2014 Ducati Multistrada Granturismo Review

A Multistrada for the long haul

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2014 Ducati Multistrada 1200 Grandturismo

Editor Score: 85.25%
Engine 18.75/20
Suspension/Handling 14/15
Transmission/Clutch 8.5/10
Brakes 9/10
Instruments/Controls3.75/5
Ergonomics/Comfort 9.25/10
Appearance/Quality 8.5/10
Desirability 7/10
Value 6.5/10
Overall Score85.25/100

“I think you’re really going to like this bike,” E-i-C, Kevin Duke, says to me, handing over the keys to the then just introduced 2010 Multistrada 1200. “We’ll see about that,” I thought, “but it at least looks a helluva lot better than its predecessor.” Turns out I did like it – a lot. In fact, were I not shackled with the responsibility of riding whatever new model press bike is currently residing in my garage, I’d own a Multistrada.

Since reviewing the original Multi 1200, we’ve compared it, or its Touring S derivative, to a number of other motorcycles including the BMW R1200GS and Triumph Explorer. We’ve also stacked it up against bikes such as Honda’s VFR1200F and Kawasaki’s Z1000 in our Oddball Sport-Touring Shootout. Our highest accolade is when we named the newly introduced model with Skyhook suspension, our choice for 2013’s Sport-Touring bike of the year.

With all our coverage, we had yet to taste the latest version of the Multistrada with its long-haul accoutrements, the Granturismo.

2014 Ducati Multistrada Granturismo Action Right

A more upright seating position by virtue of 20mm taller handlebar risers doesn’t hamper the GT’s cornering prowess. Note the included crash bar and fog light (there’s a matching set on the opposite side).

What, exactly, differentiates the Granturismo from its lesser-adorned counterparts? Twenty-three hundred greenbacks worth of accessories meant to make life on the road a bit more palatable. These luxuries include a 48-liter top box with mounting hardware, a larger windscreen, LED fog lights, saddlebags with 15 liters of more storage space (compared to the Touring’s saddlebags), 20mm taller handlebars and crash protectors.

2014 Ducati Multistrada Granturismo Windscreen

The taller windscreen on the Granturismo is manually adjustable on-the-fly to rider preference.

In addition to the increased price, you’re also paying a weight penalty of approximately 24 pounds, a claimed 540-pound wet weight for the Granturismo vs. 516 for the S Touring model.

Besides the niceties mentioned above, the $19,995 S Touring model is equally equipped to the $22,295 Granturismo, both outfitted with Ducati’s Skyhook suspension, Ride Modes, Power Modes, Ducati Safety Pack (ABS & DTC), heated grips and a center stand.

How The 2013 Ducati Multistrada 1200S’ Skyhook Suspension Works

Missing from both Multi models is cruise control – a glaring omission for an apex sport-touring bike that uses ride-by-wire throttle control, which already has the substructure to support the implementation of cruise control. Honestly, going forward, we don’t see how any serious sport-touring or touring motorcycle can be considered as such without the inclusion of cruise control. The technology is too ubiquitous among the two genres to be overlooked.

2014 Ducati Multistrada Granturismo Luggage

Luggage is lockable and easily detaches, leaving the bike without ugly mounting bracketry. The saddlebags hold 15 liters more than the S Touring model. Attachment points are plastic and we’re dubious of their damage resistance in even a light crash.

Besides the cruise control issue, the Multistrada Granturismo enhances the long-distance experience in what has become a blurry niche of motorcycling – the Sport-Adventure-Tourer. Identified by its longer-travel suspension, SATs combine the attributes of Sport-Tourers and Adventure-Tourers into a soccer mom’s SUV of motorcycling. Outfitted with Pirelli Angel GT tires, at least the Granturismo makes no pretense of going off the pavement like its siblings do with their Pirelli Scorpion Trail tires.

2014 Ducati Multistrada Granturismo Off-Road Action

Must have accidentally spiked the hydro pak with whiskey because taking this $23K, 540-pound Italian with street tires off road can be foolhardy. Guess we wanted to prove that it can be done, but we don’t recommend going far off the beaten path.

Passengers will like the Multi GT because its 48-liter top box includes a backrest – making an already comfortable bike even more so. Riders will like the bike because with the push of a button you can adjust suspension preload and engine characteristics – or for all the other reasons we named it our pick for best Sport-Touring bike of 2013.

2014 Ducati Multistrada Granturismo Digital Display

We’ve come to appreciate the clean, legible readout of the Multistrada’s all-digital display. Navigation, once familiarized, is a simple operation. Electronic suspension adjustment makes being lazy, easy.

The question needing answered is, do the few upgrades on the GT model justify its $2,300 upgrade. If it had cruise control in addition to the other elements, yes, definitely. As is, though, we’d be hard pressed to spend the additional dollars over the S Touring version.

However, if you’re in the market for a new Sport-Adventure-Tourer there’s two things you need to consider: the new KTM 1190 Adventure and forthcoming Aprilia Caponord.

The 1190 Adventure doesn’t have cruise control, but it does have an electronics package equal to that of the Ducati’s, including electronically adjustable suspension, R-b-W throttle, traction control, switchable ABS and Ride Modes all for $16,499 ($500 less than the base model Multistrada).

+ Highs

  • Emphasizes Sport in Sport-Adventure-Tourer
  • Skyhook suspension
  • Comfy ergos
- Sighs

  • Expensive
  • No cruise control
  • Value deficit

We’re attending the Aprilia Caponord press launch this week, and it’ll be interesting to find out how this pair of Italian 1200cc V-Twins match up. The Caponord brings all the tech offered on the Ducati (semi-active suspension, switchable ride modes, ABS and traction control) and adds electronic cruise control. More impressive is that Aprilia offers all these features – plus hard bags – for a price that is a relative bargain: $15,499.

Sounds like a shootout is brewing to determine if the Multistrada remains the dominant Sport-Adventure-Tourer or if the competition has now beaten Ducati at its own game.

2014 Ducati Multistrada Granturismo Action Rear

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  • DickRuble

    Nice rundown of features.. Where’s the review? Nothing to add about the riding? All old?

    • http://motorcycle.com/ Tom Roderick

      My original text included a paragraph about us not getting a chance to appropriately test this bike for its intended purpose, which would have been, at minimum, a long weekend trip, but the paragraph was removed during editing. Without evaluating its sport-touring capabilities, left us testing a Multistrada with more luggage room, a taller windscreen and taller handlebars. It’s slightly heavier weight probably slows its transitions and could be more prominently felt in a back-to-back comparison with a Multistrada S Touring, but otherwise it’s gonna handle like the S Touring model, which we’ve reviewed before, available in the links in the story.

  • Vrooom

    Cruise control does little for me on a sport tourer. I don’t own a tourer, but it would make more sense there. I just don’t see me droning on interstates on this bike for much longer than the next good road, or something like 101 where you couldn’t use it for long anyway. Don’t get me wrong, I like long road trips and usually take 2 weeks a year doing it, but never just set off for a long trip on interstate freeways. I would have liked to see more in the way of riding impressions, but as Tom said below I’ll have to extrapolate from previous multistrada articles. This bike is definitely on my list.

    • http://motorcycle.com/ Tom Roderick

      Also consider what I said about the price increase of the GT model. Personally, I don’t think I can justify the extra $2,300 and would probably purchase the S Touring Multistrada. But that’s just me. If you’re truly in the market for a bike such as the Multi, I’d wait to read about the new Aprilia Caponord. It’s a lot more affordable for what seems like an equal if not better motorcycle. Troy’s at the model launch today, so we’ll know his impressions very soon.

      • Max Wellian

        KTM 1190 Adventure?

  • blinebob

    Thank you for your cruise control comments. In my opinion the motorcycle industry has been incredibly slow to adopt cruise control, even while ride-by-wire systems have become almost standard for new models. I was floored when I saw that Honda deleted cruise from the F6B when Harley Davidson and Victory both offer cruise on their competing models. However with the introduction of new sport touring bikes having cruise, it is starting to look like competition will soon force the hand of manufacturers reluctant to include it. If the manufacturers are worried about price points, it seems like it would be easy to make it optional the way Harley and Victory have for years.

    • Daytona Ben

      I now have 13,000 miles on the 2013 GT. I still smile ear to ear while riding it. First impressions are always “The bike sits too high”, until you ride it down the road and don’t notice. Touring riding mode is smooth, Sport mode with DTC turned off is insane in throttle response. The lesser modes are fun for cruising around town. Only issues are ‘burping’ the hydraulic clutch twice for air. Big ride of the year was Baltimore to Denver in 32 hours with my buddy on the same bike. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bPTSjFzE5eM. All altitudes on and off road the bike never missed a beat. I’ve never been an off road rider but outfit with Continental TK80 tires and go. I chose options between having traction control on for gravel jeep trails to OFF for muddy dirt trails. Hey, it’s not a dirt bike but life is short and there are plenty of fun roads that you can ride to instead of ‘trailer to”. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PzFKib1f5j8

      Watch how much front fork travel the suspension will give you in Enduro mode in the video. Yes, I get passed by the KTM with the taller front tire offroad, not a big surprise. But pulling back on the pavement and switch back to sport mode and use the GS adventure bikes as traffic cones. This is a superbike that is easy to ride. The extra money for the crash bars, lights and bigger bags are nothing compared to the Skyhook suspension with is simply magic. I’ve never ridden a bike before this where you are looking for bumps in the road to ride over and you never have to back your bike out of a spot, just ride through it. Cruise control? why? Might as well ride in a cage.:)

      • Scott

        It depends upon where you live. From here, it’s 5 to 14 hours riding to get to great roads via interstate. So it’s either trailer or cruise control for me in the future. Throttle locks don’t cut it for me.

  • Bmwclay

    23K large.and still have to buy a throttlemeister………..? Might as well spring for the K1600GT. Or better yet, the KTM SM would suit me fine for what, 15K ? Without all the Sky hook stuff to go wrong and extra weight to worry about.

  • 12er

    Another ghost returns… I really wanted this bike until I saw it in the flesh. The bags are huge, lane splitters need not apply. I ended up buying the 2013 Standard MS as the skyhook was a little too scary for me to beta test a first year model (I remember the 2010′s stack of recalls). The standard comes with bags and all the electronic bells and whistles other than the suspension. I had the springs redone by Superplush out of SF, they rock. Custom wound springs for my hugeness up front and a little tweaking put an ohlins spring on the rear. All I can say is DO NOT DEMO A MULTI, unless your going to buy one. Its the bike Ive always wanted that nobody made, and man what a fun ride.

  • CrashFroelich

    The e-mail teaser showed a thumbnail of the bike and read: A Ducati Multistrada outfitted to make life on the road more palatable. I’m confused. How can any moto improve the taste of pavement?

  • TonyCarlos

    No mention anywhere of the BMW GS? What gives?