Ducati Multistrada MTS1200
Add questions about the Multistrada here - no press launch details yet except that it's at the end of February
Do you test ride with a pillion and full luggage when reviewing a bike? The reason I ask is that I have a Duke MTS12 on order subject to test ride. I will test the VFR also.
On my GS1200 Mk2, without catalyst, I get close to tank slappers when riden enthusastically with my wife as piilion and 36 pairs of shoes in the top box - in other words we are probably overloaded like all long distance touring couples. The front goes very light and the bars waggle. I have ASA but all the BMW's I have owned have had soft rear shocks. The GS is a great handling bike and thus can encourage an enthusiastic attack.
Now, when I sat on the Duke MTS12 I was instantly comfortable with the bar, seat and peg relationship - a good start for a 6 foot 2 inch rider. But the pillion is positioned higher and close to the rear wheel and the top box will be cantelevered way out back sans 36 pairs of shoes.
Now add 150 bhp - how will it handle?
I know Ducati have lengthened the swing arm and have a map and suspension setting but..............there was no steering damper visable.
The bike was pre- production but many details were fully tooled and high spec.
One item stood out as typical of todays bikes. The front mud guard stopped at the forks so the front cylinder, spark plug and it's electrics are exposed to the crud from the wheel.
It would be fun to tease the proud Ducati team how they rationalise such design detail - their gross margins at 38%ish and net margins at 16%ish (remember after they apportion 10% of turnover to race activity) are probably the highest in the industry so it can't be a cost issue as their premium pricing drives margin not cost.
Given this is four bikes in one it would be reasonable to test it with full luggage and pillion but I bet Ducati will request/insist otherwise?
The other issue, when touring , with a short front mudguard is the rider and pillion get covered in road grime. The 1200 GS is particularly bad at covering the rider and pillion with dirt when it's wet or damp. I fitted a front mudguard extender and rear hugger (it was a waste of Queenies Greenies). The front mudguard extender does help somewhat.
One issue with the front wheel is the muck that hits the cylinder gets baked on during a long trip and also causes corrosion.
If Ducati want me to pay the best part of £15k with topbox then I get picky and want practical perfection - remember the new GS has shaft drive and is already being discounted.
I did 15000 miles touring last year, half with my wife on board.
So issues I will have with my next bike.
1. Does the screen elliminate turbulance , which is tiring during a long day. Does it eliminate back-draught.
2. When fully loaded, remember most people overload, how stable is the front end.
3. Do the mudguards, front and back keep humans on the bike and the bike reasonably clean.On a several day trip muck will get baked on cylinders and jackets/trousers get progressively soiled.
4. How docile is the engine at low speed ( pillion issue as much as rider )The Streetfighter is very on/off or herky jerky.
5. Tank range 200 plus and easy to fill. Mk1 1200 GS was a 15 min fill if you wanted the last 2 litres
6. Can the pillion see over rider - some want, some don't
7. Is the clutch lever light in action with an adjustable span. Wrist ache on a 350-500 mile day is a real issue. If you have tendon problem a la dubitrons then it is a growing issue for ageing bike riders.
8. How long before a numb bum for rider and pillion. I am fed up of giving £500 to Sargent and the other USA seat maker.
9. How well do the headlights work at night.
10. Is the gearbox an assistant or bloody awkward.
11. Does it do it in the twisties.
12. Can you get Sky Sports and the Premiership ( Coronation Street for the wife )
Kev, can you take roundincircles with you? His review would be very entertaining!
I think I should send him instead...
Ha, makes my life easier though, I'll just answer his questions and bingo, the test is written!
Roundincircles - I can help you with point 8. Get yourself an Airhawk, which is a multi cell air cushion that goes on top of your saddle. They are made by the people who make the matresses for hospital beds so people don't get pressure sores. They are far more effective than any gel seat. The cushion can be transferred from one bike to another so you don't need to splash out each time and you get one for the pillion as well. There is for sure a UK distributor and I can honestly highly reccomend them. You can get all the detail you need on the web.
The problem with gel seats and the reason manufacturers don't fit them (though some offer them as options) is that the gel has a slow shape recovery time. This means it's comfortable at first but a series of high frequency bumps can make it compress more and more as it doesn't 'bounce' back fast enough between bumps, and it ends up feeling very hard when you most want it to be soft and supportive.
I find a few pairs of cycling shorts is often a more cost effective solution and no, I'm not winding people up!
I've got the Triumph gel seat fitted to my Daytona 675 and yes it is good but I still suffer numb bum after a while. I guess it's just one of those things... I guess it means I have to stop for scenery looks a bit more often. No bad thing to be honest!
You have a volunteer for the test, my first name is Kevin so I am halfway there.
Problem is I would give the Ducati guys grief over the premium pricing and how I would therefore demand practical perfection!( £2000 over fully speced GS 1200 before discount plus you know residuals will be OK with BMW)
But Sir, it is an Italian work of art just like Sofia Loren blah blah blah........has lurvely curves, makes a unique noise.............worth every penny,lira,euro.....you will have a great relationship; lurve every moment........
I used to run a business that had premium prices, like 30/50% above competition but the product had to give something back - performance, mudguards, seat, screen, Sky Sports etc. The Italians are great Salesmen.
Seriously, modern Ducatis have great engines with deceptive torque and Suzukiest gearboxes. Great fun to ride. So I am assuming the 11 degree engine gives docility at lower speeds - my mates with the big twin Ducati sports bikes get suicidal in town and traffic! Or below 50mph
I have never used a gel seat but have used Corbin and Sargent both at great expense.
Corbin are very hard, deliberately so, as their idea is to support a large surface area thus spreading 'the load'. I had one on a Triumph Sprint and it was very good They take a set, over time, to the riders shape.
The Sargent has multi hardness foam and is softer. I have one on a GS 1200 and it is a big improvement on the stock seat.
I will have to try an air pad
I will be quite honest here and say up front that my bike business I run with my wife is the importer of AirHawk and other quality items for the Czech market. However as we don't sell to the UK then I am not just trying to blag business. As Kevin alluded to gel seats are not the best answer. the problem is that even with a gel seat you still get pressure points where your weight is focussed and whilst they are better than a standrad seat, the pressure points are still in evidence and it is these which cause the pain and numb bum. The beauty of the air cells are that your weight is distributed over the entire cushion and as you move the cells react accordingly as they are all linked. The secret to them though is that you want to use as little air as possible to get the optimum feel not as much as you can. If they are too hard then you are back to sqaure one. As I say I am not trying to sell anyone anything and the reason we import them is because they are so good and do work. It is the philospohy we employ with all the goods in our range. I spend my own money on the goods first and if I don't like it then I won't even enquire as to if there is a possibility of dealing in them. The AirHawk simply works.
I would just like to support Shuggies comments about the Airhawk, and I am not trade so nothing to sell. I have used one for years and have just upgraded to the neoprene, premium product. I have done many National Rallies and trips to the Isle of Man on them and always found them effective. I use a pillion one as well on the back. On a long journey, you can even change the pressure as required using the valve, so even if a little numb bum does get through you can change it. I couldn't ride without one now. As I say, I am not trade, just a satisfied customer.
I think we've gone off message here... Ah well, I'm sure I can dig out the Multistrada questions anyway. And the seat stuff is interesting!
Back on subject. I am sure, like your review of Aprilia V4 R whch compares it to the V4 Factory it would be good to read your thoughts on the MTS 12 BASIC and S.
There must be a lot of people who aspire to the S but run shy of the price.
That is an objective review of the Aprilia.
I think I mentioned in another thread that I must be a little out of the loop about the new MTS since it just doesn't seem to be generating a great deal of ainticipation for me personally. I am curious about the bike's new and clever features and it's dirt capability, but I'd never buy a bike like this for dirt riding and I can't imagine why anyone buying an all-purpose SUV bike would need that much power, but oh well. I'm sure you'll cover my curiousities in a great review like you always do; however, if there was one thing I would really want to know about the bike it would be maybe the most unsexy of questions. It's not about the bike's power or gadgetry. Simply put, how does the bike do 2-up?
I understand at these sort of bike launches you often don't get a chance to test a bike 2-up, but with the new Multi, that would actually be my biggest question, not my biggest curioisity (dirt and power capability), but it would be what I would most want to know since my old MTS was just terrible 2-up. By most accounts, the GS is a decent if not great 2-up machine and if the MTS wants to compete with it on an all-around platform, I would hope it would do well here in this aspect.
Kevin - sorry that I got off topic in here, I wasn't reading the section header correctly. My apologies.
Anyway I have a question for the launch. If the bike is seriously going to be promoted as having some kind of off road ability then will they be reccomending some suitable tyre that will handle non tarmac expeditions. I know it won't be an enduro bike but will they be giving you bikes only on pure road tyres.
Also I would like to know in light of the amount of electronics that will be available on the bike what, in the unlikely event of failure, is the fail safe procedure for the bike. If the electronics go pear shaped will they default to the softest power setting etc or will they retain the last setting that they were in?
Roundincircles speaks the truth.Here's an actual rider as opposed to a journalist testing the bike for a day or two and mainly needing to sell bike magazines.
Only thing I can add to the list is Why not shaft drive?I don't mind losing a few bhp at the rear wheel in exchange for cleaner rear end and end to lubing and tightening.Also no real need for a centre stand.
It's one reason to look towards the VFR.
Actually,I've thought of another thing.I'm more confident throwing a lower bike around the bends than a tall-rounder.
I've a current Multistrada and a Superduke R and I'm much happier throwing the KTM around.Being on a tall bike it seems you're having to lean further to go round a bend at the same speed.I know other factors also play a part,but I've a feeling I'd be happier cornering on the VFR despite the extra weight.In fact I wonder whether weight can impart a feeling of security to a bike.The bumps don't deflect the bike from its chosen course so much.
Probably go for the new Multi anyway....
Well, the best way to sell magazines is to publish write-ups that are most relevant to readers so I don't think there's a conflict there, and anyway a good journalist (there are a few!) will be able to find out most things in a day or two that will matter to a buyer, if only from long experience of doing the job. In fact I found that you could discover 90 per cent about a bike dynamically in half an hour and 10 miles if you were methodical, but it took another 1000 miles to get the next 10 per cent and some clue about what it's like to own. Long term test reports get closest to what ownership might be like, as long as they're done properly, but by definition they're published too late for many buyers eager to get a new model.
I'll see what they say about shaft drive but I imagine it's Ducati sticking to its sports bike mantra, shafts affect rear suspension performance too adversely.
Shuggiemac, no need to apologise for going off message! Chat anywhere is good (and now I'm doing it myself anyway...). It was just an observation really.
I learnt today that dealer orders have now been placed with the Ducati factory for manufacture. I asked the dealer about extras such as the keyless tank and he ,surprisingly, said that it would be dealer fit.
I am interested in a Termigonni? exhaust system which is expected to cost around £1200 with chip. Does anybody have knowledge how a Termi alters rider/bike experiance. Presumably the engine breaths and therefore spins up better for a smoother more responsive ride?
I have Termi slip-on on my Multistrada and had full Termi 2 into 1 on a Hypermotard.
In all honesty,the main effect comes from the nicer noise.The sound is deeper and therefore better without the baffles but you must be prepared to offend others.
I had the baffles put back into the Akrapovic pipes on my Superduke to get the best balance between soul stirring sound and staying friends with the neighbours.
This bike gained a handful of bhp when dynoed and lost a couple when the baffles were returned.
On the Superduke,the loss of weight adding the Akros was atonishing.Catalysts are extremely heavy.
There's also bling factor to consider.
A shaft driven Ducati doesn't seem to fit the hard won sporting image as you say,but I wonder if the majority of riders would notice the handling differences,especially now shaft design tries to obviate these effects.
What about the perceived differences in cornering a tall adventure styled bike compared to the traditional sport tourer such as the Sprint ST or Ducati ST3? Do you find the handling better on the lower bike?
I remember your liking for a GSXR 1000 with Buell panniers attached.
A shaft drive Ducati - please no! I never really bought too much into the shaft arguments and the main one people seem to use is ease of maintenance. Well I don't find the task of filling up a Scottoiler that hard and OK I change the chain and sprokets one in a very rare blue moon as they last so much longer when well looked after. I will trade that against the extra weight, complexity and lack of adjustment that a shaft shackles you with. Can't exactly change your gearing too easily with a shaft drive and when it does go bang and fail, which all mechanical things can do then it is a whole lot more hassle and cost to fix. To my mind there is a good reason why chains are still so widely used - they are the best option. Just my opinion.
The shaft drive issue is interesting and a question of personal choice, as usual there are trade offs.
I have a GS 1200 and some chain driven bikes which are all lighter - I wonder what a net weight gain is with shaft drive; There's a question of fact for Mr K A !
From a performance issue I suspect that the bhp penalty would go unnoticed by the avearage road rider.The weight is positioned low as well.
The problem I have with chains is the black oil stains on my jacket ( don't ask me how ), the question of 'is it/does it need adjusting', it needs cleaning blah, blah , blah.
No doubt with a shaft drive, especially on tour, you can forget it but if you get rain every day then the chain needs attention.
Any way I will go with the weight saving on the MTS but will wager that a lot of GS/BMW DIEHARDS will not buy because of the chain
When I sat on the MTS 12, at the NEC, the seat was very high and I could not put my feet flat on the ground but the bike support stopped the suspension movement so it was not real world.I am 6 foot-2inch.
However the high, Tall-Rounder, seat allowed my legs to stretch out hence the comfort.
With regard to on-road performance my experiance with tall-rounders is that the engine location in the frame makes the biggest impact. The relatively low GS engine allows me to keep up with sports bikes in the twisties and they can't get by me - principly because the engine punches better than 4's from the appex and the Telelever front allows later braking.
It really is a great handling untill you get to 200mph when the mass dissadvantages versus a sports bike.
Tall-Rounders with high engines, the Triumph comes to mind, do drop in at low speed as any bike will with a high set engine; my early Blackbird did on small painted rounderbouts.
BMW K1300 GT has the big engine canted forwards big time, thus lowering the weight, and it is a dodle to handle especially in tight bends despite it's overall weight.
Any way the Ducati guy at the NEC assured me the big twin has low weight because one cylinder is virtually horizontal close to the ground and the angle of dangle will make it agile like no other!
Time will tell!
The low weight thing makes sense to me.I've tried keeping up with GS's in the alps and failed miserably.The worst bike I've owned for the disconcerting "falling into the bend" feeling was the 81 CBX1000.All that high up weight in the twin cam six cylinder head probably not helping.
The tall-rounders are great comfort wise.My Superduke R is the best balance I've found as yet for roominess combined with great handling.I've fitted 1/2 inch bar risers and a Corbin saddle.Also have an Air-Hawk for long trips.I plan to have the ride set up for the road this year.The standard set up only works well on smooth roads and at higher speeds.KTM marketed the bike as "ready to race".
I have just sold my Duke 690 which was a blast on the twisties - there was only one way to ride it, ie full out like you had stolen it. It weighed nothing and as a consequence the front wheel would bump off road imperfections at speed on bends - very entertaining - but the dealer explained it was a function of KTM set up and lost me with blah,blah,blah
If someone had said 20 years ago that I would have fun on a single cylinder I would have said get back to Fantasy Island but things move on................
Previous to the Superduke,I had a Hypermotard.The interesting thing here was that it's basically a Multistrada stripped down.Same wheelbase,same frame,same geometry,same wheel travel and yet much easier and more fun to throw around.
You sit much closer to the front wheel with slightly lower bars.This and the low weight make a huge difference to the feel of the bike.Probably nearer to your Duke 690 in terms of fun.
I'd like to know whether the shift in (non off-road) modes is seamless on the fly?
i.e. I currently have ESA II which can be switched between modes on the move, and is seamless primarily because the power delivery is not being altered.
When you switch from Urban to Sport a lot is happening power, traction and suspension wise* so is this all seamless or not?
*Mode: Sport | 150 bhp | DTC: Level 3 | Suspension: Sport
Mode: Tour | 150 bhp | DTC: Level 5 | Suspension: Tour
Mode: Urban | 100 bhp | DTC: Level 7 | Suspension: Comfort
Mode: Enduro | 100 bhp | DTC: Level 1 | Suspension: Higher
And can you confirm that the suspension can be manually adjusted by the rider and then subsequently associated with a pre-set mode (i.e. bespoke electronic suspension settings, within the adjustability of the Ohlins provided)
Also, is the sensivity of the ABS altered per mode? I.e. off in enduro & super-fierce in urban?
Also is the power delivery altered per mode? I.e. not simply a power increase or decrease, but does the mapping / throttle response become say sharper and more responsive (read: KTM ;-D) in Sports mode for instance?
I've also read that a clutch depression is necessary to change mode on the S1000RR; presumably because (liek the MS) of different power being available to different modes? But if this is true then I don't know whether this is when switching to Slick mode (logical) or between other (road use) modes (illogical)?
I.e. I'm always toggling ESA II modes between Comfort, Normal and Sport (K1300S) on the fly, as the scenery and road surfaces changes. I wouldn't want to have to pull in the clutch (or worse still physically stop) just to be able to change the riding mode on the MS.
I don't this likely, I'm sure they've got the system totally intuitive and user friendly, but it's just nice to know technically how they've achieved this and whether it's all beautifully seamless on the move to the rider or not?
What a superb use of the forum; Kevin showing the way forward and why sites like this will eventually oust magazines.
It was one of those ideas that just evolved, people were already asking questions about the bike, and I thought it would make it easier for me if they were grouped in the one place.
And yes, it's another advantage over magazines, although I think some of them have got around it by using their websites to solicit readers' question which are then answered in the printed version. But that lacks the directness and immediacy you get doing the whole thing on the site.
A lot of the questions I'd hope would have been answered in my report anyway but there are some I might not have covered, and it also helps to see what needs to be emphasised. It'll certainly help me to write a better report that's as relevant as possible.
You can see which new bike most people are interested in btw... That Multistrada seems to have got half the biking world salivating. I just hope it's as good as we'd like - Ducati is being commendably measured about it meanwhile, maybe after seeing the VFR hype experience.
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