Ducati Multistrada 1200 S Review
We've ridden Ducati’s do-it-all model before but we experience it for the first time on Indian soil. It takes the form of an adventure-touring motorcycle, but claims to transmogrify into a sportbike, dirt bike or commuter at the touch of a button or two.
What is it?
Ducati’s do-it-all model that we’ve ridden before but we experience it for the first time on Indian soil. It takes the form of an adventure-touring motorcycle, but claims to transmogrify into a sportbike, dirt bike or commuter at the touch of a button or two.
How does it ride?
Really well in any situation, given that the suspension is electronic. There are modes to choose from, and you can set it to respond to just a rider, a rider with a pillion, a rider with luggage or a two up with luggage. There’s also the different modes, namely, Urban, Touring, Sport and Enduro, to choose from. These modes change the throttle response, power output, suspension preload and damping all at a single go. It is only sharp ridges that catch it out; something that air-damped electronic suspension has not managed to deal with in any vehicle so far. We hadn’t managed to try out the Enduro mode during our previous ride, and we found that it shuts off the ABS at the rear and softens the throttle response from the 160bhp, 1200cc V Twin. Another mode we didn’t really try out was the ‘Urban’ mode. This is also very useful in bumper-to-bumper traffic. Coupled with the DVT, it doesn’t give you the Ducati impression of old, that you’re riding a very unhappy thoroughbred horse. There is nothing but seamless torque from as low as 2000rpm. Ducati has even taken care of the throttle-blipping problem that we experienced on the Monster 821 – All Throttle Blips Are Equal when you’re riding a Multistrada, regardless of the mode. It does heat up enough to boil eggs if you’re in very slow-moving traffic, though, so we wouldn’t recommend rush hour on this, even though its other aspects like the turning radius and the ability to see over anything except trucks (all you have to do is stand on the pegs) make it a very good commuter.
Anything else I should know?
It is a genuinely usable motorcycle. We had the opportunity to ride it (unofficially) around a racetrack, on a cross-country trip and on our commute, and we can’t think of any other motorcycle we’ve ridden that can do all of these things combined as well as the Multistrada can. We found ourselves throwing it around corners – thank you, traction control and cornering ABS – and onto the dirt with the 100cc motorcycles when the going got rough with no worry about punctures. We never did face a puncture with all we put the Multistrada through, and that is commendable.
There are a ton of features on the Multistrada – from an adjustable windscreen, to a colour TFT instrument cluster, to cruise control, to ABS, cornering ABS, traction control, wheelie control, rear lift mitigation… Just about the only thing it doesn’t do is make you coffee. There are optional extras, too, like the auxiliary lights, radiator guard and side guard, and main stand, that you can see on the example in these images.
Should I buy one?
We took a quick poll with the team, as to who would prefer a Multistrada over the Panigale, and all except one die hard supersport fan opted for the Multistrada. Once you’ve had your fill of screaming from one place to another on a fully faired motorcycle, or have one parked at your friendly neighborhood racetrack, a motorcycle like the Multistrada makes a lot of sense. We rode it at the track, then rode it back home, and it was fun all the way. The sticker price of Rs 21 lakh prevented us from trying it out off-road, but the off-road specialists in the team are quietly waiting for the Multistrada Enduro to make its way into the press fleet. However, to answer the question posed above, in a single word, yes.
Where does it fit in?
The adventure-touring motorcycle segment is still in its infancy in the Indian market. Right from the Royal Enfield Himalayan to the BMW R 1200 GS, there isn’t much choice at particular price bracket. The Multistrada 1200 competes with the BMW in principle, but the German isn’t officially available in the market yet. That means the Multistrada is in a class of one. Sure, you can point at the Kawasaki Versys 1000, but that is not as sophisticated.
1. Arai Astro-IQ Second in the Arai street models hierarchy, the Astro-IQ is a comfortable, stable helmet at any speed. Price: Rs 50,000
2. Scorpion Hat Trick Mesh/Textile jacket Although not on sale for a while now, the Hat Trick is a jacket that is protective yet allows decent airflow. The fleece liner keeps you warm enough, and the waterproof liner makes it truly impermeable, even in a Mumbai monsoon. Drying it out takes a while, though. Price: Rs 15600 (Scorpion Phalanx)
3. Royal Enfield Spiti riding gloves Made for comfortable touring, these short-cuff gloves offer a lot of comfort right from the first ride. Price: Rs 3200
4. Joe Rocket Phoenix 2.0 pants Mesh is a wonderful thing in our heat, and the Joe Rocket Phoenix mesh pants manage an ideal combination of protection via the removable armour, and airflow. Price: Rs 9600 (Phoenix Ion)
5. Royal Enfield long riding boots With a little inspiration from both off-road boots and touring boots, the RE long riding boots are comfortable and yet protective. Price: Rs 11,000
Photography: Kapil Angane
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