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2009 Ducati Multistrada First Impressions


by Henri Lebarbé ,

Multistrada: “multi” meaning multiple and “strada” meaning road. In principle and according to the model name, this model is designed to behave properly on various surfaces and, by extension, different types of riding. In practice the Multistrada 1100 is adept at sporty riding on twisting roads, relaxed city posing as well as torching tanks on the way to the farthest ocean from your house. Forget about off-roading though, unless you’re hitting the best groomed of dirt roads.

Light, easy to handle, powerful and fun, the Multistrada 1100 will delight the Ducati fans of today and tomorrow.

Ducati power – through and through
Ducati uses the latest generation of the air cooled L-twin engine, pushed up to 1,078 cc in this case. It is the very essence of a Ducati engine – two valves per cylinder with desmodromic actuation, an up to date electronic fuel injection and ignition mapped specially for the Multistada’s intended use, and a high 10.5:1 compression ratio for an air cooled engine. The mill, identical to that of the Monster 1100 but without the dry clutch, is raring to go, cranking out 95 hp at 7,750 rpm and 70 ft-lb of torque at 4,750 rpm.

From their earliest days, Ducati two-valve L engines have delivered generous amounts of torque almost right off idle. And the tradition lives, as the Multistrada engine is a marvel of flexibility from 1,500 rpm, and delivering solid throttle response from 3,000 rpm up to where the torque starts to drop off close to the 6,500 rpm mark.

Going up and down the 6 gears requires more finesse than that of other models of the brand, a problem that could be due to the new master cylinder whose limited range of movement doesn’t allow for complete disengagement of the clutch. This little flaw complicates finding neutral and the proper friction point on take off. On top of that, the clutch slips too much and heats up needlessly when waiting for the green light in first gear.

Tubular steel trellis frame, as it should be
The tubular trellis frame emblematic of the brand cannot be missed – good on them! On the standard Multistrada model, a 43-mm upside-down Showa fork and an adjustable Sachs shock ensure more than adequate handling. For just $3,000 more, the Multistrada S will treat you to Öhlins adjustable fork and shock, with an efficiency that markedly surpasses the basic Showa/Sach combo.

The Multistrada engine is a marvel of flexibility from 1,500 rpm, and delivering solid throttle response from 3,000 rpm.
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