‘It smokes the BMW and kicks sand in the face of the Honda’
Ducati’s ‘four-in-one’ bike
This is one very complete motorcycle. Or, as we found, it’s four very complete motorcycles! The rider modes are so good – and affect the semi-active suspension as well as the power – that they really do make a massive difference.
Each mode also has specific Ducati Safety Pack settings which cover the cornering ABS, traction control intervention and wheelie control.
Select Urban mode and the suspension is pre-set for urban riding and the Skyhook semi-active system reacts accordingly. Meanwhile the Ducati Safety Pack changes the traction control, cornering ABS and wheelie control, while also softening the power delivery and throttle response. If you then flick into Sports mode, the suspension automatically changes to compensate for sportier riding, the TC, ABS and wheelie control are reduced and you’re given a sharper throttle and full power.
It totally changes the character and handling. Each mode has a pre-set default setting which gives the bike four different personalities. You can even personalise each mode if you wish. In comparison, the modes on the BMW just change the power characteristics and don’t affect any rider aids. The ESA enables you to change the settings on the move, soft medium and hard, but the changes are limited and not as pronounced as the Ducati’s.
We all loved the Ducati’s split personalities, which can easily be tapped into from the mode button on the left bar. When it’s cold, dark and miserable and you just want to get home, simply flick into the Touring or Urban mode. And when the sun pops out, flick into Sports mode and enjoy all the raging 160 Italian horses. The Duke is instantly noticeably quicker than the other two – it smokes the BMW and kicks sand in the face of the Honda with an extra 66bhp.
It also out-handles its rivals with conventional 17in wheels opposed to a 19in front on the BMW and a skinny 21in on the Honda, but obviously this does limit its off-road capabilities. If I was to be a little critical, the semi-active suspension does give a slightly vague feeling when you really start to make full use of its sporting potential. The lack of dive from the front means, like the BMW, it gives an unusual feeling during heavy braking, especially when hauling it up right to the apex.
The Multi is a brilliant bike and great two-up. But it still wouldn’t be my first choice for a long distance tour around Europe but in almost every other category it would.
The sophisticated Ducati has a mode for every scenario