roll-on quite adequately in 6th from 3,000rpm and 50mph or so. My Ducshop tuned and optimized termi equipped Monster S4RS really prefers the revs to start with a 4 in the higher gears.

And finally Bologna have realized that mirrors should provide much more than ‘hint of elbow’. The New Multi’s mirrors are great.

Ducati Multistrada 1100 S
Ducati Multistrada 1100 S

Great handling starts with light weight and the Multi is suitably lacking in avoir dupois for this class of bike and feels like it. Wide handlebars help, since the bike can be turned rapidly with little effort. If you’ve ridden the Multistrada 1100 before it is more sporty than that bike. I liken it to what I imagine a Hypermotard would feel like if it had 150bhp which is to say, frisky and encouraging but never intimidating.

The best compliment I can pay the riding position is to say I never noticed it during my entire ride. It is obviously quite sit up and beg for a Ducati and so you merely shift your cheek a little here and there and lean over to rail through turns rather than stick your knee out and get all Michel Fabrizio .

Still you can hustle on this bike. It may not look like a Superbike but a good rider is going to keep up with anything. The combination of accurate steering, easy turn in due to the bar leverage and a smooth, punchy power delivery means the Multi loves to blast out of apexes. What a coincidence.

So do I. The engine seems ideal for this allowing you to pick up the throttle early and then have the engine in the meaty middle of the range as you accelerate and stand back up. By the time you can apply full throttle the engine is picking up revs at a great rate and storming towards the horizon. The truth is 90% of riders would be better off with this engine in their 1198 than the 20bhp stronger motor it comes with.

Whilst you smugly mug the unsuspecting sportbike rider on your mere ‘Adventure Tourer’ you can revel in the soundtrack. Ducati makes a big deal about tuning the sound on this bike but the Multi does sound great (hear the Multistrada 1200 sound for yourself ) and is the first twin I’d be tempted to leave well enough alone. Sacrilege, I know.

The stock exhaust even looks good with the twin right side exit muffler showing none of the bulbous lumps that seem par for the course these days on other brands.

So far so good. So What’s Not to Love? Continue on to Part 2 of the Ducati Multistrada 1200S Review .

Thanks to BMW Ducati Motorcycles of Atlanta who supplied The Ducati Multistrada 1200 and fuel.

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