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2013 Ducati Multistrada 1200 S Touring – First Ride

Few motorcycles attack corners as well as the Ducati Multistrada 1200.

Photo Credit: Milagro

Greg Drevenstedt
October 25, 2012
Filed under Dual-Sport + Adventure Motorcycle Reviews, Ducati Motorcycle Road Tests & Reviews, Road Tests, Top Stories

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Since its 2010 revamp, the Ducati Multistrada 1200 has been busy. It became king of Pikes Peak (spawning an eponymous model version), it helped keep the lights on during the economic downturn (thanks to sales of 20,500 units) and it grew the ranks of Ducatisti. Four out of five Multistrada buyers are first-time Ducati owners, and they tend to be older and rack up more miles than others.

Ducati’s reboot of the do-it-all Multistrada has improved its touring capability and user-friendliness. To help the liquid-cooled, 1,198cc Testastretta 11˚ L-twin run more smoothly and efficiently, it got a dual-spark head, repositioned fuel injectors, a secondary air-injection system and revised engine mapping. Ducati says fuel economy is better and torque is up by 5 percent (91.9 lb-ft at 7,250 rpm—a 4.3 lb-ft gain), with claimed horsepower holding steady at 150 at 9,250 rpm.

2013 Ducati Multistrada 1200 S Touring, with Ducati Skyhook Suspension, 58-liter-total saddlebags, a center stand and heated grips.

2013 Ducati Multistrada 1200 S Touring, with Ducati Skyhook Suspension, 58-liter-total saddlebags, a center stand and heated grips.

For 2013, the Multistrada lineup includes a base model and three S models—Touring, Pikes Peak and the all-new Granturismo. All are equipped with the Ducati Safety Pack, which includes 8-level Ducati Traction Control (DTC) with smoother intervention than before and ABS that now has three modes and is linked front-to-rear. And all feature the four Riding Modes (Sport, Touring, Enduro and Urban) introduced in 2010, with pre-selected settings for engine output/throttle response, DTC, ABS and—on S models—Ducati Skyhook Suspension.

Replacing the Öhlins-built Ducati Electronic Suspension, DSS is a semi-active system made by Sachs that’s designed to keep the bike stable, as if it “was suspended from the sky.” Whereas conventional suspension behaves in a fixed manner based on its settings, DSS continuously evaluates inputs from front and rear accelerometers, a throttle position sensor and the ABS control unit, and automatically adjusts compression and rebound damping via electronic valves. Each Riding Mode has its own “zero point” setting, and the system can be further personalized for firmness and rear preload. DSS-equipped models have electronic CDCi valves in the left leg of the 48mm male-slider fork (manual preload adjustment is in right leg) and in the rear shock, with 6.7 inches of travel front and rear and a dual-rate rear spring to help prevent bottoming.

Ducati Skyhook Suspension is a semi-active system that adjusts damping via electronic valves.

Ducati Skyhook Suspension is a semi-active system that adjusts damping via electronic valves.

Our test ride in Bilbao, Spain, was limited to the best-selling S Touring model, sporting new matte chrome paint and updates common across the Multistrada line, including LED low-beam headlights and position lights, a larger front storage compartment and updated instrumentation. The windscreen is taller, wider, and now offers “pinch-and-slide” one-hand height adjustment. In addition to two 12V power outlets, there’s now a connector for the optional Garmin GPS. And new cast-aluminum wheels have a 10-spoke design similar to those on the 1199 Panigale (the Pikes Peak gets forged Marchesini wheels).

The Multistrada 1200 is the sportiest of the open-class adventure tourers, offering more power and less weight than others in the class, but not at the expense of comfort. Ergonomics are unchanged, with well-placed handlebars and footpegs and a firm, supportive seat. The second-generation Testastretta 11˚ engine felt noticeably smoother, especially at lower rpms, without dulling its steroidal personality. Switching between Riding Modes can be done on the fly. Touring mode is the most versatile, offering full power with mild throttle response. Sport mode sharpens throttle response, while Urban and Enduro reduce engine output to 100 horsepower with mild throttle response. Each mode sets DTC and ABS to appropriate levels, and both can be deactivated.

2013 Ducati Multistrada 1200 S Touring

2013 Ducati Multistrada 1200 S Touring

Regardless of mode, the S Touring was well behaved, with minimal chassis pitch and good damping. What was hard to pinpoint, however, was the semi-active component of suspension action. According to David James, Ducati’s international press manager, that’s the point: “DSS is supposed to be seamless, like a well-designed traction control system.” Maybe so, but the new setup felt somewhat numb relative to its Öhlins-equipped predecessor. We’ll reserve final judgment until we can do a more thorough road test.

2013 Ducati Multistrada 1200 S Touring

Base Price: $16,995

Price as Tested: $19,995 (S Touring model)

Website: ducatiusa.com

Engine Type: Liquid-cooled, transverse 90-degree L-twin, desmodromic DOHC, 4 valves per cyl.

Displacement: 1,198cc

Bore x Stroke: 106.0 x 67.9mm

Pick a Riding Mode and pick a destination, such as the San Juan of Gaztelugatxe monastery in Bermeo, Spain.

Pick a Riding Mode and pick a destination, such as the San Juan of Gaztelugatxe monastery in Bermeo, Spain.

Transmission: 6-speed, hydraulically actuated wet slipper clutch

Final Drive: O-ring chain

Wheelbase: 60.2 in.

Rake/Trail: 25 degrees/4.3 in.

Seat Height: 33.5 in.

Claimed Wet Weight: 516 lbs. (90% fuel capacity)

Fuel Capacity: 5.3 gals.

MPG: (91 PON Min.) NA

Ducati says the dual-spark Testastretta 11˚ L-twin has more torque and better fuel economy.

Ducati says the dual-spark Testastretta 11˚ L-twin has more torque and better fuel economy.

All-digital instrumentation has been simplified yet provides more information.

All-digital instrumentation has been simplified yet provides more information.

The Ducati Multistrada 1200 is the lighest, most powerful adventure bike on the market.

The Ducati Multistrada 1200 is the lighest, most powerful adventure bike on the market.

Part adventure tourer, part sport tourer, the Multistrada 1200 blends practicality, comfort and performance.

Part adventure tourer, part sport tourer, the Multistrada 1200 blends practicality, comfort and performance.

2013 Ducati Multistrada S Granturismo

2013 Ducati Multistrada S Granturismo

2013 Ducati Multistrada S Pikes Peak

2013 Ducati Multistrada S Pikes Peak

Comments

2 Responses to “2013 Ducati Multistrada 1200 S Touring – First Ride”

  1. Jan Rider Magazine is out with 2013 Multistrada review...prefers Ohlins - Page 2 - Ducati.ms - The Ultimate Ducati Forum on December 4th, 2012 6:03 am

    [...] (I am assuming the article in question is the press launch report from Greg Drevenstedt, online here since late October.) He says it felt "somewhat numb". Hmm, how numb? Well, somewhat. [...]

  2. Alpinestars Long Range Drystar Jacket and Pants | Rider Magazine on March 29th, 2013 6:24 pm

    [...] protection from cold, wind, rain, bugs, branches and close encounters with terra firma. Like the 4-bikes-in-1 Sport/Touring/Enduro/Urban concept of the Ducati Multistrada 1200, the Long Range’s layers and vents allow riders to adapt to a variety of climatic conditions. The [...]

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