Bold both in looks and con­cept, the first ver­sion is still a great thing to ride – es­pe­cially at around £2K

Practical Sportsbikes (UK) - - Contents - Words: Alan See­ley

The Du­cati Mul­tistrada is an ac­quired taste. But tasty too New ad­di­tion to the PS fleet, tidy first gen YZF. Oh yes

If ever a bike were damned by con­tempt prior to in­ves­ti­ga­tion, it’s the Du­cati Mul­tistrada. It’s no kind of looker, com­ing as it does from the draw­ing board of Pierre Terblanche. Get be­yond the styling how­ever – and we’re not say­ing that’s easy – and you’ll find a taut, dy­namic road­ster that lives up to its ‘many roads’ des­ig­na­tion.

Du­cati chose Sar­dinia for the 2003 launch of the orig­i­nal Mul­tistrada 1000, pow­ered by a 992cc ver­sion of their two-valve, air-cooled Des­mod­romicv-twin des­ig­nated the DS for its ‘dual-spark’ two plugs per pot de­sign.

Sar­dinia was an in­spired venue to show­case the bike’s ca­pa­bil­i­ties.there’s barely a straight longer than 100 me­tres on the Mediter­ranean is­land and the road sur­faces are vari­able.the Mul­tistrada was in its ele­ment, jour­nal­ists and fac­tory test riders alike hooning up and down un­du­lat­ing coast and moun­tain roads, the bike’s taut chas­sis with long-travel usd forks, monoshock sin­gle-sided swingarm and sports­bike-size tyres (190 rear) giv­ing the con­fi­dence to get Du­cati’s odd­ball on its ear, even into un­fa­mil­iar bends. Brembo brakes, as al­ways, got you out of trou­ble if you did over­cook it.

Du­cati also launched an Öh­lins-equipped S ver­sion at the same time for those who ei­ther found the stan­dard bike’s abil­i­ties lack­ing or their wal­let too full.a range of ac­ces­sories were launched too, in­clud­ing lug­gage and a then new-fan­gled sat-nav point­ing to Du­cati’s de­signs on the tour­ing mar­ket.ter­mignoni cans were avail­able too be­cause it wouldn’t re­ally be a Du­cati with­out them.

Divi­sive looks aside, those di­vi­sions be­ing be­tween ‘What the hell is that?’ and ‘Sheesh, that’s thing’s fugly’ there was lit­tle de­bate over the Mul­tistrada’s ca­pa­bil­i­ties.yes, you might wish for a lit­tle more power than the 92bhp avail­able but the 68lb.ft of torque was plenty to get the 229kg Mul­tistrada mov­ing, even more so as it was that spe­cial brand of Du­cati torque that seems to be worth about 20 per cent more than ev­ery­one else’s.the im­pe­ri­ous rid­ing po­si­tion of­fers a num­ber of ad­van­tages on the road and in traf­fic too: field of vi­sion be­ing chief among them.

Du­cati has re­fined, restyled and re-en­gined the Mul­tistrada sincey­to­hue’ll­lanueend­cha­tole­fat­sht­e­seven con­tentious orig­i­nal, of cougrasned,b. bike has a charm to defy its looks.

Bul­bous and a bit tail heavy, but bal­anced and slim

Back when dry clutch clat­ter didn’t much mat­ter

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