Ducati Multistrada MTS1200
"Ducati Multistrada 1200: World first test
Very rarely does a bike come along which is so different and advanced that it's clear motorcycling will never be the same again. But the Ducati Multistrada 1200S is such a machine"
"Hilariously fast, comfortable, 250 mile tank range, and it handles"
The world first test (after Kev's, natch!) in the weekly rag tomorrow.
Thanks for the info, Cap'n...
"But 'downtown NYC'? - whoah, it's a jungle out there! ;-D"
LOL! I used to race mountain bikes and rode through NYC for years on the bicycle, so I feel strangely comfortable and, also, much safer on a motorcycle with the extra power and size, no question. Good to employ some off-road techniques in the urban jungle...standing on the pegs, etc, as our streets deteriorate. A long travel bike works very nicely. You do see a fair amount of guys plowing through on the GS. 'Motards make great city rides as well. :)
Right, back from Lanzarote! And it was a cold ride from the airport, but electrically heated clothing means I can still type...
Ride height: there's a semantic difference between ride height adjustment and spring preload adjustment, but it's important. Increasing spring preload raises the height of the bike, but you have to stop when the shock tops out and there's no travel left. In practice you have to stop sooner as it will keep topping out while you're riding. A ride height adjuster effectively moves the whole shock downwards, lifting the bike without affecting the shock's travel.
So, the MTS does not have ride height adjustment, but increasing preload does raise it - you do this electrically at the back, manually at the front.
I tried the low seat briefly and it does make a useful difference, some shorter riders were seeking out the bikes fitted with it. There were no touring seats available. You could reduce spring preload too of course... I preferred the standard though, but then I'm 6'3".
The gearbox was excellent. It took more than average force to push it into first, but after that it disappeared into the background and wasn't noticed. No missed changes, smooth lever action, better than your Fireblade. I've always got on well with Ducati boxes though and not everyone has, but I heard nothing about it from anyone else either, so I'd have to give this 95 on your Suzuki scale, losing just a few marks for that slightly heavy engagement of first.
Urban mode didn't make a significant difference to the low speed running (only the throttle response, which was much gentler). This was rough on the two bikes I rode and I think would annoy riders coming from some other bikes. The Tiger for example is a lot smoother, you can't really let the Multi run below 2,000rpm and it was jerky trying to hold a steady low speed. But.... On the flight back I was talking to another journalist who it turned out had got onto my bike after I'd switched to another, and he'd thought mine was quite a bit rougher than his previous one. So it seems some are smoother than others, and certainly there will still be work being done on the mapping - in fact this tends to continue for at least a year after a bike goes on sale, so production versions could be smoother. Have to leave the jury outside for now...
Just joined this site.
The interest in this bike is evident in the number of views this thread has had : 6877 & 243 replies, incredible !!
I have had many bikes over the last 20 years, a few Ducati's, currently have a Monster 1100S, great bike and 9000 miles in last year. Two previous bikes were both BMW 1200GS's (one of which I put 17"wheels on). I have a Multistrada 1200 Sport on order, which I'm happy about, but my other choice was a KTM SMT. I hired one of these in Japan recently & spent four fantastic days riding in the mountains , and nearly bought one on my return. How do you think the two bikes compare Kevin. I read your review of the SMT and you loved it, and so did I. I decided to wait for the Multi because I like Ducati's & the electronic gizmos appeal, but for solo riding pleasure/fun, the odd track day & a 3000mile 8 day trip to the mountains, I could buy an SMT and save £5000- ?? Probably like most people I'm not going to take it off road, so I think the SMT is one of the Multi's closest rivals. I have ridden the VFR1200 twice, and IMO it's just not a fun bike. Great engine, safe steady handling, seat like a plank and surprisingly tight leg position. Beautiful quality finish & quite like the looks too !!!! but dull & no Ducati passion !
Another question for Kevin....
Did you get a chance to evaluate the accessory sockets? According to the specs they are rated at 3 amps which is too low for some heated gear. Are they glorified sockets for charging a cellphone, or are they usable for plugging gear in to? Most jackets draw 5-7 amps.
No one I've asked (including Ducati reps) have ever given me a straight answer other than: The spec says 3 amps.
"Well, that's not enough" I tell them.
Well, if the following doesn't wet your whistle, then the Multistrada clearly is not the bike for you...
MCN Verdict: 5 out of 5 stars. Key points they make…
• Very rarely does a bike come along which is so different and advanced that it's clear motorcycling will never be the same again
• Hilariously fast, comfortable, 250 mile tank range, and it handles
• Multistrada heralds a new era
• Staggering electronic suspension and engine management system
• Moves bike design to the next stage
• The last time motorcycling was so revolutionised by a Ducati was the 916
• More high tech and innovative systems on it – not to mention more familiar cutting-edge features such as fly-by-wire and traction control – than entire Japanese ranges combined
• No unwieldy monster, like say a BMW or KTM Adventure
• Classic Ducati feel that remind me, in a slightly larger way, of the old Multistrada 1000
• Big LCD easy to read
• Meandering out of town easy enough without quite matching the BMW GS’s Weeble-like balance and thrummy grunt
• Fine and smooth enough for around town
• (Incredible out of town), where the Multistrada instantly advances ahead of the pack
• Even in 100 bhp Urban mode, the new Ducati would be comparable with rivals
• Touring mode, equals 150 bhp plus smoothish delivery and plush suspension
• Figure on a riding experience that reminds me of KTM’s excellent SM-T but with both more bells and whistles plus touring comfort and luxury
• Saddle and ride pretty much 85 mph comfortable all-day
• Adjustable screen a little narrow but sufficient, in it’s highest position (Phil West, Executive Editor, is 6ft 3”)
• Happily thraped to high 140s with more to come
• Overall, yes, it’s an 1198 in adventure bike shape
• So much that’s new and impressive about it it’s simply impossible to do it full justice here
• In terms of sheer specification or quantity of features and high tech components, the Multistrada’s on a whole new level
• Having that ‘mode’ option, for example, is more than just useful and practical - it’s fun
• Makes you feel like Knight Rider with some kind of 21st century boost button under your thumb
• The amount of thought, thoroughness and attention to detail on the new Multistrada is simply phenomenal
• Check-out the neat, fold-away lift handle for the mainstand or the rugged but ultra-lightweight polymer-injected rear end / grab handle / rack moulding.
• Major service intervals are now doubled to 15000 miles is significant
• Ducati has thought of pretty much everything
• Slightly crude centrestand disappoints, the panniers aren’t as rugged as some
• Low speed running not quite on a par with some rivals
• Three second delay required when switching between modes was sometimes irksome. But in the grand scheme of things, these are tiny quibbles
• We did around 150 miles, including plenty of hard, low gear stuff, with a couple of bars on the fuel gauge still remaining
• Verdict: worth it for three key reasons: It’s a Ducati; genuinely sporting performance; electronics package makes it versatile and fun
£498 - Termi sport can (road legal)
£341 - Top Box
£160 - 25mm lower seat
£181 - to 73 litre larger pannier lids
£1319 – Termi full system (race)
Nb: Yamaha boss labels MTS 'extreme' - that can only 'help' Ducati sales! ;-D
Great stuff Cap'n - thank you. I will pick up a copy later today
My MCN always arrives late so I haven't seen it yet but yes, Phil did like it. Very oddly, we were like some basketball team going out there, Phil, Roland Brown and I are all 6'3", Simon Weir, Mark Shippey and MCN snapper Ian Judd are all 6'5"... so you won't hear many complaints about seat height, not yet anyway!
One thing I thought was a shame, the Mutley didn't have the original 1000's electric headlight adjustment. I know the electronic suspension means the new one's pitch won't be affected by loads as much as most bikes, but you'll still need to adjust the light angle sometimes, and this is yet another bike which demands you break out a screwdriver and spend ages fiddling about to do that. The Ducati technicians couldn't even find the adjusters when they looked briefly...
Presumably the MTS is considered 'extreme' because of its power... in which case, push a button to keep it down to Yamaha levels!
I just spoke to my mate at Ducati Czech Rep and their first demo bike will be here next week and shall only be here for that one week before it needs to move on!! It will be April before a permanent one arrives, if I understood him correctly. Looks like demand is high not only in the UK!
The centre stand issue and the 'fiddling with screwdrivers' requirement are obviously minor in light of the ground-breaking machine they've put together. But tiny things like that, left undone, or cobbled together, do annoy me.
Did I read a quote from one of their designers saying it took two years to get the exhaust right? That sounds like hugely impressive attention to detail yet the centre stand sounds (and looks from the images) a comparatively crude piece of design.
They really should have taken a bit of extra time to get the small things right. Not much point in designing a moon rocket if someone at Cape Canaveral has to run out and light it with a match.
The lights... well, everyone except BMW seems to overlook that, save the odd touring bike.
The stand issue is a little more complex: in fact Ducati spent some time with the stand, and the reason for the long lifting arm is to make the bike the easiest of all its rivals to lift onto the stand. Which actually shows yet more attention to detail, in that they actually measured how much effort it took to lift four rival bikes onto their stands, then made the Mutley lighter (and it is really very easy). Some riders on the press launch weren't bothered by the stand, either because they always rode with the arch of their foot on the footrest, or because they tended to ride with their heels kicked outwards anyway. If the Ducati test riders all happened to be like either of those, and the stand wasn't fitted to all the prototypes anyway, that'll be why it slipped through the net.
I suspect it will be changed for the 2011 year model, maybe even sooner, and meanwhile I'll explore solutions such as bending or shortening the arm when mine arrives. As for the rest of the bike, the attention to detail was extraordinary - you even get a fold-out lifting handle to help with the stand.
Yes, they did spend a very long time on the exhaust system, V-twins are complex when it comes to exhaust design because of the uneven firing intervals, and they also wanted to keep it very compact and centralised, as well as meeting emissions regulations of course.
If you look at the centre stand on page 3 of MCN it looks like both rider and pillion will need to reposition feet.. It is difficult to see how to change the design other than cut it back by 60%, as per Mr KA's comment. Well we have to find something to bitch about.........
By the way 'tall-rounder' is used by three different Journo's in MCN, shame it wasn't trademarked!
Thanks Kev - fair comment, as ever. Let us see how it works in the real world.
RIC, you might want to try imposing a retro-licensing deal on 'tall-rounder'!
When the bike was at the EXCEL show in London, almost everybody that sat on the bike commented on the side stand. Foot position/ergonomics seems to be an area that Ducati need to look at. On my Monster 1100 the rear peg hanger gets in the way, and on the Streetfighter, the exhaust pipe cover is terribly intrusive (in my size ten boots).
How do you think the Multi compares with the SMT ??
That's right, I've had the same podiatrical problems on other Ducatis including Monster and Streetfighter - I wonder if it's related to not being able to buy any shoes in Italy because they never have in large enough sizes for me? And yes, I think this area of the company's testing regime does need looking at, it's a recurrent issue.
Sorry, you did ask about the SM-T before. The Mutley is certainly more versatile, you can carry a lot more luggage, the range is much better, it's faster, better wind protection, better ride quality, better for a passenger (and to ride with one), a lot more sophisticated, traction control etc (in S spec anyway). When it comes to twisty road fun, the MTS would also be a bit faster, but I don't think that matters much... What's important is, I don't think it would be any more fun, the SM-T is a hoot and you'd have just as good a time on that as the Ducati. So if that's the main reason you're buying and you don't need or aren't bothered by those versatility advantages of the Ducati, then I'd say go for the KTM.
Love the test comments Kev, I have been waiting for mine since November 2008............I happened to be sitting drinking tea with a friend-John Hackett-the day he got back from the dealer meeting in 2008. He was so fired up about the bike I ordered one then and there-it's been a long wait but is nearly over. When I sat on the bike even with the balls of my feet on the pegs I didn't touch the stand-but then I only have size 7 feet-maybe the testers all have small feet also-you could always cut a couple of inches from the stand extension to drop it clear.
So the obvious question-are you getting one?
Ducati had a fold out handle on the ST2 for helping get the bike on the centre stand. At least mine came with one, so maybe they have always had eye for this detail but they just don't fit centre stands that often!
I must admit that I also found foot issues when I was test riding the Monster S4RS a few years back as I ride with the ball of my foot on the pegs but to be honest I reckoned that if I bought the bike that I would soon adapt to it and not give it a second thought. It certainly was not a show stopper for me. In saying that though I bought a 999 instead, which has good footpegs and terribly crap mirrors instead.
Surely bending a centre stand lifting arm is going to be an undertaking in itself?
As it says at the end of the report... Lucky you! You'll be getting yours from Coventry then, they also do the press fleet bikes, and lucky me... as I've gleefully mentioned about a mile further up this thread... yes, I'm getting one, an S Touring, most likely in red, and hopefully I can use it as a test bed for some of the accessories as well as sorting that centre stand problem (I'm size 11, which doesn't seem to exist in dainty Italy).
Yup, more likely I'll be cutting and welding the arm, but it won't be that simple, there's not much space down there... Normally I'd just remove it and use my paddock stand for chain oiling but I think quite a few people will be interested in a solution - ha, maybe I can market my aftermarket stand design!
Thanks for the reply Kevin. I'm sure I will stick with the Multi that I have on order.
I like to do a few track days and I think the sport suspension & extra power coupled with the traction control will be better. Also, it's great to be able to switch between soft & hard suspension on the fly. Even on my Sunday morning 80 mile ride to the coast & back, there are some roads that on my Monster are too bumpy, so to be able to change the ride to suite the road will be great.I guess I do like the idea of the versatility.
If Ducati hadn't bothered with the semi off-road ability of the bike, do you think they could have made it an even better road bike ? I have doubted all along whether it was necessary to have an Enduro mode, when in truth 99% of people will not use it. I think it's just a way to get the attention of GS customers.
Cracked the redesign of the centre stand ( page 3 MCN )
Cut the lever arm back, say 50%. and place an oversized tube on a la' telescopic arm with a spring/button mechanism so it pops out with a boot kick. Voila or as the Italians say Bellimissimo. Another £300 quid on list price.
There really is no room in or outboard , it is a challenge if you want low lever force; so may be it just gets cut down?
You won't regret it Rod. Effectively you're getting a bike as good as the KTM with a couple of other bikes thrown in for free. Well, for another £5k, but that's still not bad...
Realistically, I think I'll be binning the centre stand... but if you want to test your prototype roundincircles, lemme know!
I concur with your comment on the SMT, spot on. I test road one last year and it was both comfortable and great fun - full on entertainment but not good for pillion or touring luggage.
The dealer sent me out on the RC8 R which was the most comfortable sports bike I have ridden but it was £15k OTR which I thought at the time over priced.
Now a year later my MTS will cost me £14700 ish but 'it is a bike like no other'. Yes the heart rules.
I wonder if my wife will believe it is the standard bike with panniers!
ps since when was £5k small change?
"By the way 'tall-rounder' is used by three different Journo's in MCN, shame it wasn't trademarked!"
... I noticed too, (uncredited) fame at last! :-D
& "RIC, you might want to try imposing a retro-licensing deal on 'tall-rounder'!"
... free Multistrada's to my usual address will suffice ;-D
Further refinement of low speed fuelling will be sorted at servicing by newer map downloads no doubt, a la BMW et all nowadays.
Givi will no doubt sort the pannier lids pre-production too. For those that find the stand and panniers concerning, but rarely carry luggage; maybe a Sport with the accessory bolt-on rack fitted, might actually be a nice (and blingy) way to go? Fit a Trax top-box (or Ducati's/Givi's) and it's secure lockable too.
I reckon any centrestands they've already made will be being fitted to production bikes as we speak, but that also the designers are also furiously trying to sort out a better shape to suit peeps with Penguin feet too. Expect the newer shape to 'seamlessly' slip into production, with replacements for shipped bikes only getting it if new owners threaten to defect and buy a Supper-10 (as if!). As Kev says the redesigned item will be stock for '11 if not sooner. Kind of reminds me of the original release year MTS11. Problems with the clocks, seat, mirrors and screen us owners bemoaned. At which Ducati gurned with quizzened expression and raised hands aloft with confusion? But they were all 'miraculously' sorted on newer production bikes within a year ;-D
Good points with the SMT Kev, it's a sublime ride in terms of rider enjoyment. It's as spartan as one of their dirt bikes and looks expensive as a result next to a Tiger. But radial Brembo and quality WP don't come cheap and the LC8 engine has plenty of fizz. The thing that impressed me the most was the ride quality, simply one of the very best as you'd expect (owning WP). The Austrains have hoiked the price up to a fiver below ten large now, but I suppose at least you do get a luggage rack for that ;-D The 'many' extras a the Multi has probably is worth the £4k extra, and I'd expect stronger residuals too. But that's still a couple of very nice touring holidays and barking exhaust, in wonga saved, so the overall value is in the eye of the beholder. Better add the SMT to the GS, MTS, VFR & Sprint test - them sport-tourers don't stand a chance! :-D
Rich (Captain Scarlet)
I'm another first time poster.
I took a look at the white touring prototype at Ducati Manchester in January, and found it to be of a sensible size for someone of the regulation height for this thread. So I'm interested in the bike, though the alleged waiting list puts me off slightly as I'd like to get something before June or July or whatever's being quoted now.
The ergonomics of the foot pegs concern me. I'm a size 13, and if Kevin finds it cramped then I'll find it far worse. It's going to be worth me taking a good look at the bike before signing on the dotted line.
My real concern is that Ducatis don't have the best reputation for reliability, and a bike with such complex electronics is likely to have teething problems. Yes, I know that they've done over 200,000 km of testing.
Incidentally, Kevin, you had Janie as a pillion, and you didn't offer to get her phone number for any of us...
Aye Aye, Cap'n, I'd forgotten you were the creator of 'tall-rounder' - we are all grabbing it now.
As someone once wisely said, 'Success has many fathers, failure is a b@stard'
You want Janie's phone number? No problem...
And after you've clicked 'contacts' tell her you're signing up for the best real world race series there's been for years! And that I sent you...
Tell you what, the No Budget Cup she's organising is huge in Belgium, where she lives now, and it's generating some fabulous racing for ordinary blokes (and a few girls) without costing much. Proper racers aren't even allowed.
We've discussed Ducati reliability on the forums before Graeme, and in fact you should be more worried about BMW's, although that does seem to be improving now. I've seen figures which show Ducati is now up there with Suzuki in reliability, behind Yamaha with Honda and Kawasaki pretty much equal first. BMW was below average, dear old Buell propped up the table.
Both reliability and durability don't seem to be issues for Ducati anymore, though the reputation still is...
With your size 13s you'll probably want to lose the centre stand, then the left side is fine. On the right your heel will be kicked outwards a bit by the pillion footrest mounting bracket. It's not a big amount and might not bother you at all, it depends how your feet are generally. If you never have a passenger you could even unbolt the rear footrests I guess. If you try one out and decide you don't want the Mutley after all, you could probably sell it at a premium on here. Having said that, Ducati was quoting early summer deliveries before the latest test reports, and these are hardly going to help with that...
Great stuff, Cap Scarlet...
In regards to the SMT...which I also love, by the way...
"...looks expensive as a result next to a Tiger."
That's because it is! I got my Tiger, new, for $10,500. With ABS, which the SMT doesn't have. Plus $1000 of free accessories to fit it out. Plus great local dealer support, which KTM doesn't have...in my parts, anyway. I put the Arrow pipe on it with re-mapping and it rips with a sound worthy of Jimmy Page.
This is all part of my not-so-subtle campaign to slip the Tiger into this Sport-touring comparison!
Having said that, here I lurk, considering the new Italian space ship!
Now you're going to get me into trouble with the No Budget Cup...
I was leaning towards the Sport model (don't really want a centre stand), so I suppose that's my mind made up. :)
Regarding BMW, I did (and still do) have my eye on the K1300R. They had a couple of recalls last year, which is part of what was informing my comments about reliability, particularly when buying a first year model.
I reckon that this bike will make a lot of multi bike garages redundant. Despite the large price - you do seem to get a sports bike, tourer and commuter in one package.
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