Multistrada 1200 S Long-Termer: Upgrades at 7500km

Against our better advertising sales judgement, we’ve been honest about the problems we’ve encountered with our Ducati Multistrada 1200 S Touring (MTS 1200). As an eternal optimist though, I’ve felt a swell of anticipation dropping the bike off to Vancouver Ducati BMW for a slew of recalls and upgrades.

If there’s a major quirk or flaw to show up in the internet forums, we’ve experienced it with our 2010 MTS 1200 – so please, no one create any new fictions about the bike. The keyless ignition system is only intermittently recognizing the fob, we don’t dare use the bar lock after nearly being stranded in San Ysidro (the US’s dodgier conjoined-twin to Mexico’s Tijuana), there’s been stalling on deceleration and more concerning the front suspension’s been acting up leading the normally sublime MTS to require a forceful turning before it flops and wallows into the corners.

There are recalls for nearly all these issues and more. There’s also a small matter of an overdue 6000km service, but the nature of travel is that a dealer isn’t always handy.

So things are rough, but powering across Cambie Street Bridge at “some kilometers an hour” the Multistrada still draws me in. Blame the engine, where a quick overtake of traffic, sees the front tire skimming the pavement, and damn it feels good, but it’s going to feel so much better with the upgrades retroactively transforming our 2010 MTS 1200 S into a 2011.

More importantly, I’m told that’s not special press treatment, but a courtesy extended to all 2010 Ducati owners. One I’m sure will be well received for those who’ve toughed out the 2010 beta testing growing pains of a machine that didn’t seem quite ripe. I look forwards to reporting on our “new” Ducati Multistada 1200 S Touring. Maybe we’ll get to change the bike’s nickname to Steve, as in “Gentlemen we can rebuild him, better than he was before. Better. Stronger… More dependable.”


7 Comments Add yours

  1. Reg says:

    Turned mine in 12 days ago at 6,500 km. Called today regarding pick-up prior to the sunny weekend and was told there was a new recall issued this week and I can pick up tomorrow! One of the recalls puts new liner, seals and clamps on the panniers to help keep the elements out.

    Hey, first service is at 1,000km and second service is at 12,000km. You are only half-way there!


    1. We’ve had the new seals and clamps for the panniers installed, access is now a bit more fiddly, but the seal looks much better. I’ve yet to test it in the wet though.


  2. Reg says:

    Regarding your 6,000km service, are you on a compressed service schedule due to the on/off road endurance riding? One of the other commentors on a different article asked about service intervals. I am very impressed by the Multi’s service intervals of 1,000km oil service, 12,000 oil service followed by 24,000 Desmo-“dealer makes his boat payment”-service.


  3. Mike says:

    Looking for advice from someone who has put the Multi through it’s paces. Just sold my Duc 999 and currently own an 08 990 adv. I ride two annual trips (5000+ km) with a bunch of GS guys (copper canyon, dempster, southern Okanagan) and commute/ride 500 km a week on pavement. I enjoyed my Duc for it’s effortless cornering and my Ktm for it’s do anything attitude. I have an Mxer for my dirt fix. I am considering trading in my KTM on a Multi touring. I am looking for some assurance that the 2011 Multi will spend more time on the road than the shop and will deliver the viceral feelings I currently enjoy.


  4. Reg says:

    There have been two times that I have just felt right with vehicles. The first was when I brought my first truck. There is absolutely no passenger vehicle that you can give me to replace my truck. The other, was when I brought my 2010 MTS1200S Touring. If I “go offline” while on a ride, my family and friends will know that I brought the farm doing something I love with someone…uh..thing that I love.

    I don’t have experience with a 2011 MTS, but now that the recall fixes have been applied to my 2010, it runs reliably. If it wasn’t for the recalls, which the 2011 won’t require, she would have only been in the shop once. In my now 8,000 km, I have only had mine in the shop twice. Once for the 1,000km oil service and at 6500km for the recall service. Other than that, SHE RUNS LIKE A TOP.

    I mainly use Touring mode (for the balance of power + safety features) and Urban mode (max safety features and less power). I rarely use the Sport mode (Pure power with few safety features) and never use the Enduro as it doesn’t fit my riding style.


  5. jobark says:

    Italian bikes are like the Jeckle and Hyde of the motorcycle world.You never know when the buitiful machine will turn into an unreliable,nasty beast that will leave you stranded.The more electronic bullshit they fit to them the less chance they have of selling me another one.At least they give sone of them names that suit thier temperament.The Monster and now The Devil.Very appropriate.


  6. Mundyboy says:

    My MTS1200 2011 model has been an odyssey: from the exhilaration of opening the throttle in sport mode to the sheer terror of the bike stalling on deceleration … Ducati certainly likes to offer the rider the full spectrum of emotions!
    However with my bike in the workshop for probably another month while they order a part from Italy, because they don’t really know what the problem is and the distributor doesn’t hold much stock of spare parts in Australia, its time to say enough is enough.
    Since driving out of the showroom the list of problems on my bike has been:
    Rear brake that doesn’t work; sure its had the upgrade kit (scary thought that they let me ride it out of the showroom with the original setup notwithstanding that the upgrade kit had been available for 6 months. Maybe its because they know the upgrade kit doesn’t work either but hey I got use to it).. Please don’t misunderstand me, I can make the rear brake stop the bike by standing up and taking my foot of the right foot peg and placing the whole of my weight on the brake pedal. This results in my leaning forward and at an angle and I still haven’t mastered this position when riding down steep dirt hills (I thought you were suppose to ride balanced with your weight well back when tackling steep decents?). The front brakes are mighty fine however, and I have kind of got use to the “auxiliary” right foot “toe rest”… Nice touch Ducati.
    So let’s now consider the stalling on deceleration; “we’ve got an upgrade for that too” the service rep confidently espouses. Just a quick “flash” and you will be good to go. Well he was right I drove confidently out of the workshop with the new “flash” and promptly stalled 100m down the road. I’ve pretty much learn’t to cope with this problem too having mastered the art of blipping the throttle as I slow down and run through the gears, and also have learn’t to be pretty adept at restarting the bike on the fly when occasionally I cant keep the revs high enough to avoid a stall.
    That was until 3 months ago when the problems really started. I had just had the bike in for its 1 year service (I had ridden just over 10,000km). Nothing to report from the service which was pleasing to hear but I noticed immediately after the service that gear changing was noticeably difficult which was odd considering how smooth the gear changing had been before the service. Fortunately I have a mate with 50 years riding experience (yeap that’s right 50 years) who noticed the chain was absurdly tight… his words were “You could use that chain as a tight rope to cross the Grand Canyon!” Sure enough on checking the tension it was indeed way too tight and notwithstanding my limited mechanical ability with the help of Andy’s online instructions it was a doodle to correctly re-tension the chain. Perhaps the service people are unaware that you must have the chain in urban mode single rider no-luggage setting to set the chain tension?

    Confident now that these minor gremlins were behind me (either fixed or I’ve learned to work around them) I was devastated when a week later the bike would not start. The hands-free remote key system had failed so it was another trip to the bike shop for repairs. “No worries sir, we can have that part ordered in no time and in the meantime you can ride the bike using the push button start with PIN code”. “But what about the steering lock”, I meekly asked…”that doesn’t seem to be working either”. “Oh that’s related to the dodgy hands free starter and will be fixed once we replace that part”, the service manager confidently replied.
    Sure I thought, I can live without a steering lock for a few days while they order me the new part and I’ve done the PIN code starter maneuver several times before as a safety check, so how hard can that be?
    Riding home from the service depot and stalling the bike quickly shattered my confidence. Has anyone tried starting a stalled MTS at traffic lights with a PIN code?
    Well 2 and half months later I have become pretty adept at exactly that maneuver, as that is the length of time it took for the replacement hands-free starter part to arrive and be installed on my bike. (Incidentally, I can now start the bike with the PIN code in about 10 seconds… and so far avoided a truck rear ending me at the lights :)… yet another “Ducati work around”!).
    However during this 2.5 month period of having to start the bike with the PIN the little black cover which covers the starter button was removed and replaced so may times that the plastic became brittle and eventually the thing (and the tie cord) flew off mid-ride. No problem I thought, given that it had taken several months to get the replacement starter kit I had become quite friendly via email exchange with the Ducati Australia distributor (I had given up waiting for the service department to get the part in and bypassed them totally which did in the end get a result), maybe he would acknowledge the loss of the starter cover was a direct result of having to remove the cover so many times that ultimately it failed and that he might throw in a replacement part when he sent me the replacement starter kit (I reckon this part costs about $2 to manufacture).
    Hmmm, how naive was I; his response to my request was: “you need to take the bike back to the service centre to check the faulty part in order to make the warranty claim”. But the cover is lying somewhere on the side of the road between Perth and Kalgoorlie was my response…but to no avail (has anyone read the book “Catch 22″… if so you get my drift?)

    So finally I get the call from the service centre that the hands free starter replacement part had arrived and could be installed at my leisure. As I was carrying an injury when my bike was finally to be “fixed” I asked a mate to take it in to the workshop for the repair.
    On getting my bike back home I eagerly checked the starter…”Yes” it fires up remotely yeeaapppeee. I’ll just wheel the bike into to the shed and shut it down and lock it…. Hmmm the steering lock still doesn’t work.
    Call to service centre next day: “yes sir the steering lock was definitely checked and was working before your mate took the bike home”… likely story I thought, “but just bring it back in and we will take a look at it”.
    “Ok I replied despondently, as you know I can’t ride the bike at the moment and have used up my favors with my mate so I’ll bring it in when I can get back on the bike”.
    “No problems sir, anytime just let us know”, the service manager replied. (You can’t fault these guy’s cheeriness in the face of adversity I thought?)
    So its now several weeks later, I”m off the Edone’s and the pain is manageable enough to ride the bike into the service centre to get the steering lock fixed.
    I was greeted by the usual cheeriness of the service manager with: “I know how frustrating this has been for you and one way or another I guarantee we will have the bike back to you this afternoon”.

    Epitaath:. I knew when I bought this bike that it would be an emotional journey when I challenged the sales rep as to why the bike retailed for approximately $US31,000 in Australia yet the same bike cost about US$20,000 in the US and his response was…”Its a Duuucccaaatttiii, you should feel privileged to ride it”. (I guess Casey Stoner and Valentino Rossi agree with that sentiment also).


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