When Ducati set out to built the sport-touring Multistrada 1100 model they did it with top notch engineering, refinement and, most of all, style. As a 2009 model year, this represents the Italian way of building a bike that would prove efficient on the way to and from work during the first five days of the week and great fun during weekend trips as well.
Not only that, but Ducati also offers the “S” Multistrada 1100 model, which is no more or less than an upgraded model with performance suspensions and even carbon fiber insertions.
What’s best to hear about both these bikes is that they feature the same engine as on the Hypermotard. The air-cooled, 1,078 cc, L-twin, two-valves per cylinder Desmodromic unit is light, powerful, reliable, and consecrated. Ducati actually needs to make no presentation for the 95 hp and 102.9 Nm engine that is fed through a Marelli electronic fuel injection system simply because those who turn to the Multistrada are attracted by precisely this motor and the fact that it can be good for commuting, touring and sporty riding around curved mountain roads.
Of course, the bike needed the right chassis for the job and it is by now clear that the tubular steel trellis frame was the right thing to choose. Working with a 57.6 inches wheelbase and 24-degree rake allows for the use of a 43mm fully adjustable upside-down fork provided by Showa on the standard model and by Ohlins on the special one. That’s also the case of the rear monoshock offering hydraulic remote pre-load control and working closely together with the aluminum single-sided swingarm for the smoothest ride you’ll get in this category.
Considering the 33.5 inches high seat, this thing offers a fairly tall riding position, but it could have been worse. But let’s look at the bright side here; at least the seat is mounted in a perfect horizontal position and the bars are at quick reach, ensuring an upright riding position that will keep bikers on their rides from gas station to gas station. Passengers won’t have reasons to complain either as the exhaust won’t burn them and the touring side of the bike is there for them too.
Built in the original Italian way, the Multistrada is easy to set out from the sport-touring crowd and it already has a name for itself.
Ducati first produced and sold the Multistrada in 2003 with the word versatility in mind. The first model was powered by a 1,000 cc engine and met the purpose of its creation despite the cheap looking seats and the doubtful fuel indicator light.
The 2005 model year came to correct the seats. These were now redesigned and softer. Also, they’ve improved the side stand and introduced the standard touring screen in a successful attempt to enhance those touring capabilities. 2005 is also the year when the “S” model was introduced and it distinguished then with the same features as it does today: wider bars, Ohlins suspension, the carbon fiber front fender and belt covers. These features were supposed both to add on to the sporty side of the Multistrada and make the bike look more aggressive too.
In 2007 Ducati launched the all-new Multistrada 1100. Obviously, the biggest upgrade then was that to 1100 cc, but this got fuel injection and now coupled to the six-speed tranny through a wet clutch.
Model year 2008 saw the adding of Brembo brakes and sportier decals.
We cannot write about the 2009 Ducati Multistrada 1100 without mentioning its fierce British opponent, the 2009 Triumph Tiger 1050 . Relying on a three-cylinder engine, this beauty delivers as much as 113bhp at 9,400 rpm and 74ft.lbf at 6,250 rpm, which is more than enough to determine Italian engineers to carefully plan their next step. Furthermore, Triumph offers a 2010 Special Edition of the Tiger, making for one more reason to see a new Multistrada that makes no concessions.
If it is to mention a Japanese alternative for both the Ducati and Triumph, we would have to say that it’s built by Suzuki and it is called the V-Strom 1000 . This is also one versatile, two-cylinder motorcycle that, unlike the previous two bikes, it doesn’t drift away from its off-road capabilities.
A Ducati motorcycle will always stand out thanks to the way it looks and the Multistrada is definitely a unique interpretation of the sport-touring image that was first seen on the late 1980s, early 1990s Japanese motorcycles that started it all in this field.
Characteristic to most sport-touring models is the half fairing and a big windscreen, the rest remaining the choice of each manufacturer to make. Ducati designers were actually very inspired when working on the Multistrada 1100 because the end result is truly unique. You get a tall and imposing motorcycle featuring angular lines, all contributing at perfectly blending in the bike’s nose with the 5.3 gallons tank. As mentioned before, the seat is flat while the rear end shares most features (the single-sided swingarm and the implicit stylish rear wheel, the under seat exhaust silencers and fairly sharp tail) with any of Ducati’s sports models.
Both the Multistrada 1100 and the Multistrada 1100 S ride on blacked out 17-inch alloy wheels in between which the L-twin engine stands out as the source of all fun and entertaining. Colors available are Red (with also Red frame) for both models and Black (with Black frame), White (with Grey frame) for the “S” model only.
We got our hands on the Ducati Multistrada 1100 S only to be again introduced with the comfortable and tall riding position that we encountered on the Triumph Tiger . Still, you get to lean slightly towards the wide handlebar, but get a very good look of traffic ahead and feel well in control over what is a big piece of Italian motorcycle.
With a claimed dry weight of only 432 pounds, the Multistrada is very maneuverable as well as inviting. It corners sharply as the Metzler tires grip on to the road very well and, at the beginning, you actually feel the need to remind yourself that this isn’t the sharp Hypermotard and start considering that there’s a fair distance to the ground, which you wouldn’t want to travel upside down.
The engine is a massive torque provider and it makes things interesting wherever you ride. Throttle response is instant and the smooth fueling won’t surprise riders, even those who aren’t that experienced. Still, you get to have a lot of fun when opening the throttle because wheelies are second nature for the Multistrada S and, given the tall riding position, you feel like you’re taking off rather than trying to unveil the sporty side of the bike that you’re riding. Starting 2,200 rpm, things become very interesting in all of the six gears, but I’ve happened to have the most fun in second, third and fourth.
At high speed, both the fairing and windscreen do their job of deflecting wind and we must say that for the average-sized rider, this turns out to be a very good choice. Tall and very tall persons will most likely find that the wind hits them straight in the helmet, not just above it, like in my case. Also, it’s easy to appreciate the fact that the mirrors are mounted on the handlebar and not on the fairing because this enables the rider to get a good look behind at all times, making the bike easy to live with in city traffic at least from this point of view.
Offering 6.5 inches of front wheel travel and 5.6 inches at the rear, the Ohlins suspension ensure that the rider won’t even feel the speed bumps, not to mention the road’s imperfections. We even took the Multistrada off the “strada” for a little while and came to find that it isn’t any weaker than the V-Strom of the Tiger despite the appearances.
We appreciate the Brembo brakes, which provide all of the needed stopping power and more, but also the fact that overall the bike feels rather easy to handle and provides good wind protection while being comfortable. On the other hand, anyone could live without the tall gearing simply because this takes the best of the engine’s character. But no bike is perfect although the Multistrada is, at least in our point of view, a potential candidate for that title.
The ride that we had on the Ducati Multistrada 1100 S sure turned us here at TopSpeed into cheerful fans of this bike, but the $14,495 MSRP is yet another drawback that needs to be mentioned. Even the simple version’s $12,995 MSRP sounds too much compared to the much more powerful Tiger , not to mention the V-Strom .
There have been many speculations regarding the introduction of a brand new Multistrada in 2010 and although that hasn’t concluded into a finite product just yet, we must say that the current selling ones are precisely what riders with versatility in mind expect. I believe that the previous affirmation said it all about these bikes.
Engine and Transmission
Type: L-Twin cylinder, 2 valve per cylinder Desmodromic, air cooled
Displacement: 1078 cc
Bore x Stroke: 98 x 71.5 mm
Compression Ratio: 10.5:1
Power: 70 kw - 95 hp @ 7750 rpm
Torque: 102.9 Nm - 10.5 kgm @ 4750 rpm
Fuel injection: Marelli electronic fuel injection, 45 mm throttle body
Exhaust: Single steel muffler and pre-silencer with catalytic converter and lambda probe
Gearbox: 6 speed
Ratios: 1st 37/15, 2nd 30/17, 3rd 27/20, 4th 24/22, 5th 23/24, 6th 24/28
Primary drive: Straight cut gears; Ratio 1.84:1
Final drive: Chain; Front sprocket 15; Rear sprocket 42
Clutch: Wet multiplate with hydraulic control
Chassis and Dimensions
Frame: Tubular steel trellis frame
Wheelbase: 1462 mm / 57.6 in
Rake: 24 °
Front suspension: Showa 43mm fully adjustable upside-down fork / Ohlins 43 mm fully adjustable upside-down fork with TiN
Front wheel travel: 165 mm / 6.5 in
Front brake: 2 x 320 mm semi-floating discs, 4-piston, 2-pad caliper
Front wheel: 6-spoke in light alloy 3.50 x 17
Front tyre: 120/70 ZR 17
Rear suspension: Progressive linkage with fully adjustable Sachs / Ohlins monoshock; hydraulic remote pre-load control. Aluminium single-sided swingarm
Rear wheel travel: 141 mm / 5.6 in
Rear brake: 245 mm disc, 2-piston caliper
Rear wheel: 5-spoke light alloy 5.50 x 17
Rear tyre: 180/55 ZR 17
Fuel tank capacity: 20 L (of which 6.5 l reserve) / 5.3 US gal (of which 1.7 US gal reserve)
Dry Weight: 1196 kg / 432 lbs
Seat height: 850 mm / 33.5 in
Instruments: Speedometer, rev counter, clock, scheduled maintenance warning, warning light for low oil pressure, fuel level, oil temperature, fuel reserve, trip fuel, neutral, turn signals, average speed, average fuel consumption, remaining fuel metre, fuel injection diagnostic system, auto light off system, immobilizer
Warranty: 2 years unlimited mileage
Body colours (frame/wheels): Red (Red / Black) / Red (Red / Black) - Black (Black / Black) - White (Grey / Black)
Versions: Dual seat