Charles Keefer's Blog

Multistrada 1200

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Damn I hate colds. They wipe me out.

I’ve had one for the last week. About the only thing I’ve been able to do is lay on the couch and watch Stargate SG-1 re-runs on DVD. Thanks to a birthday gift, I have the complete series, 10-years worth of episodes. And another five years of Stargate Atlantis if the cold keeps hanging on.

Today, with the help of DayQuil, I got out for the first time in a week. I rode up to the dealership in Stuart to check out the new Ducati Multistrada 1200 and, I must say, it is one hell of a motorcycle.

It looks like a red praying mantis that you could easily expect to see in a low-rent SciFi movie – only with more style. But it is a Ducati so there are no pinchers, or stingers, or lasers for that matter – just mechanical and design elements meant to transport you from one point on the earth to another with a high degree or precision combined with plenty of white knuckled thrill if you so desire.

The machine is a transformer. It tries to combine four types of motorcycle into one using the latest tech ever put into a motorcycle. BMW has a new bike out that tries to do the same. Both are early adopter motorcycles.

Let’s start with ignition. It has a key fob, not a key. The bike only needs the fob in proximity to the bike to start. So, you put the fob in your pocket. When you get on the bike, it will start. When you walk away, it won’t.

If you forget your fob, or lose it, you can enter a PIN number and the bike will start. How cool is that?

Next, the thing runs in four different modes. You can pick sport, touring, urban or enduro. Sport and touring boast 150 HP on a 420 pound bike – roughly the same as the Streetfighter except the acceleration is tamed a bit for touring mode. In case you don’t get 150 HP on a 420 pound bike, I have one world for you – hot.

Urban and enduro mode reduce the horsepower to 100 and open up the suspension for city or even dirt travel.

My Streetfighter doesn’t like anything under 30 MPH no matter what gear it is in. The Multistrada will shave 30 percent off that horsepower in urban mode so you can go through a Wall-Mart parking lot smoothly.

It has an upright seating position and an adjustable wind screen, unlike my Streetfighter which is definitely race oriented and naked. You lay forward on the Streetfighter and eat wind. You sit up on the Multistrada.

It comes with two very light hard bags. They are small, so Ducati calls it an adventure tourer – meaning you have two small bags but you can ride the thing into the Andes. My BMW R1200-RS tourer makes no such concession. You get two medium sized bags that weight 20 pounds each (unloaded) and you can drive the thing anywhere there is a road.

I rode my BMW R1200-RS up to Stuart to check this thing out. I bought the R1200-RS to do motorcycle tours. I define a motorcycle tour as anything in excess of 1,000 miles. Just my definition. So far I have done one. It worked just fine.

The BMW did just great going to Stuart and back. I can’t imagine the Ducati doing better – but then I can. It has a 60 HP advantage. And it probably handles better.

I have an appointment to drive the MultiStrada on Thursday. Doesn’t mean I’ll buy it. Doesn’t mean I won’t.

What it means is that I as so thrilled to be living in a time when we have this kind of technology to play with that I don’t know what to say.

Except – cure the common cold, please. What a pain in the sinuses.


Written by Charles Keefer

May 15, 2010 at 6:43 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

3 Responses

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  1. Sounds like the scale is already tipped in favor of the Multistrada over the Streetfighter. Hope you can steer clear of love bugs on Thursday. Enjoy the ride!

    Ellen K

    May 15, 2010 at 7:26 pm

  2. I hope your credit card doesn’t catch fire from friction.

    Have you read Riding with Rikle by Ted Bishop. He’s a Ducati rider who is a pretty good read.

    When your first graf is

    “I’m riding the crest of the last morphine shot, lying here in the trauma ward. Yesterday they let me eat ice chips and helped me set up in my “clamshell,” my new plastic body cast. “Don’t be impatient,” they tell me. “Tomorrow you’ll get your last tube out.” It’s been only ten days since I laid my bike down. “You’re making rapid progress.”

    Motorcycle and bicycle tour reports are as different as they are similar.

    If you haven’t read it, lemme know and I’ll loan it to you. I’m sorry, but it’s delivered on paper.


    May 16, 2010 at 10:10 am

  3. Maybe you need to make more of your fruit smoothies to get your immune system tuned up. And treat your lungs nicer.

    Carol Keefer

    May 16, 2010 at 4:02 pm

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