On a recent 200 mile run back from Cornwall to my beloved Midlands riding my trusty Yamaha Thundercat only one thing was on my mind. It wasn’t how great it is to be on a 600 sports bike with a full tank of juice and an open road stretching out in front of me. No, I was just thinking ‘Christ my neck is killing me!’ and ‘when can I get off?’. The crouched forward sports riding position was the problem. Oh God, this is it: ‘The moment’; the one when you realise that a sports bike might not be your thing anymore. Time for a ‘sit-up-and-beg’ adventure bike? No!! In a world where I seem to surrounded by folk riding BMW GS1200s and Triumph Explorers etc gleefully engaging ‘Smug’ mode via their multi function handlebar controls as they glide serenely into the distance. Their buttocks gently warmed by a heated seat, dressed from head to foot in a ‘Ewan and Charlie’ romper suits whilst being cosseted from the pot holed surface by computer controlled suspension that makes it all feel like glass smooth, virginal tarmac. It’s a bit like that moment you tune your radio way from Radio 1 to Radio 2….it feels like you are giving up
But there is hope! While I might have to go ‘sensible’ it doesn’t mean the fun has to stop…say hello to the Ducati 1200 Multistrada 1200S DVT. Here is a machine that combines the power of sports bike with the character of a V twin and the riding position and conveniences of an adventure bike. It looks so comfy, the only person who wouldn’t approve is my chiropractic! Even for a stumpy like me the post 2015 DVT models have a surprisingly low seat height, especially on the lowest of the three settings available. Although getting on board was still a bit of a fandango once aboard I was amazed how low and manageable the big Duke felt.
Imposing, but the seat height is surprisingly low
I was up in Scottish border country for this ride and had a joyous thirty mile stint attacking the glorious A708 as it twists, rises and falls as it follows the course of the River Yarrow Water. Immediately I felt at home the Multistrada and was soon going at a pace that I would not of managed on my Thundercat, a bike that I have owned for years. The suspension is longer travel than I am used to and more compliant than my MV Agusta Brutale, but I think better suited to pot hole strewn British roads. 3rd and 4th gears were ratios of choice on this kind of narrow, twisting and bumpy A road. With 160bhp on offer any overtaking opportunity can be taken with dismissive ease. I found myself tucking and leaning forward slightly when pressing on as it seemed to help the feel of the bike through a bend. However when I wound back a little and just sat back the comfort level and ability to just waft along was sublime and impressive. The Multistrada does offer a variety of riding and traction control modes but I just left it set on ‘Touring’ which I am certain will be fine for 90% of most people’s riding.
Colour, comprehensive, clear
The engine was a peach , the six-speed gear box slick, the controls logical, although a bit of a fiddle with so many functions to control. The colour TFT display was easy to read and I liked the prominent gear indicator too. In fact I liked this bike so much that was supposed to be a quick 10 minute try out developed into a full on 30 mile loop across a challenging A road with a backdrop that you would be hard pressed to better. So much was I enjoying myself that actually took the same road back to base! What a glorious bike…my wife remarked as I returned ‘It looks like it could be an expensive day’. I am not sure about that, but I am sure the Ducati 1200 Multistrada is one cracking motorcycle.
Big thank you to Dave for letting me out on his pride and joy