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

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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.

VERDICT

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

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