Terblanche on the new Ducati Multistrada

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Probably the most dramatic example of the departure from the ambitious,
elegant futurism of the Terblanche-era Ducatis into the
dumbed-down-for-the-masses mundanity of the current generation is in the
Multistrada. An utterly unique, if slightly awkward bike corrupted the
traditional idea of a go-anywhere adventure tourer by eschewing dirt
ability in 2003, but was replaced by the remarkable-only-in-its-schnoz
(and, admittedly, performance) 2010 Ducati Multistrada 1200. We asked
Pierre for his thoughts on the new bike. Piaggio’s design supremo,
Miguel Galluzzi, was also on the line and added some choice quotes of his
own.

Terblanche: I think [the new 'Strada] is a good bike and it performs really well. When we did the [first] Multistrada in ’98/’99 there was a water cooled version planned. There was a thought at the time that that was a direction motorcycling could go in due to aging riders etc etc. It’s simply a more practical approach.

As far as aesthetics go, there are interesting things on the bike that I think are a fairly obvious attempt to try and steal something from the [BMW] GS, which is the top selling bike in that type of market. I think maybe it could have been a little more unique.

Galluzzi: I can be less politically correct, I don’t like bikes with big noses.

Terblanche: To actually go and do a niche that someone else has done for 20 years is one approach. But, to actually go and re-invent, re-interpret or look in the crystal ball and find the next thing the customer wants, that’s the hard one.

Galluzzi: We are putting all our efforts into that.

Terblanche: When I first started doing design 20 years ago, I though we would be further ahead in everything than we are now. Everything. Design, integration, functionality and all that stuff. I personally think a lot of people are very lost.

Galluzzi: We are in a period of big change. Everything has changed and we don’t know what to.

Terblanche: I think everyone is lost at more or less the same level. Everyone’s looking for that next magic thing that will save their company.

Galluzzi: You know, it is a good moment to have.

  • http://www.ducatinewstoday.com Mark Morrison

    Nice work Wes on the comments from Terblanche and Galluzzi. The new Multi is derivative and ugly whereas the original Multi was more adventurous but equally ugly. call it a draw?

    In the end you can’t blame Ducati for going a little risk averse after Pierre’s 999 plunged Ducati into the red literally.

    To ride, I hated the original Multi and loved the new one, but couldn’t buy something so ugly. I must be so shallow

  • Patrick from Astoria

    “…dumbed-down-for-the-masses mundanity….” Ouch. Bit harsh there? We’re still talking Ducati here, not Toyota.

  • Will

    ” I though we would be further ahead in everything than we are now. Everything. Design, integration, functionality and all that stuff. I personally think a lot of people are very lost. “

    Coming from the guy who designed the 999?!? Didn’t he say he got a lot of his inspiration from the some of the robots in the Disney movie wall-e?

  • Hayes

    Wow, you guys don’t like anything. I love the new Strada, of course I also find the XB12XT and Tiger good looking so maybe I have no taste… ahh who cares? I like what I like.

    • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

      I love the old Multistrada and I’d probably love riding the new one, I’d just have to wear a blindfold to do so.

  • Liquidogged

    Everyone’s a critic. Designing stuff is hard. I think calling the new multi derivative and ugly is something of a leap. The original was weird looking, the new one is weird looking. I don’t see a huge GS influence, honestly. Anyways, the interesting thing about the multi design is the functionality – it’s a reimagining of what a motorcycle “standard” is. Remember the UJM? In that respect, making it so strange looking seems to be at odds with the functionality of it – the actual usage seems to be aimed at such a wide spectrum of riders, whereas the visual design seems aimed at… um… not sure. Aliens maybe. I don’t really mind it since the point of the multi seems to be RIDING it rather than looking at it.

    Oh, and regardless of the financial ramifications, the 999 was a gorgeous bike and a very courageous design. I’m betting the issue with sales had as much to do with its less-than-blistering performance rather than its avant garde looks, but maybe that’s just me.

    • Will

      In the right hands didn’t the 999 do well? Granted it’s racing I’m referring to…won WSBK in it’s first year, ’03 ’04 & ’06, but I suppose now I’m getting away from topic

      • Roman

        Yeah, I remember those 999s were far heavier modified than the in-line 4s they were racing against. They were still down on power, but Troy Bayliss was practically unbeatable riding them on the tighter tracks.

      • Liquidogged

        Right, you’re right. I more meant, perhaps the fact that technically the horsepower numbers were lower, which coupled with the “odd” (actually brilliant) styling, may have had a negative effect on the image of the bike. Of course, the 999 was great in SBK as you mentioned. And anyways, the 916 never had the most muscle either, but the V-Twin made more usable power so riders could get on the throttle that much quicker in a turn. Anyways. Getting off topic. You had a good point.

  • Roman

    Am I the only one who likes the looks of the 999 better than the 10/1198? It’s taken a while to get to this point, but the 999 is such a fiercely interesting bike….it just looks like a weapon designed to destroy. While the 10/1198 is a very handsome bike, it’s does start to feel a little derivative, the more you look at it.

    AFA the the old Multistrada goes, it certainly has one of the best rear-ends in motorcycling. The less we say about the front the better. Would still love to have a Multistrada 620 to thrash around.

    • http://www.americadelivered.com Nick

      I like the 999 way better. Didn’t like it at first. Loved it after the 1098 came out. I like it in red the best.

    • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

      Yeah, we’re big fans of the 999. Park it or the first Multistrada next to their contemporary equivalents and its the Terblanche bikes that look newer.

    • http://www.fast3r.com Lowell Goss

      Terblanche’s bikes were transformative for Ducati. I think the 1098 will be long forgotten in 20 years and the 999 will become a sought after classic. The Multistrada defined a new category while its replacement is extremely capable, but super ugly.

    • bevels+carbs

      I will join the majority of commenters here and agree that the 999 was/is a brilliant design. It was so far ahead ahead of its time that it alienated buyers, myself included. When the 1098 debuted I thought it was beautiful and a much more worthy sucessor to 916. I didnt buy one however despite the huge increase in power over the 999. It just didnt look right to me the more I looked at it while the 999 looks better to me everyday. I dont need 180 horsepower on the street and if I cant look at a vehicle parked in my garage for hours on end, I dont own it. I am now the proud owner of a clean used 999 in black. As a student and longtime fan of industrial design and modern architecture, I am ashamed to admit that it took this long for me to recognize the timeless beauty of Terblanche’s 999/749. He is a rare talent/visionary and I look forward to owning one of the new Guzzis.

  • kidchampion

    In spite of popular opinion, I really dig the original Multistrada. Its angles and lines always reminded me of the cover of Judas Priest’s Screaming For Vengeance ( http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_IgHf8E60yIA/SJjGG52jC5I/AAAAAAAAAMw/O3gD4_w2ogI/s400/1346900209_63a46352ce_o.jpg ).

    The Multistrada lines are more deco, but notice the bird on the cover of Vengance has a very small beak in proportion to the rest of the bird, unlike the new Multi.

  • http://www.bottpower.com/eng Hugo

    What I like about Terblanche is he really thinks about motorcycle design, i.e. not only “styling” but the whole process: integrating parts (therebye reducing weight) for instance. I know he sometimes pushed the engineers more then they wanted ;) and the 999 should have been an even greater “revolution” then it was (in effect a 996 with a different look). Terblanche wanted to have the things they put on the 1098 (different frame, weight loss, etc.) and the same goes for the 900SS which should have been as lightweight as the Troll Supertwin…but you sometimes don’t get what you want because of money and politics. The styling of Terblanche his bikes may sometimes be controversial but you have to applaud him for thinking outside the box like he did with the Guzzi studies and the plastic frame; that is typical for Terblanche.

  • http://www.bottpower.com/eng Hugo

    Ah and I forgot that Terblanche was also critized for the small fueltank of the MH900e; I heard that he wanted to have the whole fueltank/side fairing to function as a fueltank but the engineer who developed it didn’t understand that (as it was “unusual”) so developed what he new: a fueltank at the same location as every fueltank he designed meaning a very small one…

  • Rich

    The 999 is definitely a much more contemporary, innovative design than its successor. Terblanche is a very original thinker. And yes, the 1098/1198 is derivative – as is the new Strada.

    The 1098 is obviously derived from the 916 and other bikes with twin headlights and SSSAs. The new Strada has a beak up front as do all the other “adventure” bikes. The fact that the Ducatisti are not ready for Terblanche’s designs, says as much about them as it does Terblanche.

  • Johndo

    All bikes are derivatives. They all have 2 wheels and a seat. Saying the Multistrada is similar to the BMW…is a bit far fetch for me. Yes its aimed at the same crowd but thats where the ressemblance stops. Still not sure I like the nose on the Multi, but the rest of the bike looks great. But now what Im waiting for is the new Triumph Adventure. THAT looks alot inspired by the GS bikes…but I don’t mind, the engine will be so much more fun :)

  • Markkit

    Although I agree with Pierre that design should be much further ahead today than it is, not only in bikes, but also cars and even sneakers (the slow down started in 2001), I do think that companies in all those sectors have since become more profitable (except for Italian bike companies, Ducati aside).

    Unfortunately for passionate and progressive designers; industrial design is more about making money, than racing to create the most innovative or new aesthetically defining product. Which is why most successful designers aren’t the most conceptual, but are the most business minded; less artistic and more pragmatic in their design choices.

    As a designer the recent less challenging or confused aesthetic designs have have also disappointed me, especially as there are more trained designers working today as there were 10 years ago. But I recognize that when you live and breath design everyday, you are going to be ahead of the consumer, maybe that’s why Pierre thinks “people are lost”. For example his Ducati 999 was visually an excellent reflection of the Gundam/Transformers and later KTM and Coop Himmelb(l)au and Bimota deconstructed aesthetic, but how many Ducati customers were familiar with that aesthetic then?

    Also I must add that in my opinion the 999 is not a good aesthetic reflection of Italian culture; famous for Ferrariesque feminine, curvaceous sculpture and surfacing.

    The New Multistrada 1200 is more in tune with the curvy nature of Italian design tradition and sure it borrows some of the proportions of the BMW GS 1200, but also all the big dual-sport tourers, like the Triumph Tiger and the Yamaha Super Tenere. To copy is a strategic choice, risk management to not stray to far from the consumer aesthetic comfort zone, with the added benefit that the designer cannot completely mess the project up with poor styling(because, YES there are plenty of bad designers).

    Ferrari could be designing the most visually challenging performance focused cars, but it doesn’t. Leave the challenging aesthetic designs to Confederate Motorcycles, with their production run of 100 bikes per year.

    The BMW GS 1200 with the ‘nose’ was a clone of the BMW 650 GS, which in turn took the design cue from the Suzuki DR750 and DR800S. Designers more often than not borrow design details from successful competitor products, what might be considered as a lack of creativity also risk management.

    In my opinion by offering the Multistrada Ducati is trying a reduced risk strategy to sell a few more bikes on an existing engine and possibly enter the long distance dual-sport touring market. Its not trying to create or support a new niche by creating new defining product, because the risks are too great.

    Ironically I think the aesthetic sophistication of the 999 was also its downfall, not only was the design ahead of its time, but bad press on the technical looking air deflectors and the narrow tanks also made consumers weary of its technical merits. The 999 will however remain an icon of aesthetic design, more than the 1098.

    For my part I think today the aesthetic component of design has become saturated due to its directionless and safer aesthetic; too many mixed shapes and surfaces and very little meaning. This leaves aesthetic designers with a harder design task; how to create new yet meaningful aesthetics, that stand out and are consistent with a single brand aesthetic, but without going overboard. I’m not sure even Pierre and Miguel have figured it out yet.

    I’ll stick with street trackers, supermoto and motocross bikes that aren’t so reliant on styling and over-styled plastic surfaces for character. Bikes that I can work on, that aren’t disguised as spaceships.

  • http://www.twitter.com/thatTomWalker Tom

    I think Terblanche is incapable of understanding what is ugly to the rest of the world. He’s only good at designing odd bikes with odd looks. Keep him AWAY from the superbikes, tourers, and monsters please!

  • Michael

    I just had the break-in service completed on my Multistrada 1200 S. From that I think you can infer what my opinions are regarding the bike’s aesthetics.

    I would really like to know what design elements Terblanche thinks, “…are a fairly obvious attempt to try and steal something from the [BMW] GS…” Is it the fact that the 2010 Multistrada 1200 has longer travel suspension? I frankly don’t see it. Is he high, or just insulted? The new ‘Strada is much more elegant bike than either the perennial golem that is the Terblanche era Multistrada, or the GS. The old Multistrada with its lobotomy patient windshield is still one ugly fucking bike. I like how Terblanche’s Multistrada had an undertail exhaust, making the luggage rack not much more than a vestigial component. At least the GS is a bike that I could, at best, say looks like an expensive utility knife.

    At first I found the new Multi’ visually jarring in pictures. I had the same reaction that everybody had, and tasted bile in the back of my throat. The thing is, new designs usually do that. They are like a slap to the face from the daily mundane that people are used to. Of course, with Terblanche’s Multi, it still hurts. When I saw the new bike in person all of the sudden the design made all the sense in the world. The entire bike ties in nicely with the front fender and the whole look works. I, and several others, saw the 2010 Multistrada 1200 for what it really is: a big supermoto and not a big trailie. I liked that. The 2010 bike is sporty, not stodgy. Some say that if the bike is really meant to be sporty, then the front fender should be removed. I would say sure, and then you get all the visual flair of the current Triumph Tiger. YEEEAAAWWWNNN. Only late model Suzuki 600 and 750 Katanas could more qualify as jelly-beans on two wheels than the Tiger.

    I understood that Ducati wanted to go after the BMW R1200GS, and the market it represented. I understand that it was aimed at old guys on conquest sales from the more traditional big trailie bikes. The funny thing is it’s not just the old guys who like the look of the 2010 Multi’. The aggressive lines of the Multistrada 1200 S’, raptor-like front end, and sporting stance also seem to agree with people my age (29). This is just based off the number and variety of people who engage me with general interested in my bike. When talking with them, I go so far as to say, “Well it’s just an old man’s bike.” I find people disagreeing with me. They think it’s a sports bike. They’re right, of course. It may be a bird of a different feather, but it still flies. The 2010 Multistrada is an old man’s bike in the same way a Porsche 911 is a four seater.

  • Viceroy_Fizzlebottom

    If you can get past the looks, the Terblanche era bikes can be had for a steal right now.

  • SpeedJay

    I too think the 999 was a beautiful/interesting design. I always felt like I was in the minority with that view. I think most people cannot accept new designs, period. Most people don’t like change.

    However, I really have to disagree with Terblanche here. When he compares the Multi 1200 with the BMW GS, I think he is comparing the large “nose.” I don’t think that proportion makes the bikes similar. First off, the shape is considerably different. The functional purpose of the nose is also arguably different.

    As others have mentioned above, the bikes share nothing in common.

    Here’s what I think happened with Terblanche/Galuzzi – sour grapes.

    They are pissed that they are not at the wheel (bars?) driving design at Ducati. They think they can do better. You know what, they probably could do better. But they are not there now and the new Multistrada is not a bad looking bike. I actually like how they’ve brought over the barge boards from the 999. I think it is flattering to Terblanche’s 999, without being an exact copy.

  • Patrick from Astoria

    Mind if I jump in again too?

    The 999 (and 749 included as a matter of course) in my opinion suffered mightily in two ways – one design-specific, one the curse of history.

    First, given the relative lack of bodywork, the headlight(s) of a motorcycle play a significant – maybe excessively important – part in the overall aesthetic package. The 999′s twin vertically-stacked drill bores just didn’t do anything complimentary. From the side it’s a nicely progressive package, but start to add in the lights and something goes very awry. I don’t know if this was an intentional part of Terblanche’s design or something forced on the bike by the production engineers, but either way I see it as a flaw.

    Second, the 999 had the bad luck of following the 916 series, perhaps the most intensely appealing design of the fairing era. Going anywhere unexpected from Tamburini’s masterpiece put Terblanche’s mild iconoclasm (the lights again, but also the swingarm and the stated intention to make the bike more “livable”) into a very undesirable position.

    This is also probably part of the appeal of the 1098/1198: It’s a logical development of everything that was loved about the 916, brought up to date without disposing of too much of its identity. Maybe it’s not the progressive/artistic solution, but it’s tremendously appealing to a lot of the buying public, and Ducati’s coffers have definitely benefitted from this instance of returning to the known path.

    And yes, personally I also greatly prefer the 1098/1198 to the 999. Sometimes progressive designs are brilliant breakthroughs; sometimes coming back home works well, too.

    • Sean

      So well said, and diplomatic without throwing stones as so many here have, and admittedly, I was tempted to.

  • MTGR

    Interesting that Terblanche/Galuzzi seem to have an issue with the front end of the new Multi when Terblanche (I believe) designed the Hypermotard with its similar beak.

    I didn’t mind the 999, at least in race trim, and I liked the Supermono and even the 900 Supersport based on the supermono looks. Again, I believe Terblanche designed all of those. Perceived performance and finance limits on the designs could definitely be factors, but it is hard to deny what the buying public in general responds to when all of these designs were under-sellers.

    To me the 1098 looks pretty good (more so in real life than photos, a trend these days it seems) even if it is a pretty clear knock off of the original 916 design and definitely not breaking any new ground. To me the new Multi is just more of that same knock off with some hypermotard thrown in the mix. I do agree neither is likely to be viewed as distinctive (of possibly remember at all) in 20 years time.

    Then again, one designers safe and unoriginal knock off is another’s ‘evolution of distinctive company traits’, so there you go. The 916 was a groundbreaker that forever changed how many people viewed Ducati, so it is not a bad source for new Ducs to draw from. It is not always necessary to reinvent the wheel, particularly when the current wheel seems to be rolling along just fine.

    I do agree with Terblanche and Galuzzi though, that much motorcycle design work these days is rehashed and few seem to be looking for the next distinctive design to break through like the original 916 did. Maybe they will do it.

  • Bob

    Ask yourself this: WWTD?

    What Would Tamburini Do?

    We need that guy back in the saddle.

    • Grant Ray

      Bob, I’m pretty sure he’d just copy the other T again, like he did last time. MTGR, where do you think the shapes of those 916 headlamps came from?

      1993 Supermono > 1994 916

  • schizuki

    When your designs require you to shovel buckets of B.S. to credulous motojournalists on a regular basis, then your designs are a failure.

    I’m sorry, but I prefer the classic Italian lines of the 1098 to the doodle-on-a-teenager’s-binder, Wal-Mart X-treme Machines childishness of the 999. And his modern classics look like parodies of the old machines.

  • Jon

    I’ve ridden the old Multi, the GS, and the new Multi. The old Multi and the GS feel MILES behind in just about every category. The only place the 1200S loses is in true off road capability. Make no mistake, the 1200S will stomp the living shit out of the old MTS, the GS, and many sportbikes on anything but a gravel road. Who gives a fuck about the front air ducts, the new 1200S is brilliant as a functional motorcycle.

    But, HFL is becoming good at stirring up shit…even when there’s not shit in the post. The TMZ of motorcycle websites for the sake of clicks. Meh.

  • chunky

    So now, people who like the new Multistrada are “dumb masses” and the ones who like the old one (like you) are “elegant and futuristic”, with that kind of arrogance, and since bikers are arrogant, you are now truly deserve to call yourself a biker. Congratulations!

  • http://twowheelsplus.blogspot.com/ Anders

    I do like the original Multistrada, but the new version is also a solid piece of design work.
    The original Multistrada and 999 were stronger conceptually and more iconic. The new MS and the 1098 are more evolutionary but with more resolved detailing than the predecessors.

  • baddad

    The old Multistrada is one of the ugliest bike in the history. Some old MZ could be uglier.

  • Scott

    The 999 is still the best looking Ducati.

    Everytime I see one I fall in love, an art deco trains! The 916 looks so feminine & dated. The 999 still looks like it’s from the future.

    PT is a genius.

  • Bob

    Terblanche was under Tamburini.

    Remove the fairing from an ST2 and then do so on a 748/916 and you will understand his comments below.

    “Regarding the 900SS, it ís somewhat awkward for me to give an opinion. First because the designer of that bike was one of my students. Pierre Terblanche, although he had the degree when he came to us, didn’t know how to design bikes. He was with us several years and I believe he is a person of considerable talent. He has a problem, though; he doesn’t understand the mechanical side.

    When the designer doesn’t have a good understanding of the mechanical side of things, he can never design a good product. Only an engineer can create a good product in the first instance, and then be assisted by a good designer. “

    http://www.superbikeplanet.com/tambo.htm

  • JohninVT

    I never would have thought Wes was a fawning fanboy of the single worst designer of motorcycles in the last 50 years. “Ambitous, elegant futurism”? Horseshit. If a Multistrada with a fairing that looks like a suppository is your idea of elegant then you need your head examined. Only a designer with an ego the size of Manhatten can design in a vacumn. Part of his brief is to design not just for himself but for mass appeal. Terblanche has never been able to do that and consequently, bikes he works on don’t sell. It’s not enough that the designer looks at his work and says, “Voila! It’s a success.” The judgement of success comes from whether or not people buy the goddamned things AND their lasting place in the biking pantheon.

    I’m really dissapointed in Hell For Leather. To suck up to Terblanche and write that the current Multistrada is dumbed-down-for-the-masses and mundane is simply ridiculous. I don’t even like the new Multi but how is it dumbed down? How is it mundane? That’s just a stupid opening statement. Go time how long it take to remove the fairing from an ST2 and them explain how great Turdblanche is. Bah…crap.

    • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

      Sorry, but with the latest generation of products — 1098/1198, Multistrada, Streetfighter, new Monster — Ducati has transitioned from being an ambitious design leader into a design follower.

      Nobody’s questioning the mechanical excellence or the performance, but clearly that’s run as a different department to design, which is proabably part of the problem.

      What visually separates an 1198 from a previous generation R1? A slightly different arrangement of holes in the fairing or the decision to fit a higher cost SSS? The 916 and 999 answered that question far better.

      Look at Ducati’s history of design classics, then look at its current range of blah. We still care about the Supermono and the 999, in 10 years no one will even remember the 1198.

      All this is a fundamental alteration of Ducati’s brand values. Sure, they’re more attainable, but they’re a hell of a lot less desirable.

      • JohninVT

        Good design is part of the brand identity. The Supermono was beautiful but Ducati sold 65 of them. The 999 nearly put them out of business. Design is part of the overall business model…that’s what I mean by designing in a vacumn. Terblanche designs crap that does not sell. Period. That he or a few of his dedicated fans like it does NOT make it a success. His designs were utterly rejected by the vast majority of Ducati faithful. That is the definition of failure.

        It’s great to push the envelope but when you simply toss aside any link to past design and start from scratch with no perspective on history, the design has to be appealling in order to succeed. Terblanche is…dissonant.

        • Grant Ray

          Ducati only sold 65 examples of the Supermono because they only built 65. Have you seen how much clean examples of those things go for? You can get TWO used Desmosedici for the price of one of the later 572s.

          As for the SuperSports debacle, man those things were dogs. Ew.

  • http://www.damiengaudet.blogspot.com damien

    The 999 looked awesome…in race trim…when you couldn’t see the headlights.

  • Johndo

    The Old multistrada didnt sell well, not only when it came out but years after. Not cause it wasnt a good bike but cause the design didnt appeal to most so how can the designer say its better then the new one. Unless your designing screwdrivers, functionnality ain’t all, it needs to have sex appeal to a majority if you want any type of commercial success. The front just looks akward. The 999 wasnt UGLY, but I still prefer the 1098.

    He’s probably just frustrated that he didnt get to work on the latest Duc models. I think in person the last version looks very sexy. And its not only good looking but functionnal too. Anyone bashing the latest Ducati models are out of their minds. They make sexy bikes and that’s why they probably sell more now then ever.

  • LittleMonster

    I’m on the fence about the Superbikes. The Terblanche machines do grow on you, and are very original. But they never really struck me as Ducatis: not quite sexy enough. I love the idea of his designing for Moto Guzzi. His style is very technical, very modern, a bit clunky and quirky and I think it suits Guzzi a bit better.

    Current Ducatis are a bit derivative, but I’m strangely okay with that. The 1198 in photos doesn’t do much for me, but in the flesh? I love the nose of the thing, although the tail/exhaust is a bit clunky. Will it age well? Maybe. Is it as progressive and challenging a design as the 999? Of course not. I like the 1198 but I’m betting that, down the road, the 999 will be considered more classic.

    Regarding the old Multistrada, I happen to really like everything but that [very functional] front end. In fact, I’d love to get one and do this with it:

    http://www.duccutters.com/cianr-MultiRacer/re079js4.jpg

    And the new one, with its beaky front end does ape the BMW far more than its predecessor did, but I’m happy if Ducati can sell them and remain in business.

    It’s a balancing act: we can all bitch and moan about the “dumbing down of design for the masses” but if our favorite brands go out of business because no one’s buying, where does that leave us? I’m just worried Ducati’s diluting its image a bit too much these days.

  • deckard

    The new Ducatis are dullsville. From an aesthetic standpoint, I would take a 1992 851, a 916, and a black 2005 999 over a 1098 any day of the week. In fact, I would be jumping to a KTM RC8 if I was looking for a current production bike. And that goes for a KTM 990SMT versus a new Multistrada.

    Unfortunately the current state of Ducati is a direct result of Terblanche’s overwrought and unsuccessful designs; the boys from Bologna are like a turtle pulling their heads back in their shells.

    The Terblanche bikes may have been successful from an intellectual standpoint, and many elements of those bikes are wonderful. But they just never came together as a whole, where you saw the bike for the first time and said “Wow.” Instead they always cause(d) me to scratch my head … While the 999 has aged fairly well, and absolutely does look more current that the 1098, it still has to be in black to cover up the various problems. That rear subframe is a disaster for example.

    And don’t get me started on the Terblanche Supersport debacle. That bike had a shark’s head in the full fairing lower which is beyond pathetic on a Ducati. And unfortunately we’ll probably never see that model line again as it was driven into the ground. Pierre, you can do you penance by designing a Aprilia version of the SuperSport around the Shiver 750..

  • Mike

    I love the 999 (especially after the 2005 clean-up), but the original Multistrada is a trainwreck. The tail is neat because it reminds me of the MH900e, but eveything else about it is just plain wrong. The double-decker/double-chin/cyborg-cyclops fairing is offensive every time I see it, and that’s before you reveal the stupid moving windscreen trick.

    The new Multistrada is much better. Other than the beak it has no questionable styling elements. It’s far more cohesive and elegant than an R1200GS or a 990A.

    The 1098 might not break new ground, but it’s clean and appealing. In 10 years the 1098 won’t be remembered for it’s ambitious design, but it will still be considered beautiful.

  • Johndo

    http://shop.pack-parts.net/images/Ducati%201098.jpg

    How some can say the 1098 doesn’t look good is beyond my comprehension. The 1098 is one of the sexiest, while remaining classy, bikes ever made. It’s right up there with the MV Agusta F4.

    No point in making a bike original to the point of being ugly. It just won’t sell.

  • deckard

    The 1098 is derivative and poorly executed. The lines on this bike do not flow into each other, instead it looks like someone threw spaghetti on the floor and designed the bike around the mess:

    http://img227.imageshack.us/img227/2416/02lw6.jpg

    Very amateur, very derivative, very un-Italian in execution.

    • Johndo

      I’d like to see what you’d come up with if the 1098 is such a crapy design :) If you trace lines on all bikes, cars, you’ll see that not all have only 1-2 main directions in lines. The most important is that when you look at it, it flows well, and the 1098 does. Trace lines on a Ferrari Enzo, have fun.

  • Bald Shaun

    The 999 was stunning. But I don’t know if I can forgive Terblanche for ruining the Super Sports. He took what were, IMHO, the best all around street bikes, from sport touring to track days, and made them into uncomfortable shrink wrapped turds.

    I don’t really car for either version of the Multi aesthetically, but to call the new one dumbed down and mundane is ignorant. Both machines were built to be ridden. From the cockpit they look just fine.

  • One-Who_Knows

    Contrary to expectations, I’m not seeing prices on good 999s collapse after the 1098 series came out. And while a nice early 916 is still pretty pricey (for an old bike) resale on the 996s and 998s is so bad people are parting them out

    Long term the nicer 749 or 999 bikes (the R models especially) are going to be collectors pieces, the 1098 series not so much

  • eric

    As the former owner of a ’97 M750 Monster, I look at the new products from Ducati, and honestly, I don’t see anything I’d buy. The original monster was a brilliant design; great proportions, everything where it needed to be, no fat and nothing fake. I see the new one, and it looks like it was designed by a committee.

    I loved Terblanche’s Supermono, and his MHR, but the multistrada was a disaster (at least visually). The 999 had some really good moves, but the details arent’ resolved. The exhaust can looked like someone took apart the guts of a toaster oven and shoved them under the tail. I also agree that the headlights seemed to be an afterthought. Still, I think it was a solid effort. His supersports were terrible, taking away their most important feature, which was their reasonable ergonomics; they weren’t powerful enough to be ‘real’ supersport bikes, and now they were uncomfortable, too. Not to mention ugly…

    The sportclassics were close, but the tanks were weirdly proportioned. The rest of the package was pretty good, though. I applauded Ducati at the time for making ‘classic-style’ machines without dumbing down the performance. I wish others, including the Japanese, BMW, HD, and anyone else who will listen, would make simple, good-handling, good-looking bikes that refer to their respective histories, without making us deal with excess weight, low performance, or silly caricature styling. Not everyone needs or wants electronic everything or 150 horsepower; some of us just want nice-looking, easy to maintain, good-handling bikes. My monster was almost perfect in each of these categories, except for the critical maintenance criterion.

    • http://www.bottpower.com/eng Hugo

      I agree that the Sportsclassics were close; it is funny because it seems Cafe Racers are becoming more and more popular so it seems Ducati was too early? what I would have liked is a mixture of classic and modern, classical look and proportions combined with modern technique and ergonomics (so modern “sporty” forks and brakes, etc.) basically I’m talking about the NCR New Blue/Mike Hailwood but without the price tag ;)
      If Ducati can built the Monster 1100S with 95hp/168kg why didn’t they do the same with the Sport Classic series?
      And as always regarding design; no matter what company, be it Ducati or BMW cars, head of design proposes stuff but the board decides which model will go into production! Bangle didn’t decide that, nor did Terblanche. As a designer you propose concepts and for sure push a certain direction which you think could be interesting but the final decision is not with you…

  • G$

    If anyone can suck the sex out of motorcycles it’s Terblanche. If he designed a women she’s have a flat ass and square tits.

  • schizuki

    “And don’t get me started on the Terblanche Supersport debacle.”

    Terblanche defenders should just be shown pictures of those abortions whenever they wax rhapsodic over the charlatan.

    “If anyone can suck the sex out of motorcycles it’s Terblanche. If he designed a women she’s have a flat ass and square tits.”

    Thread winner.

  • Sean

    Aaaaand the new Multistrada just got named Best Open Class Streetbike by Cycle World, largest circulating motorcycle magazine in the world.

  • deckard

    It’s still butt ugly.

  • Brook

    Terblanche’s designs are very three dimensional. It isn’t until you see his designs up close that you begin to really appreciate is work…the raised wing on the Hypermotard, the racing intakes on the tail of the 999, the etched gas tank of the old Multi…all brilliant.

    Compare his design to the new models like the Streetfighter, 1098, and new Multi. They look good on paper and in brochures, but up close they look very flat and two dimensional.

  • http://sean peter nemeczek

    well i guess i’m in the minority as i love my older multi, his hypermotard is a jewel too