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Old 11-04-2014, 12:10 AM   #1
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2015 Ducati Multistrada 1200 | FIRST LOOK

For the first time since 2010 Ducati's Multistrada gets a major overhaul (2013 saw the introduction of Skyhook suspension but little else) and in this case the company's still-fresh-from-the-oven DVT variable valve-timing technology. When we ran our first preview of Ducati's new DVT powerplant we guessed it would debut in the Multi, and those suspicions have been confirmed.

READ MORE about Ducati's Desmodromic Variable Timing (DVT) HERE

Ducati's heavily revised 2015 Multistrada 1200, built to maintain and improve the model's successful pedigree.

Adding 10 hp (now 160) plus a torque boost, the new DVT engine promises an even broader range of power for Ducati’s do-it-all machine. “It’s not a departure from the current Multistrada, we love the bike now,” said Ducati CEO Claudio Domenicali, going on to say that the company simply wanted each of the Multi’s capabilities to be better. The powerplant update will benefit touring, says Ducati, because of the widened torque curve and the smoother low-rpm running. Specifically, Ducati says that the new engine has 78% better combustion stability at low rpm than the old Testastretta 11° engine, and even better than the BMW R1200GS’s (the Multi's main competition).

DVT isn't the only area where Ducati is forging ahead, however. A new Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU) dynamically measures roll, yaw, and pitch angles (and their rate of change), providing information to the ABS system, which controls anti-lock activation based on lean-angle. The IMU also communicates with the new, all-LED Ducati Cornering Lights (DCL) headlight system, designed to follow the road ahead based on lean-angle, pitch, and yaw. Ducati improved sensors and software in DSS—Ducati Skyhook Suspension, its semi-active suspension—for a wider range in the ride modes and increased touring comfort. Wheelie control comes from the exotic 1199 Superleggera, and the brakes get upgraded to 330mm front discs with superbike-spec Brembo M50 calipers.

An all-color dash is new for the Multi, while the wonderfully effective "pinch-and-slide" manual windscreen adjuster is a carryover.

A new, full-color dash adorns the cockpit, as do new hand controls, and the S version of the Multistrada 1200 will come standard with a Bluetooth module, allowing connectivity with the rider's smartphone for control over basic functions, such as receiving calls, text message notification, and playing music, all via the handlebar controls and dashboard information. The Multistrada has been ride-by-wire for years now, so we don't know what took so long, but electronic cruise control will be standard on all 2015 Multi models (finally!).

The face of the 2015 Multistrada from Ducati. All-LED headlight is more compact, while "nostrils" and other bodywork get more angular.

Styling for the Multistrada sees similar tweaks and upgrades to the already successful platform. Slightly sharper and narrower headlights peek over revised "nostril" air intakes, while bodywork in general gets more angular and modern. Simple yet functional aerodynamics appear to remain, along with LED front blinkers mounted in the hand-guards and a manually height-adjustable windscreen. On the topic of adjustability, the rider seat now moves from 32.5 to 33.3 inches (standard), with a Ducati Accessory seat available to go down to 31.7 inches. Production of the new Multistrada begins in January of 2015.

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