Ducati Multistrada 1260 S
Ducati’s idea of making three motorcycles in one turns out to be the only motorcycle that you may ever need. The new Multistrada 1260 pushes the boundaries much further for a proper, all-round, all-road adventure motorcycle
If I were asked for one reason that would dissuade me from riding a 160bhp motorcycle on our roads, it would be traffic. As luck would have it, it’s exactly what I hit on the new Ducati Multistrada 1260S just about 10 minutes into the ride. Damn you and your law Murphy! While my optimistic mind was already looking forward to the new Multistrada, the constant worrying about the tall stance and weight dampened my excitement to some extent. Getting stuck in traffic made things even worse however, that’s also precisely when I had a revelation. Here’s a motorcycle who’s sharp styling dominated by the massive front half-fairing, large fuel tank and extended beak can intimidate a rider, standing tall and proud of being what it is. But once aboard it, the size simply disappears. The riding position made me feel like I’m in command, a vital trait that helps boost confidence by manifold. Suddenly, traffic wasn’t a cause of concern and set in Urban riding mode, the power delivery was tame while I knew that the complex traction control system is quietly working away in the background on a less than ideal dusty surface. In the following minutes spent in chock-a-block traffic, I had gained a surprising degree of assurance in
DVT IS THE REASON WHY THE MASSIVE L-TWIN CAN PURR LIKE A PERSIAN AT LOW SPEEDS AND COME OUT HOWLING LIKE A BLOODTHIRSTY WOLF AT HIGHER REVS
the Multistrada’s ability as well as my own to handle it. What further helped me were the 17-inch front and rear wheels that surely keep the 1260’s overall height low along with the 825mm minimum seat height. It was far easy to manoeuvre at slow speeds and tackle U-turns than any other big ADV out there. The swingarm sees a revision in the form of a 48mm increase in length and consequently an increase in wheelbase, both of which add to the motorcycle’s stability in a straight line and while cornering. Then it only got better. As I finally hit a well paved state highway, the Multistrada’s new 1,262cc Ducati Testastretta DVT engine shone through with its abilities. DVT is the brand’s nomenclature for variable valve timing and it’s the reason why the massive L-twin can purr like a Persian at low speeds and come out howling like a blood-thirsty wolf at higher revs. Touring mode unleashes all of the engine’s 158bhp in a tame, progressive manner but Sport mode brings out its wrath with an aggressive power delivery, reduced traction control, ABS and wheelie control intervention. It’s only when I realised that the front end doesn’t shy away from aiming at the sky on aggressive acceleration in Sport mode, despite the 170mm of suspension travel, that I came to respect all that power. The electronics and differences in power delivery in the lower riding modes make it extremely easy to forget how manic the Multistrada can be with its 130Nm of torque, 85 per cent of which is available at just 3,500 revs. Ducati’s Skyhook Suspension in its Evo avatar now uses electronic data not just from its sensors placed on the suspension components but also from the Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU). The IMU sup-
plies data on various angles of the motorcycle to measure load transfers while braking, accelerating and cornering to the suspension system. The electronics then constantly and immediately processes the data and hydraulically adjusts the compression and damping to offer the best possible ride quality depending on the chosen riding mode. The results are really astonishing; sublime ride quality, stability and grip that other motorcycles may not even be able to currently match. What’s more is that the rider can further customize the suspension reactions by setting the riding load. One can choose if they’re riding with a passenger, with luggage or both while the Skyhook suspension adjusts the pre-load accordingly.
The Multistrada 1260 may very well be the only motorcycle that you’ll ever need. It is loaded to the gills with electronics and equipment to shame some superbikes while also packing their explosive performance in accelerating, braking and cornering. It’ll also go ahead and beat them in practicality and usability in a variety of conditions. Don’t like the excessive engine braking from the long-stroke engine, heck you can even adjust that! The 1260 more than justifies its price tag and doesn’t leave anything to complain about.
SUBLIME RIDE QUALITY, STABILITY AND GRIP THAT OTHER MOTORCYCLES MAY NOT EVEN BE ABLE TO CURRENTLY MATCH
1. Colour TFT has an extensive array of menus for various levels of customization. 2. Adjustable rider seat height, perfect firmness for long and short rides. 3. Brembo Monoblock Evo M50 callipers and cornering ABS offer superbike rivalling braking performance and safety. 4. Combined mode, enter and toggle button was imprecise as pressing for one function led to the other changing. 5. The Multi does a one up on LED lighting by including cornering lamps. 6. The 1,262cc DVT motor uses longer strokes for its two pistons thus resulting in a major chunk of the power being developed and available at rpms as low as 3,500. The variable timing smoothens torque spread at lower revs eliminating judder at slow speeds. The clutch is heavy despite being hydraulically actuated; gear changes are smooth and an up-down quick shifter as standard for the track star in you
1. Wheels are lighter now while the single-sided swingarm shows off its beautiful design. 2. Devil’s horns LED tail-lamp, the view most other motorcyclist on the road would have. 3. Rear suspension is a Sachs unit with full electronic adjustability thanks to the Skyhook tech