The Ducati Multistrada may look relatively unchanged compared to its outgoing predecessor, but the new 2018 Ducati Multistrada 1260 has its own host of upgrades that add to the already versatile package enjoyed by Ducati’s sport-tourer.
After having just recently sampled Ducati’s new Multi in sunny Gran Canaria, here are the top five features of the 2018 Ducati Multistrada 1260 as seen and felt through my eyes, ass, and wrist.
Engine: The 1262cc Desmo Heart-throb
The beating Desmodromic heart of the new Multistrada 1260 has been shared and revised from the XDiavel, Ducati’s power cruiser. Like a cruiser, the XDiavel’s bigger L-Twin DVT motor was designed to offer loads of torque from low to mid-range. Ducati brought the 1262cc engine over to the new Multi for its extra low rpm torque. This gives a claimed 95.5 lb-ft of max torque at 7,500 rpm, 85% of which Ducati says is available under 3,500 rpm.
Other than bringing the torque slightly higher to offer more midrange without losing too much top end power, Ducati has relocated the water pump from between the cylinders to the left side of the engine, as well as rerouted the exhaust to work with the Multistrada chassis.
As with most Ducatis, the engine makes the motorcycle, and the new Multistrada 1260 is no different. During our first ride the bike was easily lugged low into the rpm range; while making our way through hairpin after hairpin, the Multi never hesitated to tractor its way out of each corner. Though fueling could be a bit abrupt at times, the engine put a smile on my face every time I rolled on the throttle.
Adjustability: The Italian Swiss Army Knife of Motorcycles
To say the Multistrada offers its user adjustability would be, perhaps, the understatement of the year. From its semi-active Ducati Skyhook Suspension, to its selectable ride modes (which alter the universe as selected), to its three positions of seat height. You can tune the Multistrada 1260 to be nearly any type of motorcycle you want it to be.
During our first ride I was able to flip through the four ride modes to feel the differences these made. On many motorcycles, you will change horsepower output and on some others maybe traction control and/or ABS settings. On the Multistrada, changing ride modes will change your life. Okay, maybe that is too far. It will, however, change ABS settings, traction control settings, wheelie control settings, suspension preload, and fuel mapping – and on the S model, the Ducati Skyhook Suspension will be adjusting all the while to the pavement you are riding over.
I have noticed some of you saying that’s too much adjustability and you’re just fine without it. Well maybe that is because you haven’t tried it. Using one of the preset riding modes if you find there is something you would like to tweak a bit, you are able to do so, making the motorcycle easily fine-tuned from the cockpit to your particular preference during that moment. If I could only have one motorcycle in my garage, I would definitely want that kind of versatility. You know what they say, if there are too many options, you’re too old. Or something like that.
Quickshifter: Sport-Touring with an Emphasis on Sport
The 2018 Ducati Multistrada 1260 may be the sportiest sport-tourer you can get, with a claimed 158 hp at 9,500 rpm and 95.5 lb-ft of torque at 7,500. Sure, there are motorcycles that can and will top those numbers but the way power is delivered through the Multistrada will have you undoubtedly enjoying the sporting heritage Ducati imbues into its touring motorcycle.
New on the Multistrada S and Pikes Peak edition is the inclusion of DQS (Ducati Quickshift, yay acronyms!) up and down. When riding the Multi at full power with the suspension firmed up, DQS makes the experience even more enjoyable as you bang through gears while the big twin screams for more.
The 2018 Multistrada 1260 is now 2.2-inches longer than its predecessor. A substantial increase when considering wheelbase. This is due not only to the 1.9-inch longer swingarm, but also the increase in rake from 24 to 25 degrees and a slight increase in trail of .2-inches. On sporting motorcycles this is something we rarely see because while adding stability, the intended goal for the new Multistrada, it generally causes the motorcycle to steer a bit slower.
I chose this as a top five because the 1260 is still incredibly quick and agile in terms of handling. Those who rode the previous Multi may notice the difference in turn-in but to me, the 1260 still has incredibly quick handling for a motorcycle of its size. Maybe it’s the DSS, or the new 12-ounce lighter wheels, or most likely; a combination of the entire package. While we didn’t have a chance to test the Multistrada 1260 on the autobahn, if the new Duc has gained stability and still handles as sharply as it does, not much is lost in our opinion.
Elongated for Everyone’s Pleasure
Ducati has done a great job in recent years of extending their service intervals, a barrier of which, in the past, has assuredly kept some motorcyclists away from the Italian brand. While the Multistrada has benefited from the longer service intervals in previous years, I believe it is worth noting for potential buyers. Oil changes are required every 15,000km (9,321mi.) and “Desmo services” every 30,000km (18,641mi.). Multistrada 1260 owners can reap the benefit of the longer service intervals many newer Ducati motorcycles now offer.