Testastretta 11° motor gives Multistrada 1200 15,000-mile valve inspection intervals

Dailies -


Ducati_11_Degree_Valves.jpgIn addition to combining the capabilities of a superbike, a bicycle, a chair and a tank into one motorcycle, the $14,995 Ducati Multistrada 1200 is also going to be relatively cheap to service. Thanks to  a new valve seat material and improved combustion efficiency the Testastretta 11° engine can now go 15,000 between valve clearance inspections. In comparison, both the Ducati 1198 and the previous air-cooled Multistrada required valve inspection every 7,500 miles.
Despite initially finding the new Multistrada’s looks on the terrifying
side of ugly, we’ve become more impressed with the bike every time we
learn something new about it. The 150bhp twin weighs just 189kg
(417lbs) and comes equipped with push-button adjustment of the power
delivery, suspension travel, suspension settings, traction control and
anti-lock brakes. All that means it’ll be a killer sport tourer, a
capable scratcher, a fun commuter and even a bike capable of light
off-roading, all wrapped up in one package.


  • Interested in getting one

    Wes, can the typical do it yourselfer adjust these fancy desmodromic valves, or do you have to take it into the dealer to get it done? I’ve heard the dealerships charge $1,500.00 for a valve adjust. Is that true?

    • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

      Someone other than me is probably more qualified to answer that, I’ve never owned a Ducati. Anyone?

    • LADucSP

      You can absolutely do them yourself, even on the latest ones.

      It’s a knuckle-buster for sure, and you have to be a reasonably experienced “wrench”, but if you are, then it will be generally straight forward and actually fun.

      As I mention above, or below somewhere, the components are almost unnecessarily artistic.

      It’s beautiful in there.

      Prepare with a lot of research. Study the parts diagrams (avail from Ducati.com), and read the various “how-to’s” and tech articles from others with your particular engine type who have done it themselves; available throughout the web.

      Think through the process, and order your parts accordingly, but consider any other mods/fixes/etc you should address while everything’s in pieces anyway.

      WHen you’re ready, have at it!

      Remember, it’s Italian, so no matter how well you’re prepared, there’s going to be strange unexpected issues along the way.

      But, that’s the deal when you own an exotic!

  • Tom Neel

    @Interested in getting one

    while it’s possible for the garage mechanic to adjust desmo valves, it’s unlikely you can perform the overall service. The valve adjust requires a very high level of skill, feeler gauges and bucket/shims that are unlikely to be found in the usual garage. Additionally a device called a masthesis is required to set the air/fuel mixture, trim the throttle position sensor and generally “tune” the bike.

    A major service on a 16v ducati at a dealer is approx $850 not the $1500 you mention

  • C Mad

    15,000 is great! there finally taking car of the only excuse i’ve had not to buy a duc. my vfr is suposed to check in every 16,000, even though it was still in spec @ 16,000. i’ve been told $800 for a valve adjust but thats hearsay.

  • Tony

    The 7500 mile service estimate for me on my Monster was around $600 which included an oil change, fluids change, any standard adjustments, as well as the valve adjustment. It all depends on the estimated hours and the rate, which locally is $80 per hour. I have heard some of the 1098, or 1198s typically hitting around 1k for the full service.

  • General Apathy

    2 valve desmo motors, Sure! (assuming you have a feeler gauge and a shim kit)

    4 valve (like the MTS1200)… Well you need to be a little more mechanically inclined as it is a very different valve train (testastretta). Also remember that it’s twice the work since you need to adjust the down stroke AND the up stroke or each valve.

    $1500 is about twice what you should be paying for a 4 valve motor adjustment.

  • Mike

    15000 miles for a desmo adjustment? That is an accomplishment. I think I will just keep my 02 Blackbird which just recently had it’s first valve adjustment in 12/09 at 60500 miles. 2 exhaust valves on #1 were tight by .005 and had to shimmed. The others were all in spec. There is something to be said for synthetic oil!

    • Russ


  • The Grudz

    There is something to be said for a Honda. And I own a Duc.

  • LADucSP

    The garbage collets they use to retain the valve closer have always been the real problem. If you use the MBP collets, and clearly Ducati has finally developed something similar, but again, if you use the MBP collets on older engines, you get up to 10k intervals.

    Everything else is purely marginal gain stuff.

    There’s simply more mechanical contact in a desmodromic system and more pieces that need to be kept in sync, than a typical shim/bucket.

    But, it’s a beautiful thing to behold!

    The first time that I adjusted mine, I just sat back and marveled at the unnecessary artistry of the components.

    Advances in materials technology, namely the composite metals used in valve springs now, and the advent of hydraulic valvetrains, effectively render the benefits of desmodromics moot.

    But, I for one at least, am thankful a large global brand like this has remained faithful to a mechanical marvel, even if it is a bit of an atavism.

  • http://www.desmoworks.com anthony

    @ Tom Neel,

    The mathesis hasn’t been used in a LONG time. We’ve been using the DDS for quite a few years now.

    Also IMO it doesn’t take a great deal of skill to check and adjust valves on 2 or 4 valve Ducati motors. It is a simple process that any competent home mechanic can do. Sure you won’t have proper shims laying around, but any dealer worth their salt will have them available and should be willing to trade your old shims + a small fee.

  • generic1776

    Whenever I’ve done standard bucket/shim change outs, the local shop would just trade mine for theirs. No charge.

    But I buy all my parts there.

  • Mike

    Well at least thats one part that maybe won’t get recalled on this new Ducati.

    It’s not the valvetrain that scares me now, or the maintainence intervals…it is the 6 ECUs that worry me. I would hate to be stranded when one of those goes dead out in the middle of nowhere. That’s when you will be wishing you were on a trusty old school XR650 or KLR.

    The sad thing is that even Ducati’s own employees feel the same. I was talking to one at a motorcycle show and he told me that he was planning to wait a year to get his Multi for the very same reason. What does that say for the faith that they have in their own product.

    Yamaha’s new Super Tenere’ looks pretty interesting and must be worrying the hell out of both Ducati and BMW.

  • http://www.dainese.com DaineseDan

    I’ve adjusted more desmos than I can count. Easily done, and I will take desmo over any shim under bucket any day. Those are the real nightmare.

  • Interested in getting one

    Yeah I’m interested in seeing that new Super Tenere as well. Their press releases emphasize reliability (see European Yamaha website) which is a principal consideration for me.

    Unfortunately Yamaha USA is not importing that bike, at least it’s not on their website. I’d be interested to hear from Henio Arcangeli Jr., the president of Yamaha motors USA whether or not he plans to import the Tenere.

    Otherwise we have to choose between the R1200GS and this new Multistrada for adventure touring. I’m a little more comfortable now with maintenance requirements for the Duc, but the BMW R1200GS remains a big question mark- it has new overhead cam heads this year from the HP2 superbike, and I have not been able to nail down the maintenance intervals for those valves, or if they can be adjusted by the owner. My understanding is the maintenance intervals for the HP2 were absolutely horrendous (i.e. frequent). Presumably BMW will have fixed that now these heads have made their way onto their long haul adventure tourer (and RT). Anyone know? I’ve also heard BMW R1200GS’ have an idiot light to remind its time for an oil change, and the owner can’t reset that light- you have to go to the dealership- totally unacceptable in my view if that’s true.

    • Mike

      Just IMO, when you can’t find out tech specs easily from a company, they are usually trying to hide it! They certainly do a good job promoting improvements when it benefits their sales and marketing! When it doesn’t, they just try to not call attention to it.

  • Cameron Baum

    I always wonder about the veracity of the engineering behind these newer longer intervals. Sure, they changed the materials somewhat but I have a sneaking suspicion that the factory understands that many of these bikes will never see the typical high miles that Asian OEM sport-tour bikes get so they can fudge these maintenance intervals past what is advisable and be pretty sure that it isn’t going to matter anyhow.

    Most Ducatis will never be ridden like their Asian counterparts and instead will spend much of their lives parked. Many others will end up balled up way before any long-term damage will be done by inadvisably long clearance intervals will add up to any real problems for the owners.

    Heck, for many Asian sportbikes this is also quite true. It’s only a few models where a few owners actually RIDE them enough for there to be a real necessity to take care of them. Even bikes like the VFR are ridden sparingly by most of their owners as a perfunctory check of ebay listings will attest. Finding used examples with more then 30k or so on the clocks is the exception rather than the rule.

    So, IMHO, they could just claim that the valve checks could be done every 8 million miles and it wouldn’t really matter for most of bikes that leave the showroom floor.

  • JB

    7500 Valve adjustments at a Ducati dealer are in FACT $800-850. That is what I paid for my 1098. Only downside, everything was in spec meaning no adjustments needed to be made. I guess that is a good thing?

  • adam

    adjusting valves on ducati’s is easy.

  • Fastbike

    VFR are ridden sparingly by most of their owners as a perfunctory check of ebay listings will attest. Finding used examples with more then 30k or so on the clocks is the exception rather than the rule.

    Most bike have been Clocked in Japan so to find a VFR with real low KM is very hard…a good sample is the NSR250R4se ther are all low KM
    but the NSR250R-5 with digital clocks are all high

    work that one out??