Ducati Multistrada 1200 | First Ride

Multistrada 1200 Review

In a world where motorcycles are becoming more and more focused it’s perhaps counterintuitive of Ducati–manufacturer of some of the most focused motorcycles in the world–to come up with a new motorcycle that’s so diverse. But that’s exactly what the new 2010 Multistrada 1200 is: Four motorcycles in one.

Although it’s possible to buy lesser-priced models without some of the options, the one that everyone’s going to want is the top of the range "S" model. It comes with electronically adjusted Ohlins suspension, ABS, and a ride-by-wire 1198 Testastretta motor that has been tuned for much more low and mid-range torque.

Having just come off our first ride on the Multistrada, I can tell you that I’m extremely impressed. Leaving aside the looks–which you’re either going to love or hate–the bike works very, very well. Ergonomics are more enduro with wide handlebars, upright riding position, and long travel suspension, but the 17" sports wheels and grippy Pirelli tires (specially developed for the Multistrada) tell us that it’s a sports bike, too.

In Sport mode, the motor unleashes its full 150 horsepower and it comes in quickly–wheelies are easy in the first 3 gears. The suspension is also stiff and the bike handles well; it’s difficult to escape the high speed breeze, but the Multistrada feels light and flickable, and tracks well through long, fast sweepers.

Tourng mode is just a thumb push (left handlebar button) away and you close the throttle to confirm the selection. It still uneashes the same 150 horsepower but it is delivered more progressively at first and the suspension is noticeably more comfortable. Since the chassis numbers don’t change, the handling is not affected, except perhaps in the very fastest corners; but the comfort is well worth it for the long distance capability.

Urban mode reduces horsepower to "only" 100 horses, and the Enduro mode produces the same, but with a gentler delivery ands progressively softer suspension. All four modes have different DTC (traction control) settings too.

The end result is a bike that seems to do it all. The Brembo radial brakes are progressive and forgiving without the intitial sharp bite of the Streetfighter stablemate. The new seat is luxurious compared to the previous model and special attention has been paid to passenger accomodations.

Initial test impression is of a super-torquey, fun motorcycle that is adaptable to every type of road condition. Even though most won’t go off-road it’s nice to know that if the tarmac gets really bad or even non-existent, the Multistrada will cope.

This is an incredible machine that delivers all that Ducati have promised; even if you don’t love the looks, it will still be worth considering simply because the bike is the new generation and it performs so well.

Stay tuned to Ultimate MotorCycling for more on the new Multistrada 1200 in the coming months.