Upon its release last year, the Ducati Multistrada 1200 quickly became the bike of choice for many motorcyclists worldwide due to its versatility across four modes of riding – Sport, Touring, Urban and Enduro.
The same reliability and flexibility in the machine that is basically four motorcycles in one returns with the 2011 Ducati Multistrada 1200. The new Multistrada 1200 is available in the standard form with optional ABS, and the Multistrada 1200 S arrives stock with ABS and Ducati Electronic Suspension by Öhlins as standard equipment.
The 1200 S is available in ‘Sport edition’ with carbon fiber accents, or ‘Touring edition’ with side luggage, heated grips and center stand.
All of these features are offered with the powerful, 150 hp Testastretta 11° engine, a class-leading dry weight of just 189kg (417lb) and the application of advanced ergonomics.
Multistrada 1200: Four Modes, Four Styles
The four-bikes-in-one concept is achieved by selecting, even while riding, from a choice of four pre-set modes programmed to instantly change the engine character and chassis set-up of the Multistrada 1200. The four modes are made possible by combining a number of class-leading technologies.
An electronic Ride-by-Wire (RbW) system administers different mappings to regulate power delivery by interpreting the rider’s throttle input, while the world-beating Ducati Traction Control system (DTC) uses eight levels of system interaction to enhance control by reducing wheel-spin.
For the ‘S’ version, Ducati Electronic Suspension (DES), by Öhlins, instantly configures the suspension set-up with electronic adjustment. At the touch of a button, four different motorcycles to suit the specific needs of the rider and not the other way around.
The Sport riding mode provides the rider with an adrenalin-fuelled 150hp ride with a sport-oriented throttle response and, on the ‘S’ version, an instant high performance suspension set-up.
In character with its Superbike bloodline, the sport mode also changes the DTC system intervention to level 4 for expert riders whose ‘comfort zone’ is a little closer to the limit.
The Touring riding mode is also programmed to produce 150hp, however, the power characteristics are designed in a touring configuration with a smoother, more user-friendly delivery.
Active safety is enhanced by increasing DTC system intervention to level 5, specifically intended for an enjoyable and relaxing ride and, on the ‘S’ version, the suspension automatically dials-in a set-up ideal for long distance touring, ensuring maximum comfort for both the rider and passenger.
As navigation of the urban jungle can require an even more user-friendly motorcycle, the Urban riding mode instantly transforms the Multistrada 1200 into the most manageable, everyday transport. Power output is reduced to 100 hp, and the suspension, on the ‘S’ version, to a setting perfect for tackling the maze of city streets full of speed bumps and drain covers. DTC is further enhanced to level 6 to provide high system intervention during the most chaotic of stop-start traffic.
Should the journey aboard the Multistrada 1200 leave the beaten track, it has the capability to take off-road routes in its stride. Agile and lightweight and with high, wide handlebars, serrated footrests and specially designed tires, the Multistrada also features an Enduro riding mode which instantly produces a smooth 100hp engine, immediately dials-in an appropriate suspension setting on the ‘S’ version and reduces the DTC system to level 2 for minimal intervention.
Multistrada 1200: Innovative Technology
The Ride-by-Wire (RbW) system is an electronic interface between the twistgrip and the engine which decides the ideal power response depending on the riding mode selected and according to the rider’s throttle input.
The twistgrip no longer has a throttle cable connected directly to the throttle body butterflies, but instead delivers a signal to a control unit, which in turn operates the butterfly opening.
The RbW system uses three different mappings to regulate the power delivery. The three maps offer 150hp with a sports-type delivery, 150hp with a progressive delivery suitable for touring and 100hp with progressive delivery for city or off-road use.
Multistrada 1200: Intelligent Traction Control
The racing-derived Ducati Traction Control (DTC) is a highly intelligent system which acts as a filter between the rider’s right hand and the rear tire. Within milliseconds, DTC is able to detect and then control rear wheel-spin, considerably increasing the bike’s active safety and performance.
The system offers eight ‘levels of sensitivity’, each programmed with a level of rear wheel-spin tolerance in line with progressive levels of riding skills classified from one to eight. Level one is programmed to offer the least amount of interaction while level eight uses the most amount of interaction. DTC is an integral part of the pre-programmed riding modes on the Multistrada 1200.
The system uses front and rear wheel sensors to compare speed differential and sense when rear traction is being broken (wheel-spin). DTC then decides the best combination of two different types of instant electronic adjustment, calculated with data supplied from multiple sources.
The first ‘soft’ stage of system interaction is executed by high speed software that makes instant electronic adjustment to the ignition timing, administering varying amounts of ignition retardation to reduce the engine’s torque.
If the DTC software detects that the first ‘soft’ stage of system interaction is inadequate to control the wheel-spin, it continues to administer ignition retardation and, in addition, instructs the engine ECU to initiate a pattern of constantly increasing injection cuts until, if necessary, full injection cut.
Red lights around the circular riding mode section of the instrumentation illuminate to indicate the interaction of the DTC system. As soon as the system recognizes the gradual return of equal wheel speeds, it incrementally re-establishes normal power delivery. This seamless interaction is key to the super-smooth operation of the system.
The real innovative thinking behind the DTC system is how the various range of sensitivity levels decide precisely how to react to excessive wheel-spin by understanding the bike’s exact ‘dynamic situation’. From slow mid-corner acceleration with considerable vehicle inclination to high speed corner exits while almost upright, this ‘system intelligence’ is achieved by processing a mass of data in a matter of milliseconds.
DTC levels are factory pre-set in each of the four riding modes, but can be individually customised and saved to suit the rider by accessing the set-up menu within each riding mode. A ‘Default’ option is available to easily return all settings to factory pre-sets.
Multistrada 1200: Hands-Free Ignition
The Multistrada 1200 ignition is not actuated with a normal key. Instead, an electronic key in the rider’s pocket communicates with the Multistrada when within a distance of approximately 2 meters (6.5ft), recognizing the dedicated key code and automatically enabling the bike’s systems. Pressing the key-on switch then activates all systems to ‘on’ and the engine is ready to be started.
The electronic key, which internally consists of a radio circuit, externally doubles as a mechanical flip-key, required to open the seat and fuel tank cap. When parking the motorcycle an electronic locking device can be actuated on the steering simply by applying full steering-lock and pressing the ignition-off button a second time.
The instrumentation has a large, high visibility LCD showing all main data and a dot-matrix circular LCD which displays the riding modes, additional data or set-up menus depending on whether the bike is stationary or moving.
The main LCD displays data for speed, rpm, gear, total mileage, trip1/trip2, engine coolant temperature, fuel level and time. When the motorcycle is in motion, the dot-matrix LCD displays the selected riding mode, remaining fuel/distance, current fuel consumption, average fuel consumption, average speed, air temperature, trip time, and ‘freezing conditions’ alarm.
When stationary, it enters a setting menu from where adjustments to the various functions can be made including personalized DTC set-up and, on the ‘S’ version, suspension settings.
The Sport, Touring, Urban or Enduro riding modes can be changed while either stationary or in motion, as well as load settings for ‘rider only’, ‘rider with luggage’, ‘rider and passenger’ or ‘rider and passenger with luggage’.
Ducati Multistrada 1200: Testastretta Engine
The heart of the highly complex and innovative Multistrada 1200 project is the engine and, as a prestigious model, the motorcycle had to be powered by the most advanced, evolved twin-cylinder engine to come out of the Ducati factory. The Testastretta Evoluzione engine that powered the world-beating 1198.
The challenge, however, was to produce an engine that would be enjoyable to use in all conditions and able to adapt to the rider’s character and not the other way around. Making the best ever L-Twin performance engine smoother and more user-friendly was a challenge, but Ducati’s innovative designers and engineers met the challenge by designing the revolutionary Testastretta 11° engine.
Their achievement succeeded in harnessing the immense power of the Superbike engine, making it smooth and adaptable to suit to any occasion, a significant step forward in balancing performance with usability.
For a motorcycle intended for touring, the smoothness and user-friendliness of the engine is key to achieving an effortless and comfortable ride and the main engine characteristic that enabled this configuration was the revision of the valve overlap angle.
The overlap angle is defined as the interval of crankshaft rotation, measured in degrees, during which both the intake and exhaust valves are open at the same time. This overlap occurs between the end of the exhaust stroke and the start of the intake stroke.
High performance engines, which are subject to compromising smoothness for extreme power delivery, use high values of this parameter in order to benefit from the pressure waves to improve engine performance by maximizing volumetric efficiency. On the Testastretta 11° engine, this angle has been reduced from 41°, used in the Testastretta Evoluzione engine which powers the 1198, to just 11°.
As a result, the fresh inlet charge flow is less compromised by the exiting exhaust gases, resulting in a much smoother combustion in addition to improved fuel economy and lower exhaust emissions. Unburnt hydrocarbon emissions (pre-catalyser) are reduced by up to 65% and specific fuel consumption (and consequent CO2 emissions) by up to 12% (Euro3).
With its 150hp and 12.1kgm (87.5lb-ft) of torque, the Testastretta 11° sets a new standard for Ducati twin- cylinder engines. Fluid dynamics testing on ports and combustion chambers has resulted in a modified power delivery profile, specifically the torque.
New intake and exhaust ports combined with a radical adjustment of the cam timing and slight reduction of the compression ratio have enabled Ducati to achieve a favorable torque curve at low rpm, which remains strong through a wide range. This particular characteristic considerably enhances the Multistrada 1200’s effortless ridability.
The gearbox and final drive ratios have also been optimized to enable reduced fuel consumption and achieve increased riding comfort by reducing vibration. If the 1198 Superbike reaches its top speed in 6th gear, the Multistrada 1200 is able to reach it in 5th gear and maintain it effortlessly in 6th.
The Multistrada 1200 features an oil bath clutch with ‘slipper’ function and super-light feel at the lever. Its design uses a progressive self-servo mechanism that presses the plates together when under drive from the engine, enabling the reduction of the clutch spring rates.
This results in a much lighter clutch lever at the handlebar, ideal in stop-start traffic or long journeys. When the drive force is reversed (over-run), the same mechanism reduces the pressure on the clutch plates, enabling them to provide a race-like ‘slipper’ action, which reduces the destabilizing effect of the rear-end under aggressive down-shifting and provides a much smoother feeling when closing the throttle or down-shifting under normal riding conditions.
The layout for the exhaust system, which is simple and minimal, uses two primary manifolds flowing directly into the triple chamber single silencer. Apart from carrying out the 2-1-2 compensator function, the silencer also contains the catalyzer and sound-absorbent materials. The two compact and lightweight aluminum alloy end pipes depart in a low, lateral configuration to keep the overall weight to a minimum.
Multistrada 1200: More Strada Between Major Services
Constant investment in quality by design, advanced materials and engineering techniques, has enabled the distance between major service intervals (valve clearance check) to be doubled to a highly competitive 24,000km (15,000 miles). This has been achieved partly by the introduction of a new valve seat material and partly by the improved combustion efficiency and temperature management designed into the Testastretta 11° engine.
Multistrada 1200: Quality Chassis / Suspension
All components used in the construction of the Multistrada 1200 are of the highest quality. Their selection and subsequent assembly is the result of a design brief based on uncompromised performance.
Chassis geometry, such as wheelbase, swingarm length, and rake, trail and offset is the result of a quest for the best balance of stability at high speeds and dynamic agility. The chassis is designed to achieve lean angles of up to 45° and the combination of reduced weight and generous steering lock of 76° (38° left and right) makes tight manoeuvres at low speeds easy to manage.
The Ducati signature Trellis frame uses large diameter, light gauge tubing with two central cast aluminum sections and a Trellis rear subframe to achieve 19% more torsional rigidity than the original Multistrada 1100. The high pressure, die cast, magnesium front sub-frame reduces the high, frontal weight and contributes to chassis feel and control.
The standard version Multistrada 1200 uses 50mm Marzocchi front forks, featuring a special forged fork bottom and full adjustability in spring pre-load, compression and rebound damping. The rear is controlled by a Sachs monoshock adjustable in compression and rebound damping and in spring pre-load by using the handy remote manual adjuster.
The ‘S’ version features the front and rear Ducati Electronic Suspension (DES) system by Öhlins. The 48mm Öhlins forks are adjustable electronically in compression and rebound damping while spring pre-load is manual.
The Öhlins TTX rear unit features twin tube technology to offer totally separate damping adjustment in compression and rebound and uses experience gained in racing to minimize friction and reduce the risk of cavitation under extreme conditions. In addition, the unit is fully adjustable electronically in compression and rebound damping as well as spring pre-load.
The front and rear suspension of both versions provide 170mm of travel, the extra-long movement ensuring excellent comfort even when fully loaded or if the rider decides to leave the asphalt for off-road routes.
Multistrada 1200: Powerful Braking System & ABS
The front brakes use twin radially-mounted Brembo four piston, two pad calipers actuated by a master cylinder with an adjustable lever. The fronts grip 320mm discs, while a single 245mm disc on the rear is gripped by a single Brembo caliper.
Typical of all Ducatis, these components ensure high performance braking and set the standard in this segment.
The Multistrada 1200 is also equipped with a Bosch-Brembo ABS system, optional for the standard version and fitted as original equipment on the ‘S’ version. It delivers outstanding braking performance in all conditions and provides a major contribution towards performance safety.
An option to disable the ABS is available via the instrumentation, but is automatically reactivated at the next ignition-on.
Multistrada 1200: Specially Designed Wheels & Tires
Ducati’s technical partner, Pirelli, worked alongside the Multistrada’s engineers throughout the project, developing the new Pirelli Scorpion Trail tires specifically for the Multistrada 1200.
The new tires represent the first ever dual compound for on/off road use with a harder compound central section. Combined with a special tread design and carcass structure, their 190/55 section delivers racing performance on the road in terms of grip and lean angles, while ensuring high mileage for touring and good off-road performance.
The new generation tires are purposely designed for the Multistrada’s four-bikes-in-one concept. The Multistrada 1200 rides on lightweight 10-spoke lightweight alloy wheels, 3.50×17 front and 6.00×17 rear. All colors of Multistrada 1200 use wheels finished in black.
Multistrada 1200: Ducati Electronic Suspension by Öhlins on ‘S’
The ‘S’ version of the Multistrada 1200 is equipped with the latest generation 48mm Öhlins forks featuring the innovative Ducati Electronic Suspension (DES). The new fork technology enables rebound and compression damping adjustments electronically controlled via the instrument panel.
The top of the range Öhlins TTX rear monoshock is also adjusted electronically in both spring pre-load and rebound and compression damping.
The electronic suspension adjustment can be made easily by using the pre-set riding modes, which have been developed by Ducati test riders, or independent mode, which allows riders to use their own personal settings.
Adjustments made electronically send a signal that initiates electronic actuators mounted on the suspension units.
In addition to the riding modes of Sport, Touring, Urban and Enduro, there is also an option to quickly change the suspension setting to suit ‘rider only’, ‘rider with luggage’, ‘rider and passenger’ or ‘rider and passenger with luggage’.
Multistrada 1200: Italian Innovative Design
Constantly reducing weight is part of the design brief for all Ducati models. Less weight enables maximum performance both in terms of dynamic behavior and safety. A lighter motorcycle will brake in a shorter distance, accelerate faster and be easier to steer. Every single component of the Multistrada 1200, therefore, has been designed to achieve weight reduction without compromising its load-bearing capacity.
With a dry weight of just 189kg (417lb) the Multistrada 1200 is lighter than any other road enduro, touring or sport touring bike currently available in this category. The lightweight and excellent chassis set-up ensures exceptional handling, a key factor for Sport, Touring, Urban or Enduro riding.
This weight saving is the result of applying new technologies to Ducati’s design and engineering of all major components. Crankcases are now cast using Vacural technology and chassis construction uses welded Trellis tubes, cast alloy elements and hi-tech polymers.
Further savings have also been made with the single-sided swingarm in aluminum and the fuel tank, which has been developed using blow moulding technology in pursuit of the best balance of capacity and weight.
Multistrada 1200: Comfortable Power
The Multistrada 1200 was subjected to an extensive ergonomic study using both CAD and repeated prototype testing, guaranteeing a high level of comfort with a fully loaded motorcycle for long-range touring. The ‘ergonomics triangle’ of handlebar, seat and footpegs has been designed for both the rider and passenger, optimizing comfort while providing a commanding and upright riding position.
The Multistrada 1200 feels spacious and accommodates both rider and passenger in complete comfort, even with the top case and side luggage in place. Its 1530mm (60.2in) wheelbase ensures that not only the weight of the passenger remains inside the wheelbase length, but also that of the side luggage when loaded, a considerable contribution to the motorcycle’s dynamic performance.
Underlining its multi-tasking intention, ergonomic attention was even applied when designing the riding position while standing on the footpegs, off-road style.
The wide, tapered steel handlebars have been designed for maximum comfort and ensure a commanding riding position enhanced by a generous steering lock of 76° (38° left and right). In addition, the handlebars have been mounted on anti-vibration isolators, specially designed to balance riding comfort with a precise road ‘feel.’
The Multistrada 1200 seat immediately transmits a sense of comfort. Constructed in two separate sections for the rider and passenger, the design focused on form and cushion density to ensure maximum comfort during long journeys and user-friendly lateral shaping to help give sure-footed ground contact when stationary. A confidence-inspiring passenger grab-handle offers a secure and comfortable grip.
The footpeg position represents part of the optimum ‘ergonomics triangle’ for both the rider and passenger with added consideration to ground clearance during maximum lean angle and position of side luggage. The footpegs have rubber inserts that insulate vibration, removable to expose a motocross-style serrated edge that provides enhanced boot grip when riding off-road.
The Multistrada 1200’s rear view mirrors have both vertical and horizontal adjustment and increased surface area to provide the most efficient visibility. Two handy onboard stowage areas are built into the motorcycle, one suitable for a mobile phone or toll road tickets situated in the right cockpit side panel and a larger three litre area situated under the passenger seat.
Multistrada 1200: Ideal for Long Journeys
The Multistrada 1200’s screen is designed with 60mm of vertical adjustment to ensure efficient wind protection for all rider heights and effortless high-speed riding over long distances. The fuel tank has been developed using a new molding technology which enables a favorable balance between capacity and weight. Subject to riding style, the 20 litre (5.3 US gal) capacity can provide up to 400km (250 mile) of motorcycle pleasure between fuel stops by returning approximately 47mpg (US) at a constant 120km/h (75mph).
Two 12v power outlets situated on either side of the area below the rider’s seat can be used to power up to 8A (fused) accessories such as thermal apparel, intercoms or mobile phone chargers. In addition, a special connection point for powering the GARMIN satellite navigator (optional feature) is situated near the instrumentation.
The Touring edition of the Multistrada 1200 S adds even more comfort and convenience. Easily controlled heated grips are ideal for journeys where adverse weather conditions threaten rider comfort, while stylish side luggage offers a load capacity of 57 litres and a fast and secure attachment system that blends perfectly when removed.
In addition, a centre stand provides parking confidence when fully loaded and essential security in the event of tyre maintenance during long journeys.
Multistrada 1200: True Character
For Ducati, design is not just creating an attractive look. It is about knowing how best to combine exciting appearance with intelligent function and outstanding performance. Even the Multistrada 1200’s exhaust tail pipes are a feature that perfectly demonstrates this concept.
Their innovative design is well integrated with the motorcycle’s overall shape and the positioning of the exhaust system improves overall weight distribution. The tailpipes are short so they do not impinge on the space needed for the side luggage.
The internal structure of the silencer is designed to achieve the characteristic Ducati sound without compromising compliance with sound and hydrocarbon emission standards (Euro3).
Components that are far more than just aesthetic detail, include the frontal air intakes that characterize the face of the Multistrada and also deliver air to the oil cooler and airbox, and the beautifully formed aluminum sump guard and side plates that help to protect the engine off-road.
The single-sided rear swingarm is also a good example of Ducati’s blend of design and functional engineering. It is made using a single piece casting, with fabricated and welded sections creating a strong, hollow and lightweight component that contributes considerably to the Multistrada’s sure-footed handling.
The headlight is a characteristic feature of the face of the Multistrada 1200, its symmetrical layout uses four halogen lamps, two for low and two for high beam to provide excellent illumination. In addition, the front and rear side lights use LEDs, and feature a special shape of intense light guidance, making the motorcycle more visible to other road users.
2011 Ducati Multistrada 1200 Versions:
- Optional Bosch-Brembo ABS braking system
Multistrada 1200 S Sport edition
- Bosch-Brembo ABS braking system
- Ducati Electronic Suspension system
- Front air intakes, cam belt covers, rear hugger and lateral air extractors in carbon fiber
Multistrada 1200 S Touring edition
- Bosch-Brembo ABS braking system
- Ducati Electronic Suspension system
- Heated grips
- Side luggage
- Center stand
All versions come with an additional kit of optional larger rear hugger and front fender rear section extension.
2011 Ducati Multistrada 1200 Colors:
- Red or artic white
- S version: red, artic white or diamond black
All models have frames finished in racing grey and wheels in black.
2011 Ducati Multistrada 1200 Prices:
- USA MSRP: $14,995, 3 option packages available. (ABS at $16,495; S Touring and S Sport at $19,995)
- Canadian MSRP: $17,495CDN 3 option packages available. (ABS, S Touring and S Sport)
- Mexican MSRP: $17,995 (EVA Included) 3 option packages available. (ABS, S Touring and S Sport)