2013 Ducati Multistrada 1200 (S) | First Ride

Ducati Multistrada Review

Ducati launched its 2013 Ducati Multistrada 1200 this week in Bilbao, Spain, allowing journalist to grab some first impressions of the revised motorcycle.

Fair enough, Ducati has upgraded the Testastretta engine to achieve a smoother torque response, and increased it by five percent 7500 rpm. The new Testastretta II DS now delivers 56 ft. lbs. of torque compared to 53 ft. lbs. offered in last year’s version. Ducati attributes the increased power to full vaporization from the repositioned fuel injectors and the reintroduction of the dual spark.

However, it’s the new Skyhook suspension that’s the talk of the town, and after a good test session in the north of Spain, I’m definitely a big fan. Working in conjunction with the traction control and the latest ABS system, it’s hard to set a foot wrong on the 2013 Ducati Multistrada 1200 S Touring (shown above).

The Skyhook suspension from Sachs works by using intricate algorithms available to us in this era of high tech riding aids. The system creates an imaginary ground zero so to say suspended in the air above the vehicle.

This way the Skyhook can continuously compare this zone with what’s actually happening on the ground under the wheels. Compression and rebound can be adjusted automatically within milliseconds to virtually any change in road surface. There’s even an enduro mode should you really run out of road. In the real world the Skyhook suspension system is a marble in best practice usage of high tech riding aids, and I absolutely love it.

The Multistrada 1200 S Touring is quite a sporty package, but with just a few button clicks you can change it to a full on comfy touring bike. The new push and slide wind screen solution is miles better than the old solution, and now you can with one hand adjust the screen while on the move. It’s not electrical but pretty good for a mechanical solution.

My overall first impressions of the 1200 S Touring are that of a more sporty  than others, but still with some pretty good touring capabilities where the fully integrated Skyhook suspension takes the cake.

The other two new Multistrada models are the 1200 S Granturismo and the 1200 S Pikes Peak. Only the three S models get the new Skyhook suspension. Unfortunately, neither the GT or Pikes Peak were available for us to test in Bilbao, and the GT will not hit production until November 2012.

Ducati told us that the Granturismo should start to hit dealers by February 2013. The differences to the Touring model that I have tested are mainly practical ones such as a 73 litre luggage system (58 litre on the Touring) and a 48 litre topbox. The Granturismo also debuts Pirelli’s new Angel GT touring tires, which promise 15 percent more mileage to the Angel ST tires.

The Pikes Peak version is nothing less than an Adventure Superbike and weighs in at 12 kilos less than the standard 1200 S Touring model. Not one you would want to spoil the looks on by adding bags and hence just as limited in usage as a real superbike. It looks great though and I’d love to race up a mountain or two on it one day.

Stay clicked to UltimateMotorCycling.com for my full review.

Photo by Milagro