So much for the Strada Aperta name... Ducati's all-new adventure-tourer retains the Multistrada title, but that's all it has in common with the previous model. Underneath that trendy beak-and-jowl bodywork lurks a liquid-cooled, 1198cc V-twin fit with more electronic gadgetry than Noriyuki Haga's World Superbike racer. With ride-by wire throttle, variable drive modes, traction control, electronically adjustable suspension and advanced ABS, this is the most sophisticated adventure-tourer yet.
The Multistrada 1200 is powered by a redesigned version of the Testastretta Evoluzione superbike motor with a valve overlap angle of just 11 degrees, reduced from 41 degrees on the superbikes. This change is said to smooth power delivery, in addition to improving fuel economy by 15 percent and lowering exhaust emissions by 65 percent. Output remains stout at a claimed 150 horsepower and 87.5 lb.-ft. of torque, while revised intake and exhaust porting, altered cam timing and a reduced compression ratio all work to boost low-rpm torque and enhance rideability.
The $14,995 Multistrada 1200 base model offers three different drive modes: Sport, with aggressive power delivery; Touring, with progressive power delivery; and Urban, which reduces peak power by 30 percent. Traction control is standard equipment, settings automatically readjusted to suit each power profile-or adjusted independently among eight settings. Bosch-Brembo ABS is available for an additional $1000.
Top-of-the-line 1198R Special Edition gets unique graphics that commemorate the Ducati Cor
Ducati will also offer two $18,995 Multistrada 1200 S variations, both supplied with ABS and pushbutton, electronically adjustable Öhlins suspension in place of the base model's Marzocchi fork and Sachs rear shock. The Sport version features plenty of carbon-fiber body parts, while the Touring edition substitutes hard saddlebags, heated handgrips and a centerstand. The S-models offer four preset "full" drive modes that tailor power profile, traction-control settings and suspension setup in concert for Sport, Touring, Urban and Enduro riding conditions.
Vacural-cast engine cases, a lighter and stiffer composite steel/alloy frame, an aluminum single-sided swingarm and a new, blow-molded fuel tank keep dry weight to a claimed 417 pounds, making the Multistrada 1200 the lightest adventure-tourer on the market. Designed with a more open ergonomic triangle than the previous edition, the Multistrada 1200 offers more spacious seating, a higher, wider handlebar mounted on anti-vibration isolators and 2.5 inches of vertical windscreen adjustment. It's is an ambitious machine, and looks fully capable of providing the best adventure-tourers on the market-specifically the BMW R1200GS-with serious competition.
Ducati drops a fitter, faster Hypermotard too
The next evolution of Ducati's twin-cylinder supermoto, fittingly named the Hypermotard 1100EVO ($11,995), sheds a whopping 15.5 pounds and gains 5 horsepower compared to the original. Nearly 12 lbs. were trimmed from the motor, thanks to new Vacural-cast cases and a lightened crank, flywheel and alternator. Extra power comes courtesy of new porting, a revised combustion chamber and a new airbox. Ducati will also offer a track-ready SP version ($14,495) with increased cornering clearance, uprated suspension, higher bars and even lower weight after the addition of forged and machined Marchesini wheels and, of course, a liberal dose of carbon-fiber.