World Exclusive: Ducati Multistrada 1200S - Multiple Choice

Everything All The Time

By Tim Carrithers, Photography by Joe Neric, Kevin Wing

The traditional trellis of large-diameter, thin-wall steel tubes gets a little help from a pair of cast-aluminum sections that carry the swingarm pivot and footpegs as well as the upper shock mount and rear subframe. A magnesium front subframe carries the headlights, instruments and assorted bodywork while minimizing weight and structure up high.

Ducati forms the Multistrada's single-sided swingarm with one elegantly curved aluminum casting. Rider, passenger and optional hard luggage are all well within the 60.2-inch wheelbase to keep handling tight and precise, even when you're loaded up for the long haul. The adjustable windscreen offers 2.4 inches of vertical adjustment. A pair of 12-volt power sockets deliver up to 8 amps of juice for electric vests, cell-phone chargers or other personal electronics.

The S-spec Multistrada rides on Ducati Electronic Suspension: a 48mm Öhlins fork and Öhlins TTX shock that allow 6.7 inches of travel at either end. Everything but fork-spring preload is electronically controlled, with four preset load settings: solo rider, rider with luggage, two-up and two-up with luggage. You can stiffen or soften these in seconds-parked or on the fly-by cycling through a couple of menus on the dash. The standard Multistrada comes with a manually adjustable 50mm Marzocchi fork and Sachs shock.

The 10-spoke aluminum-alloy wheels-3.5 x 17-inch front and 6.0 x 17-inch rear-wear dual-compound Pirelli Scorpion Trail tires developed along with the bike. Don't let the dual-purpose pattern fool you: Meaty, asymmetrical tread blocks toward the edges are sticky enough to generate as much grip as more narrowly focused street rubber.

Brembo's four-piston, two-pad radial-mount calipers generate tons of stopping power against these 320mm discs without getting grabby. Excellent Bosh-Brembo ABS is standard equipment on the Multistrada 1200S and optional on the standard model. It's uniformly unobtrusive, and easy to switch off whenever electronic intervention seems inappropriate. The two-piston rear caliper and 245mm disc help slow the proceedings when you're in a hurry.

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