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2015 Ducati Multistrada 1200 and 1200 S: MD First Ride

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After testing the original Ducati Multistrada 1200 back in 2010, we couldn’t contain our enthusiasm, and concluded:

“The seating position is bolt upright … even more so than a sport tourer. The bike is light. The bike has a 1200cc v-twin derived from Ducati’s superbike engine. It has decent wind protection. It’s as comfortable as sitting on your couch when compared to most sport bikes. It frikkin hauls ass, and could easily leave the latest sportbikes for dead through the twisties with a skilled rider aboard, and said skilled rider could dart off on the next fire road and really disappear. It even has saddlebags! State-of-the-art superbike brakes! Fully adjustable suspension! It cannot make your breakfast or serve you a martini, but it might make you want to ignore your girlfriend on the weekend, unless she is really good looking.”

Has the Adventure Touring competition caught up to Ducati? MD’s 2014 Bike of the Year, the KTM 1190 Adventure, may have surpassed it in some respects, but Ducati answers back with the new 2015 Multistrada featuring variable valve timing and other improvements. We had a chance to check it out at the European launch.

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How technologically advanced can Adventure Touring motorcycles get? The segment is generating good sales, so you can expect manufacturers to throw plenty of R&D money at new models. Nevertheless, after sampling this new Multistrada on the island of Lanzarote, with its beautiful, volcanic scenery, we admit it is difficult to imagine another model surpassing its sophistication.

The first Multistrada designed by Pierre Terblanche back in 2003, with the old two-valve engine, was a bold step. When the 1200 arrived in 2010, Ducati really pushed the envelope for the category. Although the big BMW GS sold well, the Multistrada 1200 was a far different beast, more sporty if less versatile (the 17″ front wheel limited its dirt prowess). Ducati also offered electronic options in the form of selectable power modes, still something rare in 2010.

So the 2015 Ducati Multistrada 1200 does not succeed an old, tired model, but a bike that is still competitive and desirable today. Nevertheless, for 2015 Ducati has made the Multistrada more comfortable and more complete, with all-new electronics and a new v-twin engine with variable valve timing (DVT), a subject that we discussed in detail earlier and will not repeat here. Together with DVT, the new Multistrada features an inertial management unit (IMU), and complicated new software.

Joining us at the launch was former WSB champion Carlos Checa, who owns a Multistrada and actually uses it frequently on the street for transportation. We understand Alex Criville also is an owner.

When I first saw the new Multistrada, the family resemblance was obvious, but it has gained a more aggressive look. Sitting on the bike, you note that the intersection of the seat and the fuel tank is narrower, allowing the rider to more easily reach the ground with his feet. The new seat is also height adjustable over a 40 mm range, and the seat itself is nearly an inch longer so the rider does not feel so “locked in” when seated.

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The handlebar is now rubber mounted, and re-positioned foot pegs have removable rubber tops. Overall, the new riding position is an improvement.

Although the new Multistrada retains a 17″ front tire (hardly the best for off-road), ground clearance is improved. The windscreen is again height adjustable (over a 4 cm range), and, in keeping with the sophisticated electronics package, the instrument panel is very thorough in the data it makes available to the rider. A 12 V outlet, USB port and the ability to connect a smart phone via Bluetooth (which in itself brings so many options to the table, such as listening to music, GPS information and, of course, talking on the phone) are also standard.

The more expensive S version gains, among other features, the Ducati Multimedia System (DMS), forged wheels and the Skyhook electronic suspension developed by Sachs. Both models feature ride-by-wire and selectable power modes, as well as wheelie control and traction control, all mixed together with the subtleties inherent in the decisions made by computer with input from the IMU. These features are discussed in an earlier article.

One of the first impressions aboard the new bike comes from the improved comfort provided by the new seat, different rider triangle, and wider windscreen. The old 1200 was already very fast, of course, but the new engine with DVT has a more muscular mid-range, together with a more refined, smoother throttle response. This is clearly a new generation power plant.

DVT offers the best of both worlds. Forward thrust at lower and medium engine speeds is clearly superior, but there is still a peak of 160 hp available at 9,500 rpm. The bike now pulls cleanly from 2,000 rpm, unlike most big Ducati twins.

At 75 mph, the engine turns a leisurely 3,200 rpm in top gear, but the spread of power offered by the DVT system means you can simply roll on the throttle to pass other vehicles without a downshift. I was switching between Sport mode and Touring mode, and not finding a huge difference in throttle response or power.

Negotiating the tight, twisty roads on the island, both models steer easily and give the rider confidence, but the electronic suspension on the S model is superior in its damping characteristics and seems to offer a better overall balance.

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The standard version has Brembo monobloc radial mount four-piston brake calipers squeezing 320 mm discs in front, while the S model has massive 330 mm discs similar to those found on the Panigale superbike. As one might expect, both braking systems are quite impressive, although the S model offered more initial bite.

The IMU works together with the ABS braking system to help prevent over-application of the brakes while the bike is leaned on its side. This is certainly something I didn’t want to test for its effectiveness, but it is nice to know that this sort of technological advance is being made in terms of active safety. Similar systems will be found on the new KTM Super Adventure 1290, as well as Yamaha’s new R1.

As you change power modes, other power aides move accordingly. In the low traction mode, for instance, which reduces power to 100 hp, ABS and traction control become more intrusive.

The LED headlamps feature a Ducati Cornering Lights (DCL) system to light your way through curves. They also help announce the arrival of this newly refined Multistrada. More comfort, broader and smoother power, better handling and even better fuel consumption, the new Multistrada 1200 and 1200 S hope to set the standard for the Adventure Touring category. For available colors, and an explanation of the four different “packs” available, including Touring, Sport, Urban and Enduro, visit Ducati’s web site. The Multistrada 1200 and 1200 S are joined by a third version, the 1200 S D|air, which actively works together with airbag equipped Dainese clothing.

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117 Comments

  1. Clark says:

    Love the people claiming horrible reliability out of the Multistrada 1200. I drove mine (13 Pikes Peak) across the country, through crazy storms for extended periods, down dirt and clay roads and through some mud, up to the top of pikes peak and back, all around different elevations out west, and through horrible broken, pothole ridden highways. I would not choose another bike. The ability to soften suspension or stiffen the crap out of it was amazing. It was fully adjustable which catered to my needs. Embarrassed a lot of my sportbike friends on weekend rides to where everybody was asking for a test ride. Full exhaust and a tune and this thing felt (and sounded) fantastic.

    I must agree about how ugly they are because I only got compliments, ohh I don’t know, everywhere? Kids want pictures next to it and I rarely got gas without somebody saying something nice. Girls love to sit on it too 😉

    • Jeremy in TX says:

      Who on here claimed horrible reliability out of a Multistrada?

      • mickey says:

        No one here but there are plenty of reports of engines grenading over on Ducati.ms

        My doctor had one and wasn’t happy with the reliability on his and traded it in on a Kaw ZX14R

  2. billy says:

    Ducatis don’t keep their value at all, so what happens when these bikes are ten years old and not worth a pile of dog poo? $1200 service on a $1200 bike? I think this is like a German car, no one would want to own one that’s out of warranty.

    • Jeremy in TX says:

      People that don’t mind (and prefer) working on them in their own garages couldn’t care less. In fact, they praise those $1200 service bills as that plays a large role in one’s ability to pick up a used Ducati at an attractive price.

      Also, people that are willing to pay $18K+ for a motorcycle couldn’t care less either. Besides, most owners won’t need that major service until the 3 – 4 year mark I’d wager. Plenty of time for the not so thick of wallet who won’t be doing their own wrenching to put money aside.

      • Dave says:

        These people: “Also, people that are willing to pay $18K+ for a motorcycle couldn’t care less either.”

        Are almost never these people: “People that don’t mind (and prefer) working on them in their own garages”

        I think it’s most likely that the 1st one is selling to the 2nd one.

      • billy says:

        I’ve worked on my own bikes exclusively for twenty five years. Obviously I’ve never owned a Ducati. Not one little bit of me has ever wanted any Ducati model made. Ever.

        So I’d say it’s the opposite, these are bikes for people who don’t want to work on anything in their garage.

        • Jeremy in TX says:

          “So I’d say it’s the opposite, these are bikes for people who don’t want to work on anything in their garage.”

          Oh, I agree completely with respect to the vast majority of Ducati (and all premium bike) buyers. But by the time the bike is 10 years old, the original owner is probably on his third new Ducati. And the shade tree Ducatisti are scooping up the 10 year old Ducs for a steal and wrenching on them themselves.

          I’ve had two air-cooled ones, one purchased new and the other used. I did all the work on them myself not because I am cheap or couldn’t afford the service (well, I probably couldn’t have afforded the service when I owned the used one) but because each was my only bike at the time, and I needed the work to be done in one day on a weekend.

      • Dave K says:

        I wrench on my own bikes for most tasks… though I’ll take the Multistrada to the dealer at least until the Warranty is up, and even after that I’m not sure I’ll be messing with the valve adjustment on that wonky Ducati setup.

        I actually looked for a used Multistrada at an attractive price… I found a 2011 for $13k that was mint – but the difference in capability between the 2011 and the 2015 is (IMO) worth the price difference, I didn’t see $13k as particularly cheap for a bike that old – not sure what you all think of as “not holding value”.

  3. Dave K says:

    My S is ordered (Urban, Touring, Enduro packs), should be in mid-April, just in time for Riding Season to start up in my latitude… and I’m pretty excited.

    I was torn between the Duc and the KTM 1190 ADV, and it’s really a matter of deciding if you want to bias dirt or bias road. Both are expensive, both are going to be less reliable than Japanese bikes, but both excel in their respective areas (with no real Japanese competition yet). I ended up opting for the road. I’ve had an adventure bike for a few years now and in about 60k miles I can think of only a handful of roads that I’d have avoided with the Multistrada.

    As for other options I’ve got personal experience with – my riding group has a ’14 Super Tenere – very nice but too heavy (my 300lb brother loves it though). Also a ’12 1200GS Adv – also very nice but WAY too unreliable (worst of the group, fuel pump left owner stranded twice now). My bike was a Tiger – bulletproof reliable and I loved the motor but too top heavy. Finally there’s the economical choice, a V-Strom – a bike we all (including the owner) describe as ‘entirely adequate’… which is telling.

    I thought about holding out for the Africa Twin… but I’ve always wanted a Ducati so wth.

  4. I live in London and my Ducati dealer is a 2 minute walk from my house. This bike is what I’ve been waiting for years to take the place of my 50,000 mile Honda VFR 800 Interceptor. Nothing I’ve tried has been worth trading up for. I shall be using it for my regular trips to Italy through the Swiss, French and Italian alps. Probably the best riding in the world, which is why this bike comes from Italy. I always wait for the snow to be cleared and then head for the high alpine passes. That’s what this bike is made for. Cruise control for the boring motorway bits and then amazing handling and power for the twisties, right up to 8,000 feet above sea level. And beyond the tarmac are some old unsealed roads which this bike will take me to. I shall not take it mud plugging or tree root hopping as I’ll need to get home again. I can’t wait to get it, get the 600 mile service done and off I go.

  5. Tommy D says:

    The best looking Multistrada yet… 😉

  6. ze says:

    Boy, i thought busas and bkings were ugly, but this one is something else. It’s disgusting.

  7. Kleen says:

    I have a 2014 1200 GT with $3500mi and already have $500 down on the first white one they get in Tampa. My GT in Sport mode with a Termi screams everywhere it goes–maybe only the V Black Shadow had a meaner disposition and nastier attitude than this Duc. My only complaints about the 2014 is the complaint with all Ducs, they are dogs in the lower band and no cruise control. Audi and the dudes in Bologna fixed both of these for 2015. My nips are hard in anticipation of that 78% improved performance below 3.5K rpms. They arrive in the US in 2 weeks!

  8. carl says:

    Gets to the point do you take it to Ducati or geek squad when all that crap starts to go south. It suppose to be a motorcycle, simple, yes to ABS and cruise control beyond that what do you need? Car?

  9. Boscoe says:

    Too tall, too ugly.
    I’ll take a Scrambler in yellow please.

  10. Vrooom says:

    It would be great to see an “dirt” version of this bike with a 19″ front wheel and longer travel suspension.

  11. Neil says:

    Prices are getting too high with all the added bling. I ride my brother’s 07 and it’s nice above 35 mph but lugs below that. The KTM adventure is really nice too. But to me, they might as well be a Ferrari. I’d get the Yamaha FJ09 myself. First off, seats like the Multi that are curved and make you sit in one place are atrocious. The motor looks impossible to get to if you have to service it, which makes the service so expensive. It has its place. Very nice machine. But so is a Ferrari.

    • Norm G. says:

      re: “they might as well be a Ferrari.”

      good use of the lingo.

    • MGNorge says:

      You’re right, so many bikes today, especially those with all the latest stuff are getting up there in price. Few bikes remain as simple as they once were 20, 30, 40 years ago. A quick check of our inflation rate here in the US since 1972 has it at 459.1%! That means the XL250 I bought for $800 then is in straight inflationary terms, $4,473 today. That seems to be in the ballpark for dual-sport 250 today.
      We can all judge if our pay has kept pace but a larger part of this is those who have been around awhile remember what things used to cost and to see motorcycles in the tens of thousands of dollars seems too hard to fathom sometimes.

  12. Starmag says:

    RoboEagle to the rescue!

    The rescue of what I don’t know. Rich guys?

  13. Bob Loblaw says:

    Does Ducati’s model designator correlate to the price of a major service?
    MS 1200 = $1200?

  14. Ralph says:

    Great looking bike, but I’m still enjoying my 2010 1200S Touring, it’s my favorite bike of the 21 or so I’ve owned. Anvil-like reliable, nothing breaks, super comfortable, it carries all my stuff, and it goes like stink. Yeah, the major service costs $1200, but I don’t care, I love this bike. I’ll keep riding it until it gives me reason otherwise!

    And when I do need a new bike it will be hard to ignore another Multi.

    • Hot Dog says:

      Whoa! $1200 bucks for “The major service”? That seems like crazy money but who am I to say cuz I’ve never owned a Duc. I’ve always had Jap iron and never (hardly) spent much on them. I do think this is a beautiful bike but on my edge of this flat planet, I don’t think there’s a dealer between the Mississippi River to the Rockies. Heck, I’d have to load it in the back of the pickup and spend another $500 bucks to get it to a dealer where he’d pile on another $1200 bucks. You rich guys got the world by the nads.

      • Ralph says:

        Hot Dog, I drive a 14yr old pickup so I can ride the bike I like. It’s all about what you want.

        • Norm G. says:

          re: “Hot Dog, I drive a 14yr old pickup so I can ride the bike I like. It’s all about what you want.”

          and there it is…

          (btw, my pickup is 24 years old. 1 more year and she’ll have her classic plates.)

          • Hot Dog says:

            Sure, and I bet you guys park your beat up old pickups in the same garage as your 918 Porsche Spyder.

          • mickey says:

            Norm in Ohio you can technically only drive on classic plates if you are in a parade (doesn’t stop some people for using them as daily drivers though)

        • Blackcayman says:

          See?

          “Priorities”

          Motorcycling is a passion – We will find a way!

        • Ralph says:

          Hot Dog, the truck lives outside. The Multi is in the garage parked beside……..drum roll…….the wife’s 9 yr old Camry.

      • todd says:

        My truck is 57 years old (’58 VW Singlecab). Why would anyone need a new truck?

    • TF says:

      Did everything on the list myself except for the valve clearance check and belt replacement. The 15K service for my 2011 S-Sport was $600. If you can change the oil, flush the brakes/clutch, and change the air filter and plugs you will save considerable money. When you disassemble the bike to replace the spark plugs and air filter you will understand why the major service is so pricey. BTW, at 15K the valve clearances did not need adjustment.

  15. joega says:

    got a bike with very little electronics same upright seating position its called 2015 Versys 1000.

  16. Bill says:

    To the bucket list: this bike, funny intelligent fitness model, and 2 story house in San Diego overlooking the pacific….

  17. MaTT says:

    It’s gorgeous! I love These giant-motored, upright-position, wide-handlebar street bikes. I have owned a crotch rocket… never again. To me, this is what a street bike should be.

  18. TF says:

    That white version is the best looking motorcycle I have ever seen but I am saving/waiting for a 2016 Pikes Peak version.

    Funny…..I am surprised that no one has complained yet that they might have to check the valve clearances…..someday.

    • Norm G. says:

      re: “I am surprised that no one has complained yet that they might have to check the valve clearances…..someday.”

      (wait for it)

      (wait for it)

    • Hot Dog says:

      I bet the dealer throws it in when they do “The major service”.

  19. iliketoeat says:

    That all sounds cool, but the bike is still hamstrung by short-travel suspension. It looks like at most 6″ of suspension travel, which is far too little to take it off-road, and not even enough for bumpy real-world roads. You’d have thought that with all this electronic suspension wizardry, manufacturers could come up with suspension that has sufficient travel (let’s say 10″) for when things get bumpy, but then firms up appropriately when the road is smooth.

    Why do all manufacturers assume that streets are smooth enough for such short-travel suspension? I have a ’09 Multistrada 1100S, and it feels awful on bumpy San Francisco streets, despite the supposedly high-quality Ohlins front and rear.

    • Dave says:

      This is a street bike, not a dirt bike. What road bike has “good” suspension, compared to a Multistrada?

      • Kent says:

        He wants a street bike with 10″ of travel, in order to ride in a city.

        I’d suggest a motocross bike, because *nobody* is going to sell a street bike with 10″ of travel. I laugh at the idea of a 350 pound bike with a 40″ seat height.

        • iliketoeat says:

          The DRZ-SM and some KTM Adventures have 10″ suspension travel, and they don’t have a 40″ seat height. Look at how much space there is above the rear wheel on that new Multistrada – you wouldn’t need to make the seat any taller to give it more suspension travel.

          • Jeremy in TX says:

            Many would consider both of those bikes to be quite tall.

          • mickey says:

            I consider anything with an over 31″ seat height tall, but then again I am stubby legged. 33″ is un-rideable for me. Really narrows down the choices.

      • iliketoeat says:

        That’s the problem, very few street bikes have suspensions that’s actually sufficient for the street (as opposed to a super-smooth race track). 5″ or 6″ of travel just isn’t nearly enough when you have to deal with real-world potholes and bumps. On my DRZ-SM (10″ of suspension travel) I can go over bumps and potholes at any speed without worrying about them at all. On my ’09 Multi I have to slow down to go over bumps and it’s a very jarring ride. I’d love to see more street bikes with more suspension travel.

        A few bikes are reasonably good – the BMW GS has 8″ of travel, KTM Adventure has up to 10″ or more depending on the model, some Triumph Tiger models have decent suspension travel too. Most other bikes are lacking, and even those that claim to be “adventure” bikes have not much more suspension travel than, say, a GSX-R, which is just ridiculous.

        • mickey says:

          Guess a Harley Davidson Sportster Super Low is not on your wish list?

        • Dave says:

          Every bike you list is a multi-surface adventure bike. None qualify squarely as “street” bikes. All motorcycles are designed with a use-case in mind. This and most larger displacement steet-bikes aren’t designed with neglected inner-city street riding in mind, they’re designed for higher speeds on smoother roads, where most of their owners will use them. The tires a bike is fitted with as stock are a strong indicator.

          • iliketoeat says:

            My point is that typical street bikes have suspensions that deal very poorly with riding on the street. I don’t know where you live, but there are very few places in the US where the roads are nice and smooth and you don’t have to worry about bumps and potholes. In the real world, there are bumps and potholes all over the place.

            The fact that only adventure bikes (and even then only a small subset of them) have suspension capable of dealing with riding on the street illustrates my point.

            5″ suspension travel on a GSX-R makes sense, that’s a bike designed for the race track. But bikes designed for the street shouldn’t also have 5″ of suspension travel, they should have at least 8″ or more. Especially the Multistrada, which makes pretenses to being a real-world bike suited for multiple types of roads.

          • Dave says:

            Long, soft travel just doesn’t mix well with 120f/180r section sport tires and 120+hp engines and the riding that these bike’s customers aspire to do (see Andrew Gellnick’s post up top).

            “Street” bikes have never had 8″ of travel or more. There are plenty of recreational dirt bikes with less travel. You’re saying “capable” when what I think you really mean is “more comfortable”.

            I live in the midwest where our roads get hammered by hard winters. We have heave joints, potholes and all manner of road damage. It’s just never bothered me enough to want to ride a dirt bike on it.

        • Jeremy in TX says:

          I would disagree with you. I admit that with only a couple of exceptions most of my bikes over the past 15 years have been adventure bikes with greater than average travel which may not make my opinion on this the most valid. I also set the suspension up for me which usually at least includes new springs. However, none of my bikes ever had an issue with bad roads. I can’t remember a single time on pavement where I thought to myself, “This bike needs more suspension travel.” (Well, there was this HD Sportster I rented once that bottomed the shocks on any road imperfection gnarlier than a pinto bean, so I imagine cruisers might be an entirely different animal in this regard. But most of those aren’t designed with much function in mind anyway.)

          Potholes are rough on just about anything as you suggest, but I can probably count the number of them that have caught me off-guard over the past 10 years on one hand. Unless you are 6’2″ or taller, the added seat height, taller center of mass and brake dive are negatives that would have to be tolerated 100% of the time for the benefit of suspension that will work better 1% of the time. I don’t know where you live, but I’ve lived in six different states and even abroad over the past 17 years, and regular street bike suspensions offered an excellent compromise in all of those places.

  20. North of Missoula says:

    If I won one in a contest I would ride it. You pay a lot for electronics. Just like with cars, the margins are always the biggest when fully loaded.

  21. Tommy See says:

    Ducati and KTM are putting together such awe inspiring motorcycles. Regardless of all the nit picking of looks and such. Buy one and think about how ugly it is at 100 mph. Shut up and ride !

    • todd says:

      I ride 5 or more days a week, all year round. I am riding and I don’t need to shut up. There is not much about this Ducati that is awe inspiring to me. I am fully aware of my limited skills and this bike won’t improve them any more than any other bike that is out there.

      • Sean says:

        Riding 5 or more days a week you should start developing some decent skill no?

        • todd says:

          That’s my point. This bike is no better at developing skills than any other. I am a fast rider, I can get quite a bit out of a motorcycle. I have enough experience to know that buying a “faster” bike won’t make anyone a faster rider.

          • Jeremy in TX says:

            “I have enough experience to know that buying a “faster” bike won’t make anyone a faster rider.”

            A faster bike won’t make a faster rider, but that rider will be able to go faster on a faster bike. And that’s all some people care about, even if it is only in a straight line.

          • Hot Dog says:

            The older I get, the faster I was.

    • Neil says:

      I work for a living and have bills to pay. Not a Wall Street Hedge Fund manager. LoL!

      • Blackcayman says:

        Its all about priorities… what are you spending your $$$ on?

        Brown bag a sandwich and you’ve got 200 a month for a bike… That’s a base model MS1200 at 5% for 120 months

        A guy in a fairly new F350 4×4 Powerstroke Crew-Cab King Ranch Edition ($60K ?), looked at my new (to me) bike and said he couldn’t afford a bike…

        I’d bet a third of all HDs on the road are owned by guys who have had to “prioritize” to be on theirs. They buy chrome bits of every kind, farkles too!

        • Jeremy in TX says:

          “120 months”

          Institutions are doling out 10 year loans on motorcycles now? Sheesh.

          • Blackcayman says:

            not for used Gixxers – but for new Bling, You Bet

          • mickey says:

            10 year loan on a motorcycle? No wonder people get into financial trouble. Too much want, too little ability to pay.

          • Jeremy in TX says:

            “Too much want, too little ability to pay.”

            I’m sure it is all the fault of Wall Street. Or evil corporations. Or the government. Or rich guys. Or the financial institutions offering 10 year loans. Anybody’s fault but the sucker signing on the dotted line for a 10-year loan on a motorcycle.

        • TF says:

          Priorities…..spot on. If you want one bad enough you will find a way to make it happen. If not, go enjoy your F350 or your new hole in the water or your European vacation.

          And honestly this is an amazing value and amazing piece of hardware when compared to the herds of like-priced cruisers out there.

      • Neil says:

        I brown bag it. Don’t drink. Don’t smoke. Don’t vacation in Europe. 10 dollar gym. My car has 190K.- What people spend money on is scumbags who buy real estate as investments. Then the housing market tops out at some incredible level, followed by a 26% never before tanking that screwed millions of hard working people.

        • Blackcayman says:

          Sounds like you got hurt…

          The housing crisis, was brought to you be the “Fed” and government policies, specifically forcing banks to lend to unqualified candidates, who never proved their fiscal responsibility.

          Just because some investors rode the wave, doesn’t mean they caused it.

  22. todd says:

    This is the most hideous looking bike I’ve eve seen.

    Manufacturers; just because some people in certain categories like gigantic bikes with an over abundance of electronic aides, please note that there are others who like their bikes lighter and more elemental. Don’t neglect those! Just like cars are all coming with automatic transmissions and power seats, it seems like it’s very difficult to find one without those.

    • todd says:

      It looks like it was designed in China. They even included the dragon face.

    • KenHoward says:

      Considering Ducati’s new Scrambler, I don’t think they are oblivious to what you’re saying. This bike seems to have an over-abundance of technology, but preventing crashes (especially in unexpectedly slippery conditions) with traction control and ABS seems like worthwhile goals of value to most riders.

    • mickey says:

      Triumph Bonneville series, Moto Guzzi V7 Series, Honda CB 1100, Royal Enfield series, there are plenty of simple plain ” standard” motorcycles . I don’t begrudge tall ADV bikes loaded with electronics for those that want that sort of thing.

      • TF says:

        Amen. Go vote with your checkbook and buy a CB 1100 if that’s what you want. However, the fact that Ducati markets such bikes as the Multistrada is proof that people want them AND can afford them.

    • Austin ZZR 1200 says:

      I find the looks to be striking (in a good way) and not an impediment to purchase whatsoever. None of the bikes in this class are what you would call ‘lookers’. As a rider of a DL650, functionality becomes beautiful. This bike seems stylishly functional in line with its high-performance output. If you want simpler, there is always the DRZ400 or KLR..

  23. Fred says:

    This one or the KTM would be my next bike, except for one thing I do not want a chain.I have had a shaft for the last 45yrs. I know chains are very good now, but chains are like tires. Do I leave on a trip and change it when I get back or go for it? Not to mention keeping it clean and lubed. The media never mentions this because it is no big deal with them.

    • Norm G. says:

      re: “The media never mentions this because it is no big deal with them.”

      no, the media never mentions this because it is in fact NO BIG DEAL. we’re now a decade and half into the 21st Century, and “chain engineering” was already advanced in 1999.

    • Norm G. says:

      re: “I have had a shaft for the last 45yrs.”

      yes most men do, unless their was a tragic accident in the workplace…? or the bedroom.

    • Mark says:

      Fred writes, “Do I leave on a trip and change it when I get back or go for it?”
      You could travel around the world on a new, modern chain, and still not have to change it for the next trip!
      I do not see the comparison with tires. Take a risk!
      I have 21K on my 07 Tiger 1050, go through tires pretty quickly,(only once had one last past 5K) but I have only adjusted the chain once since since the 9K mile mark. Keep a good chain clean, a bit lubed and it will last for a long, long time.
      In fact, I have NEVER had to purchase a chain, except for a dirt bike. Even those last for a long time now.

      • mickey says:

        Then I would venture to say either you haven’t put many miles on any one bike or you know a secret no one else knows. Common knowledge and personal experience says a modern chain with decent care will last about 30,000 miles and will then need a set of chain and sprockets.

  24. Stratkat says:

    er… KTM has a 1290 Adventure for this year,

  25. Dale says:

    Sorry, but this is indeed one of the ugliest motorcycles ever seen. What happened to the styling department at Ducati? They all must have been on vacation when this one was on the drawing boards. Not just ugly, brutally bad.

  26. Doug Miller says:

    Paint the beak gold and you got yourself a giant Cardinal. A really fast Cardinal!

  27. arbuz says:

    Does this bike have cruise control (it is drive by wire)?

  28. xLaYN says:

    What an amazing machine… everything down to buttons, swing arm, the sub chassis the tightly packed engine that screams “gazillion hps” here, everything screams luxury; and then you start looking the tires, brakes, suspensions, the presence it has, how the darn thing sounds to after the ride unveil the race machine packed inside…..
    If I had that much money….
    sigh…

  29. Dave Joy says:

    Beautiful bike! The big problem is dealerships. They are few and far between for European bikes. I want to get back on a Triumph but the dealer I used to go to closed down and the BMW dealership that took over, along with 3 other Euro makes have an attitude you would not believe! So I will make do with my Suzuki and Honda and enjoy the service I get from my dealership who care!

    • MGNorge says:

      Makes a difference doesn’t it? A good dealer is worth their weight in gold when you need them and treating their customers with care just brings them back. Seems like it should be rule one at any retail store. But it’s surprising to still run into people who should not be in the business. Time should weed them out but surprisingly they hang on longer sometimes than you’d think. Perhaps with the Euro brands you take it or you leave it but if it’s the bike you lust over…

      I lucked out in that a very caring dealer is only 45 minutes away when I bought my Norge. But the Norge is pretty easy to maintain myself so my need for dealer service is rare.

  30. Dougy says:

    Looks really nice, however, the “adventure bike” label has morphed quite extensively over the past few years. This is a street bike, exactly what makes it an adventure bike? Who is taking this expensive bike off-road?

  31. beasty says:

    I’ll just never understand how the “bootheels behind your ass” seating position can be considered comfortable. Oh well, it’s probably a mechanical marvel and it’s not the ugliest motorcycle I’ve ever seen.

    • Brian says:

      Huh? That’s one of the least “boot heels behind your ass” seating positions you’re likely to see, unless your only standard for comparison is a cruiser with forward pegs.

      • beasty says:

        Nonsense, look at the pictures. My standard for comparison is a “standard”.

        • Thrus says:

          Completely missed that. I know they bring the pegs up for clearance in the corners but I agree I like a standard (knees close to 90 degree bend). Just means take the corners a bit slower so you aren’t leaning as far, I know this won’t work on the track, but I don’t care how the bike runs on the track I will never take it there so not a feature I look for.

  32. Brinskee says:

    Loved my 2010. Might have to add one of these to the garage. Good article, great bike.

  33. Sam says:

    Wow—just fantastic. Now how about more dealers-please.

  34. mickey says:

    Looks like an awesome bike. If one of the big 4 Japanese companies built it I would probably buy one.

    • GPS says:

      If it was made by one of the big 4 it would not be anything like this work of art!

    • Jeremy in TX says:

      I’d much rather have a Japanese version myself. Unfortunately, it would be a premium product, and people seem to have trouble paying premium money for a Japanese bike. I’m the opposite: I’d be willing to pay more for a bike this powerful, advanced and appealing from one of the Big 4 than any of the European brands.

      • Blackcayman says:

        FZ-09 is 75% of this machine (price & performance). Yamaha!

      • TF says:

        I think you are right Jeremy.

        The Yamaha Super T is arguably a better adventure bike than the Multistrada at about 80% the cost. It’s simpler, more reliable, has a reasonable amount of power and torque, it has no beak, it’s shaft drive, and you never have to check the valve clearances (effectively addressing all the complaints I have seen above).

        I rarely see one except for the leftover models sitting on showroom floors. I would not be surprised to see Yamaha pull the plug on it next year.

  35. Buzz Aster says:

    Must…have….