Ducati Multistrada 1200S Review: The Ferrari of adventure tourers

By Sriram Sridharan, January 15, 2017
4.5 out of 5
Description :

What if I told you that there exists a motorcycle that goes fast, turns fast, looks amazing and can tread any kind of terrain without showing hesitation. By the time you read the third quality in the above question, the first thing on your mind would be a Ducati but you would dismiss that thought the moment you reach the fourth. But don’t worry, you were very much correct, it does indeed belong to the stable of the red-blooded Italian manufacturer. The Multistrada 1000 (literal translation – Many Roads) was launched in 2003 in an attempt to compete with the highly successful GS series from BMW. Although back then, the Multistrada was more of a pure road bike with minimal off-road capability and some seriously weird aesthetics. It comes to no surprise as to why it wasn’t a popular motorcycle at all at that time. Ducati upped the game in 2010 when they launched a completely redesigned Multistrada 1200 with wayyy better looks, a comprehensive electronics package and top of the line components. For the first time in the world, you could take a Ducati off-road without worrying too much and testers around the world were mighty impressed by its all-round capabilities. It was a very successful motorcycle that was successful enough to make BMW feel threatened. For 2015, Ducati further upped the game when the launched a brand new Multistrada, now sporting their DVT technology, even more comprehensive electronics, even better components and literally looked like an off-road Panigale. Let’s find out how many roads it can actually perform well in. 

Looks and Design:
Adventure Tourers aren’t exactly the kind of motorcycles that are made for their aesthetic value. However being the true blooded Italians that they are, Ducati has somehow managed to make a semi-off roader look absolutely beautiful. The front section of the Multistrada 1200S now gets a much sleeker profile courtesy the brand new Panigale inspired LED headlamp cluster. Like the previous version, this one also gets the protruding air intake beak that is now body coloured and looks much better integrated. The tall windscreen is pretty much the same unit as seen on the previous generation and yes it is also height adjustable for convenience. The Multistrada 1200S retains the wide and flat handlebar with a pair of well-constructed plastic guards shielding it from the front. The guards also consist of the LED indicators. I’ve never understood why the indicators have been placed on the guards considering they’re actually meant to shield the rider’s hands from being hit by objects which makes them very susceptible to damage. They do look good though.

Moving to the sides, the head cowl and fairing are separated by a black panel that carries 3-D ducati badge. The Multistrada’s fairing is by far the best constructed unit I’ve seen on any motorcycle. Not because of its looks, but the way it flows in with the rest of motorcycle and how wonderfully it’s integrated into the overall design. It’s a multi-layered bikini faring that encompasses the large 20 litre fuel tank, neatly hiding most of it from view. A prominent flared arch runs down from the sides that covers half of its scintillating looking steel-trellis frame network. Within the Multistrada’s frame network lies the neatly packed 1200cc DVT engine. Most of the engine is exposed because of L-twin orientation and special mention to the intricately designed cylinder head shape. It’s actually really shocking that this motorcycle belongs to a category that’s inherently not meant to look good. The engine gets a usable belly pan beneath it that’s done in a brushed metal finish.

The Multistrada 1200S comes with a super plush and wide seat for both the pillion and rider. It gets a split construction setup but is still extravagantly comfortable. A rather small “Multistrada” sticker is located just below the back end of the rider seat along with the information of the engine and variant. Moving to the tail section, the pillion seat gets a set of rigid alloy grabrails that are done in black. The Multistrada 1200 now gets a larger and much better looking LED tail light which looks somewhat inspired from the Panigale just like the headlamp cluster. Below the tail light lies a short tail fender which holds a set of halogen clear lens indicators. The Multistrada 1200S gets Ducati’s famous gorgeous looking single sided swingarm with an added extended single sided tyre hugger as well. The instrument cluster is a full digital LCD unit that literally shows too much information. It gets the regular speed, RPM, fuel gauge, km-count, gear position display along with the entire information regarding the electronic setup, riding modes, data analyser and what not. The S version also gets the proprietary Skyhook electronic suspension which means it can be adjusted on the go with a click of a button.