- Intimidating design, friendly ergonomics
- Superlative chassis, brakes, engine
- Continent Muncher and fuel efficient
- Electronics make it easy and safe to ride
- Priced a bit higher
- No LED turn indicators
In general, the world has changed. The world of motorcycling has changed even more. The desire to be everywhere on a motorcycle continues for every motorcyclist around the world. You then, look for the right size, the well-priced motorcycle that fits you right. It should be fast because once, you did dream of owning a litre class sports bike, now you want something that can go anywhere, cruise at high speeds in comfort without breaking your back at the same time. Adventure motorcycles were the answer to this solution and there are plenty now.
Ducati also made one, to save themselves from bankruptcy and they made one which was so brilliant, that they had to tame it down as the feedback was the same and ever-changing norms that have to met to keep the motorcycle legal is what we have just ridden. The Multistrada 1260S is that motorcycle. It claims to have so much on paper, that even the sociopaths would be a tiny bit excited world before swinging a leg over it. Riding it then was gathering knowledge and the sense of occasion was worth the wait. Allow us to tell you all about it.
The tall and intimidating stance of the bike with a large beak, dual mudguards at the front, slim and wide headlamps which are LED, that stay on grab serious attention. We got a thumbs up from a rider from the other side of the road while we were on the service lane of the opposite side of the road, it has that level of presence. The cowl at the front which now flows lower instead of getting wide gives it a streamlined look. The long windshield at the front, the matt black paint job, the subtle golden wheels, the single-sided swingarm, the minimalist tail-end with a large LED tail-lamp all make it quite a motorcycle which is high on the presence and yet extremely practical.
Speedo and Switches
The color LCD speedo is loaded to the gills with all fuel economy parameters, distance to empty, trip meters, air temperature, bike temperature, Bluetooth and much more. The Menu option allows you to select five riding modes. Urban, Enduro, Sport, Touring and Urban. You can select what kind of power output and power delivery you want along with you can choose from four suspension setting, preload setting for the suspension. You can also adjust DTC, DWC and ABS setting on offer. There is a load mode where you can select rider mode, a rider with pillion mode, a rider with pillion and luggage or just rider with luggage and the preload of the rear suspension is set accordingly.
You can change modes by using the mode button on the LHS by long pressing it. The mode can also be shuffled by the scroll buttons in the Menu. You can do it on the fly too by closing the throttle or lifting of the brake whichever option the screen prompts you to do so. There are heated grips, hazard light button, pass light and high beam button on offer. There is also cruise control which makes things far easier on motorcycles like this. The LED headlamps are high on illumination and spread which makes it great to ride in the night as well.
The comfort for the rider and pillion is spot on with right cushioning of seats. There is also a very well integrated and sturdy luggage rack to mount bags. The mirrors work really well. Everything falls to hand perfectly. The seat height of just 835mm as a stock setting is good for people with 6’feet height. It can go lower to 825mm and reach to 845 mm for taller riders. The pegs are slightly rear set, which with the handlebar that is pushed towards to the rider makes it easy to grab while sitting and standing. The adjustable windscreen could be bit wider as there is wind felt on your arms.
Engine and Gearbox
If there is one thing that has made our eyes open wide and bright is the relentless acceleration that this powertrain offers. The DVT equipped 1260cc engine which makes 158 BHP and 129 Nm of torque with very tall gearing helps this motorcycle shoot forward into horizon like a superbike. The tall gearing means you cannot redline this bike until unless you really want to in the first three gears, after that its almost impossible to do so. Fourth gear redlines at 195 km/hr which is just too much power for our roads. The power, thankfully, is delivered in a docile and linear manner. The motor is relatively smooth between 1000 and 3000 RPM thanks to the new DVT, but could have been less jerky. Nevertheless, after that motor is very smooth and pulls like a freight train.
Point and shoot riding can be fun and fragile at the same time. You can cruise at any speed the roads and rider is capable of. We ended up cruising north of 160 km/hr on the highway and shocked to see those numbers on the speedo when we glanced at it. All modes work really well. Touring mode is best suited to our conditions. Sport mode throttle response is way too responsive and beyond telepathic. We got 19 km/l in our testing which included highway and city runs of both cities, Mumbai and Pune.
Before you open the throttle, the bike starts leaping ahead. Full throttle on this bike, in sports mode means you are covering football fields in seconds and you don’t realize that thanks to the way it cuts air and the rider is not distracted by any shenanigans that the motorcycle may put up. Clutch is a tiny bit heavy, the gearbox is slick, but it can act a bit after getting stuck in traffic or ride all day long which we did twice. The exhaust note is now a bit more muted but the exhaust note has the growl you need to hear and the howl that you expect from the intake airbox is here.
Ride and Handling
Like most bikes with modern, adjustable and expensive suspension, the Multistrada unit is truly magical and there is no other word to describe it. The ride at any given speed or road surface is devoid of jitteriness despite in the hardest suspension setting which the Multistrada has. The balance of such suspension means the first half of the damping is perfectly well done. The moment you start turning in you realize the feedback from the front is great, it feels agile in doing so.
However, lean into the corner and you realize that 56mm long wheelbase over the previous bike has made it a bike which isn’t extremely rewarding to corner the motorcycle while entering or exiting. The stability because of this is very high while cornering or at any given highway speed. The chassis’s lightness and with the engine also feeling the same, it is still exciting to ride hard and fast because it responds to your inputs very quickly.
The lean angles continue to be fantastic for a bike with this suspension setup, height, weight and size. The tyres hold up well in a straight lines, cornering and while doing a bit off-road which we had to do to find locations like these and all of this despite 17-inch wheels on both ends. The brakes were cooked on our bike to a certain extent, but the stopping power it displayed was good in terms of lever feel and progression.
2018 Ducati MultiStrada 1260 India Review, Verdict
So why did we say the Multistrada is all about ‘Knowledge and Power’ Because, its time. The age of ‘beauty and beast’ is over. Knowledge comes from the vast amount of electronics which make it safe and easy to ride for amateur and mildly experienced riders. Power comes from the engine which just won’t stop accelerating. Fellow autobahn riders will also testify to this fact, we feel.
All of this coming together as a package which offers you endless ability to do anything you like on the road and slightly of the road too. Sure, the price is a bit high and is out of reach for most riders, but there is a good amount of value on offer who can afford it. Multistrada 1260 may not be what its predecessor was, but it something that now resonates with a large number of riders around the world and makes it all the bike you ever need to chase your desires.
Ducati MultiStrada 1260 India Review