Posted On 07 May 2024
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This entry is part 5 of 29 in the series AusMotorcyclist Issue#30

Ducati Multistrada 1200 DVT
Multi-ply the fun Words Stuart Woodbury Photos Nick Wood

Since the Ducati Multistrada’s introduction a few years ago, Ducati has been spruiking its “4 bikes in 1” philosophy. That has now changed – in a big way. Technology has always been at the forefront of Ducati motorcycles, but with the introduction of features like DVT (Desmodromic Variable Timing) and Cornering ABS, the “4 bikes in 1” has become more than just “four” , at least in our eyes.

DVT is a big part of how much smoother the new Multistrada rides.

By independently varying the timing of the camshaft that controls the intake valves and the camshaft that controls the exhaust valves, the DVT optimises high rpm performance to provide maximum power. At low-to-medium rpm,, it instead smoothes operation, making power delivery more fluid and boosting torque.

This is where you notice the biggest difference over the previous model.

Before, just about anything under 3000rpm would have you bucking around like a jockey at the local rodeo, but now you can hold a higher gear and bring it down to around 2300rpm and still accelerate away smoothly. In practice, this is an engine that changes its characteristics as rpm varies while complying with Euro 4 specifications and giving good fuel economy.

When designing an engine one of the key performance parameters is intake and exhaust valve overlap. This is defined as the interval of crankshaft rotation, expressed in degrees, during which both valves remain open simultaneously.


Overlap, which occurs between the end of the exhaust phase and the start of the intake phase, is usually a fixed parameter – but not with the DVT.

The DVT system is divided into two parts: an external housing rigidly connected to the timing belt and an internal mechanism connected to the camshaft: the latter is coaxial to the former and can rotate in advance or delay with respect to the housing depending on the oil pressure in special chambers.

This oil pressure is adjusted by dedicated valves and the timing of each cam is controlled dynamically by a sensor in the cam covers. Overall it is a pretty smooth operation (although still noticeable), much smoother (for example) when compared to the variable timing system fitted to the Honda VFR (VTEC).

The Testastretta DVT engine uses the Desmodromic valve actuation system that has made Ducati’s Bologna-built bikes famous worldwide, but we have never explained the technical features of what “Desmodromic” is. Forgive me if you already know.

This system closes the intake and exhaust valves mechanically, with the same precision as they are opened. The term desmodromic stems from the Greek words desmos (link) and dromos (stroke), and refers to mechanisms with one control to operate them in one direction (e.g. opening) and another to activate them in the other (closure or return).The value of this system, used on all Ducati models, is demonstrated by its utilisation on Ducati Corse’s Superbikes and MotoGP bikes.

In the Testastretta DVT engine, Desmodromic valve actuation is claimed to provide an advantage over traditional valve springs; at low revs the system requires less force because there are no springs to be compressed. This makes it possible to keep the individual valve timing adjusters compact, which minimises their weight and allows them to be integrated smoothly.

Stuart is wearing a Shark Speed R Carbon II helmet, BMW Streetguard jacket, Ixon Pro Contest HP 2 gloves, Draggin jeans and Sidi Vertigo boots.

The next major feature fitted to the new Multi is Cornering ABS. Designed together with Bosch, this system is more for panic situations and providing maximum safety. For example, should you be riding at 60km/h around a corner and an animal is in your path, you smash on the front and rear brakes in a panic. Normally the bike would stand up straight and run you into the oncoming traffic, or into the awaiting bush or rock wall to mess you up.

With Cornering ABS, the system uses lean angle, wheel speed and all sorts of algorithms to apply the brake pressure required to let you steer the bike. I tried the system out on a wet road as I tipped into a slight bend (with plenty of room if things went bad!), grabbing a whole heap of front brake. While it felt strange, probably because I was trying to anticipate what the bike would do, it did work. A great technology advance that will help many riders in panic situations.

Handling is sublime with excellent leverage with the wide, upright bar. If you find the suspension needs some refinement for your riding style – it is fully adjustable front and rear.

Comfort was great on the previous model Multi, but Ducati has redesigned the seat to be a little narrower at the front allowing easier access to the ground for your feet, and made it 20mm longer for more room. You now also get 20mm of height adjustment and one thing that Ducati has thoughtfully supplied is a trim kit. When the seat is in the high (845mm) position, you don’t have any large gaps under it. But when the seat is on its low position (825mm), you simply fit the trim to the rear seat so there’s no unsightly gap there. Is this the Audi influence coming into play? Maybe.

Pillion comfort has also been revised on the Multi. The seat pad is more comfy and the grab rails are more ergonomically designed for comfort. I took Alana for a spin on the Multi and she loves it. She liked that she just felt relaxed and she even commented on the smoother engine over the previous model and how much happier she was on this one.

Adding to the comfort factor is cruise control as standard, which is operated via the backlit, very easy to use buttons on the left switch block. Scrolling and changing modes on the new Multi is much easier than on the previous model.

Ducati has added wheelie control to the Multi, alongside traction control and ABS modes. You also have the Sport, Touring, Urban and Enduro modes, each individually set with power, traction, wheelie and ABS levels. I played with the modes quite a bit while riding the Multi and as much as I normally like traction, wheelie and ABS turned off, I liked the default settings in Sport mode which allowed maximum drive forward under hard acceleration. Much harder than with it all turned off, and still with that safety factor for a relaxing ride.

Riding the Multi at night also showed how good the new headlight is. It is very bright on low beam, with high beam adequate enough, but a set of fog/driving lights would be of benefit for those extra dark country roads at night.

On the upcoming S model, you have headlights that “corner” with you, (can’t wait to try them out).

Four accessory packages are available for the Multi, and you can buy all sorts of other accessories from the Ducati range. The bike you see here has the Touring Pack: heated grips, panniers and centre stand (with its annoying arm that gets in the way of your left foot), but you can also get the Sport Pack: road-legal exhaust (homologated only for EU) Ducati Performance by Termignoni, carbon fibre front mudguard, machined from-billet aluminium brake and clutch reservoir caps; the Urban Pack: top case, tank bag with lock and USB hub, or the Enduro Pack: supplementary lights and Ducati Performance components by Touratech: engine protection bars, radiator guard, oil sump guard, bigger kickstand base and off-road footpegs.

As a touring motorcycle, which is no doubt what the majority of owners will use this bike for, the new Ducati Multistrada 1200 DVT is top shelf in terms of comfort, ease of use and safety. One thing that sealed the deal for me is that I just wanted to keep riding while on the new Multistrada, and so will you.



PRICE: $23,990 (plus on-road charges)
WARRANTY: Two years, unlimited distance
SERVICING INTERVALS: Every 15,000km or 12 months
ENGINE: Liquid-cooled L-twin cylinder, 4-stroke, Desmodromic Variable Timing, 4 valves per cylinder
BORE x STROKE: 106 x 67.9mm
POWER: 117.7kW @ 9500rpm
TORQUE: 136Nm @ 7500rpm
TRANSMISSION: 6-speed, wet multi-plate slipper clutch, chain final drive
SUSPENSION: Front, 48mm inverted fork, adjustable preload, compression and rebound, travel 170mm. Rear, monoshock, adjustable preload, compression and rebound, travel 170mm.
DIMENSIONS: Seat height 825-845mm, weight 232kg (wet), fuel capacity 20 litres, wheelbase 1529mm
TYRES: Front, 120/70/ZR17. Rear, 190/55/ZR17
FRAME: Tubular steel trellis
BRAKES: Front, twin 320mm discs with radial mount four-piston cornering ABS calipers. Rear, 265mm disc, dual-piston cornering ABS caliper.
FUEL CONSUMPTION: 5.79 litres per 100km, premium unleaded


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