First Look: 2018 Ducati Multistrada 1260

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With a long list of upgrades over the last generation of Multistradas, this year’s ’Strada is pretty much all new for 2018. It gets an upgrade with the new Ducati Testastretta DVT (Desmodromic Variable Timing) 1262cc engine, new chassis, more advanced electronics, and an aesthetic update that includes new fairing panels and lighter, sportier looking wheels.

Ducati says the Multistrada essentially offers four bikes in one: from sportbike to long- distance tourer, from everyday runabout to enduro. The 1262cc Testastretta DVT engine, derived from its XDiavel stable mate, is Euro 4 approved and gives ample low- and mid-range torque for better rideability in everyday use. Ducati says the motor offers 85% of max torque is available under 3,500 rpm and delivery at 5,500 rpm is 18% higher compared to the 1200 predecessor.

The 2018 Multistrada’s bigger displacement was achieved by increasing piston stroke from 67.9 to 71.5mm (bore remains 106mm), requiring new connecting rods, crankshaft and cylinders. The DVT system was recalibrated to maximize low-to-midrange torque delivery, bringing maximum output to a claimed 158 ponies at 9,750 rpm and maximum torque of 95.5 lb-ft at 7,500 rpm.

Both the exhaust and intake had to be redesigned to achieve this performance. The exhaust piping was remodeled, and the presilencer received a new inner layout and a new muffler as well. At the intake end, the air intake mouth was reshaped.

Ducati says the new Ride-by-Wire system will ensure smoother throttle control. This, combined with the smoother, more accurate up and downshifting offered by the DQS (DucatiQuick Shift) standard on the S model (optional on the base model), should offer enhanced levels of control. Other electronic upgrades include the DTC (Ducati Traction Control) system that has eight different intervention levels with level 1 offering the lowest degree of system intervention, while level 8, intended for wet road surfaces, gives maximum prevention of wheelspin.

The Multistrada 1260 also features a Bosch Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU), which controls Ducati Wheelie Control (DWC, also eight levels of intervention), Bosch Cornering ABS and electronic speed control. The bike has four different riding modes including Sport, Touring, Urban and Enduro. Each mode has tailored power delivery, DTC, DWC and ABS presets uniquely beneficial to the various riding conditions, however the rider can create custom levels of his/her own to suit riding styles and preferences.

In Europe, Ducati will again offer a D-Air version that works with airbag-equipped Dainese jackets.

On the Multistrada 1260, all relevant information is easily seen on its LCD instrument panel while the S model receives a new five-inch thin film transistor (TFT) screen. The new TFT panel offers higher resolution, improved readability in the sun and a simplified graphic layout for user-friendly navigation through the menus.

The S version features a full LED headlight with Ducati Cornering Lights (DCL), which activate in curves to give optimal illumination of the road surface based on lean angle. Additionally, lean angle triggered self-cancelling turn signals also come standard.

The front braking system on the Multistrada 1260 features monoblock radially-mounted Brembo four-piston calipers with a radial master cylinder with adjustable lever paired with dual 320mm discs. At the rear, there is a single 265mm disc gripped by a floating caliper, again from Brembo. On the Multistrada S version, the braking system is shared with the Ducati Superbikes – 330mm discs at the front coupled with Brembo M50 monoblock radial four-piston calipers bring the S to a halt.  Both the base and S version take advantage of the Bosch 9.1ME Cornering ABS ECU.

The Multistrada 1260 features a Kayaba 48mm upside-down fork, fully adjustable for spring preload, compression, and rebound. The rear is controlled by a Sachs monoshock, also fully adjustable in compression and rebound and with spring preload adjustable by using a handy remote manual adjuster.

The S model is suspended by an inverted 48mm fully adjustable Sachs fork as well as a fully adjustable Sachs rear shock. The difference between the 1260 and 1260 S is that the S model will feature Ducati Skyhook Suspension (DSS) Evolution technology. The DSS Evo system analyzes data from numerous sensors on the sprung and unsprung weights of the bike to calculate and electronically set the compression and rebound damping needed to make the ride as smooth and as controlled as possible. Both suspension systems provide 6.7 inches of travel (both front and rear).

The chassis of the Multistrada 1260 features a new frontal trellis frame and includes a longer single-side swingarm. Steering angle increases from 24- to 25-degrees, and the new swingarm is 48mm longer. As a result of these changes, wheelbase is now 55mm longer. This, along with the new engine’s character and suspension setup should lend the Multistrada 1260 sharper handling skills in curves while ensuring full stability when riding two-up or fully loaded.

In addition to all these changes and upgrades, Ducati has provided other user-friendly features such as keyless ignition, where the rider can keep the key in their pocket and as long as they’re within 2 meters of the bike. A metal key flips out to open the gas cap and underseat storage. Other features include cruise control (Something John Burns seemingly can’t do without), seat height adjustability and a Bluetooth smartphone connection to the Ducati Multimedia System (DMS). Finally, perhaps the icing on the cake, the Multistrada1260 offers looong maintenance intervals. With an oil change required only every 15,000 km (9,320 miles!) and a “Desmo Service” every 30,000 km (18,640 miles!), you can spend more time on the road and less time in the garage.

2018 Ducati Multistrada 1260 S Pikes Peak.

If all these features and upgrades on the Multistrada 1260 base and S model aren’t up to your standards, Ducati is also offering a Pikes Peak Edition, aimed to really bring out the bike’s sporty character. Incorporating all the S model’s features, the Pikes Peak version is equipped with even lighter aluminum forged wheels and is fitted with mechanically adjustable Öhlins forks and an Öhlins TTX36 shock. In addition, a carbon fiber Ducati Performance exhaust by Termignoni provides the bark. Finally, carbon fiber replaces much of the bodywork and a race-inspired color scheme rounds out its appearance.




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