2013 Ducati Multistrada 1200 gains spec, color

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Ducati is up-specing the Ducati Multistrada 1200 for 2013, adding various accessories and this new Pikes Peak-rep color scheme. The big news though is the addition of “Skyhook” semi-active suspension which will adjust damping settings on the fly to deal with varying conditions. In addition to electronic suspension adjustment, ride-by-wire with variable throttle/power maps, ABS and traction control, that’ll make the Multi one seriously high-tech motorcycle.

BMW is also adding semi-active suspension to some of its motorcycles this year and we found a better explanation of its function than we could write in Kevin Ash’s review of the HP4: “…it adjusts automatically, very rapidly and on the fly the damping settings front and rear according to a whole range of parameters. The system softens on bumpy roads, firms up the front under heavy braking, alters both ends during cornering, firms the rear when you’re accelerating and so on.”

Ducati is being light on details thus far, but you can read more about BMW’s system here. They’ll likely be very similar.

Also interestingly, “Skyhook” was the name of Maserati’s adjustable suspension. There doesn’t appear to be a relation between the two systems though, at least given the very basic material Ducati distributed this morning in which they basically just, “oh yeah, and we’ve added semi-active suspension and decided to call it Skyhook.”

In addition to that suspension, the touring model gains some standard luggage and the GT gets some ADV farkles like engine bars and LED running lights.

  • zero

    I just said this in the KTM thread but I, for one, am excited to see active damping make it’s way to bikes. The magnetorheological suspension on the performance GM and Ferrari cars is pretty impressive in person. I know the Hp4 doesn’t use the same technology, but Duc’s new parent company Audi certainly does, so maybe we’ll see it in action here.

    • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

      Don’t believe the hype too much, it’s largely just another upsell. Nothing, nothing beats genuine, high-quality, full-adjustable suspension like is available in the aftermarket from companies like Ohlins and RaceTech et al. Even the systems on the Ferraris, Corvette etc are just another set of acronyms designed to woo buyers. Good suspension costs more than auto or bike makers are willing to invest in.

      • zero

        Obviously I can’t speak to its use in bikes, but in cars that is not necessarily true. While the branding of these things is certainly used for marketing, the benefit is real as well.

        Is it as fast as a high quality, dialed in, traditional in setup on a track? Probably not, or at least not yet. But that’s not the benefit or intent of systems like these. It can take racers days to get a car (again speaking from my car/racing experience here) dialed in for a particular track and even then you’re compromising certain portions of the track for others. For example when a friend was setting up his Miata, he had to soften his suspension to allow him to cut a curb without upsetting the car, despite losing time other places on the track because it was an overall net gain. The benefit here is in adaptability, and in not having to compromise as much. Not only can these systems be better from corner to corner and track to track, but they allow compromises to make them livable on the street. The ONLY reason you don’t see this stuff making its way up racing series is that it’s banned in most serious series to keep costs down…

        And if you think Ferrari is unwilling to spend the $5-$10k per corner (that’s what ‘good’ suspension costs, even for the big boy race teams) on the absolute highest quality dampers available on cars like the 599, 599 GTO, or FXX or pretty much anything they build nowadays, you’re crazy.

        • Scott Jones

          Magnetic Dampening in the Cadillac CTS-V was good enough for a sub 8:00 lap on the Nordschleife. In 2008.

          • Miles Prower [690 Duke, MTS 1200]

            To dampen is to wet something, like your bed. To damp is to slow movement. Suspension components on vehicles require damping to perform properly.

            • Scott Jones

              Thank you for the vocabulary lesson Miles. According to Webster dampen also means to “make less strong or intense”; but as you so eloquently pointed out I did in fact use the wrong verb.

          • MotoRandom

            You don’t have to school Wes on the CTS-V. Bob Lutz did that in 2009: http://www.wired.com/autopia/2009/10/cadillac-cts-v-challenge/

            • zero

              BURN!

            • http://www.twitter.com/wessilerfanclub Sean MacDonald (the other Sean)

              Well played

  • http://www.muthalovin.com the_doctor

    Totally sounds like magic to me.

  • 10/10ths

    Wes, have you tried the magnetorheological suspension on the CTS-V or Ferrari? It’s a pretty damn impressive bit ‘o kit.

  • BMW11GS

    Brave New World is now! I for one am stoked about these changes as suspension set up is always a headache for me. What I wonder though, is why soo much power? I know we at HFL clamber all the time for 250-600cc engined bikes (look at the number of comments that always pops up on the 250cc bikes featured here), but I for one do not get the need for 150HP in a touring bike/whatever category this is and the previous KTM. Will they be awesome spectacular bikes? Sure! But I often wish my R1100GS with 80HP and 75 torques (still pretty slow though) had lower displacement and better MPG . I basically am the kind of guy who loves the idea of the new Honda NC700X and want to see something in the premium range (BMW, Ducait, KTM) do something like the Honda, but with a bit more flavor. Can it be done? Discuss.

    • johnzero

      Agreed. I own a Multi, and like it very, very much, but it has power I don’t need (hell, it has GEARS I don’t need!). I could live with less absolute HP, a little less torque, and better MPG. I was getting 50+ with my R1200ST – the Duc gets 37 or so.

    • http://vtbmwmov.org Eben

      My Tiger also gets about 37 mpg and makes around 20 hp less than the Multistrada. It’s maybe a little more power than I can use, but being able to pass at will, uphill, with a passenger and camping gear… that’s something I’d have a tough time giving up to save a couple bucks on fuel. A Multistrada 848 with those bags from the GT, though… that might do it for me. Actually that would definitely do it for me.

      • BMW11GS

        When ever I hear the need for more power because of a need passing, I guess I hear you, but I have never met a problem on a bike I couldn’t surpass with a gear change. And what am I doing, last minute passes all the time, maybe twice a year. I guess im horrified at 37 MPG. Many cars with 50 more more horsepower do that now a days. I know, “a car is not a motorcycle, down with the cages-two-wheels for life!, I’m not out there to save gas,” etc. I would just have such a better time justifying motorcycling as something that “saves me money” if I could get 50-70 MPG all the time. My jetta TDI does about 45 MPG for comparison.

        • Wereweazle

          I think people that say this just haven’t ridden a less powerful bike in awhile. Hell, I’m making maybe 80hp at the rear wheel and with a combined weight of ~300lbs with my girlfriend on the bike, I can still just roll on in fifth and it’s plenty quick to get around anything I need to.

          • http://vtbmwmov.org Eben

            Well, my other current bike is a 250 (65+ mpg!) and I’ve owned a couple other sub-60 hp bikes just in the past six months, so I have a good idea of the capabilities of a more modest engine. I’m certainly not saying 100+ hp is necessary, but there are plenty of times on my Triumph where I can get around someone in a tight window that I wouldn’t be able to on one of my older, less powerful bikes. It makes touring a little less stressful, especially when you’ve got several people riding together and want to make sure everyone gets around that truck within the only 200 yd passing lane for the next 30 miles.

            That said, I think 80-90 rear wheel horsepower on a bike that weighs less than 500 lbs (before rider, luggage and passenger) is just about right.

            • BMW11GS

              I get you Eben, I didn’t want to make that sounds like a criticism. I know that moment where you have a microsecond of time and you need that power to just be there for you. Scaring pillions is no fun.

              • http://vtbmwmov.org Eben

                No, it’s fun. It’s definitely fun.

                • BMW11GS

                  haha for us maybe!

        • Holden and Annette

          Yeah, my Jetta TDI gets better mileage than my Versys gets. I have trouble wrapping my head around that.

          • BMW11GS

            I am just tired of bike guys making excuses why we can’t get better mileage.

  • kinsler

    sounds ok. but really keeping my eyes peeled for the 2013 “mini-strata” or “touring-tard” with the 848 engine…

    • http://twitter.com/metabomber Jesse

      848 Multitard. I’m interested.

  • Zach

    Still no cruise control; lame.

    New PP scheme looks great though.

    • Kevin

      Aw fudge, THIS. Why no cruise still, Ducati? Who do we have to gelato around here to get that done?

      • Coreyvwc

        I think cruise control would be akin to heresy for Ducati. I would be nice, but I don’t think you’re going to see it.

        • Miles Prower [690 Duke, MTS 1200]

          I use a $19 Go Cruise for “cruise control” on my Multistrada when I’m doing long highway miles.

        • Kevin

          From the interview with Kev Ash:

          “Why is there no cruise control option?
          “We could fit cruise control very easily, all the components are there and with ride-by-wire throttle it is straightforward and would not be expensive. We were not asked by the marketing department and did not think there was a demand.”

          Oh, you marketing department bastard. Bastard. LOL

  • Kevin

    Those look like the SW-Motech bars on the GT. I much prefer the AltRider bars with the frame sliders to the Motech alternative. And I note that the place where the lights are installed would interfere with putting the AltRider bars on were that your preference.

    Me, I’d just buy the accessories separately like I did when I got my 2011 Touring.

    • Miles Prower [690 Duke, MTS 1200]

      They look like the Ducati-branded parts from the Ducati Performance catalog for 2011.5 and newer Multis.

      The AltRider bars look like they’d take out the radiator in a crash, but I haven’t seen any evidence that this has ever occurred.

      • Kevin

        I had a lowside that chewed up the sliders, zero damage to the radiator. The bars don’t touch the radiator, they just have a connecting rod that passes in front of it.

  • Coreyvwc

    I’m curious if these have enough ground clearance to avoid hanging up the forward header on rocks and such, as I’ve done it quite a few times on my monster. If not, where the hell is the rock gaurd?

    • Miles Prower [690 Duke, MTS 1200]

      Both SW Motech and AltRider market header guards for the MTS 1200. I have one on mine, not because I’ll be climbing logs or rocks, but to prevent the header from being dented by rocks/gravel thrown off the front wheel.

    • cdeforrest

      To heck with rocks, I have a hard enough time with speedbumps!
      Currently figuring just how high I can raise my hoop-suspensioned Monster, short of a swingarm/fork swap. (And even then… Yes, I spend too much time @ ADVrider)
      Getting a Multi would be the easy fix, but there’s no room for both Ducs in this garage, and the Monster wins every time on sheer personality & looks.

      • Coreyvwc

        Sadly you can’t raise it at all without ruining the inherently solid suspension geometry you’ve come to know and love. It’s just an unfixable design flaw in the lateral cylinder header routing.

  • John

    I have zero interest in this and the KTM.

    Too big, too expensive, too techy, too useless.

    • http://www.twitter.com/wessilerfanclub Sean MacDonald (the other Sean)

      too big? yes
      too expensive? yes
      too techy? if thats possible
      too useless? no way

      go ride one, then report back.

      • BMW11GS

        Nailed it Sean!

      • John

        You’re substanitially overestimating my interest level.

        • Zach

          What, in motorcycling?

        • http://www.twitter.com/wessilerfanclub Sean MacDonald (the other Sean)

          You’re posting on a motorcycle site about a bike. A bike that happens to be one of the most amazing pieces of machinery I’ve ever experience. If you don’t care about learning about bikes or experiencing different types of bikes/riding, why exactly are you here?

          This bike has that magic that isn’t necessarily exposed on paper. If I had to ride one bike the rest of my life, it’s this and it isn’t close.

  • Slothrop

    “alters both ends during cornering”… during cornerning? Really? That makes me want to run away, fast.

  • James

    I just put a bit over 1000 miles on my 1200 ABS. For being just this base model, fully adjustable suspension, ABS, traction control, gobs of power, three engine maps with four memory slots for mapping and traction control, bigger tank range, underseat storage, tons of info on the dash, keyless ignition, and a cooler running engine on the street has already been an impressive upgrade over my old 2010 hyper 796 (RIP). Stop-and-go mileage sucks, though. I may consider a trade-in after a year or two. It was a hard sell to for the old lady to allow this one.

    • Kevin

      The on-the-fly suspension adjustment is really, really nice. And it appears that the suspension internals are improved with the new Sachs version. I wouldn’t trade mine in for the incremental improvements, but they appear to have done some nice refinements and fixed the rear brake issue (we’ll see how owners actually see this improvement over time).