Testing – Two teams still uncertain for the Bol d’Or –

Ducati Multistrada 1260 S (2018) in the top test

Sportswoman among the travel enduros

Skyhook Evolution, Desmodromic Variable Timing, Ducati Quick Shift, Wheelie Control – the technical refinements of the Ducati Multistrada 1260 S make a powerful impression in the glossy brochures. But there is one thing they cannot hide in the end…

The carousel of curves never ends. A bold step on the gear lever, flop, snaps into second gear. It’s amazing how well the new automatic gearshift flips through the gears, the clutch lever D.ucati Multistrada 1260 S can be punished with disregard. Ah, crap: briefly not paying attention, already missed the braking point. Much too late, the Brembo M50 monoblocks bite into the 330 mm disc, but decelerate so effectively that your eyes almost pop out of your eye sockets. Is that enough for the close right? Pah, as if you now had a choice: the alternative would be cold forming. So squeeze your buttocks together, keep committed and twirl the 251-kilo Duc still on the brakes around the corner. Fortunately, even at single-digit temperatures on the asphalt, the Pirelli Scorpion Trail II sticks to the teeth like toffee candy that pulls a seal, and in no way opposes aggressive bending. So that’s enough and cornering is initiated. Report man and machine: The pants are dry. Everything else in line!

Ducati Multistrada 1260 S (2018) in the top test

Sportswoman among the travel enduros

Ducati Multistrada 1260 S accurately keeps track

The Ducati Multistrada 1260 S now circles the bend more stable than before, no longer shakes itself like a wet dog when the gas is torn open and under great power, and does not allow brief stirring between the lateral tubular space frame, central cast part and screwed aluminum rear. Even on the heavy bump of the road at full throttle, the handlebars only fidget minimally. It was completely different on the previous one! The new Duc keeps exactly on track, the changes to the chassis geometry lead to noticeably more faithfulness to the line, yes caution.

Wait a minute: deposit? Has the bourgeois mediocrity now also caught the idea of ​​the Gauls? Let’s take a brief look back: the Ducati Multistrada, which was developed from scratch, was already considered the sports car among the travel enduros when it premiered in 2010 (for the sake of simplicity we are excluding the earlier Multistrada 1100 and 620). Not only because it catapulted the performance level with around 150 hp in the direction of a super athlete, but also because it had less enduro, but more road competence, more like a touring fun bike than a fast travel steamer. With the 17-inch front wheel, she literally craved curves, let herself be turned sharply, flipped like a toggle switch and always fired from the bend with a tasty and jubilant front wheel. However, what was long-legged, upright sitting and yet sporty lightness for some was too much of a good thing for others. Quiet minds were too nervous, too demanding, too inciting. In addition, the V2, which was originally used in the Superbike 1198, was initially not particularly cultivated for the long, relaxed journey. But a lot has happened since 2010, and the Italians have gradually addressed the criticism.

What about suitability for everyday use?

With the third comprehensive model update, they are now plugging the larger V2 engine from the XDiavel into the Multistrada in Bologna. The 64 cubic centimeter increase in displacement results from a stroke that has been increased by 3.6 millimeters with the same bore (106 millimeters). This engine also contains the technically complex DVT variable valve control. It ensures that the valve timing of the inlet and outlet valves is changed depending on the engine speed and load. When the Multistrada 1200 received the DVT for the first time for the 2015 update, it was initially unsuccessful. Although the V2 offered better manners, the performance dropped sharply at around 5,000 turns. A revision in 2016 then brought the desired success, which was confirmed by the Multi 1200 S, which was on board for this test for comparison – both on paper and on the slopes. In the test bench diagram, however, it can also be seen: The 1262 cubic engine plays in its own new performance league. But before it comes to the sheer forward thrust – what about the everyday suitability of the new Ducati Multistrada 1260 S.?


Multistrada 1260 S (left): flatter steering head, longer swing arm, larger wheelbase, new wheels. Multistrada 1200 S (right): Despite its performance disadvantage, the predecessor offers an extremely high level of experience.

The starter turns the crankshaft when the button is pressed, as tough as paste. At temperatures around freezing point, the V2 puffs off shortly before the third "Grub Gott" at top dead center with around 2,000 idling tours, and blows the scent of gasoline out of the rear silencer into the open. The opulent carpet of smells and sounds spreads to the neighbors. So get away quickly! The clutch separates cleanly, engages evenly, and as soon as you start rolling, you notice how pleasantly inconspicuous the engine of the Ducati Multistrada 1260 S is. With the new throttle valve actuation, it hangs a tad more smoothly on the gas than its predecessor, pulling the chain bravely and smoothly from a good 2,000 turns. Anyone who has followed the evolution of this series in practice cannot believe that 1,000 revolutions later you can naturally use the standard Quickshifter (in the S version) and cruise through the city at low speed, brisk, relaxed and without annoying vibrations.

Smartphone app brings additional features

In speed ranges where it previously only rattled and dragged, the new Ducati Multistrada 1260 S now cranks up calmly. The driver enjoys the still active, long-distance seating position that is somewhat reminiscent of a supermoto, is also happy about the appropriately cranked, not too wide handlebars, the tightly padded and height-adjustable seat and the renovated TFT display, which is sharp enough for the generation Smartphone should satisfy. Speaking of which: With an app, which should be available for Android and iOS by the end of March, you can not only operate basic phone functions from the handlebars via Bluetooth as before (accept calls, receive SMS notifications, play music), but also, for example, the maximum The lean angle reached and the distance traveled can be displayed on the mobile phone. The app also allows you to configure the four driving modes according to your own preferences (Touring, Sport, Urban, Enduro). Of course, this continues to work with the rocker-tip switch on the left end of the handlebar, and thus without a smartphone.


The height of the disc can be adjusted with one hand. It protects the torso and head area well from wind.

The new menu navigation is intuitively accessible. In no time you have selected the driving mode, which determines the response behavior and the performance of the engine as well as the sensitivity of the wheelie and traction control and the ABS. But just as the Ducati Multistrada 1260 S can be electronically informed of the load status, all other settings can be customized. This also applies to the damping setup for the new 48-millimeter Sachs telescopic fork and the shock absorber (only S version, semi-active, five-stage: Softest, Softer, Medium, Hard, Hardest). The further developed semi-active landing gear is now called Skyhook Evolution. Together with the modifications to a swing arm that has been lengthened by 48 millimeters, a steering head that is one degree flatter and a wheelbase that has increased by 55 millimeters, people who love stability finally get a harmonious whole that shouldn’t overtax them. In other words: The chassis shines with neutral steering behavior, low pitching torque, improved stability both in acceleration phases and in curves, rich damping in sport mode, which can also withstand an extremely brisk stroke, as well as a comfortable set-up in the touring program for leisurely rolling.

Always a tad faster

You naturally ask yourself: Is there a catch? Well, in a direct comparison it is noticeable that the old Multistrada scurries around the corner a bit more agile and precise, but is startled when it comes to the smallest bumps. And compared to the 19-inch travel enduros, the Ducati Multistrada 1260 S remains the sneaker that is always a bit more nimble and committed, not following the ideal line stoically like an athlete, but allowing spontaneous course corrections. However, you should have confidence in the front wheel, because the semi-actively regulating chassis leads to a slightly decoupled driving experience. Not as much as with the Austrian competition, but a little more feedback would still be desirable.


The license plate holder and indicators are new. All-in-one solution: massive pillion passenger handles and a small luggage rack.

Otherwise one has to express a lot of praise: The excellent, eight-stage traction control monitors the slip sensitively and finely depending on the setting. The cornering ABS reacts very reliably when anchoring. If you like, you can limit it to the front wheel in level one, in level two both wheels are monitored, but stoppie detection is switched off. Purists can also do without the feature entirely. In Road mode with activated lift detection (level three), the Bosch module reproducibly delivers very good deceleration values ​​with high braking stability without a tendency to stop. What else do you need to know about the stable brake of the Ducati Multistrada 1260 S? It is great to dose and never needs more than two fingers.

What about the equipment?

But the libero into an offensive player ultimately transforms the untamed power of the unit, which means that the Ducati Multistrada 1260 S is in no way inferior to its predecessors. The smooth but direct use of power on the one hand is paired with a fireworks display of performance from a good 3,000 tours, so that the multi does not have any clutches even in third gear. With this immensely high experience value, many a test drive should result in a signature that costs around 20,000 euros (depending on the equipment). Because between 4,000 and 8,000 revolutions, the Vau-Zwo almost always delivers over 120 Newton meters. At the top it is even 131. And with 158 hp at 9,400 tours, the Desmo drive does not run out of air even at the top. A real steam hammer, which garnishes the whole thing with a dry, characterful blow from the rear silencer and in attack mode communicates it to the outside world. But: You can also drive the Multi through town in a civilian way! By the way: The exhaust manifold was given a different guide, the front silencer a new interior and a new silencer, and the intake air duct was modified.


Sharp TFT, small display, easy to read.

The other equipment also includes heated grips, a main stand and a suitcase set – together in the touring package for 1,012 euros. The standard equipment of the Ducati Multistrada 1260 S, on the other hand, includes a pleasantly simple and well-functioning cruise control, an informative cockpit, automatic turn signal reset, a keyless ignition system (the tank still needs a key), an electrically operated handlebar lock and a hill start aid. On the outside, in addition to the famous TFT display, the innovations are limited to details such as new indicators, modified side panels and license plate carriers as well as a metallic “DVT” lettering on the timing belt cover. Unfortunately, it was again neglected to deburr the plastic on the adjustment mechanism of the height-adjustable disc. On the other hand, the windscreen convinces with good protection, especially in the torso and helmet area, but the shoulders and extremities are spared, which is noticeable negatively in cold temperatures. But let’s be honest: As cultivated, sociable, civil and in all respects as the Multistrada has become over the years, it remains true to its line as a sporty multifunctional bike. Luckily!

Conclusion on the Ducati Multistrada 1260 S.

The Ducati Multistrada 1260 S remains true to its line. Furthermore, with its 17-inch front wheel, it represents the sportswoman among the travel enduro bikes, but has increased stability with a modified geometry without neglecting its roots and core competencies. This bike remains a real weapon – if you want to. And if not? They inspire with a cultivated and smooth-running V2, which pairs outstanding driving performance with real touring suitability.

The competition

BMW S 1000 XR:
Four-cylinder in-line engine, 165 hp, weight: 244 kg, 0-100 km / h: 3.2 seconds, Vmax: 250 km / h, consumption: 5.9 liters,
Price: 15,790 euros *

KTM 1290 Super Adventure S:
Two-cylinder V-engine, 161 hp, weight: 245 kg, 0-100 km / h: 3.5 seconds, Vmax: 250 km / h, consumption: 5.0 liters,
Price: 16,945 euros *

Triumph Tiger 1050 Sport:
Three-cylinder in-line engine, 126 hp, weight: 244 kg, 0-100 km / h: 3.4 seconds, Vmax: 220 km / h, consumption: 4.5 liters,
Price: 13,650 euros *

* Incl. Additional costs

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