Endurance test Ducati Multistrada 1200 S

Final balance after 50,000 kilometers

We love the Italians and their wonderful accent. And we love their motorcycles – as long as they don’t break. But in the endurance test, the red racers have so far not proven to be reliable and stable. Can dispel the multistrada with typical prejudices?

You could now sing the old song again about the Italian motorcycles, which arouse a lot of emotions and passions, but do not really meet local quality standards. But are these clichés still true today? No! Times are changing, a BMW is no longer necessarily boring, and a Ducati doesn’t necessarily fly around your ears.

What is certain is that the way from the old times, where these prejudices certainly had a certain basis, to the modern age is a difficult and lengthy process. Ducati proclaimed the goal of quality improvement some time ago, long before the takeover by Audi. Technology boss Claudio Domenicali is known and feared internally as a true quality fanatic, the counterpart to VW boss "Fugen-Ferdl" Ferdinand Piëch. However, the path for Ducati was thorny, as the unfortunate endurance tests of the 999 and 1098 showed. So there was still plenty to do.

So now the next attempt. A healthy dose of skepticism among the testers was quite understandable than that M.ultistrada 1200 S tackled the endurance test distance in spring 2011. Especially since the touring fun bike was the first Ducati to be crammed full of electronics up to the ruff. Adjustable engine mapping, ABS, traction control, electronic chassis – and all of this twisted together in preselectable driving programs. Whether the immediate infestation with the dreaded cable worm is not programmed?

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Endurance test Ducati Multistrada 1200 S
Final balance after 50,000 kilometers

MPS photo studio

The heads look clean, few deposits, hardly any oil coal. Valves and seats with minor traces of fire in good condition. Tea desmodromic does not hammer the valves into the seats, it is easy on the material.

The few mechanical defects were also not very spectacular, but annoying. The fact that even a rather small damage such as the exhaust flap that gets stuck every now and then is not to be dismissed as a triviality is noticeable at the latest when you receive the receipt at the cash register. When the on-board computer displayed a corresponding error message for the first time, the workshop tried to make the flap work again with lubricants and gentle force. That succeeded, but unfortunately it turned out to be a temporary measure. At a mileage of 27,000 nothing helped, the flap hung and the entire front silencer had to be replaced. With the test machine, this happened within the warranty period, outside of this, such damage is quite expensive: the material alone costs around 1000 euros. Our tip: It certainly makes sense to take a look here more often.

Especially when you drive your Multistrada like the test machine in winter and in miserable weather. Incidentally, the BMW S 1000 RR had a similar defect in the endurance test, the exhaust flap was knocked out and also led to the replacement of a sinfully expensive, but otherwise completely intact front silencer. It’s actually a shame that manufacturers are combining more and more parts and functions for cost reasons, so that even small defects have a big impact.

The Ducati suffered another major but certainly avoidable damage: The swing arm had to be replaced twice because the chain had milled a groove in it from below. First the drivers have to touch their own nose, the chain was too loose and was probably replaced too late. The pinion had already had light saw teeth and thus pulled up the lower strand of the chain. No grinding protection can withstand that for a long time.

Ducati drivers obviously take better care of their precious material: In the reader’s experiences, there is not a single comparable damage, and the jammed exhaust flap also seems to be an isolated case. There are other mechanical problems here and there, even serious damage is reported. A reader swapped his machine for a new one after a crankshaft failure. Despite more or less clearly formulated criticism, all but one of the readers would buy the power fun bike again at any time.

However, two points of criticism run like a red thread through the letters. On the one hand, the high fuel consumption, which almost all drivers complain about, but which most of them accept in view of the driving dynamics offered. The endurance test machine consumed an average of around 7 l / 100 km. That is more than what most super athletes can eat. After all, the key data of the Multistrada are on a similar level, and the endurance test machine was certainly driven with great commitment by many drivers. A cautious use of the throttle wouldn’t bring much in terms of consumption anyway, the Multistrada hardly does it below six liters. Incidentally, this also applies to other water-cooled Ducatis today, while their predecessors used to be quite economical with fuel. It should not go unmentioned, however, that in return the express surcharge is limited. Even moving very quickly, the Testastretta engine barely swallows more than eight to nine liters.

MPS photo studio

The bearing shells of the two lower connecting rod bearings appear rather damaged. The game was still within the tolerance range. The upper connecting rod bearings, on the other hand, are flawless, so that the connecting rods with new bearing shells can still be used.

So you have to and can live with that, while a weak rear brake is actually not acceptable. Practically all of the communications address this problem. A distinction must be made between two phenomena: A real defect is when the pedal travel gradually increases until there is finally no longer any braking effect. This happens when air gets into the system that is difficult to get out. Ducati offers a conversion kit consisting of a brake pump and brake hose. A double seal in the new pump should prevent air from getting into the brake hydraulics at all.

The other phenomenon is the inherently weak effect of the rear brake. Stoppie artists who switch from super sports car to multistrada are probably less noticeable than those who switch from another brand and type of motorcycle and use the rear brake more intensively.

The last way a MOTORRAD endurance tester leads to pathology for the purpose of an autopsy. Serious damage was not to be expected during dismantling, as the Duc ran unobtrusively until the end, at most mechanically a tad louder towards the end. The inner workings of the cylinder heads are pleasing: few deposits in the ducts and on the valves, the many small Desmo levers are in perfect condition, everything is spotless.

Pistons and cylinders show a slightly increased running clearance, but make an excellent visual impression. Only the lower connecting rod bearings seem pretty worn and definitely need new shells. A shift fork would also have to be replaced prior to assembly.

A solid result. So: Is nothing really broken? Looks like the quality of Bologna has improved a lot in the last few years. The Multistrada did not suffer any serious damage in the endurance test; the small quirks and defects are tolerable. And there should still be a little room for optimization and improvements – so that Claudio Domenicali can continue to pester his team.

Costs and maintenance


Make a “bella figura” even when you stand: Multistrada with tester Jelicic and in fresh green.


Operating costs over 50,000 kilometers

19 liters of oil at 16.50 euros: 313.50 euros
5 oil filters at 13.82 euros: 69.10 euros
2 air filters at 61.03 euros: 122.06 euros
4 spark plugs at 28.19 euros each: 112.76 euros
2 sets of rear brake pads at 67.40 euros: 134.80 euros
2 sets of front brake pads at 128.52 euros: 257.04 euros
2 sets of toothed belts at 98.84 euros each: 197.68 euros
2 chain sets at 318.68 euros each: 637.36 euros
Brake fluid: 16.35 euros
Small parts, lubricants: 172.18 euros
Inspections and repairs: 1752.27 euros
Tires (including assembly, balancing and disposal): 2128.55 euros
Fuel: 5801.91 euros
Total costs: 11,715.56 euros
Acquisition cost: 18,245.00 euros
Loss of value: 7645.00 euros
Estimate (dealer selling price): 10,600.00 euros
Cost per kilometer (without depreciation): 23.4 cents
Cost per kilometer (with depreciation): 38.7 cents

Maintenance and repair costs according to the stated mileage

Safety split pin, passenger footrest released: 3528
Key battery renewed: 5400
Key battery renewed: 8124
Front and rear tires renewed, Michelin Power Pure: 8167
Rear brake vented, key battery renewed: 9527
Exhaust flap made passable due to severe corrosion: 12050
Front and rear tires renewed, Conti Road Attack 2: 19922
Chain set, swing arm, rear brake pads and exhaust end piece (warranty, clamp broken) renewed: 20536
Front and rear tires renewed, Pirelli Scorpion: 22176
Handguard right / left (torn) renewed: 25130
Front and rear tires renewed, Bridgestone BT 016 Pro: 26473
Silencer (guarantee, due to hanging flap) and key battery renewed: 27450
Gear sensor renewed (guarantee): 33921
Rear brake pads and swing arm protection renewed: 36541
Chain set, swing arm protection, swing arm and tires front and rear, Dunlop Sportsmart renewed: 38893
Front and rear tires renewed, Conti Road Attack 2: 42109
Right fork seal renewed (guarantee): 42734
Front brake pads renewed: 46260


The wear and tear after 50,000 km.


The compression has even increased, the big twin probably needs a good break-in period


Cylinder head: One inlet and two outlet valves are somewhat leaking. The valve seats show only slight traces of fire and are only slightly wider. Valve guides, rocker arms and cams are also in good condition.

Cylinder / piston: The pistons have a smooth running pattern and only small deposits, the cylinders hardly show any running marks. Shape and dimensional tolerances are within the operating tolerance.

Crank drive: The connecting rod bearings show clear tracks, as does the crank pin, but the radial play is still within the tolerance range. The connecting rod eyes and piston pins are OK. One crankshaft rolling bearing has noticeably greater play than the other.

Power transmission: The friction and steel disks of the clutch are hardly worn, the clutch basket, clutch hub and the ramps of the anti-hopping mechanism also show only slight signs of wear. The shift forks have clear wear marks and increased play in the groove.

Frame / chassis: The frame’s coating is in good condition, and the rest of the workmanship also makes a good impression. There are scuff marks from the brake lines on the fork. The suspension of the chassis is free of play.


The performance chart.

Amazingly, the Multistrada was able to gain a bit at the bottom while losing a few horsepower at the top. This is also reflected in the performance, the Duc only loses minimally in the upper area.

Measurement according to 2,602 km 49987
0-100 km / h dry 3.4 3.3
0-140 km / h dry 5.3 5.3
0-180 km / h dry 10.0 10.2
60-100 km / h dry 4.1 4.0
100-140 km / h dry 4.5 4.4
140-180 km / h dry 5.4 5.5
Average consumption after 50,000 km
Fuel (Great) l / 100 km 7.4
Engine oil l / 1000 km 0.05

Ducati takes a stand


Ducati technician Kai Liedmann and boss Walter Bauer in conversation with MOTORRAD testers Vetter and Thöle (from left to right).

… the enormous battery consumption of the remote control key:

We hear about it for the first time after several thousand multistradas have been delivered. We think that improper use of the key has led to increased battery consumption. It is crucial that when the engine is switched off, the key should not be kept within a radius of about two meters from the vehicle for long periods of time.

… on the weakening rear brake:

The wish of some customers for a better pedal feel was also expressed to our dealers. Therefore we have developed a revised brake cylinder and a modified brake line as part of a goodwill regulation. We urgently advise against experiments with other brake pads because of the ABS.

… to the hanging exhaust flap:

As far as we know, a one-off box. We think that the intensive winter use of the long-term test machine, road salt caused corrosion damage to the flap mechanism.

… for wear on the lower connecting rod bearings:

50,000 kilometers of tough test operation have left their mark on the connecting rod bearings. Since the engine is overall in excellent condition, we are very satisfied with the result. The connecting rod bearing is within the tolerance range, but in this specific case, since the engine is already disassembled, we would install new bearings.

… to the ground shift fork:

The shift fork would certainly do its job for many more kilometers and gear changes without any abnormalities.

… the good condition of the FCC oil bath clutch:

We are very satisfied with our new generation of clutches. The oil bath solution leads to less wear and tear and less manual effort.

… to the defective gear sensor:

We are only aware of a few cases here. Of course, we would solve such a case as part of our goodwill philosophy.

… to the sharpened rocker:

This damage to the MOTORRAD Multistrada is the only case. Therefore we have to assume that an incorrectly tensioned chain caused the damage. We would like to take this opportunity to note that the on-board tools supplied as standard also include a tool to check the correct chain tension.

Ducati Multistrada 1200S on sale in Germany

1000PS marketplace app

Accessories are already installed on many used copies

Compared to the German or Japanese competition, Italian travel enduros still enjoy a minor exotic status, but the availability of the Ducati Multistrada 1200S on the used market is surprisingly good. Accessories are usually built in, the prices are similar to those of the competition. Here is a current overview: used Ducati Multistrada 1200S in Germany.

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