DUCATI MULTISTRADA 1260S (2018 - on) Review

At a glance

Owners' reliability rating: 3.8 out of 5 (3.8/5)
Annual servicing cost: £1,000
Power: 156 bhp
Seat height: Medium (32.5 in / 825 mm)
Weight: High (518 lbs / 235 kg)

Prices

New £17,195
Used £12,500 - £15,300

Overall rating

Next up: Ride & brakes
5 out of 5 (5/5)

Compared to the 2015 1200 model, Ducati’s Multistrada 1260 S is more subtle evolution, than in-your-face revolution.

With its grunt-laden, longer-stroke motor, calmer chassis geometry, uprated electronics and higher level of equipment, it delivers more of everything: gut-wrenching performance, safety and genuine all-day, cross-continental comfort. It’s not cheap, but it’s a genuine do-anything superbike.

Ride quality & brakes

Next up: Engine
4 out of 5 (4/5)

Although lacking the crispness in the corners of the 1290 Super Duke GT, or the angry composure of the S1000XR, the slightly softer out-going Multistrada 1200 always handled superbly and had brakes to shame many a proper superbike. If you had to be picky you’d point to a slight instability at extreme speeds, especially loaded up with pillion and luggage.

Ducati has retained that same reassuring handling character with the new 1260, but now the wheelbase is stretched out by 56mm (and has a 48mm longer swingarm), with 5mm more trail and 1 degree of rake. Now it promises to be more stable on the edge.

Semi-active suspension might be a technical masterpiece, but it works in the background, constantly adjusting, almost undetected, which is the biggest compliment you can give it. All you notice is the plush, stable ride and the ability for the Ducati to dig in and find grip.

Suspension support changes within the riding modes and if you’re fussy you can fine tune it further, just prod a button on the left switchgear and follow the cool Mission Impossible-style prompts on the new colour screen. 

Original Equipment Pirelli Scorpion Trail II dual-purpose tyres are superb and give you confidence and bags of feel in all conditions. But if you’re never going to get your wheels muddy, fit sports, sports touring, or even track tyres to exploit the outer edges of the Ducati’s incredible all-round potential.

Speed, cornering and flies-in-the-teeth lunacy are all here, but the Ducati’s all-day comfort and practicality will be the reason a sportsbike rider will never look back. Sit back, set the cruise control, flick on the heated grips, soften the suspension, set the manually-adjustable screen just so (a smooth electronic version would be in more in keeping with the price tag) and keep going until you drain the 20-litre fuel tank (we regularly averaged a frugal 53mpg from the out-going 1200). 

Engine

Next up: Reliability
5 out of 5 (5/5)

The Multistrada 1260 range gets a new, longer-stroke 1262cc X-Diavel-derived motor with new mapping and exhaust. Ducati claims an extra 6bhp and 18% more torque at 5500rpm from the bigger V-twin, but more importantly for the road, it makes 85% of its torque from as low as 3500rpm. Now, when you whittle that down to the improvement you’re actually getting at the rear wheel the increase isn’t huge, but the extra shove is noticeable and there’s even more instant overtaking poke for overtakes and catapulting out of corners.

Now it’s even easier to glide through turns in lazy gears and have serious acceleration on the way out. Point the Ducati’s evil beak to the next corner and enjoy the volcanic thrust, explosive grunt and perfect power delivery that only a booming Ducati superbike can muster. 

With every degree of throttle opening the clever DVT system keeps the engine clatter-free at low revs, but with 158bhp in the tank it has a wild side when you prod it in the ribs. Serious speed and raw, unadulterated power are always there for the asking, but it’s nicely tempered with a slice of silicone support.

A superbike-developed up/down quickshifter keeps things on the boil nicely, although it’s on the clonky side mated to a motor with such grunt and wide-spaced gears. Top level engine braking, traction and wheelie control let you squeeze more out of the Multistrada 1260 than you’d ever thought possible, wet or dry.

Reliability & build quality

Next up: Value
5 out of 5 (5/5)

Cycle parts are all top notch and Ducati claims improved fit and finish for the 1260. Service intervals are 9000-miles, or every 12 months.

In November 2019, Ducati also introduced the '4Ever Multistrada' scheme; giving all machines in the 2020 Multistrada range a four-year, unlimited mileage warranty.

Value vs rivals

Next up: Equipment
4 out of 5 (4/5)

It’s not cheap, but you do get an awful lot of engine, chassis and technology for the money. It’s a shame that things like heated grips are an optional extra and we’d like to see an electric rather than manually adjustable screen.

Equipment

5 out of 5 (5/5)

As well as the new engine and chassis, wheels are 340 gram-lighter, there’s a revised ride-by-wire system and tweaked rider aids: cornering ABS, traction control, anti-wheelie, gear-by-gear engine braking systems and riding modes (Sport, Touring, Urban and Enduro). You also get a hill-hold control, self-cancelling indicators, keyless ignition, new back-lit switchgear functions and cruise control.

The base model has all this, including mechanically adjustable 48mm KYB forks and Sachs rear shock, a new LCD dash and Brembo M4.32 calipers, which is a lot of bike for the money, but twist the bank manager’s arm even further and you can have this S model, dripping with more of everything.

You get the latest evolution semi active electronic Sachs ‘Ducati Skyhook Suspension’ (adding 2kg), 10mm bigger front brake discs (330mm), chunkier Brembo M50 monobloc calipers and a quickshifter/autoblipper mapped for each gear. It has LED cornering headlights, a new-look TFT colour dash and Bluetooth connectivity. You can even download a Ducati Link App, which records bike data, settings, routes, Strava-style riding challenges and interaction with fellow owners.

Specs

Engine size 1262cc
Engine type Liquid-cooled, 8v, V-twin
Frame type Tubular steel trellis
Fuel capacity 20 litres
Seat height 825mm
Bike weight 235kg
Front suspension 48mm Sachs forks semi-active
Rear suspension Single rear Sachs shock semi-active
Front brake 2 x 330mm discs with four-piston monobloc radial caliper. ABS
Rear brake 265mm single disc with twin-piston caliper.
Front tyre size 190/55x17
Rear tyre size 120/70x17

Mpg, costs & insurance

Average fuel consumption -
Annual road tax £93
Annual service cost £1,000
New price £17,195
Used price £12,500 - £15,300
Insurance group -
How much to insure?
Warranty term -

Top speed & performance

Max power 156 bhp
Max torque 96 ft-lb
Top speed 165 mph
1/4 mile acceleration -
Tank range -

Model history & versions

Model history

2010: Multistrada 1200 launched.  1198 superbike-derived motor, long travel suspension, a comfy riding position and a whole host of electronic gadgets. Standard, S and Pikes Peak versions available.

2013: Multistrada 1200 S gets semi-active electronic ‘Sky Hook’ suspension.

2015: Multistrada 1200 range gets Ducati Variable Timing motor, as well as chassis, styling and electronics updates.

2018: Multistrada 1260: Long stroke motor from X-Diavel, calmer chassis dimensions, electronics upgrades and slight styling tweaks.

Other versions

Multistrada 1260 158bhp, 232kg

Base model Multistrada 1260: new longer stroke engine, chassis and electronics. 

Owners' reviews for the DUCATI MULTISTRADA 1260S (2018 - on)

4 owners have reviewed their DUCATI MULTISTRADA 1260S (2018 - on) and rated it in a number of areas. Read what they have to say and what they like and dislike about the bike below.

Review your DUCATI MULTISTRADA 1260S (2018 - on)

Summary of owners' reviews

Overall rating: 4 out of 5 (4/5)
Ride quality & brakes: 4.8 out of 5 (4.8/5)
Engine: 4.5 out of 5 (4.5/5)
Reliability & build quality: 3.8 out of 5 (3.8/5)
Value vs rivals: 4.2 out of 5 (4.2/5)
Equipment: 4.8 out of 5 (4.8/5)
Annual servicing cost: £1,000
3 out of 5 Lot of issues for a lot of money!
17 May 2020 by Stephen

Version: Touring

Year: 2018

Annual servicing cost: £1,000

This bike is simply incredible. It can literally do it all. The price tag is high as you would expect from a premium motorcycle. However having spent the money the constant reliability issues underpin everything I was warned about when considering a Ducati. I’m a higher mileage rider and have done 7500 on this bike since September 2019

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5

M50 Brembo brakes are just awesome.

Engine 4 out of 5

Expected the L-Twin to behave more vibration but Ducati have done an excellent job smoothing this out. More power than is ever required and this bike will challenge most sport bikes.

Reliability & build quality 2 out of 5

Where to start! When it’s below 5 degrees (ish) the bike has an intermittent starting issue. Dealer tells me that big bore bikes all have starting problems when cold and that it takes time to start it. I know this isn’t right as sometimes it will start at colder temperatures than others. Seems I have to live with this and it’s just luck as to whether it will or won’t start on the colder mornings. This despite the bike being garages and always connected to a Optimate. Strange thing is if I leave bike for 24hrs it starts like no problem ever existed. First breakdown where the bike would cut out and suddenly lunges forward. Scary and dangerous! Dealer couldn’t identity the problem which, after referring the problem back to Italy, turned out to be the quick shift failing. Today (nice warm day) the display suddenly decides the Bluetooth connections don’t exist. A few other issues that you wouldn’t expect from such an expensive machine. But as I say I was warned that Ducati’s reliability reputation is not great and this appears to be true but I still took a punt. I love the bike. When it’s working properly it is incredible in all areas. But would I be confident taking around Europe?.....The answer is no I suspect I’ll end up spending more time on side of the road rather than riding on it!

Value vs rivals 3 out of 5

It’s a Ducati at the end of the days so expecting to pay over the odds. I can live with this if the bikes reliability was vastly improved.

Equipment 5 out of 5

When it works you will get a lot for your money. With TFT display, ABS cornering, cornering lights, up/down quick shifter, the toys are endless.

Buying experience: Bought from Dealer. They took off the parts to set the seat height lower. Said they would send me those parts in the post. Still waiting 8 months later despite asking twice. I don’t have a lot of confidence in the after sales. The cold start problem is good example of where I’m clearly just being ‘fobbed’ off. I’ve had numerous bikes over years but never one that wouldn’t start at all during the colder months.

5 out of 5 Swiss Army knife of bikes
11 April 2020 by Richie Collins

Year: 2019

It does it all, can ride all day, open it up when you want, ride round town and commute! What else could you ask for?

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5
Value vs rivals 5 out of 5
Equipment 5 out of 5
3 out of 5 Multistrada Reliabilty Woes
21 February 2020 by Ade

Version: 2019 model 1260 S Touring

Year: 2019

Best feature, Semi Active Suspension it is just brilliant. Worst feature, reliability, Bought mine new in May 2019 to use to get to work everyday and by November I was having intermitant starting problems, 3 months later problems getting worse and the main dealer cannot find out what is causing the problem, also front brakes make a dreadfull scratching noise while pushing it out of garage in the morning and also up to 10 mph, dealer has changed the disks and sold me different brake pads, which has helped a lot but not cured problem.

Ride quality & brakes 4 out of 5

Front brakes have epic power at speed, but are grabby at very low speeds around town (guess you cannot have it both ways). Rear brake next to useless to be honest and rear brake lever is in such awkward position it gives me cramp ( put a bigger brake pedal on please Ducati)

Engine 4 out of 5

New motor DVT motor much smoother than the old version, but lacks the outright feeling of power the old motor had. It is good on fuel on a long run and is effortless on the motorway or around the twisty bits, handles well and will keep up with most bikes if you have the courage.

Reliability & build quality 3 out of 5

I will give it 3 out of 5 because the bike looks beautifully designed and very well put together, but will not mark it higher due to the above mentioned reliability issues.

Value vs rivals 4 out of 5

Cam belt services at 18000 miles or 5 years are the best part of £1000 and take a couple of days, so start saving if you do a lot of miles.

Equipment 4 out of 5

I ride every day so the heated grips are a big favourite of mine, they work very well to, button could be better situated though. programmable power modes are good and easy to use/ also suspension adjustment when loaded up with passenger or panniers or both. Only ever used standard tires on mine, they work well wet or dry from new but performance drops off drastically once half worn. I put a full termi system on mine and it looks/sounds lovely and also gives a slight gain in performance but not enough to justify the cost in my opinion. I was also advised to put a tracker on rather than an alarm (AllTrac) the dealer has informed me that he thinks this is draining the battery resulting in me having to pay for a new lithium battery at £130 ( the dealer is under the impression this has lead to my intermittent starting problems, I disagree as the bike has been difficult to start since battery replacement, even when left on an optimate every night.

Buying experience: Ducati are very slick and it is a very pleasant experience, It must be I have bought 3 new Ducati's in the last 7 years, unfortunately due to the reliability issues I have experienced with my latest Multistrada 1260S this one might be my last.

5 out of 5 Too old for the V4 Panigale, too young to die-
21 May 2018 by SeanX

Version: Touring

Year: 2018

In 2008 when Ducati changed their MotoGP team to a V4 I promised myself a V4 Panigale if they ever made one I could afford (as in, not the RR). But by the time Bologna finally let us have it I was middle-aged. Now what? Yes, I still have track bikes, but honestly in my late 40s I felt like I was ready for a really good, really fast and really comfortable sport touring machine. Enter the Multistrada 1260S. Power and torque by the truckload, comfortable riding position, exquisite electronics and in the touring version you get a centre stand- when was the last time you had a bike with a centre stand? It's awesome! I can park without worrying someone will tip over my beautiful Italian. Negatives? The Bluetooth antenna is not the strongest and the windscreen doesn't offer as much protection as it might. Otherwise it might be perfect. Adventure bike? I don't really think so. This is a sport touring bike and in the touring version it is a weekend getaway waiting to happen.

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5

Brakes on the S, SD-Air and Pike's Peak edition are insanely good. I cannot speak to the slightly smaller brakes on the 1260 standard.

Engine 5 out of 5

Sublime. This is the best 2 cylinder engine I have ever experienced.

Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5
Value vs rivals 5 out of 5

My wife might be reading this so I decline to comment on the ownership costs of Ducatis.

Equipment 5 out of 5

The riding modes and user adjustments are much more intuitive than my previous experiences with Ducati.

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