Multistrada Enters Long Term Fleet, Staff Schism on Horizon

[ A slide from the Ducati presentation on the 2013 Multistrada. My goal is to test this idea; or rather, these ideas.

Now I really feel like a part of the family. Nothing punches your moto-journalist card quite like being assigned a long-term test bike. And now the pressure's on, because mine is a doozy. Mr. Editor Cook must have been in a giving mood when he secured me a Ducati Multistrada 1200S as my first long-term assignment. So what if I now have to name my first born Marc, regardless of gender–it was totally worth it.

Ever since I was sent to Spain for the press launch for the 2013 Ducati Multistrada last fall, I've been lobbying to get a Multi' as my long-term ride. Sure, it's one of the best motorcycles I've ever ridden, but that's not the only reason why. See the image below, clipped from Ducati's tech presentation on the 2013 MTS; the boys from Bologna have some hefty claims. It's a sportbike! It's a dirtbike! It's a La-Z-Boy! It's a tank! As I wrote in my First Ride (_Motorcyclist _Magazine, January, 2013), the Multistrada's ride modes actually make the whole idea of 4-bikes-in-1 feasible. My goal is to put that to the test.

Perhaps the most beautiful thing about the Multi' as a long-termer is that I do not feel compelled to add parts to it like crazy. It shouldn't need expensive suspension adds, aerodynamic help, or luggage capacity. I may experiment with parts, but I think the true test of Ducati's claims will be to take the bike, in its stock trim, beyond its limits. The question is where those limits are.

[ My job over the next 9 months is to add a "1" to the beginning of the total mileage. To say I'm looking forward to it would be an understatement.

The downside? I didn't make any friends in landing this assignment, namely one Art Director seen photo-bombing the lead image. I'll give you a hint: his last name rhymes with Eric. Honestly, I do feel a little guilty, getting a bike that truly stirs my soul, but I'm not alone; Ari would roll that Speed Triple R into his bedroom if his wife would let him. At least when I'm out of town it won't be hard to loan out to coworkers. The real trick is going to be getting the keys back when I return.