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FIRST RIDE: 2015 Ducati Multistrada 1200 DVT

Published: 08 March 2015

Updated: 08 March 2015

Ducati has launched the 2015 Multistrada 1200 DVT range this weekend and MCN has been riding the bike all day to get some first impressions of the all-new bike.

MCN’s Senior Reporter Andy Downes is on the Canary Island of Lanzarote for the world launch of the all-new Ducati Multistrada 1200 DVT and has just got off the bike.

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.

MCN’s Andy Downes said: “This is an impressive step forward over the outgoing bike. Ducati has had a busy year so far and the hype around the new Scrambler and the 1299 Panigale superbike has overshadowed the fact the Multistrada 1200 has been completely reworked from the ground up.

“The biggest question mark before this test ride was whether the new DVT system worked. After a day of riding both standard and S models of the range, first impressions are extremely positive.

“The changes to the bike are significant and the variable valve timing has had a big impact on the way the engine behaves; especially at low revs where the piston slap and lumpy running so evident on the outgoing Testastretta 11 engine (which itself had been retuned to comat this character) is almost eradicated.

“Even when deliberately leaving the bike to labour in a third gear with fewer than 1750rpm on the rev counter the bike will still pull smoothly.

“At the top of the rev range there is another 10bhp of peak power to take it to 160bhp and you can definitely feel the extra performance available, anything about about 7500rpm feels near-superbike fast as the variable valve timing opens up the valve overlap and the engine develops maximum performance. The engine is not just new in terms of the variable valve timing but also in the location within the chassis to give increased ground clearance.”

Andy was lucky enough to run a 2013 Ducati Multistrada 1200 S Touring fitted with the semi-active Skyhook suspension system for nearly 15,000 miles so is very familiar with the outgoing model and covered many thousands of miles on the original Multistrada 1200 too.

He added: “A few of the irritations of the previous bike have been dealt with. The 12v power socket has been moved up to the front of the dashboard rather than hidden down by your calf, the smoother engine makes town riding far easier, the new seat is narrower and lower which will make it easier for those shorter of leg (I’m 5ft 9in, so no giant) to ride.

“But there the centrestand still gets in the way of your left heel, the windscreen is bigger but still needs to do a better job and the useful cubby hole at the top right of the fairing has been sacrificed because of the relocated fuel tank which has moved forward. Overall this is an extremely big step forward and I think the terrible state of UK roads may well show this bike to be even better than it feels here."

A full test of the 2015 Ducati Multistrada 1200 DVT range will be in the March 18 issue of MCN.


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