Ducati’s Multistrada 1200 is MCN’s current king of the all-rounders. Like it says on the tin, it will do-anything and go-anywhere. Its superbike engine delivers a monstrous amount of power, it handles superbly and it’s an epic mile-muncher. It’ll even handle a bit of off-road, if you’re mad enough.
I’ve ridden a fair few and if I’m honest, I’d normally set the electronic riding mode to full-fat ‘sport’, which on the S model also stiffens the suspension and turns the traction control down. I’d then proceed to ride it quite swiftly and pull big great big wheelies when no one is looking.
My latest ride on the Multistrada was altogether different. I had a 1200 S Touring model to use as my daily transport when I visited Brisbane (or ‘Brizzo’, or ‘Brisvegas’, as the locals would say) recently, in the height of the Australian summer.
After collecting the shiny red Ducati from friendly dealers, Brisbane Motorcycles, in Queensland I spent a week exploring the fantastic coast roads down to see friends in Surfers Paradise and into New South Wales (where the clocks go forward an hour) and on to Byron Bay.
I also used it for some Brisbane sight-seeing and even for a spot of grocery shopping. The Multistrada never once missed a beat.
Being in full-on holiday mode I never rode it fast, in fact I don’t think I even got close to breaking any of the rigidly-enforced speed limits (they work in kilometres over there, although the drive on the left, like us).
I did get a parking ticket for leaving the Multistrada in a clear space next to a tree, out of the way, in Byron Bay and paid 147 dollars (around £100) for the pleasure, which I thought was a bit steep?
In fact, I found Australia to be a quite a heavily-policed, rule-heavy place, not the laid-back land you’d imagine. In Brisbane city I saw a copper round up a group of people who had crossed the road on a red man, walk them back across the road and make them wait for the green light, before they could cross again.
Travelling on a bus, I witnessed a driver berating a young girl in front of all the passengers for boarding through the side door, instead of the front. Pretty pathetic, really – these officials would have a seizure if they ever visited Italy, the chaos would fry their minds.
Anyway, back to the Multistrada. I left it in ‘touring’ mode for the whole trip, which gives you all 150bhp to play with, but with a nice gentle throttle response. The electronic suspension softens-off the ride and there’s full traction control to compliment the ABS.
Added to the lovely engine and ride quality, it’s roomy and comfortable and there’s decent space in the standard panniers to cram stuff into.
Using the Ducati two-up, it’s just a case of going into the electronic suspension menu and selecting ‘pillion mode’ and you get more rear preload for extra support. You can go further still by selecting ‘luggage’ or ‘pillion and luggage’ modes.
The Multistrada is cossetting on motorways and nimble through town. Having such a big and powerful V-twin engine, it’s a bit clattery at low speeds. I think for 99% of the time an 848 engine would actually be enough…
I saw a different side to the Multistrada in the week I rode it, the one I’d see if I was lucky enough to own one, away from a normal MCN road test situation. It’s hugely accomplished, not only at the impressively fast stuff and high-speed continental cruising, but as a friendly, good-looking, beautiful-sounding, massively involving machine to live with.
I absolutely loved it.