At the EICMA show in Milan, Italy, Ducati announced a major update to its Multistrada 1200 for 2015, the third generation of its sport/adventure tourer. Already renowned for power and technological sophistication, the new Multistrada will offer more of both.
Featuring new Desmodromic Variable Timing, its 1,198cc Testastretta L-twin will make a claimed 160 horsepower (up from 150) and 100 lb-ft of torque (up from 92), with improved fuel economy. New technologies include Bosch-Brembo cornering ABS, electronic cruise control, Ducati Wheelie Control and an Inertial Measurement Unit that dynamically measures roll, pitch and yaw. The S version adds upgraded, semi-active Ducati Skyhook Suspension Evolution, an LED headlight with Ducati Cornering Lights, the Ducati Multimedia System, a full-color TFT display and upgraded brakes and wheels.
Ducati’s Multistrada 1000, introduced for 2003, was, as its name implies, designed for “many roads”—highways, back roads, city streets, even some dirt or gravel. Tall, narrow and agile, it was a big supermoto dressed up in stylish (some would say odd-looking) Pierre Terblanche-designed bodywork. The versatile bike really came into its own for 2010, when the all-new Multistrada 1200 filled the void left by the departed ST3 sport tourer while dipping its toe deeper into the frothy waters of adventure touring.
Read our 2010 Ducati Multistrada S Touring Road Test
The Multistrada 1200 introduced the “four bikes in one” concept, with Sport, Touring, Urban and Enduro modes that adjusted engine output, traction control and—on S models—electronic suspension settings on the fly. It was powered by the liquid-cooled, 1,198cc Testastretta 11-degree L-twin, a retuned version of Ducati’s 1198 superbike powerplant that delivered a broader spread of torque.
Read our 2013 Ducati Multistrada 1200 S Granturismo Road Test
For 2015, the Testastretta is equipped with DVT (Desmodromic Variable Timing), which uses separate valve timing adjusters on the ends of the two overhead camshafts—one for intake, the other for exhaust. Intake and exhaust valve overlap, fixed at 11 degrees on the previous model, now varies, optimizing engine performance throughout the rev range. At high rpm, DVT maximizes horsepower; at low to mid-range rpm, it provides smooth power delivery and strong torque. Ducati’s trademark desmodromic valve actuation, which opens and closes intake and exhaust valves mechanically, is an integral part of DVT.
Bore/stroke (106.0 x 67.9mm) and displacement (1,198cc) are unchanged, and the revised Testastretta retains its dual-spark cylinder head with independent ignition control and a secondary air injection system. Ducati claims 160 horsepower at 9,500 rpm and 100 lb-ft of torque at 7,500 rpm, with 74 lb-ft or more on tap between 5,750 and 9,500 rpm. Despite the increase in engine output, fuel consumption is, on average, 8 percent lower (claimed).
As before, the Multistrada has an oil-bath slipper clutch with a 6-speed transmission and chain final drive. The light, rigid frame consists of a front tubular-steel trellis frame attached to two cast-aluminum subframes, which are reinforced by a load-bearing section of fiberglass-reinforced plastic. For 2015, the frame has been made stiffer and ground clearance has been raised from 6.3 inches to 7.1 inches. The stylish single-sided swingarm is made of cast aluminum.
The standard Multistrada 1200 is fitted with a 48mm male-slider fork and a Sachs monoshock, both fully adjustable. The higher-spec Multistrada 1200 S has a 48mm male-slider fork and rear monoshock, both by Sachs, with compression and rebound adjustment controlled automatically via the semi-active Ducati Skyhook Suspension (DSS) Evolution, which offers revised settings and greater precision thanks to additional input from the Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU). DSS damping settings are integrated into the Multistrada’s four riding modes, and rear spring preload is pushbutton adjustable. Suspension travel is 6.7 inches front and rear on both models.
The same four Riding Modes—Sport, Touring, Urban and Enduro—return, but they now include settings for Ducati Wheelie Control (DWC) and cornering ABS, in addition to settings for engine output, Ducati Traction Control (DTC) and—on S versions—DSS. With input from the IMU and other sensors, the Multistrada’s Ducati Safety Pack now includes the multi-mode Bosch 9.1ME ABS system that works when the bike is leaned over in a corner, a useful safety feature that was introduced on the 2014 KTM 1190 Adventure and will likely find its way onto many other motorcycles in the years to come. Brembo supplies the braking components, with two monobloc radial 4-piston calipers squeezing 320mm front discs, a single 2-piston caliper squeezing a 265mm rear disc and a radial master cylinder. On the Multistrada 1200 S, the front brakes are upgraded to 330mm discs and top-shelf Brembo M50 monobloc radial 4-piston calipers. Light alloy Y-spoke wheels are 17 inches front and rear, and they are shod with all-new Pirelli Scorpion Trail II tires.
While the Multistrada 1200 has been a platform for ever-higher levels of performance and technology, its primary mission is touring. For the long haul, it is the most comfortable Ducati ever made, offering plenty of room for a rider, passenger and luggage. For 2015, the rider seat is height adjustable (32.5 or 33.3 inches), the windscreen is taller, wider and height-adjustable with one hand over a 2.4-inch range, and standard equipment includes new electronic cruise control and two 12V sockets. The standard model has an LCD instrument panel, while the S model has a 5-inch, full-color TFT display. The S version also includes an LED headlight with Ducati Cornering Lights, which point auxiliary lights into curves based on input from the IMU.
Four accessory “personalization packs” will be offered: the Touring Pack includes heated grips, saddlebags and a centerstand; the Sport Pack is fitted with a road-legal Ducati Performance exhaust by Termignoni, a carbon fiber front fender and billet aluminum brake and clutch reservoir caps; the Urban Pack has a top case and lockable tank bag with a USB hub; and the Enduro Pack includes auxiliary lights and Ducati Performance components by Touratech: engine guards, a radiator guard, an oil sump guard, a larger kickstand base and off-road footpegs.
All Multistrada 1200 models will be available in Ducati Red, and the Multistrada 1200 S will also be available in Iceberg White. A Multistrada 1200 S D|air model will also be available, which features an intelligent on-vehicle system that wirelessly connects to airbag-equipped Ducati Apparel D|air clothing by Dainese. Pricing and availability are TBD.
They say competition improves the product. In this product line I say YES!!
Ducati finally stepped up with Cruise Control and many other improvements. Now they have some real competition from BMW and KTM. Do you think a better shoot out test compare could be made with the new KTM Super Adventure 1290, Ducati Multi S, and BMW SX1000 ??? I hope soon as one of these will be my future bike.