Bertie on this very weird-looking beast!
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.