Mul­tistrada S

Motorcycle News (UK) - - Road Test -

‘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

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