Ducati Multistrada 1200 S Sport ABS (2010-current): Diversity at the highest level.

     Engine: The V-2 90į (L-2) desmo, liquid cooled, 1198 c.c. engine delivers 150 bhp / 9250 rpm and 12.1 kgm / 7500 rpm (87 lbs ft) torque, claimed figures.
     There are four available engine mappings, Urban, Enduro, Sport, and Touring which are combined with the Ride by Wire throttle. The selection of any program is established by the cancelation button of the indicatorsĘ operation. Except from the engine operation, the traction control involvement as well as the suspension settings are also altered by these four preset adjustments.

     Starting the engine, the bike key doesnĘt have to be inserted at any lock actually there isnĘt any ordinary one, the bike is equipped with a keyless system. Rider has to bear the key which will have to be inserted at the certain locks on the tank in case of refueling, the saddle if it has to opened or the panniers at the Touring version.
     The engine is quite more discreet compared to what a rider would expect from a big Ducati engine, in terms of engine noise and vibrations. Thus it doesnĘt remind a lot the 1198 model which was the donor bike.
     With the Urban map selected, the engine will require at least 3000 rpm to provide surge free acceleration. Power provided is linear up to the rev limiter at 10000 rpm. Actually due to the midrange power provided and the engine capacity, rider cannot easily comprehend that there are only 100 ponies available at the Urban and Enduro mappings.
     Selecting the Touring program, engine delivers the full 150 bhp power in a user friendly manner though. Selecting the Sport program 150 bhp are provided, throttle response is direct though. Rev limiter intervenes again at 10000 rpm. Engine power provided is fully exploitable due to the linear manner that it is delivered, even on Sport mode. Certainly, the Traction Control (DTC) adjustable in eight increments also helps the rider. This makes the Multistrada a lethal opponent even to more powerful bikes at the off, especially when traction is poor.
     An average fuel consumption figure is 6.5 l/100 km (44 mpg Imperial) with various engine modes selected. In case of the Urban mode, fuel consumption is decreased.
     If a rider wishes to actually increase the engine performance, following the factory guidelines, he is asked to change the exhaust, single silencer, ECU and air filter, which is the most expensive procedure.
     Riding position: The saddle height is great, 850 mm, its not suitable to short riders. The pillion is seated much higher than the rider, the saddle for the pillion is quite roomy.
     The dimensions of the bike are increased, exactly the way that a rider would expect from this bike category. The width of the Multistrada is great at the handlebar, mirrors and fairing.
     The weight of the bike is great, 220 kg (485 lbs) nominal full, its obviously not a suitable bike to female riders, especially in case that it leans static on either side.
     Rider is placed in and over the bike, riding position is neutral, riderĘs arms are stretched wide on the handlebar.
     On the road: A Trellis frame is equipped together with a single side swingarm. The suspensions are Ohlins fully adjustable for the S version. A 48 mm is equipped at the front, there is no linkage at the rear.
     In respect to the selected engine mode, the Ducati Electronic Suspension (DES) also alters the suspension adjustments, changing the mapping among the Urban, Enduro, Sport, and Touring modes.
     Thus at the Urban mode suspensions are relatively soft, while at the Sport mode suspensions are relatively firm. An intermediate adjustment is set at the Touring mode. The adjustments of the ABS and traction control are also changed then.
     OE tires are Pirelli Scorpion Trail with dimensions 120/70-17 at the front and 190/55-17 at the rear, developed for the Multistrada. They are considered to be a very good choice for the Multistrada, really suitable with the bikeĘs touring and multi-task character. At the fast pace these tires do not provide traction adequate to the bikeĘs potential, especially on low-friction factor roads.
     On town rides the Multistrada is a very satisfying bike to any rider familiar with this bike category.
     Rider is seated high, surveilling the traffic. The wide handlebar becomes a handy lever to change the direction of the bike. The Urban mode exhibits a multi-task and neutral character, which will be satisfying to the rider.
     In any case itĘs a very fast bike also. Consequently there are no compromises asked in town use.
     On downtown rides, the big 1200 c.c. engine is not really frugal for commuting, which certainly applies to any engine of this capacity.
     The dimensions of the Multistrada become a disadvantage, especially the width, requiring compromises when filtering. The handlebar and the hand-guards are higher than car mirrors, although they will become a problem (or the bikeĘs mirrors will), between SUVs.
     Steering lock is quite good being very helpful maneuvering the bike around cars. Street imperfections are absorbed very well, in accordance with the selected engine-suspension mapping of course. It should be noted that the suspension travel is  significant,170 mm (6.7 in) front and rear.
     On B roads, the bike is very neutral and stable, with these two riding elements surpassing agility. The Touring mode provides comfort to the riding, suspensions are slightly soft, the character of the bike oozes with diversity. As the pace gets faster, the suspension adjustment feels softer and softer at the Touring mode. The Multistrada finally becomes flabby at such a pace. Its time for the Sport mode.
     With a press of a button then, the Multistrada is transformed to a capable adventure fighter. The engine gets meaner, performance is superb and linear. The suspensions become ideally firm, to attack into bends. The wide handlebar becomes an adequate lever to change direction swiftly, stability is great.
     The pace is equivalent to the initial track days of a nimble rider then, when the inertia becomes evident, due to the weight mainly and the slow steering geometry (1530 mm wheelbase, 60.24 in, 25į rake), especially on very high speed riding. The stop created on the saddle for the riderĘs body is very useful at the exits of the corners.
     At such a pace, itĘs the ultimate adventure bike. In respect to the absolute motorcycle standards, its not as nimble and straight forward as the HypermÔtard 1100, or as eye-popping as the 1098-1198. Feedback to the rider is inferior in respect to both then.
     On the highway, if the screen is adjusted at the lowest height, air protection is adequate up to the speed of 160 km/h (99 mph).
     Setting the screen at an intermediate position, travelling speed will easily become 200 km/h (124 mph). At the highest position, the screen deflects the air flow above from the helmet, although the shoulders are wind buffeted. If the screen is  adjusted that high its not really convenient in every day use.
     Riding position is very comfortable when travelling, the top speed of the bike is close to the 270 km/h, (168 mph) indicated on the display. Overtaking on National roads is a piece of cake on a Multistrada.
    On dirt roads, suspensions at the Enduro mode are slightly firm for such a terrene. Combined with the street orientated tires, there is no much time for the rider to react in case of a sudden slide. The actual feeling of riding a big and heavy bike is evident to the rider.
     The ABS brakes consist of twin 320 mm (12.6 in) rotors with four piston callipers at the front and a 245 mm (9.64 in) two pistons calliper, at the rear. Brembo callipers of course. Braking is powerful, they will get the job done the way they should. Whenever the ABS intervenes, there is no pulsing at the levers, feedback to the rider is reduced though. At the fast pace the Sport mode should be selected, additionally due to the great diving of the front under braking in any other mode.
     Model history/versions/optional/reliability/quality build: It was introduced in 2010 replacing the Multistrada 1000/1100 (2003-2010) model. There is a base version and the S version. The electronically adjusted suspensions are standard for the S version. At the S version the Sport and the Touring models are two more variations. The Touring features panniers, heated grips and centre stand.
     A GPS, lower saddle, top case, panniers, screens, alarm and carbon parts are optional equipment for the various versions of the Multistrada.
     There are no specific reliability issues, service intervals are increased compared to the 1198 donor bike. Quality build is superb.
     Comments: The changes in suspensions include pillion and luggage options. Every single adjustment may be changed to riderĘs preferences. So rider using solely the software of the bike, may delete his pillion in case of a quarrel on a journey, (that was the last joke for today, promise).
      The design details like the single side swingarm, the LCD display, the LED indicators on the handguards, the silencer, the mudguard and the distinctive nose at the front, ooze with character. The mirrors are adjusted by the internal glass. The side stand requires some familiarization from the rider in order to be opened. Under the pillion seat there is a small storage space.
     The Ducati sales people boast that the Multistrada is a four into one bikes. In terms of modern adventure bikes it could be, requiring minor compromises on road use mainly.

     With the standards of the non working people for the Italian manufacturer, the Multistrada S is a superb big adventure on-road bike that many riders will manage to ride fast and safely, due to the electronics provided mainly, the engine performance and the handling provided. At the limits of riding though, expert riders will fancy more specialized bikes, except from the case of touring.

Price: 20900 §

+ Electronics – active safety

+ Easily fast and neutral rides on the road, setting new standards at this bike category

- Off road use

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