REVIEW: 2013 Ducati Multistrada 1200 S

10 Jun 2015 | Author: | Comments Off on REVIEW: 2013 Ducati Multistrada 1200 S
Ducati Multistrada 1200 S
Ducati Multistrada 1200 S

REVIEW: 2013 Ducati Multistrada 1200 S

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The first iteration of the Multistrada, which came out in 2003, the 1000DS was an ugly duckling. Personally, I can’t believe that that came out of Ducati’s plant. Fortunately, it ended in 2010 when Ducati introduced its successor, the Multistrada 1200, with fresh aesthetics and technical features.

The latest 2013 model has not been given much of touch-up, which means that it is still a beautiful pony on two wheels.

As beautiful as it is, the Multistrada is tall, bulky and heavy. With a wheelbase of 1,530 mm, 850 mm seat height and ready-to-go weight of 224 kg, this bike is not for everyone to play with. But while it is ride-able and easy to handle, its size and dimension may be a deterrent to small, rawboned riders.

However, what is impressive about the Multistrada, is the amount of technological features shoved into it. First the engine, a 1,198 cc 4-valve desmodromic liquid-cooled Testastretta 11°, which pumps out 100 to 150 hp (depending on mode) and 124.5 Nm of torque offers four different riding modes – Urban, Sport, Touring and Enduro that can be chosen via the buttons on the handlebar.

 The dash panel is quite large and clear to read even under the sun but choosing the modes can be an intricate task. Ducati balances things out by giving the rider the freedom to tailor each mode. The suspension, power and traction can be adjusted differently from the standard setup but if it gets complicated, the standard factory setting should be fine.

Plus, all four modes come with load level setup – rider only, rider and passenger, rider and pannier, and rider, passenger and pannier.

The street-focused Urban mode gives the bike 100 hp and lots of traction to play with. Despite carrying less horsepower, the Multistrada is still blisteringly fast and athletic, especially in short sprints from a traffic light to another. That being said, the V-twin engine is smooth at low speeds, where it runs with less vibration than you would expect. Around the town, the Multistrada handles brilliantly.

It weaves around cars effortlessly thanks to its small turning radius. With the suspension leaning towards the comfort zone, the Multistrada transforms into a something powerful and agile but comfortable, like a ‘gentle giant’, so to say.

On highways, the Multistrada is best switched to the Touring mode. With 150 hp and ride-by-wire throttle system on tap, the bike is almost invincible. It is fast but always seemed like it is hungry for more.

This is where the brilliant Ducati Skyhook Suspension (DSS) helps gain command of this fast bike through specific sensors that collects data before sending it to the suspensions to adapt to almost every kind of road surface quite instantly, giving utmost comfort and, need we say, pleasure.

Ducati Multistrada 1200 S

Also wired to the riding modes are the brakes that come with ABS. By ‘wired’ we mean that the brakes perform according to the mode the bike is in, giving the right amount of stopping force needed. For instance, the brakes are quite severe in Sport and Touring mode, biting really hard when applied (without making the front nose ‘dive’, of course).

And we don’t have much qualm about the stock Pirelli Scorpion Trail rubbers  either. They are two-pronged – quiet and comfortable yet capable of performing well on almost every surface.

By now, you would think that the Multistrada is a perfect bike. Almost, unfortunately. For one, there is lack of wind protection from the manually adjustable screen. It is flimsy, it feels cheap and it doesn’t fully protect the rider from the wind, even when it is fully extended. Switching from one mode to another via the instrument panel can be quite a task – we had to fiddle with the buttons hoping it would magically switch to another mode.

The buttons aren’t exactly glove-friendly either. Another shortcoming of the Multistrada would be the absence of the cruise control, which we think should be made available for a bike of this stature.

Yes, it has its weak points, but the availability of countless technological advancements and features makes this Multistrada a worthy leader of the ‘do-anything’ bike that are currently mushrooming. Retailing from RM115,000, the new Multistrada 1200 S may seem like a ‘for-the-rich-only’ motorcycle, but bear in mind that you are actually getting one motorcycle with a capability of four.

We wonder if this Multistrada can show its mettle against the recently-launched rival, the BMW R 1200 GS. That would be very interesting.

2013 Ducati Multistrada 1200 S Specs


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