Ducati Multistrada MTS1200
It's been very interesting reading all the comments about the new Multistrada, and especially how it is likely to compare to the BMW 1200GS. A friend and I have run a control on the National Road Rally for the last couple of years, and a good percentage of entrants ride the GS. When asked if they've had any reliablility issues, after initial denials virtually all admitted component failures that had left them stranded at the side of the road...won't buy one of those then. If the Ducati proves reliable - and IMO it's a big if - then I'd definitely want one.
Perhaps better still, as I have absolutely no intention of riding off-road on anything bigger than a DT175, would be a 'Fazered' S1000RR? Any idea whether BMW have any plans to go this route Kevin?
While I'm not greatly excited about the new Duc, I will be interested to see how these three bikes stack up for the all around STREET king: SMT, GS, Multistrada. Dirt riding not considered.
Looking forward to test riding the MTS12 myself. Think it'll be a very good machine.
I have just found your site and all the constructive questions. Refreshingly objective!
I am going to see the S tourer tomorrow night at the Ducati dealership in Munich. If anybody wants a photo of a specific detail - just say.
My question won’t be answered tomorrow; I want a vibe and buffet free ride to go with all the lightness and agility. Only a personal test ride will tell me. Personal being the key, because I can’t believe ride reports anymore. A bike has to be right for me. However, as a rule of thumb, if a tester is brave enough to admit the GS1200 is a sluggish, windy, vibe box, then I would believe him more that the rest. That is straight talking, but here is my justification: I rent a GS where there really is trail and street (Nevada, Utah and Arizona) and enjoy the on and off road. A GS gives me a bruised right shin (shin guard of my boot rubs on the intake just below the knee), a strained neck from the buffeting and tingles in my fingers for a good hour at the end of the day. After 5 days of this, not to mention heaving the beast off the side stand I am glad to give it back to the dealership.
I have great expectations for the MTS12!
I am going to see the S tourer tomorrow night
... I think you're gonna like it!
I want a vibe and buffet free ride to go with all the lightness and agility.
... I know you're gonna like it!
I have great expectations for the MTS12!
... you, me, lots of people - I expect them to be met! :-D
Ha, well I ran a GS Adventure for a year and none of those issues ever troubled me. Could well be different kinds of riding, I did very little off road, most of it was long distance stuff on motorways, and cruising at 90mph or so the vibes never troubled me, they only started to impose when revving harder (and then they got quite nasty). The new version is smoother and punchier. The wind protection on the Adventure is better than the stock GS too, but of course it's nothing like as good as an RT or some other proper tourer. But I'd still have a GS as it's more fun. I've not had your shin problem, I probably sit further back.
But sluggish windy vibe box? Well it's not searingly fast, the wind protection's imperfect and it does vibe, but none of those have been strong enough to bother me, and the good points outweigh them anyway. All down to the individual, so you'd better get a test ride on the MTS then!
Like all twins you will get vibes from the Ducati, a large proportion of them are due to the torque pulses rather than being crank or conrod generated. They're what makes the bike shudder when you open the throttle, and while some love it as it brings the bike alive, others find it annoying.
Mr KA. You, I understand, are test riding the MTS in Lanzarote which I have never visited other than by Google Earth. I have concluded my invite was lost in the Post.
I can see Lanzarote will be good for the twisties but how will you test high speed cruising? On a touring bike you have those days on tour when 90/120mph cruise is needed to get places.
Some bikes, 2 up, handle it well others so, so. The vibration issue with the 'L' twin at speed will be a key issue.It is acknoledged by Ducati with their 6 th gear strategy so they are sensitive and have a claimed solution. Does it work in practice?
It will be an issue for me along with it's steering stability on sport and touring mode with pillion and loaded top box etc on board.
Just asking the question before the test!
Well seen it and sat on it and LIKE it. The front wheel was parked in an iron stand so I couldn’t get a feel for the lightness. Having said that, this bike probably has never seen oil or coolant.
It was the S Touring (no cases) and should weigh 217 KG brimmed with all fluids.
I got the in-bike feel you get on a 175 trail machine as opposed to the on-bike feel you get on a TDM, Tiger or GS, can’t wait.
The Ducati man reckons the best buy is the Sport and buy the cases for 700 € if you need them. He also said there is a taller screen in development so I guess there will the right tool in the box to fit all nuts. The screen is so much closer to the rider than on the Tiger or GS and this follows the adage ‘an hour before midnight is worth 2 in the morning’, although I don’t know what 1cm closer is worth in height.
Kevin, thanks rinsing the harshness off my [sluggish, windy vibe box] comments, I liked your reply. The GS is a bit like a hovercraft in that the wind and vibes are part of the deal and you get used to it in order to hover. I got mine to hover Utah and Arizona, I will do it again later this year.
I think people get caught up in the GS ownership culture and that becomes more important than the ride. This includes the press, several articles along the ‘GS revisited’ theme. I see them [GS] over here (I live in Munich) kitted out with all the extras, ready to go round the world but not going further that our local alps – if that! You see them parked up in town too, with those gleaming unscratched aluminium boxes. Look about, and close by you will find an owner leaning back on a wall, legs crossed at the ankles gazing at a piece of Bavarian design.
Still, this is off topic, I won’t mention the GS again. I have never ridden a Ducati and I like your description of the L motor with the power pulses, I think I will like that, because the shudders are in the right plane. I will be switching from a 1050 Tiger which has served me well crossing the alps, but it is a bit top heavy and needs either a low screen to smooth out the air flow, or a barn door to block it.
"Tiger which has served me well crossing the alps, but it is a bit top heavy and needs either a low screen to smooth out the air flow, or a barn door to block it"
... I had a Tiger 1050 and I think you are right on both counts. I bought a cut down sports screen from NZ, which can be seen at this link: http://www.thunderbike.co.nz/spi/tbike_tig
They now do a double-bubble sports-screen version, by the look of it, which looks better; giving a then frontal view not unlike an Aprilia Tuono. Having a smaller screen does increase wind pressure, but crucially it reduced the annoying buffeting, which is what we all hate and find more tiring than the actual wind pressure itself.
"an hour before midnight is worth 2 in the morning"
... I have absolutely not idea what you're talking about here, but I still like your style! ;-D
"an hour before midnight is worth 2 in the morning"
Mum used to tell us that when we came in too late and couldn’t get up the next day. She never said ‘the closer the screen to the rider the less height you need to smooth out the buffeting’. On bikes it was always ‘dangerous bloody things’ and ‘you know Mrs. Kerr’s Steven broke all his legs in 20 places’ and the like!
If your review of the MTS 12 is as even handed as your review as the MV Augusta F4 2010 then you will do us all a favour. You have inspired me to test ride the MV but after paying for my MTS 12 it's a no no. Although divorce is an option!
Seriously, I learnt a lot from your report and it put most issues in context. Well done.
ps I still like how the latest Blade handles itself but...........
Revar . . ."The Ducati man reckons the best buy is the Sport and buy the cases for 700 € if you need them".
What's the logic behind this please? (I'm a newbie)
I don't think there's too much in it, turning a Sport into a Tour or vice-versa on the S Models.
The important things is to decide if you want the practicality of the Tour (centre-stand, heated-grips, panniers) or the pose value of the Sport (carbon nose, hugger and cam cover).
If you're really undecided, then ask yourself which parts would you then retro-fit from the Sport or Tour?
Personally I would go for the Tour practicality, but I'd also want some carbon bits like the hugger. The difference being, it's a lot easier to personally bolt on a carbon hugger, than it is removing stock handlebar grips and then wiring new heated grips into the CAN electrical system, for instance.
Sod what Ducati man says, it's YOU who is potentially buying it, so decide the 'end' spec that's right for you, then you'll know both which is the cheaper route to achieve that financially, and also which causes you the least personal hassle in doing so.
Captain Scarlet speaks wise words.
I rarely tend to be guided on subjective things by sales people. They are there to present the product in a clear and professional way, answer any questions that I may have and that is about it. Excuse my cynicism but having in my ignorant youth been directed down paths that I later really was not happy with has made be a tougher nut to crack. Plus of course I am at that grumpy old man kind of age and loving every minute of it.
Here is photo of new Multistrada engine internals curious they stay with belts as chains shorten engines and thus reduce weight? Anyway looks expensive and a tortuous route for belts; shows they need changing on time! ( my ability to post photo failed )
Here is the link below
You may have to register to view, also go to page 10 and you can see the cylinder with the valve seats in a special metal
I've just taken a stray extra letter out of that link so it should work okay now - you can view without registering. I'd prefer the pic was left as a link rather than uploaded directly, unless you can get the permission of the photographer or it is a breach of copyright.
The belt routing isn't too tortuous really, it just loops around the crank end and the two camshafts, the centre pulleys simply keep the run narrow and pre-tension it. I've posted a news item about Multistrada servicing, the major intervals are now 15,000 miles for this engine. I'm not sure if the belts need changing at this interval, I think it's longer but I'll check on the launch next week. I don't think it's an especially difficult job either, but again I'll check.
Belt camshaft drives are generally lighter than chains and certainly quieter, cheaper too! But they must be replaced at the recommended intervals - chains wear and get noisier but keep going, but belts just snap when they're worn, which is disastrous. Ducati's been using belts for about 30 years though so they have plenty of experience with them, and the modern ones seem to be pretty reliable and durable.
Maybe it's age but I'd rather have the panniers and centre stand than some carbon fibre parts for the same money on a bike like this. I suspect they're struggling to sell many Sport versions and are trying to move a few. Most Multistrada orders in the UK are S Touring models and that's probably the same elsewhere too.
Dead right with the screen comments, turbulence usually starts to get serious a couple of feet behind a screen, so if you move it closer to the rider you stand a better chance of keeping him in smoother airflow.
Roundincircles: I've ridden on Lanzarote before and there are a few places we'll be able to maintain a high speed for a reasonable time. It'll be minutes rather than hours but enough to make a reasonable assessment of high speed ergonomics and airflow. Not everything can be answered on a press launch like this, it's still only a day's riding, but you can usually get a pretty good idea of a bike's worth and should be able to catch any major issues, especially when you're there to look out for them.
The only catch might be the local police! On the Triumph Speed Triple launch 18 months or so ago the police came down so hard on everyone, not allowing pictures to be taken even, Triumph upped everything and shipped the entire launch over to another of the islands! I think it was Tenerife, and they carried on once there. Fingers crossed they go easy on the Ducati one.
Mista Ash: Naturally your views hold great weight with us; where will we be able to first read your thoughts on the new MTS post launch - here, or in MCN?
I won't be writing about the Mutley in MCN unless it's some tangential thing in my opinion column, they're sending their own journalist on the presentation. You'll be able to get a brief video impression on the MCN website probably on February 28, the day we're riding the bike. That'll be from Phil West, whose opinion I certainly respect and who won't hesitate to say negative things if that's how he feels. There might well be a short written summary on their site too by March 1.
I'll be putting a full written report on here on Monday March 1, probably by mid-afternoon. I've brought that forward a day from the posted date in the Coming Soon box on the home page (though I'll change that in a bit so this won't make sense any more...) as the flights have changed, we're now flying back on March 2 as no suitable ones are available on the 1st, so I'll write and post it while still out there. The full report in MCN will be on Wednesday March 3, though they'll have to work very hard to do that as MCN goes to press on Monday night, which means Phil will be riding, being photographed and writing, all on the Monday, while the photographer (MCN are sending their own) will be sending back the images on the Monday too. I don't envy them...
Conceivably MCN might not find it possible to get the test into the paper by March 3, if there are any problems with sending the material back, in which case they'll be a week later with it. But they'll hate that as they'll be probably be beaten by The Daily Telegraph too (me again, haha...) and they'll move heaven and earth to get it in on March 3. The Telegraph will likely be publishing my test on Saturday March 6, or if not, the following Saturday, but it could go online on telegraph.co.uk before then.
As far as I'm aware then, you'll get the first full test on the Mutley anywhere in the world right here... Cool!
Some of that last post is nonsense....
We're riding the bike on Feb 28, as I said, and that's the Sunday not Monday so MCN will have no problem getting their full test in the paper on March 3, Phil and unfeasibly tall photographer Ian Jubb will be getting everything back to MCN during Sunday evening.
In fact they'll probably be relaxing by the pool on Monday while I'm busy writing, not that I'm going to get anyone's sympathy for that, I'm sure...
Bottom line is though that you'll still see the first proper full test report here on March 1!
The punishment valves take is illustrated in the video, link below, BMW S1000rr at 14000rpm. Let the video stream and move the cursor third the way in. I know it is off subject and the valves are not Desdemenas or dronic but the punishment is on view.
I now realise the next holy grail is radial valves which Ducati ( back on subject ) are playing with.
This is the link
Hello Mr. Ash (and all),
Seeing as this bike is lining up against the BMW GS series, I am interested to hear how these bikes compare ergonomically. Too often in bike reviews we hear unhelpful general comments like "quite a stretch to the bars" or "easily flatfooted" without reference to the specific size of the reviewer.
As a 6'5" rider with a 36 inch inseam, the BMW GSA fits me perfectly whilst the current Multistrada feels small and tight in comparison.
I'm also hoping that the new Multi would easily thrash the Beemer on twisty tarmac.
I know you are not writing a comparo this time out, but the segment of the market these bikes occupy makes it logical to consider these points when deciding on the next purchase.
Another small detail I am curious about is:
There also seems to be conflicting information out there as to if the electric tire pressure monitor comes as standard (on either the S or base models).
I am likely going to get this bike, pending the ergos issue, but am considering following the local Ducati mechanic's advise to wait until the 2011 model to see what tweaks are needed in the electrics package. Ducati themselves have said this is the most complex bike they have put into production.
I am eagerly awaiting your review and will put great stock in it.
Mr Rochut. I have similar concerns but am 6-2.
MCN published a diagram of 'a matchstick rider' superimposed on a GS, Multistrader and KTM. The relationships between bars, seat and pegs was almost identical.
For me the MTS does seem different and I judge it is because the bike is narrow, particulary below the eyeline, specifically the tank and screen are narrow plus the screen is low. So I think the lack of bulk plays a part in 'fooling the brain' so to speak.
The electronic control package is driven by software which will get modified but should be downloaded, and thus updated, easily. As an example I have a car that has an electronic throttle, engine and gearbox control panels and it is on it's 7th download/update.
Never the less there will be modification and improvements and I pledged never to buy a new bike ( having suffered time consuming problems with the last 3 bikes ) untill the model was 2 years old - my MTS arrives in April ! My wife thinks I should go into rehab!
In answer to Wobbly's post a while back, I think it's very likely BMW will do a Fazer on the S1000RR. That was a very expensive engine to develop and produce and they'll be wanting to get as many bikes out of it as they can. They say themselves that there'll be more bikes coming out with that engine, and while they won't say exactly what, a Fazer-type version is one of the more obvious ones.
As for the MTS ergonomics, I've also seen Ducati suggesting it's similar to the GS in this respect, which will suit a lot of riders I'm sure, assuming they're okay with the seat height. I hope the bike isn't too narrow, like the 1198 (there's nothing to grip between your knees on the track making it hard work to hold on) but I don't think the Mutley will feel that skinny. I'm 6'3" with 34" ground clearance by the way, so you taller gents can make a judgement from that. I tend to try and judge how a bike is for shorter folk by finding a suitably little journalist and quizzing him.
Haha, so you always wait 2 years roundincircles, except now you're getting not only a brand new Italian bike the moment it's launched, it has the most complex and comprehensive electronics package of any motorcycle today... But then bikes are all about the heart, not the head, aren't they? Good on yer!
Perhaps it would merit a new topic, but I think a 'Beemazer' could be a cracking bike. Shame the engine's so ugly.
I regret being a bit hard on BMW and Ducati for poor reliability in an earlier post. I know that BMW have publicly acknowledged problems with the 1200GS and are fixing them, and I hope that my innate wariness of Italian electrics is ill-founded, especially on a bike as complex as the new MTS. It's fantastic, and hugely ironic, that European manufacturers are leading the way in technical innovation (think original CB750, etc).
Roundincircles is bang on about the bulkiness of a bike affecting its 'feel' - think this was mentioned when the new Kawa 1400GTR was tested: same weight but bulkier bodywork = lardier bike!
Roll on 1st March.
Thanks for the launch date and target comms info.
I agree, Westy knows his stuff. And I've enjoyed watching his long-termer videos of the Jookarti Streetfighter on that there YouTube innit.
I'm sure I'll be furiously clicking various links checking for updates all day Sunday and Monday, when I really ought to be doing other things or actually working!
BTW: I note that Martin Fitz-Gibbons of BIKE, in the April 2010 issue (blimey, and I thought we were still in February?), has used our 'tall-rounder' nomenclature, in the heading sub-text of the Versys makeover test article. Where Ash leads, others follow! ;-D
I saw it before then, also in BIKE. In the March issuse it is used in the new bike section in the Tiger 1050 description.
I see the name Mutley emerging here or was that a Multey typo?
Kevin, I just found your articles in the Telegraph online. Fine stuff! I enjoyed reading the paper too. The Daily Mail online is my normal morning coffee partner. I will switch for a while now. Thanks for the insight.
You'll find some of the articles on here are similar or practically the same as the Telegraph's ones, they were fine about me building up an archive on my site using some of the stuff I'd originally done for them. Top people there, on the Motoring desk anyway, I don't know many others. A shame the DT editor Martin Newland left in 2005 though, he was well into bikes, I even managed to get him a long term test bike from Triumph for a year. Good to have bike-friendly folk in high places...
Ha, it wasn't a typo, Mutley was Dick Dastardly's sniggering dog in Wacky Races, and I used to call the old Multi I had about six years ago that, as things kept going wrong! Seems I was genuinely unlucky (or Ducati were as I kept writing about it) as they weren't unusually bad for that sort of thing, just mine! But a dog's a man's best friend isn't he, so hopefully it'll suit the new one in that way instead.
I hadn't seen 'tall-rounder' until you used it Cap'n, but it's such a neat one I wouldn't be surprised if it had popped up elsewhere too. It's catching on anyway.
KevAsh, Like everyone else, can't wait to hear about the Multi 12.
I have a deposit on a Black S Touring (AUD32500), and keen to know if I can get away with buying the Base model (AUD25000) and simply buying the centre stand, hot grips, and top box.... to make my own Touring?
I'm in Australia, and the difference between models seems a lot.... Do I need to have the ability to change the suspension - at this premium? Do GS riders actually end up adjusting on the fly in real life .... or just talk about it down the boozer?
I am hoping that your launch review might be able to clarify the real world differences between the base and touring models - in regards to the electronic suspension etc - not the bags or carbon blah blah - if that is possible.
I love the idea to be able to adjust it all with a click of a button, but need to justify the outlay. If money wasn't an issue I wouldn't ask this question.
(I guess that the 'S' models will have higher resale value/desirability)
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