Staff bikes: Ducati Multistrada 1200 - The bike I've waited 10 years for
First rides & tests
27 May 2010 13:55
Picked up my new Ducati Multistrada 1200 Touring on Friday and I couldn’t be more delighted with it.
With electronically-adjustable Ohlins suspension, changeable engine maps, heated grips, keyless start, an electronic steering lock, Ducati traction control, and panniers as standard on the £14,250 Touring version I chose, there’s not many more gadgets that you could throw at a bike.
Thankfully Ducati UK MD Tim Maccabee and Ducati Coventry’s Jinx were on hand to run me through the millions of functions the bike can offer.
From 150bhp Sport mode with the suspension cranked up and traction control eased right back, to the 100bhp enduro mode making use of all the suspension’s travel, the bike can be fine tuned for any rider, weight, pillion, or horsepower needs within the 150bhp limit.
Want to turn traction control off and adjust it eight different ways? No problem. Turn ABS on or off? All at the flick of a switch. And though the four standard modes of touring, sport, enduro and urban will suit pretty much all purposes, I’m keen to fine-tune it for my own preferences. And if that all goes wrong and you end up with a 100bhp hardtail you can reset it all to factory settings.
In the four modes you can adjust on the move for pretty much any conceivable setting, hold down the left button and shut the throttle when prompted to engage the mode. Heated grips are turned on by pushing the starter button, and you can scroll through distance, trips, fuel economy (48.9mpg average), and tank range.
First owner things you need to know
The bike needs servicing every 15,000 miles or once a year once it’s had the first service. And to adjust the chain, use the Ducati-provided chain gauge, pull the rear dirt deflector off and make sure you torque up the swingarm bolts to 25ftlb or you squash the cush drive.
After a meeting with Tim and a few cups of tea I hit the road for a 180-mile ride to Wolverhampton to the Silver Machine Dainese store, and back home taking in a mix of all kinds of roads. For reference I got 170 miles out of the first tank.
After my first ride, here’s the jumbled thoughts I rapidly wrote on my notebook:
Love all the modes, the dash, the mid-range stomp, the handling and the look of the bike. It's actually slighty frightening in 150bhp mode, but in a good way. Takes you by surprise that a bike of its kind accelerates so hard out of turns. Did 180 miles on it on Friday and love the fact that you can ride it damn quick everywhere!
It leans over a long way too, on my run to work I used to be scraping the pegs on my GS and dragging the centre stand. You can lean the Multistrada over a long, long way and haven't touched anything down yet while riding enthusiastically.
There's plenty of grip and feel, though I would like to try something like a Dunlop SportSmart set of tyres on it as the ABS cuts in early when riding very fast (like when you're hoofing up to a roundabout or corner at high speed ready to flick it in) and I reckon a better tyre would prevent this?
Not many, more niggles than anything else. The panniers feel a bit flimsy, the centrestand lever gets in the way when I ride with the ball of my foot on the peg in left handers, and the screen needs some kind of side-deflectors to take the wind off the shoulders. It can get a bit buffeting at high touring speed.
And the clocks get hit by the brake line banjo bolt when on full right lock. But, I'm talking small niggles.
Overall it's the bike I've been waiting ten years for. It is immensely practical, as fast as you ever need on the road and would more than cope with a track day.
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