Perched at the top of the adventure-sport touring heap sits Ducati’s Multistrada, which bested its closest competitor, the BMW S 1000 XR, in our 2015 head-to-head comparison. Ducati clearly wants to maintain that position, so for 2018 it has announced a slew of upgrades including a new engine, an updated chassis, new electronics and an aesthetic refresh.
As its nomenclature indicates, the new Multistrada’s DVT (Desmodromic Variable Valve Timing) L-twin engine has been enlarged from 1,198cc to 1,262cc, with its 106mm bore unchanged but the stroke lengthened 3.6mm to 71.5, which was first seen on Ducati’s XDiavel power cruiser. Ducati says this results in 18-percent higher torque output at 5,500 rpm, with claimed figures of 158 peak horsepower at 9,500 rpm and 95.5 lb-ft of torque at 7,500.
Ducati has been refining the Multistrada 1200 since it was introduced in 2010, including the smoother and more tractable DVT update in 2015, and for 2018 it aims to further please sport-touring riders with an updated throttle-by-wire system that promises smoother response, along with its Ducati Quick Shift (DQS) system, optional on the base model and standard on the S and Pikes Peak versions. Chassis updates include a longer swingarm and revised geometry for quicker steering and greater stability when riding with full luggage and a passenger.
Three models will be available in the U.S. for 2018, the base Multistrada 1260, the up-spec Multistrada 1260 S and the Multistrada 1260 Pikes Peak. The base model gets a fully adjustable 48mm USD fork and a fully adjustable Sachs rear shock with remote preload adjustment, dual 320mm front brake discs with radially-mounted Brembo Monobloc 4-piston calipers and one 265mm rear disc with a 2-piston caliper, the Ducati Safety Pack with Bosch Cornering ABS and Ducati Traction Control (DTC), an LCD display, Vehicle Hold Control (VHC), riding modes, Ducati Wheelie Control (DWC) and cruise control. The Ducati Quick Shift (DQS), Ducati Multimedia System (DMS) and anti-theft system are optional.
The Multistrada 1260 S adds Ducati Skyhook Suspension (DSS) EVO semi-active electronic suspension, larger 330mm dual front brake discs with radial Brembo Monobloc Evo M50 4-piston calipers, a full-color TFT display, cornering lights with full LED headlamp assembly, Ducati Quick Shift both up and down, and the Ducati Multimedia system that enables the rider to take phone calls and see text messages on the TFT display and using the handlebar switches.
The sport-oriented Multistrada 1260 Pikes Peak loses the electronic suspension in favor of fully adjustable Öhlins units, a 48mm USD fork and a TTX36 rear shock. Thanks in part to its 3-spoke forged wheels, Termignoni exhaust, and carbon fiber fender, windscreen and side panels, it weighs in at a claimed 454 pounds, 13 less than the base model and 16 less than the S.
As in recent years, each Multistrada 1260 model can be outfitted in one of four “packs.” The Touring Pack adds heated grips, panniers and a center stand. The Sport Pack (not available on the Pikes Peak) adds Termignoni exhaust, a carbon fiber front mudguard and machined brake and clutch reservoir caps. The Urban Pack adds a top case, locking tank bag and USB hub. The Enduro Pack adds auxiliary lights and Touratech engine bars, radiator guard, oil sump guard, kickstand base and off-road footpegs.
New for the Multistrada 1260 is the new Ducati Link smartphone app capability. The app, available for iOS and Android devices, allows the rider to record data such as lean angle, speed and engine power, fuel consumption and more. It also records the route travelled, which can then be shared with other Ducatisti and can even make the rider eligible for prizes based on their use of the bike and their riding experiences.
Pricing and availability of the 2018 Multistrada 1260 family is TBD, but you can bet we’ll be getting our hands on one as soon as we can.