Saturday, July 04, 2015

Test Ride: Multistrada 1200

A 2012 used Multistrada came up for sale not far from me. I tagged one of my buddies, threw my gear in the car, and we took a ride up to see it.

I had not test-ridden one before, but had read a LOT about them. My goal was to find a bike that was exciting in the twisties and capable on longer touring days. By all accounts, this bike fit the bill.

First Impressions
The first thing I noticed is just how beautiful the bike is. There is something about Italian design that can take anything, a wallet, a pair of shoes, a car, or, in this case a motorcycle, and turn it into art. The fit and finish of the bike is superb, and it just goes together. There are people who don't care for the looks of this bike. Those people are idiots.

This bike was completely tricked out with a full Termignoni exhaust, heated hand grips, Ohlins suspension, hand guards, top box, side saddle bags, and center stand, and it ONLY HAD 1,600 MILES. Sitting on the bike, I was impressed with how light it was for how large a bike it was. The weight seems to sit a lot lower than my Tiger 800, or even the KTM I rode. The seating position was comfortable and everything was right where I wanted it to be. The dash is very easy to read, and a quick tutorial on how to switch things around had me feeling comfortable right away. It just makes sense.

The Ride
Starting up the bike was interesting. It actually sounded like it sputtered before the engine caught. I was glad I had read about this first, because it would have made me nervous, but I was expecting it, and once the engine kicked, that Termi exhaust let out a growl. Oh. My. Goodness. The bike sounded like and angry panther. The owner bumped it down into the urban setting so I could get used to the feel of the throttle and the bike under me. He has a two mile twsted road at the end of his driveway, which was a great place to test the Multistrada and get her legs going.

Holy mackerel! This bike was FAST! As soon as I throttled up, she just took off. At 6,000 RPM, she hit a spot that felt like she had been smacked on the backside by the Hammer of the Gods. She just rocketed up to the twisties, and then just rolled, competently and quickly through them. I am by no means an expert rider, but this bike just inspired confidence, going everywhere I pointed her without complaint or hesitation. If the design of the Multistrada is a work of art, the performance is a masterpiece.

I got to the end of the road and had to make a U-Turn. It's such a small and simple thing, the U-Turn, but again, the lightness and maneuverability of the bike just shone through. The throttle control was predictable, and the bike just leaned right right into the turn. A simple twist of the throttle and I was off again, shooting back through the twisties to the point of origin. I was grinning so hard, I almost missed my turnoff.

The Multistrada had a couple of little niggles, namely a small oil leak from the filter and that the throttle cable recall had not been done, but since it still needed it's FIRST service, I said yes to te bike. It promised to be everything I was seeking in a bike, and honestly, it was the easiest "YES" I have had to say since marrying my wife.

I drove the bike home for an hour-and-a-half over mixed riding, with lots of twisties, some highway, an back country roads. I felt immediately melded to the bike, like it was just an extension of what I was doing. The stock screen sucks and will have to be upgraded, but that is usually the case, yes? The Multistrada is an absolutely stunning bike, and I think it looks GREAT in my driveway!

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