It’s fair to say that I really like the Ducati Multistrada. I liked the old 1260 S, and while I have not yet ridden the new V4-powered model, it looks the business, and is packed with all kinds of wild new-to-motorcycles tech. It’s not really a performance bargain, but it’s got a lot of go to match its show. And the newest version, the Multistrada Pikes Peak, cranks the performance knob up a few notches.
Ducati has invited me down to sunny Palm Springs, California (approximately 1030 miles away from Pikes Peak in wintery Colorado) to ride the new Multi Pikes Peak. With an impressive 170 horsepower and 95 lb-ft of torque on tap, this is going to be a pretty quick machine. I’ve been riding my 25-year-old BMW GS a lot lately, and that only has 80 horses and 72 foot lubs, this is going to be a massive step forward in speed. And that’s before we talk about advanced electronics or chassis improvements or better/grippier tires.
There is something that rubs me the wrong way about performance SUVs like the BMW X6M or Porsche’s new Cayenne GT thing. What’s the point in making a vehicle that is built to ostensibly drive off-road in comfort, then trying to revamp it into a sports car? Why not just build a sports car in the first place? Which is where I come to a crossroads with the Multistrada. That is genuinely a bike built for riding trails and getting lost in the dirt. It’s tall and chunky. So then why, when Ducati already builds incredible sport bikes, has it seen fit to make a sportier bike for the street that no longer off-roads at all?
Pain me though it does to admit it, tall and comfortable Multistrada motorcycles are much better for the road than their track-focused Panigale counterparts. If you’re going to be on a motorcycle, particularly one for more than an hour or two, you’re going to want an upright seating position, tall bars, and all the accouterments like heated grips and adaptive cruise. Maybe I’m getting soft in my old age, but that’s the kind of bike I really dig. And I’m sure I’ll dig the Duc.
With a starting price tag of $28,995 it doesn’t seem likely I’ll be waiting in line to buy one of my own, but I’m ready to be impressed by this wild machine. So here’s your opportunity, what do you want to know about it?