Ducati Multistrda 1000DS 1100 S MTS Review Canyon Chasers Motorcycle…

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Ducati Multistrada

A 50,000 Mile Review

say that Ducati is the most motorcycle company in the world, and if the case, then their Multistrada would be the most company’s most misunderstood That’s a lot of misunderstanding; but it does why the bike designed for “many has never been a big seller.

The bike doesn’t even fit in any bike category. It’s not a sport-touring bike, it’s not a adventure (ADV) bike even says its not intended for and it’s certainly not a traditional bike. So what is it?

We like to of it as a cross between a SuperMoto and a bike.

Thats all cool and but it was this single, simple taken during the Centopassi Mountain Passes) a competition around the venerable Multistrada caught our attention and got us to give the a second look — a look that has resulted in Multistradas finding their way the garages of various CanyonChasers.

But let’s back up a step; creator Pierre Terblanche has designing motorcycles since the and is most famous for the Ducati but should be most appreciated for his Cagiva Gran Canyon .

The Canyon was designed as a replacement for the winner of the Paris-Dakar (1990 the Cagiva/Ducati Elefant (with an which is still considered by to be the best big-bore dirt-bike of all The subsequent Gran Canyon was more street worthy but its brilliance; only a handful of Canyons even made it to the cruiser obsessed States.

A test ride on a Gran embedded the bike into my as being, quite possibly, the motorcycle I’d ever ridden. It as dirt-worthy, nor as porky as BMW’s GS and it a lot better than Yamaha’s budget suspension and brakes, The Gran Canyon was nimble, and able to tackle track-days as as fire roads.

It did have a few however. There was no good way to fit the smallest of tankbags on the bike and the could have been as a Guantánamo torture device.

years ago, during a along California’s famous I came upon one. The Canyon disappeared like cookies fresh from the as soon as the road become bumpy and technical – leaving my sport bike and my aching in the proverbial dust. Eventually, and Ducati divorced and Ducati motors were replaced Suzuki TL motors.

The “Canyon” was renamed the Navigator and of all, Cagiva was no longer to sell bikes in America.

unexpectedly, Ducati announced a to the Elefant and Gran Canyon. The shocked the world at the 2001 show and then went on in 2003. The first year had some teething problems.

The was too short allowing the bike to over quicker than a the seat was nothing more a piece of plywood covered vinyl and delicate mirrors easily and were placed far too together to see anything more your own shoulders. But it was the unusual that kept most from taking Multis with them.

Take for the wonky split fairing/windscreen. so weird. But Terblanche knew the windscreen on the Gran Canyon was He also knew that the why it was so bad was because it had to be fairly far away the rider in order to clear the of the handlebars. So Terblanche put the screen as to the rider as possible by splitting the in half and attaching the screen to the handlebars — clever.

And by the side-stand was lengthened, the mirrors the seat thickened and the windscreen was

Through the years, the Multistrada has in three basic versions; a version (only available in a 1000cc DS (dual spark) and a high-zoot S (sport) version comes with some fiber bits and Ohlins But that’s not to say the Showa bits on the DS are In fact the Showa stuff was so Ducati had to downgrade the suspension to kit in order to make the S version appealing.

The 1000 was bumped up to an for the 2007 model year.

there are four Multistrada’s in CanyonChasers garages, and the only there are not more can be attributed to a for some individuality. But four should tell you something the bikes modest brilliance. We are not the odd Duck is the worlds most motorcycle, they still some quirks.

They after all, Italian.

The gas gauge on the 1000 is comically showing a “low fuel” after less than a a tank of gas. This to be the most bothersome problem on the Muiltistrada forum and there are hundreds of discussions all looking for But in 2007, the bike got a significant

The motor jumped up to 1100cc’s and one of the fixed the fuel level

On our 1000, the fuel light really bothered us. We knew the had a 5.5 gallon fuel tank, so we calculated our range the old fashioned way by the trip meter at each up. And it’s not like the Multi is on range, we regularly go 180-190 before bothering to fill up, and on the 1100 model the fuel sometimes doesn’t light up for 230

The 1100 also got a closed fuel injection system and a converter so mileage is better and the is cleaner. When the 1000 mpg’s in the high 40’s, the will get low 60’s! Take Toyota Priius!


a Ducati, so first you are probably it’s going to require of maintenance. And you’re right. So, if you are of spanners and sockets you’ll grow to abhor anything than a Honda.

But if you like to wrenches and work on your own the Ducati is wondrously easy to because it was designed with the in mind.

Oil changes are your faire, nothing special and the rear tire on the dapper swing-arm is as simple as removing a bolt. (46mm or 1 13/16’s not included). Wary owners keep an eye on the cush drive on the hub. In rare cases the start to slip out and need to be back into place.


Removing the front is a royal pain in the posterior. Terblanche assembled the Multistrada, he the front wheel that had developed for Ducati Corsa. So the is gloriously light and the front rotors are delightfully enormous. becomes a problem when you to remove the front wheel.

is barely enough clearance for the to clear the rotors and if you are impatient, you snarf your wheels. taken to putting a couple of of blue painters tape on the to prevent scratches. Also, a lot of owners complain of pulsing but we believe this is caused by brake caliper removal.

If you take your time, the will bend when you the calipers out of the way.


And then there are the desmodromic valves. While adjustments will be frequent, can be done in a couple of hours – than half the time it us to adjust valves on shim-under-bucket motors. Changing belts can be in less than 30 minutes, and if you take your time.

One is there are scads of web resources detail valve adjustment belt change procedures – are even YouTube videos walk you through the job.

So, you may be adjusting your valves frequently, we figure you still out ahead because the work half as much time to The only time consuming of adjusting the valves on the Multistrada is the gas tank –which is pretty all of the bikes bodywork. Also, if you are to Desmo’s and have worked them in the past, be aware the newerDS motors do not having marks on the heads or pulley’s any On the plus side for maintenance-phobes, with the 2007 model bikes (the 1100s) doubled the recommended interval for adjustments. (Animation courtesey Inc. )


Of our four and almost 50k miles of use, had four problems worth and all of them were covered warranty. On both of the two 2007 the speedometer would regularly to kilometers (one of them installation of the Termignoni performance and matching ECU) and both to be replaced. On the other 2007 the failed and needed to be replaced. It itself by not allowing the bike to although the bike still

On the 2006 model a small bit of flaked off the frame near the sprocket. Again, all of these were covered under and only one of them affected the to ride the bike.

Whats we’ve taken our Multistradas blizzard’s, torrential down-pours, to the top of a in Alaska and the bike has always us there and home again, to be along for the ride. And because the is always such a willing we tend to ride more, frequently and are willing to go more — thanks to the humble


On most bikes a bit of is needed to get them ready for duty. Common upgrades are and windscreens at the minimum. Our Ducatis’ needed none of this. The was good for two-weeks of solid and Terblanche got this windscreen

Ryan even swapped from his Ducati Performance screen in favor of the stock Joe has fit a Zero-Gravity double-bubble, but asof writing he hasn’t determined if better or not. He also the stock handlebar with a having slightly more which he contends gives him a more neutral arm/shoulder compared with the almost-straight bar.

With this (but before the double-bubble) he almost 900 miles in one day in supreme

Hidden Compartment

Ducati 60 S

The hidden pocket, while limited in has proven itself to very It’s out of the weather, unlike storage, so its contents stay dry and The biggest problem with the compartment is trying to open or the hatch without the contents out.

An optional cargo net can be to help keep items tumbling onto the ground and we this should be standard and not an option. The other problem the side compartment is there are two keeping it closed. Make that both of them and latch otherwise it has a tendency to itself and spill its contents a teenage binge drinker, and it spew at the worst possible


You probably think the headlight is rubbish and couldn’t provide any decent illumination. you’re wrong. However, it may to be properly aimed. On pre-07 you aim the headlight using a menu the gauges.

On newer models you to aim them using a screwdriver. noticed that the S model a little bit taller, likely of a longer shock or some-such, and require any aiming. The non-S’s sit and the light definitely needs to be down a bit.


We the factory hard bags for all our and think they are fantastic. oddly, they still an entire full-face helmet and much more space you would think. Plus the pointy shape makes the only bike we’ve known of that actually good with luggage The bags are designed by Givi so have the robust mono-key system and proven clasps and

They also have the problem with the bumpers. you put the bags onto racks, the motion has a tendency to pull the bumpers out of place, which the bags to bounce off the metal racks. There are several to the rubber bumpers, the details of can be found on most sport forums.

However, if you pay attention, it’s not effort to ensure the rubber are seated properly.


And now for the part of the Multistrada – its handling Combine the long travel of a dirt bike with the characteristics of a race-bred sport for things to stay stable at speeds, not to mention the same brakes, add a seating position comfortable enough for all day riding, but keeps your feet you so you can use your legs to help the change direction, combined a wide handlebar that steering inputs telepathic and you end up a motorcycle that can change faster than a trout.

the Multistrada to a race-track, however, and quickly overwhelmed. The sit-up-and-beg position suddenly stops and you just can’t seem to get posture right; the bike felt fantastic on the road now clumsy and awkward.

Now try the Multi on gnarly section of muddy or single track and you’ll end up a similar situation. The plastic too delicate, the vibrations feel they are going to shake to and you worry that any rock than a potato is going to your wheel the same as a Pringle.

Keep the Multistrada on roads and the story is quite this where the Multistrada to be. Long, desolate empty and the bike is comfortable enough to sit sit up and look about while the passes you by. Crowded, congested streets and the powerful seating give you a commanding view of the Change direction and squirt way through traffic using the amounts of torque.

Point the up your favorite canyon inspired by Shirley Temples and be ready to have more fun you knew was possible. Even the tarmac crumbles away a cobbled excuse for a road, the becomes even more fun as you and bound over irregularities the Easter bunny. When the degrades into graded the Multistrada’s Paris Dakar DNA will keep the bike and stable.

In other words, the works on many roads and feels like the right for the job.

Of course to add all these wonderful into one motorcycle some need to be made, the most is the looks. But to say it’s ugly is unfair. It’s like an A-10 Warthog or an AH-64 helicopter is ugly.

Well, are ugly – but they are not without

The best way we can describe the bikes is by going back, this to High School and that so many of us used to pal around Sure she wasn’t the prettiest in your class. Her hair was pulled back into a ponytail; she was a little too skinny, a bit lanky.

She never wore never wore pink and fussed about silly things like lace or But when it was time to get into she was always a willing partner, to get dirty or bruised. After a she started to look differently.

She seem to be so lanky anymore and for the who knew, she was all they could about.

And so is the Multistrada; lacking the curves of a pearl white 848 or the shape of a 916. But the Multistrada have the rigorous maintenance required by liquid cooled, Ducati motors. Those superbikes may be the objects with we wish to have a torrid an unbridled track day or a tempestuous along a canyon road.

But the is a bike you can live with, a you can bring home to Mom, and nobody else realizes is for all the bumps and twists in this you are having a helluva lot more a lot more frequently than are.

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