DUCATI MULTISTRADA 1200S (2015 - 2019) Review
- One of the greatest sports tourers of its generation
- Fantastic 1200 motor gets variable valve timing
- Electronics add a new layer of sophistication
At a glance
|Owners' reliability rating:|
|Annual servicing cost:||£380|
Overall ratingNext up: Ride & brakes
The Ducati Multistrada 1200 DVT could well be the best-suited bike to the nasty state of UK roads and offers a huge amount to almost everyone.
Ducati launched two versions of the bike; a standard Multistrada 1200 DVT and the S model too. In the UK market the S model outsells the standard model by a significant margin; usually the S model makes up around 65 to 70% of the UK market sales.
The 2015 Multistrada 1200 DVT is a completely new bike and heralds a new engineering milestone for Ducati with the advent of the Desmodromic Variable Timing (DVT) engine. This DVT system a constantly variable valve timing system which aims to give the best of both smoothing off the bottom end of the V-twin’s power delivery but also allowing the 160bhp to produce good top end power too.
The difference between the two bikes can be pinned down to the fitment of the semi-active Skyhook suspension, higher specification Brembo brakes, it’s available in both red and white, cornering LED headlights and a full colour digital dashboard.
Both models get cornering ABS, Ducati Wheelie Control, Ducati Traction control, four different riding modes, a height-adjustable seat and the Bosch Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU) which is the five-axis control and monitoring unit that hangs all of the electronics together.
But should you pick a Multistrada 1200S over its 950 sibling? Watch the video below to find out...
Ride quality & brakesNext up: Engine
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.
EngineNext up: Reliability
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.
Reliability & build qualityNext up: Value
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.
Value vs rivalsNext up: Equipment
There’s no getting away from the fact the Multistrada 1200 DVT was an expensive bike but for those able and prepared to pay the money the quality and specification of the bike took away some of the sting. The cheaper, standard model did 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.
Group test: Ducati Multistrada 1200 vs BMW S1000XR Sport vs KTM 1190 Adventure vs BMW R1200GS Alpine vs Kawasaki Versys 1000 vs Triumph Explorer
This is one of the closest tests we’ve had in a long time because every bike is capable of delivering to such a high level – but each excels in different areas. In many ways it comes down to what you want most from your adventure bike, but the aim of this test was to find the bike that can cover big miles and yet slap the biggest smile on your face when the going gets twisty.
Bringing up the rear is the Triumph Explorer. It’s super-comfortable and perfect on long slogs, making it a great touring bike, but it’s happiest habitat is a straight dual carriageway. Throw it at some bends, and the soft forks, soggy rear end and resultant weight transfer issues rob it of its ‘fun’ factor in short order.
The Kawasaki is the most affordable bike on test. It lacks gadgets, but makes up for it with a smooth motor and comfy all-day riding position. While it can hold its own with the big guns, it’s not as advanced or as thrilling. But it does pip the Triumph.
The R1200GS, Multistrada and 1190 Adventure fill out all but the top spot with just a whisker between them. The GS is the most versatile bike here and the best all-round compromise, but the Multi and 1190 better the GS for kicks.
Both are more engaging, and the raw usability of the 1190 just gives it the edge over the Ducati on the fun barometer. That leaves us with the XR. Our only criticisms are a mild lack of comfort, and a bit of vibration through the bars. But that’s it. It’s the best handling, with the most satisfying engine and the best equipment.
So, we’ll forgive an achy bum after a 150-mile stint in the saddle, because of the smile it put on our faces when the road tightened up. It’s the most accomplished bike on test, and when it comes to the crunch it’s the bike we’d all choose.
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.
|Engine type||Liquid-cooled, variable valve timing, V-twin, four-valve, twin spark|
|Frame type||Steel trellis|
|Fuel capacity||20 litres|
|Front suspension||48mm fully adjustable usd forks. Electronic compression & rebound damping adjustment with Ducati Skyhook Suspension (DSS)|
|Rear suspension||Fully adjustable unit. Electronic compression and rebound damping adjustment. Electronic spring pre-load adjustment with Ducati Skyhook Suspension (DSS).|
|Front brake||Twin 330mm disc|
|Rear brake||Single 265mm disc|
|Front tyre size||120/70 R17|
|Rear tyre size||190/55 R17|
Mpg, costs & insurance
|Average fuel consumption||-|
|Annual road tax||£96|
|Annual service cost||£380|
|Used price||£7,800 - £13,000|
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How much to insure?
|Warranty term||2 years|
Top speed & performance
|Max power||160 bhp|
|Max torque||100.3 ft-lb|
|Top speed||165 mph|
|1/4 mile acceleration||-|
|Tank range||200 miles|
Model history & versions
2010: First generation of Multistrada 1200 was launched and was the first bike to get the new Testastretta 11 engine.
2013: Multistrada 1200 gets Skyhook semi-active suspension and a host of minor upgrades. Multistrada 1200 D-Air launched in conjunction with Dainese and incorporates sensors to link up with D-Air airbag jacket.
2015: New DVT engine introduced in heavily revised model.
There's also a stock Multistrada 1200, and a Dainese D|Air enabled version of the 1200S.
Owners' reviews for the DUCATI MULTISTRADA 1200S (2015 - 2019)
7 owners have reviewed their DUCATI MULTISTRADA 1200S (2015 - 2019) and rated it in a number of areas. Read what they have to say and what they like and dislike about the bike below.
Summary of owners' reviews
|Ride quality & brakes:|
|Reliability & build quality:|
|Value vs rivals:|
|Annual servicing cost:||£380|
Annual servicing cost: £250
Power, comfort and handling. All you can ask for in a multi-role-strada. Done two tours, one of them 3500+ miles in 2 weeks and not a single issue. Track day ... No problem. From new it needed a few little bits to make this bike perfect. Fuelling needs sorting by fitting a booster plug. Throttle butterfly needs cutting out. After that its all smiles. No other bike has done so much so well.
Won't keep with modern 1k bikes but then again thats not what its for. It will do anything you ask and you still wont reach its limits - unless your intials are VR. It's fast enough for 99% of bikers.Buy the comfort seat and 300+ miles a day is easy. Pillion perch is big and wide enough for your fat bottomed company. Touring cases take just enough for a 2 week excursion. Fuel tank good for about 180miles as long as you keep it semi sensible.
1200cc of L-Twin grunt .... Peach of an engine when on song. A bit lumpy at low revs.
5 years of ownership and the only 2 faults were the battery in the remote fob died and a fork seal popped. Other than that its been sweet as a nut.
You know its a Ducati right? ... Yes servicing and parts are very expensive. But you get what you pay for. Its the Ferrari of the bike world remember. If you plan on reselling then a Ducati Service history is a must.
Keyless ignition, cornering ABS / Traction control, LED screen, heated grips all as standard. Bikes OEM Pirelli Angel GT tyres are really good choice and I've stuck with them. Brakes are fab especially with the cornering ABS ... Saved my bacon a couple of times.Ducati fit 'Ducati Wheelie Control' to the bike which is a real giggle. It doesn't stop the bikes front coming up as much as it sets which height off the floor the wheel will go to. Makes wheelies safe and fun.
Buying experience: Bought from a Dealer. No issues.
Version: DVT, Touring
As the name suggests, this bike does everything, everywhere - for most people. I confess I haven't really pushed it off road, but otherwise I cant fault it in any conditions on the road. Solo, or with my wife as pillion, it is just brilliant to ride. I felt a bit intimidated by its size at first, but with the low seat setting (I am 5'8"), both feet reach to ground, and on the move it feels so solid and secure as well as being flickable, if you know what I mean.
I have had a whole range of bikes since my student days (40 years ago), and this is by far the best of the lot. It can be fast, or comfortable, or laden. It can be for posing, or revving or cruising. It works around town or out in the country. It does it all with style, quality, a great sound and that Italian-nes that is hard to describe.
Different engine modes let you have what you want. Urban is really only in wet or icy conditions, although it does lower the bike which does help if I have the pillion on, and am in town. touring is the default setting-full power, but gentler delivery. Fast enough for me - thank god for the anti wheelie control! Sport is a bit too abrupt and fierce for the road, with stiff suspension that really sets it up for the track rather than the road. Enduro lifts the bike, switches off the traction control and in theory lets you explore offload (I haven't really) I have had twins and fours in the past (no triples yet), and this does seem the best of both worlds. The DVT allows trundling around to be smooth at low speeds, yet open it up and off she goes like a bat out of hell. It gives the nice grumble of a twin at low speeds , but really sounds good as she revs up!
So far, it has just required the scheduled servicing, and replacement tyres. I covered every fastener and anything that didn't move in anti rust treatment, and it still looks as good as new
Its a Ducati, so actually I expected it to be more expensive! I use Ducati Glasgow and get the video tour before the service. The workshop is immaculate and clearly the mechanics know their stuff. The bike is completely stripped, serviced then reassembled and cleaned. I usually head into town for a coffee and browse for a couple of hours before heading back and picking it up.
For me the touring version has about everything you need on this bike. Heated grips, panniers, centre stand. All the electronics and gadgets needed, although the bluetooth is a bit confusing and there seems to be a constant battle going on with my mobile phone, my intercom and the Ducati. you can adjust all the settings individually if you want, but the default settings work for me, apart form dialling down the traction control, which seemed to kick in far too early, even on relatively gentle acceleration. Panniers are neat, stylish, strong and big enough.
Buying experience: Dealer. Excellent experience. Discussed it all at length online with videos etc, then turned up, paid the money and rode away into the sunset (actually it was driving rain)
Annual servicing cost: £250
Wonderful two-up Tourer that allows itself to be turned into a perfect twisty mountain road bike when you are in the Alps.
Version: Multistrada 1200 DVT base model (touring)
Annual servicing cost: £380
Comfortable, fast and looks good but let down by poor quality of fixing and seat which is a very poor fit to the bike. Great to ride but overpriced for the quality you're getting.
Brembos on base model are okay but no better that my old Suzuki GSX1250. The S version has stronger more expensive Brembos which are very good. Very comfortable for the pillion; my wife is very happy on the back and we've covered many full days touring across Europe.
Plenty of power - thrilling when you open her up. Only really pulls hard from 5k rpm upwards.
Silencer cover bolts seized after just 18 months so had to drill them out to get a new back tyre fitted (the bike is garaged and not used in the winter). Some metal fittings corrode, fuel sender fails, exhaust valve sticks and has to be bypassed at extra cost (even under warranty).
Excellent service for WM Snells, Ducati Alton.
Good heated grips, great panniers (look good colour matched) easy to take on and off and no horrible scaffolding to attach them to the bike (a la BMW). Good info on LCD dash.
Buying experience: Good from Ryders at Bridgewater.
Version: Pikes Peak
Annual servicing cost: £500
The bike is amazing, do it well on any surface, have try it on landscapes and hard roads and it was ok, then I was on the track and it behave as a sport bike, 195 Km/h on a 520 meters straight.
it have a lack of torque between 3000 and 5000 rpm, it is noticeable in every riding mode, it have been solve in the new 1260 models engine that I have tried and its perfect. They should have do something with the old models because they solve the problem for new buyers but the people that already have the bike have nothing to do.
sometimes It is hard to start, especially on cold weather, it cranks slow every time, which makes me feel its going to fail. The bluetooth its useless and the dash scratch to easy, not perfect but very close.
The service labor is expensive but you pay for profesional service, they change my trhottle with no cost for me (a 400 change).
Buying experience: owner of Xdiavel and Panigale 1299.
Annual servicing cost: £500
My Dream Motorcycle is what it is. But the price that you pay, for the quality that you receive, cost it 2STARS....
Top the comfort and quality ride. Only down is the panniers to the pillion.
Everything to like, always available to gas. But in 4 to 6 rpm, cut a like of that boost (Euro IV).
Noisy plastics, brakes; Not uniform space in plastics, seat; Front discs corrosion; Sometimes fail to start; Too many times at the dealer to solve the lot of problems.
Almost 40€/hr of labor, it is outrageous! Almost 25€/L of oil, it is outrageous!
Besides the lower quality of the bluetooth conectivity, and the lack of usability of the cornering lights, everything is top, starting in the suspension.
Buying experience: From a dealer and the worst deal made from my history purchase of motorcycles. Always get around 15/20% off. This one only 5%.
This is my first venture into a twin engined motorcycle. To put it simply this is the best bike overall I've owned bar none. The bike does everything very well indeed and certainly exceeds in some areas. Single riding for fun blasts right through to two up fully loaded touring, I've found the bike to be extremely easy to handle. Not as smooth as a four or six cylinder engine bike but I find I can readily ignore that and focus on the huge benefits the bike has. Ducati have made a very beautiful bike and have even managed to make it look good with a full complement of luggage and you can't say that about every bike. Overall I would describe this bike in one word - Fantastic!
This bike's agility and ability to corner is most definitely the best feature of the bike in my opinion. Even two up it turns in without hesitation and handles like a dream. Always feels planted and focussed and has never appeared to be out of its depth. The seat is comfy enough for an hour or two riding without a break. My pillion reported the bike to be very comfy. The breaks are very efficient on the front and although this years model is vastly improved on last years, the rear brake could be better.
There are a couple of weak or flat spots on the acceleration climb that I have noted and on a couple of occasions I have felt a bit underwhelmed. Beware though, the speed is very deceptive. In reality the bike is much more rapid than it can feel when riding it. A glance down at the speedometer will confirm you are travelling fast - very fast! This DVT version is greatly improved on the 2014 version i test rode last year. The engine handles slow traffic in a much more refined way and the quicker you move the happier it feels. Overall the engine is very good and again, two up appears not to affect the performance very much. Make no mistake the engine is excellent but the odd little flat spot is present.
The quality is good but not exceptional as I feel it should be for a bike of this value. Beautiful bike to look at but on very close inspection some attention to detail is lacking 5 star quality. For example some of the fairing parts are not equally matched to both sides of the bike. There was a little more plastic on the bike than I expected (weight positive?). Small niggles but downgraded as a result.
Only one first oil change service completed and the cost was in line with the previous BMW bike I had. Expect higher than back street garage bills - it's a Ducati after all!
The S version of the bike comes complete with a vast array of accessories. "Skyhook" suspension, cornering ABS, cruise control, heated grips, riding modes, colour screen are all excellent features. A feature that would really enhance this bike would be a quick shifter and I think Ducati have missed a trick here. Surely next years' model will have this added?