Ducati Multistrada 1200S | Doin' Time

Staffers’ Rides

Photography by Zack Courts, Joe Neric

Wrist: Zack Courts

MSRP: $19,995

Miles: 3271

MPG: 38

Mods: None, and proud of it

Last month, I was pretty high on my horse about not adding parts to the mighty Multistrada, and I’m proud to say I have managed to spend the last 4 weeks without succumbing to any temptation to drape this Ducati in carbon fiber or billet parts. I did, however, make the mistake of hearing a late-model Multi with a Termignoni slip-on exhaust and I’m not sure how much longer I can resist. Luckily, I haven’t had time to ponder the pipe. I’ve been logging a lot of miles instead.

My first trip of any distance took me about 400 miles along the California coast to San Francisco, and back two days later. As suspected, the seat and aerodynamics stood the test of many hours on the road, though the saddle didn’t “break in” over multiple hours as I had hoped. Rather than sinking slowly into the foam until butt-cheek meets seat-pan, I discovered the Multi’s saddle would stand firm for all of the 8.5 hours it took to make the first leg of the trip. With any luck, the Multi’s perch will continue to soften up, but based on what I’ve seen on the Multistrada forums, the 2013 seat is better than most of the aftermarket options from years prior.

The long trip also added to my building frustrations with the stock Ducati saddlebags. They work with one main latch on top and two auxiliary latches on the front and back edges of the closure, which is a thorough system. In theory. Unfortunately, each of the three latches is capable of either getting caught inside the bag as it closes or falling out of position far enough that you have to unfasten the other clips and re-close the bag. Also, being that the Multi “benefits” from a fob/key system, you have to dig into your pocket for the key rather than nabbing it from the ignition (same for opening the gas cap, incidentally). The bags don’t have to be locked, but leaving them unlocked means the possibility of them popping open. I’ve already started scouring the Internet for other options.

Many hundreds of miles on the freeway let me experiment with engine maps and fuel mileage. Ducati claims 150 horsepower from the 1198cc Testastretta mill in the Multi, but it’s possible to dial the power down to a claimed 100 hp when desired. I killed a full tank on each setting going the same direction on California’s lonely Interstate 5 but, as Editor Cook so confidently predicted, there was no real difference in mileage. I saw just over 40 mpg, albeit with tailwind, on both settings. Next test will be a headwind—anything to prove the boss wrong!

The only other issue that needed to be addressed was the headlight being adjusted too high from the factory. After Cook borrowed the Multi, he “suggested” I adjust the lights by printing out instructions and leaving them on my desk. I was surprised to find that no bodywork needs to be removed. The operation only needs a long Phillips-head screwdriver and a few minutes of experimentation.

Ongoing investigation will tell me whether or not the engine-map settings make a difference for city usage, and in the interest of testing the bike’s versatility I’ve still got one eye on a track day and the other on some fire roads in the nearby mountains.

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