The Ducati Multistrada 1200 has made a name for itself as an ultra-sporty crossover bike that can send you to motorcycling Nirvana no matter where or how you ride.
Whether on city streets, highways, small country roads or even gravel roads, this machine is always a treat to exploit. Is there a limit to its versatility? Moto123.com tried to find out on the track.
Everything felt a bit overwhelming during the first few laps with the 2012 Ducati Multistrada 1200 S. The soft, long-travel suspension, the generous, super-comfortable seat padding, and the level of protection against the elements are clear signs that this is no superbike.
Yet, the sound and overall presence of the Testastretta engine suggest otherwise. Powerful and lively, this twin-cylinder is also quite torquey and responsive. In fact, it propels the 2012 Ducati Multistrada 1200 S with forceful authority regardless of gear selection and engine speed. No need to rev it up past the apex: There's plenty of grunt at low revs to power the mass out of corners.
Soft, yet aggressive
In attack mode, the excessively soft suspension compromises riding precision, however slightly. Thanks to its highly rigid frame, neutral front end, stable dynamics in corners and effective weight management, the 2012 Ducati Multistrada 1200 S can provide a healthy dose of excitement even on a track.
The front brakes are remarkably powerful and easy to modulate, while the rear brakes suffer from long pedal travel and a general lack of efficiency, making them more suited for gravel than tarmac.
The 2012 Ducati Multistrada 1200 S surged well past 200 km/h on the back straight at Autodrome St. Eustache. That kind of velocity makes no sense on the road, but it goes to show you the amazingly versatile performance delivered by this Italian beast. You can pick up the pace in no time as you exit corners, each twist of the wrist producing speeds that are deemed illegal on the road. What else did you expect from an engine that was originally designed to win the WSBK?
|You can pick up the pace in no time as you exit corners, each twist of the wrist producing speeds that are deemed illegal on the road. (Photo: Sébastien D'Amour)
In terms of ergonomics, everything about the 2012 Ducati Multistrada 1200 S seems to be focused on the track as much as the road. The fuel tank fits nicely between the thighs, the sculpted rider's seat features a non-slipping surface, and the passenger's seat serves to maintain the body in check under acceleration.
On the flip side, the handlebar is too wide and the riding position is too upright. Of course, they were designed to provide superior comfort for long-distance touring. Even this all-around athlete has limits.
The next time you see a rider on a Multistrada 1200 at a track day, you'll know that he or she isn't lost or out of their mind. Ducati has found a balance that is seldom seen in this market segment, with handling, agility, braking power and fantastic engine performance that make for good times both on the road and the track.
|In terms of ergonomics, everything about the 2012 Ducati Multistrada 1200 S seems to be focused on the track as much as the road. (Photo: Sébastien D'Amour)
Highly effective front brakes
Class-leading balance and agility
Soft suspension and upright riding position are ideal on the road, somewhat less on the track