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Old 06-05-2010, 02:09 PM   #1
Kenneth_Moore
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Default Ducati MultiStrada 1200S

The Ducati dealer in Fort Lauderdale closed a year or so ago, and a few months ago, I noticed a big red 'DUCATI IS HERE" banner alongside I-95 in North Fort Lauderdale. That location had been a Polaris/Victory dealership for a decade, so I assumed the same owners had added Ducati. They'd had Aprillia and a couple other smaller brands, so adding Ducati didn't seem that big a stretch. I went by with a friend and was surprised to learn that Victory was gone, the old owners were gone, and that Palm Beach Triumph was now there, selling Ducatis alongside Triumphs. The staff invited us to come the following weekend for a Moto GP party, and while I was there for that, I got an invitation to ride the new MultiStrada. The good news for VStrom 1000 owners is that we got a hell of a good bike for under $10k. The bad news is that we need to figure out how to peel about 150 lbs off our bikes, and add about 50 hp.

This morning I arrived at the shop, and the owner briefed me on the ride, specifically how we'd use the various "modes" of the Multi in three segments. First he set the bike in Sport Mode, that's full power, right now, and pretty stiff suspension. We'd take surface streets a few miles North, then get on I-95 for a 15 mile blast, then over to US 1 in Boca Raton for some "Urban" mode riding. After 6 miles or so of that, he'd put the bike in Touring Mode, and we'd get back on '95 for the ride back. In addition to setting the suspension and ECM for the various Modes, you can also set the bike up for weight. Little icons appear with just you, you with some luggage, you with a passenger, and you with 6 Vietnamese peasants, 2 hogs, 4 chickens, and all of your furniture. Versatile...


The first impression of the bike when getting on is that it's extremely light; it really felt like a big mountain bike after getting off the Vee. I sat in the parking lot while the dealer stepped me through the controls. Nothing too out of the norm once you're past all the "Mode" settings. Self-cancelling turn signals, and a now fairly common keyless start/lock setup. I followed the dealer out of the lot and almost stalled; the clutch was fully engaged right off the handgrip. The impression of light weight and excessive power continued. It's a damn good thing the dealer was there, or I'd either be in jail, the hospital, or Georgia right now. "With great power comes great responsibility." Yeah...right.

Out of the box, this is the most ergonomically "correct" bike, for me, I've ever ridden. The handlebars, seat, pegs, windshield: all perfect. It took me a year to get the Vee dialed in this well. NO BUFFETING AT ALL with the windshield in the low position, although I did get some with the shield in it's highest setting. The bike gives you a lot of confidence right away; you can toss it around corners and haul serious ass without a care. On 1-95 it was very stable, although we only got to 80 or so. Around town it provides excellent visibility, as the Vee, and the seat is just about perfect.

After the initial blast in Sport Mode, we pulled into Boca and put the bike in Urban mode. This is about 100 hp, and the throttle response is "deliberate" (slow). I guess it would be ok in the rain; I can't imagine wanting it for anything else. We dodged Q-Tips for a while, and then headed back to the highway to try Touring mode. Touring mode seems to soften the suspension, provides all the power of Sport, but brings it on more gradually. We did a nice 270 degree decreasing radius downhill entrance ramp, and it became apparent the Vee suspension could use some improvement. I could go much faster on the Duc without feeling like I was pushing the limits than I can on the Vee. We didn't bother with Enduro mode; the dealer tells me it's about like Urban except less power and more "give" in the suspension. I doubt many of these bikes are going to leave the pavement; although I will say I'd sooner take the Multi offroad than the Vee or GS, just because of the light weight.

Back at the dealer I checked out a Touring version that was going to be delivered today. The saddlebags are gorgeous; they fit the bike beautifully. They also have just enough room for a jacket, a sandwich, and a small cell phone. Better get the top trunk if you plan to bring anything along. The S model I rode had a lot of carbon-fiber; the Touring did not. I didn't like the CF; it looks cheesy and ill-fitting to me. The blow-molded plastic is much better, IMO. There are a lot of accessories ranging from plug and play heated grips to "track-only" exhaust. Garmin has produced a Multi-specific GPS for the bike. You can even get an electrically operated gas cap if using the key is too inconvenient.

Overall, this is a very impressive bike. However, for me, the electronic suspension and all the "Modes" that Ducati is hyping so hard are just fluff. I'd put the bike in Sport mode and leave it there. Maybe the Urban or Enduro would be ok in the rain, but spending $5k for push-button settings is just not worth it. So, I'll take the base model in Arrest Me Red, just as soon as Givi makes a saddlebag rack for it.
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Old 06-05-2010, 02:12 PM   #2
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Default Photos

Hope you can see 'em!
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Old 06-05-2010, 02:52 PM   #3
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Nope.

And if the Strom was in any of those photos please edit. I had a Strom pull up next to me today while my son and I were running errands. Good gravy that's an ugly beast!

I say get the Duc. You can call the Prez and tell him it's a "job saved."
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Old 06-05-2010, 03:20 PM   #4
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I wanted to steal it at Miller, but $19,999 for the S, stealing it may be the only option.
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Old 06-05-2010, 05:28 PM   #5
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I got nothin' (on the pics).

Ducati's got it goin' on right now. That's all I can say.
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Old 06-05-2010, 09:38 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr_Sprocket View Post
I got nothin' (on the pics).

Ducati's got it goin' on right now. That's all I can say.
Agreed. Give me the Streetfighter for getting arrested and the Multi for getting arrested farther from home. Good times.

Sounds like a good ride Ken. Slightly disappointed you didn't check out the bounceability.
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Old 06-06-2010, 07:21 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr_Sprocket View Post
I got nothin' (on the pics).

Ducati's got it goin' on right now. That's all I can say.
Here is the same post over at Stromtrooper.com. I can't see MO photos at home, but I can at the office. I can see Stromtrooper photos anywhere.

Mr. Duke, if an amatuer site like Stromtrooper can make photos work, surely a website of MO's stature can fix this annoying isue.

Vee Rider's Review of the MultiStrada 1200S - Stromtrooper.com
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Old 06-06-2010, 09:49 AM   #8
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Am I searching for insurance, Ken? Seemed like it was an expensive upgrade. Love the bike. Good review.

Duke- Are you going to start soliciting the regular MOrons for free material. Ken's write up was short and sweet. More pics and Boom! you can charge advertising space for the articles like "real" writers.
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Old 06-06-2010, 01:02 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by acecycleins View Post
Am I searching for insurance, Ken? Seemed like it was an expensive upgrade. Love the bike. Good review.

Duke- Are you going to start soliciting the regular MOrons for free material. Ken's write up was short and sweet. More pics and Boom! you can charge advertising space for the articles like "real" writers.
Nah, I can't afford to buy a bike right now. In November my homestead tax break on the new house will kick in, that's free up about $450/month. Then I'll consider it.

BTW: I just got back from a blast on the Vee in "stripped mode"...no bags, cases, kid, windshield. It's a great damn bike.... I'm going for the 2Bros in a few weeks. With the new PCIII and a high-flow air filter, the bike should be plenty quick.
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Old 06-07-2010, 07:09 AM   #10
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I found a Multi 620 for nearly nothing. Anyone ever play with the little Multi?
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