Tuesday, January 18, 2011

2010 Ducati Multistrada 1200 Review

Ducati have once again pushed the limits of motorcycle design by adding Italian innovation to the elegance, style and technology which characterises the motorcycles that come out of its Bologna factory. All it needed was a heart, the perfect engine to realise the potential of this new design. The obvious starting point was the World Championship-winning engine, the Testastretta, used on the Superbike 1198 and work started to create the perfect power characteristics for the Multistrada 1200. Engineers in Bologna have succeeded in harnessing the immense power of this engine, making it smooth and adaptable to suit to any occasion. They have created the new Testastretta 11° engine, a significant step forward in balancing performance with usability.
The Sport Riding Mode provides the rider with an adrenalin-fuelled ride, where 150hp and incredible torque delivery are combined with a sports-oriented suspension set-up. To impart precise and focussed handling like a sportbike, it also slightly reduces Ducati Traction Control intervention to level 3 for expert riders whose ‘comfort zone’ is closer to the limit.
The Touring Riding Mode is still programmed to produce 150hp; however, the power characteristic is designed in a touring configuration with much smoother torque delivery, but ready to respond when needed. Safety is enhanced with the most advanced ABS technology and with the Ducati Traction Control system set to level 5 (intermediate intervention), specifically intended for a stable and relaxing ride. The suspension set-up is ideal for touring, ensuring maximum comfort for both the rider and passenger.
The four-bikes-in-one concept uses three technologies which interact to instantly change the chassis set-up and character of the Multistrada 1200. Fitted as standard equipment on all versions, the electronic ride-by-wire system administers three different engine mappings to change the character of the engine, while Ducati Traction Control (DTC) uses eight levels of system interaction to enhance control. For the ‘S’ version, Ducati Electronic Suspension (DES) instantly configures the suspension set-up to suit ‘rider only’, ‘rider with luggage’, ‘rider and passenger’ or ‘rider and passenger with luggage’.

The ride-by-wire system is an electronic interface between the throttle grip and the engine which decides the ideal power delivery of the engine depending on the Riding Mode selected and the rider’s throttle input. The throttle grip no longer uses a throttle cable, but instead delivers a signal to the control unit, which in turn operates the throttle body butterflies.
The ride-by-wire system enables three different engine mappings to adjust the total power output and the way in which it is delivered. The three maps offer 150hp with a sports-type delivery, 150hp with a progressive delivery and 100hp also with progressive delivery.

The racing-derived DTC is a highly intelligent system which acts as a filter between the rider’s right hand and the rear tyre. Within milliseconds, DTC is able to detect and then control rear wheel-spin, considerable increasing the bike’s safety and performance. The system offers eight ‘levels of sensitivity’, each programmed with a level of rear wheel-spin tolerance in line with progressive levels of riding skills classified from one to eight. Level one is programmed to offer the least amount of interaction while level eight uses the most amount of interaction. DTC is an integral part of the pre-programmed Riding Modes on the Multistrada 1200; however, its setting can be customised by the user.

The ‘S’ versions of the Multistrada 1200 are equipped with the latest generation 48mm Öhlins suspension featuring the innovative Ducati Electronic Suspension (DES). The brand new fork technology enables spring pre-load and rebound and compression damping adjustments electronically controlled via the instrument panel. The Öhlins rear monoshock is also adjusted electronically in spring pre-load and rebound and compression damping.
The electronic suspension adjustment can either be made by using the pre-set riding modes, which have been developed by Ducati test riders, or in independent mode, which allows riders to use their own personal settings. Adjustments made via the instrumentation send a signal that initiates electronic actuators mounted on the suspension units.


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