Skinny on Duc's Multistrada

Discussion in 'Land of the Rising Sun: ADV Bikes from Japan' started by Ostrich, Aug 2, 2002.

  1. Ostrich

    Ostrich Jaded and Happy

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  2. jdiaz

    jdiaz .

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    I'm envisioning it have all the legendary features of previous Cagiva/Ducati adventure bikes.....reasonable weight, comfortable riding position, good power and economy, and excellent handling, offset by terrible resale value, limited options and aftermarket support, and eventual treatment as a red-headed stepchild by its manufacturer.

    :)

    Jon
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  3. Arch

    Arch Incurable Gearhead

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    I've fondled it and here's the story I told my friends at Ducati On Line...

    First of all, thanks to Vicki for including Warren & I in what turned out to be a very exclusive gathering of media types in Daytoner, only 20 or 30 in total, all there for one purpose: To see Multistrada in the flesh and hear about why it exists from those who hatched it. I had planned on penning some words about the machine after going over it with a fine toothed comb, but I wasn't planning to sugarcoat anything so here it goes right off the bat...

    Aesthetics are matter of taste and in that regard, Multistrada has two areas that don't satisfy mine: The front & the rear. The view from the latter is as busy as Main Street with its now expected half a tail section, exposed muffler tips, appendages, etc. IMHO, like the MHe, Multistrada tries too hard to make its exhaust system a styling statement. The 916 pulls it off because it's mufflers are covered by a proper tail section and everything appears tidy. It manages to be stout looking & minimalist at the same time. Who could ever tire of gazing at the rear of a 916? To my eye, it's as beautiful today as it was the day it broke cover. Meanwhile, I have to ask myself if I'll ever even remotely like the rear of the Multistrada. I would have preferred a more conventional arrangement that's not only easier on the eyes, but allows for some useful storage area under its tail section. But hey, that's just me.

    (Oh and btw, the exhaust is basically a 2 into 1 design as the two headpipes join up under the swingarm pivot to form one up-pipe that feeds into the muffler - which then finishes with the two exits. The headpipes are made of some interesting shapes and nicely tucked in.)

    The front? Well, it looks even funkier in the flesh than it does in pictures and includes plenty of angles, gashes, grilles & such, an out of scale headlight assembly that's all but lost in the busy fray - all of which is capped off with an articulated windscreen that turns with the bars. The latter seems a needless complication added just for novelty's sake, in keeping with all of the former I suppose. And while the screen appears tall enough to be of some use, there's no hand protection at all. In fact, when viewed up close & personal, the front end seems purpose built to direct road blast right at your hands. I asked PT about this and he didn't see it as any sort of a problem. Geez, even some minimalist pure-sports machinery addresses this and it'd seem that a motorcycle touted as an all-purpose, do-it-all sportbike would as well. In the end, I'd rather see a more effective & conventional frame mounted fairing. Sharply shaped, cleanly styled and devoid of articulated upper sections, with mirrors integrated into its sides and shaped to help cheat the wind around the controls. Obviously I'm speaking conceptually here and not in terms of scale as an RT's nose serves a different role and is consequently larger than what Multistrada requires, but look at one sometime to see how cleanly such an arrangement can be designed, with the blinkers combined to boot. <http://www.ducati.net/arch/bmw/1150rt47.jpg>

    OK, enough bitching about things I wish were different and onto what I love about this new motorcycle: In short, the rest of the bike is simply killer. New-style thin instruments are beautifully designed and implemented. Controls are nicely positioned for those of us who discovered long ago that clip-ons mounted at the axle do nothing to help you get down a twisty road at The Pace. So while we couldn't sit on it, just from standing alongside and fondling the controls and examining the layout, there's no doubt that this thing's seating position is usefully comfy. (For you riders who still enjoy being uncomfortable, being tubular handlebars, they could easily be swapped for something that folds you into the coveted pretzel position. :-))

    Storage bins are said to be located on either side of the fairing and somewhere beneath or aft of the seat, but we didn't get to see how any of them were accessed. Dunno how much of an area would be available at the rear though 'cause there's more fuel carried under the seat and of course the muffler occupies most of the usable space.

    Little details like peg mounts, shift/brake levers & such were a joy to look at and strictly solo riders can easily remove the passenger pegs and their brackets for an even cleaner look. Speaking of passengers, this one had a remote preload adjuster on its Öhlins shock, not sure if that stays for production but it certainly should. The brochure says that the Öhlins will be included, but we've all seen Ducati's brochure/production parts swap movie before eh? Here's hoping the top shelf stuff stays. Pounding preload collars around in dark confined areas is a nuisance that should have gone away decades ago.

    Wheels have the now familiar & handsome five spoke pattern and the swingarm isn't a 916 parts bin refugee. The all new & beefy looking Showa fork shows plenty of Ti-Nitrided slider, giving away its long travel capabilities. Unsprung weight is shaved off the wheel via direct attachment of the rotors, using wave washers to provide some degree of float. (Much like recent BMWs and others.) Typically tasty Brembo calipers round things off with nary a rubber hose in sight. In short, suspension, brakes wheels & such all look to be perfectly suited for real-world riding.

    The frame is obviously all new and just beautiful. Nice welds, neatly tucked in, devoid of the usual 62,000 tie wraps. Can't believe I neglected to click off a pic from above showing how incredibly narrow it is in the middle, where it counts the most. This allows for an interestingly shaped seat that's sure to provide riders with short inseams an easy reach to the ground. The seat then widens towards the rear for ample arse support once rolling. A great answer to an often mentioned question. The engine slots in in the same familiar way as before, stressed with two main mounting points. In fact, while I obviously didn't get to measure anything, the engine mounts look to be positioned in the same spots. Hmmm...

    Speaking of this engine - I'm just thrilled that so much effort has gone into a new air-cooled lump! 992cc, 45mm injectors, twin plugs per cylinder, cams in plain bearings, reduced valve angle, etc, etc. Testa-tech applied to a relatively simple twin. It's said to have high compression, although the exact numbers aren't listed anywhere in the press kit. Regardless, this thing is great news for us air-cooled fans! Current owners of nicely tweaked 904s and 944s should already be familiar with how this thing's gonna run in box-stock form. Thumbs up for sure.

    There was mention of an accessories line-up so luggage and other factory widgets are coming soon as well. I asked PT if it would include a larger screen and the indication was yes, in a roundabout way.

    Sigh. No, scratch that. HEAVY sigh ... I've spent my entire streetbiking "career" riding on the types of roads that Multistrada's specifically designed to tackle, there's a mix of ingredients lurking beneath all the visual moto-art-deco-mojo that's screaming at me to be noticed. I WANT this drivetrain and I WANT this long travel suspension. But I simply can't even begin to understand what it is about the way it looks that allows the powers-that-be to debut it as-is. One of the first questions fired at PT during the intro came from Cycle World's David Edwards and it was "to the point" about the styling to say the least. PT says that while it'd be great if others shared his aesthetic vision, he's mostly unconcerned if folks don't appreciate its looks right now, instead he claims to be aiming for a design that looks great in ten years or so. A philosophy that's just way too esoteric for this simpleminded little dweeb to appreciate or even remotely comprehend. The day I first saw a '91 SS was the day I started a crate headed my way. Similarly, I always new that someday there'd be an 888 in the stable. Lastly, the 916 remains every bit as stunning today as it was when I first saw it. There's another one that'll get a home here someday. All this while various Bevels continue to lure.

    IMHO, Ducatis are unique enough without resorting to such polarizing styling cues. I'm willing to bet that functionally at least, it will exceed Ducati's expectations. But oh well, as mentioned well above, aesthetics are all about opinion. In a way I'm envious of those who'll manage to find the Multistrada attractive because you folks are going to be in for a real treat of a motorcycle.
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  4. jdiaz

    jdiaz .

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    What I said. Condensed..... :)

    Jon
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  5. Ostrich

    Ostrich Jaded and Happy

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    Thanks for your input. :thumb
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  6. Ostrich

    Ostrich Jaded and Happy

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    Why do you guys think that Ducati will eventually ignore this bike? :ear
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  7. Grover

    Grover Blinkenlights Adventurer

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    After the Supermono, 916, and MH900e... the Multistrada shows what happens when someone crosses that fine line between genius and insanity.
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  8. Ostrich

    Ostrich Jaded and Happy

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    I kinda likes the looks of this machine. It is way out there, but I want some assurance that it will be around. The GS seems like it is going to be around considering all the aftermarket support and loyal following.

    So I ask again, why do you think that Ducati will ignore this creation in a couple of years? :ear
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  9. sven

    sven Hard Rider

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    After reading Arch's think-peice and looking at the pictures in more detail, I think the styling of the Multistrada sort of grows on you. It looks almost like a Supermotard from some angles. I bet it will be an absolute blast to ride.

    That said, it seems like Ducati went to great lengths on their website to show the Multistrada from the more flattering side views.

    Maybe this is the one that scared you, Arch:

    [​IMG]
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  10. jdiaz

    jdiaz .

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    OSTRICH, IMO Ducati's interests lie in sportbikes and racing, and their more pedestrian models need to make money to feed that beast. The ST line hasn't done that, and they've also lost a huge cash cow with the new SS line, because those bikes aren't selling anywhere near what the old ones did.

    The Multistrada is another chance at a volume model to make them money, but again, what's it going to be......an expensive V-Strom with less oomph, or a cheap GS with no off-road capability? I think they are shooting for the V-Strom and Suzuki is already mopping up those buyers this season, so the Multistrada will get initially purchased by 900-1000 hardcore Ducati guys who absolutely gotta have it, and then the rest of the bikes are going to linger till the incentives kick in and Ducati admits there is no interest in the bike. WHAM-O, instant redheaded stepchild.

    Jon
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  11. Rider

    Rider In Your Heart, You Know I'm Right

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    "Danger, Will Robinson! Danger!"
    (Sorry ... but to me it looks like a bad 1950s robot design ...)
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  12. Ostrich

    Ostrich Jaded and Happy

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    That picture of the front end scared me as well! :eyes :eek:ogle

    I think that is very plausible! After seeing the front of the bike its just too weird! I think that bmw rider hit it on the head
    I think that I am still back to the research phase. Back to holding out for the GS. I appreciate the input! Thanks! :thumb
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  13. Grover

    Grover Blinkenlights Adventurer

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    It might do well in Europe, but I can't imagine them keeping it in America indefinitely or it selling well here. Frankly, it looks like an oversized euroweird scooter, and I don't see that fitting anywhere in Ducati's image over here (okay shuush wisecrackers)

    Not that I wouldn't like to see Ducati diversify a bit... believe me, I'd looooove to see a modern Elefant with crash bars.
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  14. Stephen

    Stephen Long timer

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    First, I pretty much agree with Arch on all his points.

    Anybody who's ridden an Elefant should be very interested to see if Ducati could finally build what that bike should have been. Wow. It was pretty close.

    Ducati.com has a lot of words about what they were trying to build, and it's pretty darn close to what I'd like to have--a road bike that is comfy, light, with a little more suspension and ready for really crappy roads, even unpaved ones.

    As to the bar-mounted windscreen, I find it a clever solution to the nagging problem of getting a screen close enough to the rider without making it so narrow as to be useless. The big trailies with frame-mounted fairings tend to be tiny and distant in order to clear the swing of the bars. Aftermarket oversize screens end up being really odd shapes that cause buffeting. The hybrid fairing offers the chance of getting real protection that won't cause the wind-induced wobbles of a pure handlebar fairing as well. Good on Ducati, if it works. Meanwhile, it sure is ugly!!!!

    Compare the Multistrada to the V-Strom. I looked at a V-S just today. Much better-looking in the metal (or should I say "plastic" as that's pretty much all one can see) than in photos. Suzuki brags about the V-S light weight, but they hung at least sixty pounds of bullshit on it. It's big, it's heavy, and it's covered with EC (Extra Crap). Whereas the Ducati is small, light, and only the top half is covered with EC.

    I seem to be missing something regarding modern motorcycles.
    What's with all the covers and shrouds and rails and this bolted to that bolted to a bracket holding a bit with some painted screws to hold on a flimsy-ass piece of plastic to make it all look like it's just one thing?
    Am I the only rider who gives not shit one about exhaust pipes and mufflers except to get them the hell outta the way of my feet and legs and luggage?
    Do the manufacturers all think we're so embarrassed by hardware that we can't stand the sight of a fender?
    Why shouldn't a saddle please my ass more than my eye?
    Does a motorcycle need 12 inches of suspension travel to negotiate a dirt road?
    Even if an engine is a brutally functional liquid-cooled lump without the naturally graceful lines of an old Ducati single or a Norton Manx, doesn't "motorcycle" still start with "motor"--and all the plumbing and wires and untidyness that running well entails?

    Decades ago I started wishing that dirtbike engineering would come to road bikes--modular componentry, awesome tunable suspension, bare functionality. Instead, sport bikes got the technology, road bikes got styling bullshit, and people who want to ride a lot got screwed.
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  15. Ostrich

    Ostrich Jaded and Happy

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    I agree with most of what you say, but don't you think that bikes should have some aesthetics to them? I do think that people are more concerned about how they look when they ride rather than what they ride. I think that there is something sentimental about a company trying to maintain its tradition, but yet incorporate modern technology.
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  16. Grover

    Grover Blinkenlights Adventurer

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    Beauty is in the eye of the beholder I guess :): The '94 GS was love at first sight, literally, the 2000+ bikes IMHO are art on two wheels. Hell if you could drive one into the MOCA and park it next to a vacant frame, it wouldn't look out of place. :D:
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  17. Ostrich

    Ostrich Jaded and Happy

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    Pep,

    I think that the GS is a gorgeous bike! Coming from a man who rides a custom Monster RS you should have some appreciation for the GS!:D(IMHO I think it looks cool, but more like a motorcycle stomper).

    I do agree with you that the bike should be functional, but how much is it going to cost? What kind of aftermarket support will be available? How long will Ducati make it and support it? If you cannot get parts for the thing after it is disowned how functional is the bike? What kind of aftermarket options will you have? If Duc guys on this forum are cynical about its prolonged existence then what about aftermarket companies? I question its functionality in the long run.

    I do not own a GS, but if I had the clams that’s what I would buy. These are my reasons so far: a bike that has been produced for at least 4 years in the current design, so much aftermarket support that you can make this bike do just about everything you want, fairly easy to get parts for in each state and practically around the world, a great suspension for my riding preference (if you want ohlins add them! You can that is what is so great!), easy maintenance, and it still maintains some of BMW’s tradition while adding modern technology. The only thing holding me back is the price tag! :deal :eek2 :eyes
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  18. Arch

    Arch Incurable Gearhead

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    Congrats, Pep! If Multistrada's aesthetics are your cup of tea, then as I said at the end of my ditty, joy for you, brother. You'll be in for a real treat 'cause its mechanical bits are indeed sweet. As for GS ugliness, when form follows function on something that's SO very functional, it can't help but be beautiful and I wouldn't have bought an R1150GS if it didn't look the business to me. But hey, why apologize? It's normal for folks to like different things for different reasons and we should celebrate our various tastes. If not for that, we'd all be riding around on the same cookie-cutter fluff. So go ahead and buy your Multistrada and enjoy it in good health. I'd love to ride it. I just don't want to own it, or even look at it too much. :):

    As an aside, I think Ducati should take this delicious new drivetrain and use it to resurrect some of their storied past. A modern day Cagiva Elefant if you will. Give it useful ergos, a fat fuel tank, REAL suspension, luggage that works and or course - styling that looks the part. Gotta race the fool thing too. Race the urine out of it, fixing what needs fixing till it starts taking checkers on the world's stage. Hell, hire away some of KTM's talent and support those crazed racers all the way to Dakar. Yea, that'd work. IMHO, this is something Ducati could actually sell at retail. Imagine that! A bike that could make use of and justify the excess capacity the factory's gonna have here real soon. Folks who already own other Ducatis would form a line for such a beast and start buying accessories for it the minute the papers were signed. I absolutely, positively guarantee it. Man would I love to be king over there. Call me Mr. Minoli...

    :beer

    Arch
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  19. Ostrich

    Ostrich Jaded and Happy

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    Hey bro! If that is what you think that is fine, but I still love the looks of the GS. It took some time for it to grow on me, but now I really think that it is sweet. If the GS is not your cup o’ STFU then what is? :ear The Duc 999?

    You got some vision man! Now you’re talking! :thumb
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  20. Pilosopo

    Pilosopo Been here awhile

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    they have pictures of the production ready multistrada on ducatiusa.com, they even show it with the bags
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