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2015 Ducati Multistrada 1200 Preview


by Pascal Bastien ,

The 2015 Ducati Multistrada 1200 gets a new version of the 1,198cc Testastretta twin-cylinder with variable timing, as well as updated electronics, brakes and geometry to ward off new competitors.

Ducati Multistrada 1200 2015
Photo: Ducati

An industry first
The all-new Desmodromic Variable Timing (DVT) system has the task of setting the most advantageous valve timing according to engine load and speed requirements. It uses hydraulically operated camshaft phasers (two for each cylinder head) to manipulate camshaft position relative to the sprocket connected to the timing belt to therefore vary valve timing. The result is stronger performance at high speeds, a flatter torque curve at low speeds, and improved fuel economy across the entire rev range. It's an industry first.

On a more technical note, the camshaft phaser is a two-piece mechanism comprised of an outer sprocket connected to the timing belt and an inner rotor connected to the camshaft that varies the valve timing by adjusting the rotation angle of the camshaft. The oil pressure acting in the cam-phasers is continually adjusted by the oil control valves in order to set the right position of each camshaft. Don't worry about longevity: The DVT valve clearances are checked every 30,000km, and the service intervals are half that distance.

Consequently, the engine in the 2015 Ducati Multistrada 1200 produces 160 hp (+10) at 9,000 rpm and 99 lb-ft of torque at 7,000 rpm (including 59 lb-ft at just 3,400 rpm), while burning 8% less fuel.

Polarizing design
Aesthetically, the new Multistrada generated a fair bit of controversy at the Milan Motorcycle Show with its “mad eagle” beak and eyes. The tail is loved by everyone, on the other hand, with a tastefully executed LED taillight mounted under the big passenger grab rails. From the sides, the front section looks particularly busy and heavy in contrast with the streamlined rear.

While the base Multistrada 1200 features a premium LCD cluster, the more upscale 1200 S and 1200 S D-Air models (the latter being compatible with the famous Dainese inflatable jacket) receive a state-of-the-art, rider-customizable, full-TFT instrument panel that includes Bluetooth connectivity for smartphones and keyless start. Naturally, Ducati's four riding modes, eight-level traction control, wheelie control, and cruise control all come standard.

Forward-thinking solutions

Similar to the BMW K1600, the 2015 Ducati Multistrada 1200 benefits from an adaptive lighting system that pivots the headlight in corners based on steering input, thus increasing visibility and safety. Also, there's a new Bosch 9.1 ME multi-calibration cornering ABS that ensures the best possible brake performance in cornering conditions. These additions, however, make the new Multistrada 8kg heavier than the outgoing model (232kg/235kg curb weight for the base and S models).

The Multistrada 1200 S even comes with the latest evolution of the Ducati Skyhook Suspension (DSS) system, which is characterized by semi-active suspension control that automatically and continually adjusts damping to maintain a steady attitude regardless of road conditions, reduces the amount of vibration transferred to the rider and passenger, and significantly improves riding comfort and stability. The system allows the rider to select one of four different riding modes (Sport, Touring, Urban and Enduro).

Bottom line
After launching a new trend in 2003 with adventure-bike attributes and sport-bike wheels, the Ducati Multistrada returns for 2015 in top shape and armed to put up an even better fight in a blossoming market segment.