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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
The Ducati Multistrada is nothing like a Gold Wing. That must be why I find it so fascinating. I guess I'm kind of like the man who has a beautiful, voluptuous wife at home, but finds himself attracted to the skinny redhead at work. He knows it's wrong, but she just looks so darned hot! Well, I finally got to ride the skinny redhead, and she was hot, but she ain't no Gold Wing.


A beautiful red head.

The local exotic bike dealership in Charlotte, NC recently had an adventure bike demo day. I rode down on the Wing, and asked if I could take out a 2014 Multistrada. "Of course." That's the nice thing about BMW dealerships: test rides! We only did a 5 mile loop, but I learned a lot in that short time.

First off, the MS I tested had a very snatchy throttle. That particular bike throttle was setup with no slack. None. I tried rolling on the throttle in neutral and VROOM, it just went! It's nice, in theory, to have instant throttle response. In practice, it means every bump risks blipping the throttle causing a very jerky ride. I reserved judgement intil we got going.

While the Multistrada, on paper, has more horsepower and pretty good torque compared to the Wing, at idle there is no comparison. You must gas the Multistrada to get going from a dead stop. With the Wing, throttling off idle is completely optional--heck, you can idle off a dead stop in second gear on a Wing. If low rpm power is important to you, the Gold Wing is the winner here.

On the other hand, that pretty little Multistrada doesn't weigh anything. It is literally 410 pounds lighter than the GL1800. That's right--410 pounds lighter. That's the weight of a good sized passenger and a trailer put together! Sitting in traffic is like hanging out on a cushy bar stool. After riding the Wing, I could hardly tell I was even sitting on a motorcycle. I found it very easy to ride the MS at parking lot speeds. Weight is a big win for the Multistrada.


Yes, she has a big nose, but she's still pretty.

Once we got underway, I immediately had a problem with the Duc. The riding position, at city speeds, is too far forward. I didn't have a place to lock in my knees, and didn't feel in control of the bike because I had too much weight on my hands. Yes, this went away completely at 70 mph, but around town the riding position left me feeling like I was falling forward off the seat. Score another one for the Wing.

As we zoomed down an on ramp to the 485 Beltway, that snatchy throttle came back into focus. I was leaned over, in Touring Mode and still, every little bump was making the throttle surge. (No, I couldn't just relax on the grips because I had too much weight on my hands from the forward biased riding position.) So, I kicked the bike up a gear to soften the throttle response and, ah, joy at last! The Multistrada is really a big ol' dirt bike and has lots of suspension travel. The bumps became a non-issue even leaned over at speed. So, for suspension, I give the nod to the Italian bike over the Japanese product.

On the highway, the Multistrada finally came alive. The engine finally had some power. The seating position finally worked. Even the little windshield finally started to move some air off my chest. Yes!

So, in conclusion, if you plan to spend most of your time zipping around the mountains at 70 mph, the Multistrada may be for you. If the forward biased seating doesn't bother you, or if you spend a lot of time commuting in the city, the MS may be your ride. If you really are more of a touring rider, need a neutral riding position, or like a bike that makes powerful right now, you'll still want to keep your voluptuous old lady.



Small adjustments to the bars would make this bike a better touring machine.

I really did enjoy the Ducati, but for me to buy one, I would, at the very least, need to know they could adjust the throttle cable (maybe they can't, maybe it's supposed to be that way), and get some bars or risers that move my hands a bit closer to my body. I wonder, should I ask, would the wife let me keep both?

Ducati Multistrada vs. Honda Gold Wing


  • 1200 V2 vs 1800 F6
  • 150 Horsepower vs 118 Horsepower
  • 92 Foot Pounds vs 125 Food Pounds
  • 6 speed vs 5 speed
  • 515 pounds vs 925 pounds
  • 60" wheelbase vs 66" wheelbase
  • 5.3 gallons vs 6.6 gallons
  • Skyhook suspension vs barely-adjustable rear shock
  • 33.5" seat vs 29.1" seat
 

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Re ..adjust the throttle cable
... It's throttle by wire, no cable.

Re ..
Weight is a big win
... and so too for the skinny red head at work.
;-)

Dennis
 

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The throttle feels a little twitchy because torque hit is strong and instant, as is the engine braking, for a lighter weight bike. It's like that on my Ducati 1098 and Aprilia Tuono, you learn to relax your grip and your arms and it goes away.

I'm looking for a bike to fill the gap between my naked sports bike, my Aprilia Tuono, and my Goldwing. I can do 350-400 miles as day on the Tuono, but probably not 3 or 4 days at a time. I can do that on my Wing, but in the company of my sports bike riding friends, I would be over riding the Wing and that in itself becomes mentally tiring and prone to mistakes.

The Multistrada fits that perfectly, it's a slightly more comfortable sports bike with bags. I would have a Multistrada in a nano second, but can't justify the price.

The bike I've got my eyes set on is the Kawasaki Ninja (I hate the 'Ninja' name) 1000 ABS with the hard bags. It's a tad over 500lbs with fuel, but still has removable carrying capacity.
 

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Thanks for the write up.
Coincidently, I was looking at the MS on the Ducati website yesterday. (I just finished watching "Long Way Down", and "Long Way Round" last week. The R12GSAs they rode got a workout, and KTM has been kicking themselves for 10 years).

I had an opportunity to straddle a MS at the Motorcycle show (it was the S-Grandtourismo, and not a Redhead) and could only imagine what it would be like on the road. From my perch indoors, the only thing that stood out as a possible "transition" item was the firmer, narrower saddle.

Several of the "not a Goldwing" items you mentioned - lighter weight, riding position, power curve, a bit of a breeze - made me smile. They are the same things that make me glad that I have two bikes.
I love the Wing, but it's been spending a LOT of time on the battery tender since Lucille moved in.

Those skinny redheads sure keep the blood flowing....
 

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I've looked at Ducati's several times but the big price and the cost of service sent me looking elsewhere when I found this FUN bike. Been enjoying the Orange Kool aid for several years now. Here's my 990 Supermoto T at Thunderhill during a track day last fall.



Perhaps you should ride the new KTM adventure, 150 hp and the ability to do the street and the dirt better than most bikes out there.

I use the Katoom for the local twisty mountain rides and the Hippo for the LD pleasure rides. Dating the big girl and the little hottie is possible.
 

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I do enjoy the 'wing..
..I do realize it is what it is.

Often, as I'm pulling out of my driveway, this song starts playing in my head..
..yep, this about describes it. (HRL)
:) :) :)

 

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it's a man thing = more toys :bow::bow:;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
It would be tough to choose a second bike between the Multistrada, the Concours and the FJR, but I think the FJR might actually get the nod. Especially if I could add an aftermarket Autoclutch and push button shifter. :cool:
 

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Re ..adjust the throttle cable
... It's throttle by wire, no cable.

Re ..
Weight is a big win
... and so too for the skinny red head at work.
;-)

Dennis
The Multistrada does indeed have throttle cables that go to the throttle position sensor. This is very common on fuel injected bikes (including my Super Tenere). There are cable adjustments for throttle cable slack.

It's a very common misconception regarding many FI "fly by wire" bikes. You can indeed get stranded by a broken cable.
 
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