Ber­tie on this very weird-look­ing beast!

Classic Motorcycle Mechanics - - CONTENTS -

Iwas lucky enough to head out on the launch of the orig­i­nal Multistrada back in 2003 and I loved it. But be­fore my first im­pres­sions, let’s deal with the ele­phant in the room… those looks. Now, while the post 2009 model with the liq­uid-cooled mo­tor and hawk­ish looks is a real head-turner, the orig­i­nal wasn’t, by any stretch of the imag­i­na­tion. At the time I com­pared it to some sort of brutish love child be­tween the Ele­phant Man and Davros, cre­ator of the Daleks, penned as it was by Ducati de­signer (and 999 man) Pierre Terblanche. Now, Terblanche has some great vis­ual ‘hits’ to his name (in­clud­ing the Ca­giva Gran Canyon, a pro­gen­i­tor to the ‘Strada) as well as some also-rans and for my money the orig­i­nal Multistrada is in the lat­ter camp. It’s just an eye-sore, but it’s an eye-sore that works and works bril­liantly. Firstly the choice of mo­tors is in­spired. The 1000DS (dual spark) and later 1100 air-cooled twins are some of the best to come out of Bologna. The orig­i­nal 1000 has a healthy 84bhp but it’s the spread of power which is im­pres­sive and the sound from the un­der-seat pipes is glo­ri­ous: es­pe­cially with af­ter-mar­ket Ter­migno­nis. The chas­sis is sim­i­larly bril­liant. Var­i­ous up­graded mod­els in­cluded the likes of Oh­lins but the ba­sic model – de­vel­oped as it was over the twisty, dif­fi­cult 30km of the Passo della Futa – is more than bril­liant enough, hav­ing as it does fully ad­justable Showa sus­pen­sion. Com­fort too is pretty damn good – al­though the larger gents/peo­ple will want for more from the fair­ing and screen – but you do have ad­justable (by 50mm) bars which move fore and aft. Nice touch, that. All of this gels to­gether to make the Multistrada a stun­ning road bike: it can go fast on B-roads, can go two-up on mo­tor­ways and com­mute with ease. It’s as a rip-roar­ing road scalpel that I loved it. At the launch we had some stun­ning roads to en­joy and the Multistrada just coped with what­ever was thrown at it. The ’Strada was also one of the first Du­catis to get LOADS of ac­ces­sories and ex­tras thrown at it, so – if you’ve a mind – you can get trick bits, per­for­mance parts and tour­ing kit all specif­i­cally de­signed by Ducati for the Multistrada – worth re­mem­ber­ing if you want to buy one. And here’s the rub… while there aren’t many orig­i­nal Mul­tistradas out there, prices aren’t that high: and they even did a 620 ver­sion… De­spite a (then high) orig­i­nal price of £7600 or there­abouts you can get your­self a ’Strada to­day for around £2000, while a lit­tle more gets you a real good one. Just check that the thing has been ser­viced and that the sus­pen­sion is still sorted.

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