The weekend of May 15, 2010 marks the official rollout of the new Ducati Multistrada 1200. Most of the Ducati dealerships will be uncrating their first Multistrada, a 1200S model.
I asked Donnie Unger, the owner of Duc Pond Motorsports in Winchester, Virginia, if I could videotape the uncrating process and take some photos, and he kindly agreed.
I couldn’t have picked a better place, because Donnie knows Ducatis. He raced them for more than 19 years, winning 13 Regional Championships, and he’s also one of the very few Ducati Certified Master Technicians in the U.S.A.
My guess is that not many motorcyclists have actually witnessed the uncrating process, so I thought this would be an interesting topic to cover. I took about an hour of video and filled up a PCMCIA card with photos, running down both camera batteries in the process. But, I had to distill it all down into something meaningful, so here’s an extended slide show and video for your viewing pleasure.
I’ll let the images do the talking on this one — all I can say about the Multistrada is…wow! What an incredible motorcycle and after seeing it live, I honestly think Ducati has jumped the curve by at least a couple of generations over anything else on the market.
The features are extraordinary, but what’s really interesting is the way everything has been implemented on this bike. The Ducati engineers have really thought through the entire logic of using all this technology, and they’ve done it in a way that makes a lot of sense.
If you haven’t already, be sure to read our full report on the Multistrada 1200 introduction. I hope to follow this up with a ride report within the next few weeks, but I wanted to get this out to you as quickly as possible, so without further ado, here’s the slide show and the YouTube embedded video of the new 2010 Ducati Multistrada:
wBW Video: Uncrating the Ducati Multistrada 1200S (NOTE: Be sure to select 1080p from the YouTube drop-down for best quality!)
Dealer Launch for the Multistrada 1200
by Bob S. for webBikeWorld.com
For the last several days, a lineup of brand-new Ducati Multistradas have been on view, greeting people walking into the garage of the InterContinental Hotel in Austin, Texas.
Can’t you just hear the butler ask “Your Ducati, Sir? Would you like the red one, or the white?”
The event was the introduction of the motorcycle to the dealer network in North America. Representatives of about 80 dealers in the US and Canada learned about the bikes in class and went through the briefings regarding what makes the MS1200 a unique bike. But most of all, the dealer group had this selection of these beauties to ride around the Texas Hill Country for three days.
Not only that, alternate bikes were available. So when your dealer says that the Multi does this or that different than a BMW or some other ride, he probably will have personal experience invested in what he says.
A lot has been written about riding the new ‘Strada and this was a Ducati family event that was not open to the press. So webBikeWorld didn’t get a chance to ride the bikes at this opportunity and that was fine.
Regular readers know that the webBikeWorld writers are fans of the breed and have spent our own dollars on the earlier Multistrada, Sport Tourer, and Classic. In this venue, we had access to the bikes and the Ducati North American reps, who were able to answer a few questions that we’ve had and heard from others.
First off, which dealers will be the first where the general public will be able to see and test ride the new bike? Ducati has about 80 dealers around the US listed on their website who are getting the bikes today and tomorrow. When the dealer doors open on Saturday, those are the dealers who should have one on the floor for you to see. Other dealers will get their bikes within a month.
We were interested in how the bike was priced and there was no single simple answer. For a start, the ‘Strada is a new evolutionary step. A new version of a true cross-over, in being a single bike that is able to expand on the multiple mission idea, partly from dimensions and partly from the chameleon-like technical abilities.
Dimension-wise, the bike will cut out it’s own niche. It’s much sleeker to look at than the R1200GS and KTM Adventure. The wheels are works of art in themselves.
Obviously, the wheel and tire selection were not intended to take the bike up boulder paths that a huge GS or KTM might, but the Pirelli Scorpion Trails will be fine on the typical gravel roads and dirt paths that we really experience. The ‘Strada feels light and personal by comparison and that lighter weight will be a blessing for long days when not on paved roads, and for track days.
Being on the new Multi found that Ducati has slightly spread the ergo relation of the seat/bars/pegs from the original Multi relationship, which could get cramped. Combined with the new seat, long days should be no problem and the seat also isn’t as awkwardly high as those of the KTM or BMW (lowering links will be available).
Technically, the ‘Strada is a chameleon and that’s going to be part of what will be interesting as these bikes reach their customers. Setting the mode to urban for the morning commute, the suspension changes and the throttle delivery loses the sharp edge that it can have with another button push.
Airplanes and cars have been able to do this for years and there have been a few previous motorcycles that were configurable. The Öhlins suspension and fuel control system in the MS1200 seem to get it right and expand on the evolution.
Select Sport mode and this “multi-road” bike has sporting capabilities that will satisfy anybody who is not on a full-tilt race motorcycle and on a full-tilt track. Remember where this 1200 comes from? It will be able to leave the GS and KTM Adventurer or new Tenere 1200 in the dust.
Ducati found that if they keep their machines technically ahead, the benefits will draw prove themselves and the market will be successful. For example, select a riding mode and you can actually see the MS1200 suspension change to where you need it to be. The throttle response will change, too.
Obviously, some people want a simple motorcycle. But for owners of the new ‘Strada, long gone will be the days of having to learn the number of clicks for the shock, fork adjustments, etc. Actually, most buyers have no idea about how to set their motorcycle up anyway. Many motorcycles spend their entire existence with the suspension settings that existed when they left the factory, and guess how people remember them?
This Duke will make for fun days hanging out with the Adventure and GS crowd, as well as with KLRs and V-Stroms. None of these was ever intended to be a true dirt bike. But at the same time, this is the cutting edge of multi-use motorcycles. This one will also surely get you into trouble when you literally hang with the GSXR and R1 boys. Of course, you then can press the Urban mode button and ride home with your kidneys intact.
I was also curious about the luggage. The bikes all have the mounting points and the bags were designed by Givi. Looking at the bikes, the mounting points are different than those of any Givis we know. The upside is that luggage will be available immediately from Ducati, and with the mounting points already there, we are sure that the aftermarket will quickly provide alternatives for bags. Probably for the windshields and other items, too.
The bike has drawn a massive interest from the motorcycling public. Not just in terms of press, but also in sales. While the bikes will hit the dealer floors in two days, you’ll have to keep your eyes open for a canceled sale if you want one. Ducati is currently in the enviable position of essentially having an owner named for each bike for the next three months.
wBW Flash Slide Show: Details of the Ducati Multistrada 1200S