I was expecting today to end like any other work day. Off from work, coffee with a friend of mine, off to my favorite local Motorsports store, and home to work on some other project.
In fact, I had planned my day just so, to leave from work, grab coffee, hit Eastside Motosports/Ducati Bellevue, and head home to pull the front forks on my XT if time permitted and replace the seals.
Everything was going as planned until I pulled up to Ducati Bellevue.
Out from the store came the Parts Manager Zach Gordon and one of their Sales Associates, Don Beck.
As I stood there, removing my gloves and helmet, they asked if I was busy the rest of the afternoon.
Me, who always considers busy to be something when you’ve made arrangements with others, answered back that I had nothing going on.
With that, Don asks if I want to head up to the mountains and take some pictures.
“Of What?”, I ask.
“Of That”, Don responds while pointing at the Brand New Ducati Multistrada.
I pondered over that question all of about 2 milliseconds and answered back “Hell yes”.
It didn’t take long for Don to get the whole process taken care of to Ok’ing it with the Manager for me to take it out, sign my release waiver, and give me a quick run down of the bike.
I’m not going to bore you with the details of the bike. We’ve all read about mode selection, the fancy this, and hype that. I’m going to just tell you what I thought of riding it.
The first thing that was apparent, was just how light it is. Not that at around 450lbs that it is light, but feels light under you.
It doesn’t feel clunky, it doesn’t feel heavy to one side or the other.
When you want to turn, it turns with you, effortlessly, just like you would expect from any modern sport bike.
Leaving from the parking lot, I had to run home first and grab my camera, so I took this time to familiarize myself with the feel of the clutch, the response of the throttle, the feel of the brakes.
Everything felt refined, as you would expect from a Ducati.
After grabbing my camera, I headed out to hit I90 and head east towards an area I am familiar with, for short little jaunts outside of North Bend.
In sport mode, the throttle is snappy. It instantly translates every throttle movement to the fuel injection. Without much thought, you look down, and notice you are going much faster than you should really be moving. The bike, with it’s refined suspension and handling, makes the bike feel effortless under you as you open the throttle up, and watch the white stripes of the freeway blur by you.
Once in North Bend, and off following the North Fork, I switched the bike into Enduro Mode, and felt as the throttle response slowed, the power dropped, and the suspension now absorbed the brutal pothole ridden service road below me.
I felt as the bike’s traction control would kick in, limiting power back to the rear wheel, keeping the rear wheel firmly planted to the ground.
This being the first TC bike I’ve ever taken off the tarmac, it took me a bit to finally get used to it. Once I got the hang of it, my wrist began talking with the bike in harmony, limiting the chugs, increasing my response, the traction, and the thrill.
The ABS knew what was going on, it knew where I was. It would not let go. That rear tire continued spinning slowly, until it came to a complete stop, not once the whole time out there, was I able to lock up the rear. And trust me, I tried.
I’m not a fan of ABS off road. I enjoy getting a bike to break loose under me, and I would have disabled it once I was heading back had I known how at the time just to get the feel of how that hidden weight of the bike felt once having full braking ability.
But besides that, I put the ABS through its tests, and it gets my thumbs up for people who are wanting to head off the tarmac, without much experience. Just don’t expect it to stop you quickly. You can very easily over shoot a corner by relying solely on ABS if you enter to hot.
The suspension absorbed everything well. I even played around with the 4 pre-set settings it had available under Enduro, and while this bike has tons of cool features, I think the DES by Ohlins is just the coolest thing ever. On the fly adjustments to your suspension. No more getting out the tools to fiddle around. Those days are over with the new Multistrada.
With time ticking away, and me promising to have it back by closing, I finished up my photo’s I promised to take, and headed back towards Bellevue.
Taking highway 202 back that took me by Snoqualmie Falls, giving me a great opportunity to see just how how well it performed in the corners in sport mode.
Again, I use the word effortless. It handled smoothly as you would expect, providing firmly planted rubber.
Continuing on through Fall City on 202 towards Redmond, I put the bike in Touring Mode. This mode provides the same 150 horsepower as the sport mode, but adjusts the throttle response to be much more subtle.
This mode, I enjoyed. Kicking back, riding along the highway, minding my own business, not a care in the world.
This is the mode I would find myself in most the time while traveling.
While the sport mode is great for the instant power, dulling out the response is much more easier on the body. This mode adjusts the bike exactly how you would expect it to.
Even with it in touring mode however, passing vehicles is effortless. Twisting the throttle will awake the beast below you, and before long, you’ve passed your target, and they are but a memory in the past, as they slowly disappear from your mirrors.
I was really getting into the comfort of this new bike when before I knew it, I was pulling into the parking lot of the Ducati Bellevue, and sadly, after two and a half hours, and nearly 100 miles, my afternoon on the Multistrada had come to an end.
I have to say, I am impressed with this bike. I have ridden Ducati’s in the past. And although I’ve always thought each one I had ridden had some uniqueness about it that was interesting, not a single one of them ever made me want one such as this.
The Multistrada is different. This bike, is amazing. Absolutely Amazing, and if it was within my means, I would buy one in a heart beat.
I’m not saying it is the best at everything, but it is the best compromise with little compromise.
It is so refined, you forget exactly what you are riding. You think one moment you are riding a sport bike, then 10 minutes later you are blasting down some forest road.
This is seriously an All Sport Motorcycle, and my personal opinion is, believe the hype.
I want to extend a huge thank you to Eastside Motosports Ducati Bellevue for trusting me to take your brand new bike out. It was a worthwhile experience worth every moment of time spent on it.
If you are interested in seeing the new Multistrada first hand, please attend your local Ducati Dealer for the nation-wide Multistrada 1200 launch party. Ducati dealers across the United States are simultaneously unveiling this ground-breaking motorcycle to the public on Friday, May 14th from 7P-9P.