DUCATI MULTISTRADA 1200S
Wrist: Zack Courts
MSRP (2013): $19,995
Mods: Still none!
Okay, time to come clean. Even though I've been shouting from rooftops that the Multistrada is perfect the way it is, some tweaks here and there would probably make it better. Before I get into what I want to change, one more scoop of praise for the Multi. For a cool $20K, I really want a bike to hit the nail on the head, and I feel Ducati did that. I could easily be happy with this bike as my one and only without making any modifications. Sure, it's got quirks, but it also has loads of charisma and even more capability. As for prospective alterations, I'd like to start with one of the Multi's more annoying traits. Inexplicably, the tab used to deploy the centerstand is so tall that it hits my left heel as I'm riding. It's especially bothersome when I stand on the pegs, but fortunately I don't do that very often. All of my coworkers have the same complaint, and as far as we can tell all it will take to fix is chopping 2 inches off the arm and rewelding the tab back to the end. It could potentially affect the leverage of the arm to hoist the bike up on to the centerstand, but we're all confident that it will work just fine. I'll let you know how it turns out.
Another item high on my wish list is luggage that's a little easier to deal with. The stock Multistrada 1200S saddlebags offer decent storage and look sleek on the bike, but the triple latch system (combined with the locking mechanism) will wear a soul down. A recent experience with top-loading side cases reminded me what a pleasure it can be to have easy access, so in the interest of improving the Multi, I put an order in for a standard Ducati top case. Since it bolts directly to the stock rack on the tail, I think it could make for a good alternative to the standard bags—the benefits of top loading plus reduced cross section to help with LA traffic.
A little less important, but still on my radar, is tightening up the rear blinker and license plate assembly. Ari and I traded bikes recently during a day trip, and I was shocked to see the blinkers flapping around like a basset hound's ears. Upon inspection, the mounts appear secure but quite flimsy. Perhaps they're intentionally floppy to avoid breakage. Either way, I think we can do better. I've got my eye on a couple of aftermarket options that will also allow me to upgrade the rear signals, hopefully to match the brilliance of the large LED blinkers that grace the Multi's face.
Last up is wind protection. The Multi's stock screen is one of the best of any bike I've ridden, as is the simple and elegant "pinch and slide" adjustment system. Pinch the two tabs together to free the latch, slide to desired height, and release to lock. Beautiful. Since the screen delivers comfortable aerodynamics in basically all positions of adjustment, I'm planning to try both a shorter, sportier screen as well as a larger, more touring-oriented option. For the sake of experimentation, mostly, but maybe I'll be able to determine why Ducati settled on the size it did. More soon...