2013 Ducati Multistrada 1200 Pikes Peak – First Ride

2013 Ducati Multistrada 1200 Pikes Peak – First Ride

By MTS1200 Pike Peak owner Cesar aka ‘Lion’

Why do I ride?
One of the things that make motorcycling so great is because it never fails to give you a feeling of freedom and adventure.” – Steve McQueen

How could I disagree with Steve McQueen? Well, I don’t. I really like this quote, it summarizes a lot of what riding is all about. But in my view there is the freedom and there is the adventure. And then there is a lot more to the experience of riding a motorcycle…..

Cesar’s full introduction and many more great writeups / articles can be found here:  http://idratherberiding.com

NB: full size photos here

My first Ducati….

One day I realized that although I liked the beauty of the Streetfighter, and despite all the fun it provided in riding the nice roads close to my house, and because of that, I had changed my riding habits because of this bike.
I was designing my riding days for this bike, all I wanted to do was to ride only this bike, and my riding days got shorter and options to where I went became more limited.

So I decided to look elsewhere and found the best compromise: another Ducati, but one that did all of that, but it allowed me to take it on longer riding days – the 2013 Ducati Multistrada 1200 Pikes Peak.

That’s where the Multistrada came into the picture. But because of my rule of three bikes, the Yellow Ducati had to go… I’m sad for that, but I’m really happy for the Multistrada and all the fun this bike provides. It is an awesome machine! I hope to have it for many many miles.

Currently in the stable…

2013 Ducati Multistrada 1200 Pikes Peak – First Ride

As you have guessed from my previous two posts, I chose the Multistrada as my next step from the Streetfighter. I picked it up Saturday morning, March 9th, a nice sunny day making it a great way to start this new partnership. I needed to go back home, yard work was calling me… instead I did a little detour and some 90 miles later I made it back home. Those first miles are critical, so I took it on some roads where I could vary engine speeds, use engine braking, all the while keeping engine speeds below 6,000 RPM, paying my dues for buying a new bike.

First ride on this awesome machine. March 9th, 2013

There are plenty of roads around here that are perfect to take this machine in its break in ride, with no traffic, nothing to interfere with a leisurely paced ride.  I’m not religious, but thought this little church looked nice with its white walls for a picture with the bike and for a symbolic blessing on the bike’s first day out.

Symbolic blessing on its first day out. March 9th, 2013

It is not yellow, but it is not bad looking, right? It certainly isn’t a looker like my yellow Streetfighter was. Well, okay, I admit it, it is an acquired taste at best. Here I present you with the 2013 Multistrada 2013 Pikes Peak. In this picture it is exactly the way it was when I picked it up about 15 minutes earlier at the shop, with the touring screen (it comes with the smaller carbon screen as well) and the side bags. I also added heated grips, a rear rack and a center stand. And I ordered a small pelican box to be installed on the rear rack. It arrived yesterday so installing it is this weekend’s project.

2013 Ducati Multistrada 1200 Pikes Peak

The way I see it this Ducati is my sport/touring motorcycle. The Triumph Tiger 800 XC will be the touring/enduro bike with some accessories I will eventually add to it. And the Yamaha WR250R remains the enduro/dirt bike. It makes for a nice gradient: from dirt to enduro, from enduro to touring, and from touring to sport on three motorcycles, and all of them under the adventure riding umbrella. I’m all set now. It took me exactly seven years to arrive at what I believe to be the perfect stable for my favorite types of riding!  You may think it is too much, and I agree it is perhaps too much. But I counterbalance that feeling with the reality that I will only be on this earth this one time, and I’m here in Oregon now, with these beautiful roads and landscapes literally starting just a couple of miles out of my door. I better make the best of it while I can. Riding and writing about it is one component that makes it good and interesting among everything that colors my life. As long as it is balanced on that front, I declare this is fine. Will re-evaluate when needed or when priorities change.

2013 Ducati Multistrada 1200 Pikes Peak – March 9th, 2013

I filled it up with non-ethanol premium fuel and took it back home. Sunday morning I installed the carbon fiber screen and the handle bars camera bag and at about 12 noon I took off again.

Ready for more! No bags and carbon wind screen, March 10th, 2013

What this bike doesn’t have in looks, it shows in performance. This machine is just simply brilliant. I started this ride on the Willamette valley, going north on my usual Pacific loop.  Stopped along the way to check one of Oregon’s main export products. I live close to the train tracks. By looking at the number of trains and their cargo as they go by my neighborhood, and what I notice on the wood mills around here, it is clear construction has picked up its pace.

Multistrada, March 10th, 2013

From there I quickly arrived in Philomath, where I topped the tank off with more non-ethanol fuel, and from there I took Hwy 34 towards the Pacific. There was some road construction on one of my favorite set of curves on Hwy 34, in the area close to the Mary’s Peak access road. Photo below is of the exact point on the road in question, you will see it if your eye sight can travel past the yellow beauty.

Hwy 36 close to Mary’s Peak Access – Photo from September 2012

Imagine it down to one lane, the left lane all taken apart and filled with construction equipment and piles of stuff and with a lady holding the SLOW or STOP lollypop sign on the right of the road.  The sign was on its “slow” side, so I just slowed down but continued on.  But when I went past her she looked at my bike and I clearly saw a surprised look and her jaw dropping, it was as if she wanted to say something but knew there was no time or something like that. So I thought maybe she mistakenly had let me go and realized only when I went past her that it was a mistake. I slowed down to a crawl as I was on a curve and I could not see if cars were coming from the other side on this temporarily one lane highway. I kept going, just waiting for cars to show up at any moment, I was hugging the inside of the curve. No one, no cars showed up to the end, they were all behind the stop sign on the other side. Therefore I can only conclude that she likes bikes and the red and white Multistrada made quite an impression on her. Right.

Good swells, Yachats, March 10th, 2013

Excitement apart I hope construction work is completed soon and all debris removed because those curves are just perfect and this bike will carve them nicely! So I continued on, enjoying this road I had not seen for about 6 months. I did not stop along the way, threatening skies and all, I just wanted to get going.  And this bike invites you to more and more riding, making it easy to add miles to it. I’m really enjoying this new partnership.  I made it to the pacific where it was colder.

When on the coast, I could not stay away from my usual stop at Ona. At some point I was fearing rain would start at any time so I thought about skipping lunch and just going back home. But I did stop. I was surprised to see so many people out under such gray and cold conditions. It was in the 60′s in Eugene, it was barely 50 on the coast.

View from Ona’s parking lot. Yachats, March 10th, 2013

Thank you heated grips. And at this point I was wishing I had not installed the smaller screen. The plexiglass touring screen is noisier (buffeting), but it offers better protection. So I had the small screen raised to its highest position – I’m really enjoying the on the go ability to move the screen up and own. Heated grips was at the max at some point. The heated grips work really well, it has three settings, although it is odd that you operate them from the engine start button. I’m getting used to not think that pressing it when the motor is running is really not engaging the starter motor.

Eventually it started raining, luckily it did not last. I stopped along some of my favorite view points, and at one of them I suddenly heard this clearly Italian sound… I turned and unfortunately my camera did not capture it well enough. What a beautiful Ferrari. Not unlike the example I mentioned a couple of posts ago in terms of how in my view the Ducati design contrasts with a motor that reminds me of a 60′s Ferrari. Nice omen!

Early 1960′s Ferrari 250 GT SWB Berlinetta, give or take model and year.

A Ferrari of that model and vintage is worth quite a lot. Nice color too. If I could have a Ferrari, I would want it to be that kind of model and from that vintage. I wish they had stopped so I could take a look and photograph the car.

After seeing such a great example of a classic look in that Ferrari, I looked back at my Multistrada. By comparison, today’s motorcycles designs place them on a different planet, it is science fiction.  While the Streetfighter looked like a transformer, caught in the process of changing from something into something else, the Multistrada with the Pikes Peak carbon windscreen looks like a bug or some alien being. And when with the plexiglass windscreen and that narrow beak with two air intakes it looks like a bird. Where are those nice round shapes of many years ago? I predict that sooner or later we will see new designs that will explore the round shapes again, not as a recreation of a vintage motorcycle, like the Ducati 1000 GT or the Triumph Boneville or the Moto Guzzy V7, but as new designs of new motorcycles. Somehow the Ducati Monster, celebrating its 20 years now, was a retro design on a new bike.

A bug? A bird? No, it is the Multistrada

I jumped back on the bike and continue south, hoping to see the Ferrari parked on some of the look out areas. It did not happen.

Pikes Peak 2013

I kept going south towards Florence. Here is a view looking north towards Yachats on this gray and foggy day.

Looking north towards Yachats, Oregon coast. March 10th, 2013

I stopped at the Heceta Light.  I’m glad to know their renovations have been completed.

Heceta Light, March 10th, 2013

Similar profiles: the mountains and the bike’s front.

Tye Multistrada and the Heceta Light. March 10th, 2013

From there I just rode all the way back home, with only one stop at the gas station for more non ethanol fuel.

Back Home, March 10th 2013

The total between yesterday and today, 315 miles, puts the bike half way to the first service, at 620 miles.  I noticed the fuel economy is improving already. Before my first fill up it showed 38.5 mpg. On the second fill up it jumped to 39 point something.  On my way back home at the last fill up it was indicating 42+, and on the last stretch, where it is mostly in the valley and with some traffic, so I was riding more slowly, it indicated 43.9 mpg as an average.

Not bad…

This means if I ride conservatively this bike can go beyond 200 miles between tank fills. That is pretty good, almost the same distance as the Tiger can go.

My impressions on this beast are very good. It has made me forget about the Streetfighter, at least in terms of performance. It is comfortable, but it has those attributes I was looking for, especially that it gives that hot rod feel you get from its sport bike performance, the feel of the road, and the engine sounds.  It is tall, but that carries some advantages, like the easiness and speed of turn in with minimal counter steering input.  But if I want to just ride and enjoy the landscape, this revised motor is smooth at lower engine speeds, allowing you to cruise.  The riding ergonomics complement that by allowing your body to be straight up which gives you a better physical position to scan your surroundings. On the other hand, for more spirited cornering, you can freely move your upper body, bring your torso towards the curve, lower your body towards the curve.  There is plenty of room to maneuver.

And the bike offers the suspension and the turn in speed for mid-curve  corrections should you need to do that. It gives you that extra confidence that it has room and capability to spare should things require you to go tighter on a curve.

The Skyhook suspension felt a bit harsh on normal circumstances, you only feel it at work on radical stuff, as in potholes and other major road imperfections.  I was riding at the Touring mode, default settings, with low profile acceleration to prevent me from going north of the 6k RPM upper limit during break in.  At some point I moved it to Urban mode, but it felt too slow and not reactive enough in terms of acceleration.  I could see some increase in comfort, with a more compliant suspension, but I did not like the power delivery on this mode.  I took it back to Touring and selected the softest setting for front and rear suspension.  I liked it better that way.  Will leave the Sport mode for the harder setting.

Can’t wait for my next ride on this beast. Looking at the forecast for Saturday and Sunday and most of the sites indicate precipitation. Except for Accuweather, where it shows a sunny Sunday, as it should always be.  I believe they have the right forecast.

Thanks for reading.