Review: 2018 Ducati Multistrada 1260S

Review: 2018 Ducati Multistrada 1260S

Gentleman’s Agreement

Fans of Ducati’s Multistrada will be pleased with the refinements the Italian manufacturer incorporated on the 2018 incarnation, specifically the 1260S, which combines a satisfying mix of rider aids and creature comforts with the soul of a superbike.

Beneath the reshaped, wedged bodywork resting in the signature trellis frame is a 1262cc Testastretta DVT L-twin engine. The 4-valve, dual-spark heads utilize variable timing on the intake and exhaust camshafts for superlative breathing, imbuing the Multistrada with 158 hp (at 9,500 rpm). Maximum torque is a liberating 95.1 lb-ft, which arrives at 7,500 rpm. That’s even more impressive when you consider 85 percent of peak torque is available at a relatively low 3,500 rpm—where it’s most useful. And the Multistrada’s relatively light weight (for a large displacement sport-touring mount) further enhances these numbers: 467 pounds dry/518 pounds wet.

The Multistrada S’s exemplary performance is kept in check with a host of rider aids in the form of advanced cornering ABS, traction control, wheelie control, and vehicle hold control. These electronic safeguards are bolstered by fully adjustable Sachs suspension components (48mm upside-down forks and single shock), which are efficiently managed with left thumb buttons and easily navigated on the highly visible dashboard. A 62.4-inch wheelbase provides the Ducati stable manners at speed and sportbike agility in corners. Top-tier Brembo radial-mount calipers grab massive dual 330mm rotors, supplying excellent stopping power.

The ergonomics are well suited to sport touring, balanced between a relaxed riding position that accommodates long hauls and allowing for more aggressive body positioning for spirited riding. Wide bars (with heated grips and hand guards standard) confer plenty of leverage in the corners, as well as confident maneuvering at low speeds.

The 1260S Multistrada is a superbike in gentleman’s clothing, a versatile motorcycle that speaks to connoisseurs of performance and style, comfort, and class. It also speaks to the open road, with optional panniers in place for that weekend getaway.