2015 Ducati Multistrada Review Update

Ducati Re-Flashes the Multistrada Making Progress…

ducati multistrada s
CLICK HERE to see the On Two Wheels video comparison between the Ducati Multistrada S and the BMW S1000XR.©Motorcyclist

In our comparison test that ran in the October issue of Motorcyclist (see Trading Punches here), it was clear that the 2015 Ducati Multistrada S provided to us was not healthy, though we were able to establish that our particular bike was not an outlier. Private owners and other magazine testbikes had similar issues. Ducati admitted that something was up and promised revised software for the bike's many computers. Those updates arrived after we went to press, but we were able to further test our red machine after the latest coding was installed in time for this issue.

Good news first. The nuisance issues with the Multi’s beautiful TFT display have been cured; the tripmeters no longer reset when you turn the bike off and the fuel gauge seems more accurate. (Before, it was quite pessimistic.)

ducati multistrada dyno test
The original tune is in black, and the revised ECU programming is in red. Indeed, Ducati made progress, raising torque substantially from right off the bottom to an early peak at 3,500 rpm. The shape of this lower part of the torque curve is flatter than before. However, torque begins to drop at 3,500 and doesn’t start back up the chart again until 5,500 rpm. From there to the redline, the new tune betters the old by a small amount.©Motorcyclist

Now not-so-good news. We immediately dyno tested the new tune and compared it to the old one (image above). While the “torque dip” is less pronounced, the Multi still has a sag right in the middle of the powerband. What’s more, this curve looks nothing like the one Ducati presents in its marketing.

While the dyno shows improvement, from the saddle the bike feels much the same. It pulls well from the bottom of the rev range, bogs down in the middle, and then comes “on the cam” in the top half, which is an ironic statement given the theoretical benefits of variable valve timing. Initial throttle response in Sport feels less abrupt than before, but we still slightly prefer the bike’s manners in Touring.

We give Ducati credit for beavering away at the problems—though some owners are quick to point out that the quirks should never had made it into production—and look forward to the day we can sample the Multistrada’s DVT-enhanced performance the way Bologna intended it to be.