In the UK market the S version of this bike accounts for more than 80% of sales and that bike gets the Ducati Skyhook Suspension which on this bike is an evolution of the Skyhook semi-active and electronically-controlled system fitted to the 2012 model. Pirelli has also developed a brand-new version Scorpion Trail 2 tyre for the Multistrada and on the warm Lanzarote roads they seemed to be a massive improvement over the old version.
Despite the size of the bike the handling remains on the sportier end of the adventure bike sector and this bike, thanks to the semi-active suspension can carry serious road pace that will leave sportsbike riders wondering how such a big bike can move so fast.The four riding modes adjust the suspension to suit and even alter ride height.
The biggest news is the Desmodromic Variable Timing (DVT) which, despite the name has nothing to do with a blood clotting issue, but is the first constantly variable valve timing system which has a multitude of aims from smoothing out low-rev clatter, boosting high-rev power and all the time maintaining a more constant combustion cycle throughout the rev range which also improves fuel consumption and emissions.
At idle the engine sounds quite different to the Testrastretta 11 motor of the previos ‘Strada; it’s softer, quieter and less lumpy.
Moving off at the gentlest of revs to try and ‘make’ the engine misbehave results in none of the former engine’s tendency to slap, chug or create that longitudinal shunt between the cylinders that made town riding unpleasant. For some this is going to be loss of character but for everyone else it will come as a relief and Ducati hope it will remove a barrier to prospective owners buying a Ducati.
Ducati says it has worked hard to improve the finish of the new Multistrada as the previous two versions of the bike have been known to cause issues; particularly with seizing exhaust valves due to corrosion. The rear brake was also widely regarded as not up to scratch but this has been improved on the new bike and there is a larger diameter rear disc which offers more stopping power. Build quality on the launch bikes was first rate but it will be interesting to see how these bikes fair when compared to the old ones after a British winter on salt-covered roads.
There’s no getting away from the fact the Multistrada 1200 DVT is an expensive bike but for those able and prepared to pay the money the quality and specification of the bike can take away some of the sting. The cheaper, standard model does away with the semi-active suspension but these generally make up for a tiny percentage of the bikes sold in the UK. Ducati owners generally want the higher spec bikes and are prepared to pay for it.
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The DVT system is just the start of the technological tsunami packaged up in the Multistrada range. Both standard and S models have a massive range of high technology including ABS with a cornering ABS function, traction and wheelie control, cruise control for the first time, adjustable riding modes, ride by wire throttle control and the S model gets Skyhook semi-active suspension, a full colour dashboard, higher spec Brembo M50 brakes and a full LED headlight with a cornering function and the Ducati Multimedia system too.
The Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU) is the electronic system that measures five different axes to measure roll, pitch and yaw angles, lean as well as the rate of change to control everything from the Skyhook semi-active suspension, cornering ABS, anti-wheelie and traction control systems.
The S model gets the more advanced dashboard which is a 5in wide TFT display giving information on speed, rpm, selected gear, total mileage, two trips, coolant temperature, fuel gauge and the time. Other information shown varies according to the riding mode selected.
Four accessory packs are available; Urban, Enduro, Touring and Sport and they can be mixed and matched according to the owner’s choice.