Ducati Multistrada 1200 Owner Review after 6 months ownership

Ducati Multistrada 1200 Owner Review after 6 months ownership

By Iain Palmer of Palmer Products
** Check Iain’s website for lots of Multistrada 1200 accessories! 😉

Check out Adventure Bike Rider magazine this month (Feb 2011 – Issue3) for a six page article by Iain: “Iain Palmer throws his leg over the new Multi, but is it an Italian satllion?” – www.adventurebikerider.com

Multistrada 1200 Owners Review

In a nutshell..
“the Multistrada 1200 struts around like it owns the place………which it does! :D”

Time owned
Mileage to date
I liked
I Disliked
Would you buy again
In one line
Grin Factor (0=crap 10=I loved it)
6 months
Read report
Read report
Extremely capable all rounder

I had my Multistrada 1200 on order for about 2 months when it arrived at the end of July 2010 and was partly funded by my 3 year-old Buell Ulysses – another 1200cc V-Twin.

I opted for the base version as this seemed to be an absolute bargain – £11k for a new-generation, freshly-launched 150bhp Ducati, with all the same electronic engine trickery as the £14k Sport and Touring versions, including Traction Control. Without the electronic suspension, I figured I was only missing 1 or 2% of the bikes full potential. I also didn’t want to become obsessed with settings and preferences for all the potential endless scenarios. I’ve managed quite well up until now.

Right, which colour? There’s lots of discussion about colour. ‘Black is fastest’. ‘White is best looking’. For me, it’s Italian so has to be Red – end of.

The main feature of this bike is it’s engine and the main reason why I so badly wanted it. Having previously owned a Tiger 1050 as well, I knew that an extra 30 or so horses wouldn’t be a bad thing, especially as touring with passenger and luggage hauling capability were my prime requirements. I also like a bit of serious grunt which was previously unavailable for this type of bike.

In May 2010, I found a dealer who was not only within 30 minutes ride but kind enough to lend me their ‘S’ demo for the afternoon! Having not been a previous customer of theirs nor Ducati owner, I thought this was especially generous. Another Ducati/KTM dealer was only offering a 30 minute ride so they didn’t get my business.

Stepping off the Tiger and onto the Multi, I was greeted with that familiar V-Twin vibe. What I wasn’t expecting was the smoothness and linear urgency at the higher rpms.

I immediately felt at home in the saddle and the ergonomics seemed perfect for my 6′, enduro-geared frame, complete with compulsory Arai Tour-X bash-hat. I felt the part.
The LCD instrumentation is excellent and tells you everything you could possibly need, including air temperature, fuel level and gear selection.

Pulling away, the clutch felt light and well modulated, the steering precise and low speed control good. The controls felt natural to use and the mirrors were extremely effective (although they didn’t particularly look good).

After only 10 minutes I was outside the City centre and, on the open road, it quickly became apparent that I was riding my future bike. Having been an Alfa owner for several years, I was glad the bike had the full Italian character I was hoping. It was a revelation.

Once up to speed, the bike felt light and agile but found the screen fairly useless – seems to be the norm for these type of bikes (at least for me anyway). I knew this could be fixed and can now enjoy long stints on my own bike with much less buffeting and damage to the ears.

This bike has a mild manner for relaxed riding and an absolute beast should the opportunity present itself. I think it’s point-to-point A&B road capability is unrivalled and is also a comfortable mile-muncher.

The handling is inspiring and the brakes offer huge stopping power with plenty of feel.
The only real sensory deprived area is the noise. The engine sounds very agricultural, especially at low revs and a meaty sound track would be a bonus. I’m not prepared to spend £1600 on the Termignoni but will hopefully get something sorted soon. Having had a Remus on the Buell and Arrow on the Tiger, it’s something I do need in my life!

I have now completed over 3000 miles in the last 6 months with no real faults to speak of but will be returning to the dealer in the new-year for a Calibration upgrade to cure the occasional low speed surging issues.

I initially had some worrying gear selection issues, with the occasional stall, but this was cured with a new quick-action gear shifter. This gave the gear change much needed feel and more positive engagement.

I also turned my attention to designing a fully adjustable Screen kit. Although the standard screen was height adjustable, it seemed to have little impact on wind, noise and weather protection. I think a proper adventure bike should offer, at the very least, reasonable protection for distance riding. The new design addresses these issues and has proved a very popular modification, which I’m proud to offer.

I haven’t ventured off road too far, except the odd dirt track. Some of the fixtures seem a bit flimsy (especially the Handguards) and won’t want to drop it. I’m sure each ‘off’ will be expensive and could potentially leave me stranded. However, most of my riding is on the hard stuff so would rather have the bike lean towards those attributes.

I have recently added the Ducati panniers and a rear carrier to support future trips, plus Symtec Heated Grips and Spot Lights have also been added for the Autumn/Winter months. Fiamm horns have also helped make my presence known by less observant cage-dwellers.

This is a special bike. You feel special riding it. And when you park it up, it always gets some attention.

Is it the best bike I’ve ever owned? Yes. Would I recommend it? Absolutely.

The Ducati ownership has lived up to expectations and more and the price tag now seems like a bargain.

Recent video of my bike…