Mulitstrada 1200 – Riding Modes 101

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A side article for the Multistrada 1200 launch piece explaining the four different riding modes options.

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Words: Costa Mouzouris. Photos: Milagro/Ducati

On the Multistrada 1200, Ducati uses complex electronics to offer four selectable riding modes (Sport, Touring, Urban and Enduro). Fly-by-wire throttle control, adjustable powerbands and eight-level adjustable traction control combine to alter the bike’s behaviour for different riding environments.

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Circular screen shows which mode you’re in.

Engineers went to great lengths to simplify the interface between electronics and rider, and they did a mighty fine job.

Riding modes and trip computer info are displayed in a circular dot-matrix LCD screen located to the right of the larger LCD screen, which displays the usual information like engine rpm, speed, gear position and fuel level.

A single button serves as the riding mode selector switch; pushing it repeatedly scrolls through the riding modes and holding it for three seconds selects the mode. Riding modes can be changed on the fly, in which case shutting the throttle confirms your selection. When you change between riding modes on the 1200S model, servo motors complete the suspension settings in mere seconds.

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This should be done in Sport mode!

A huge benefit of Ducati’s electronic ride-control management is that you can deviate from factory settings through full adjustability.

Instead of offering fixed preset parameters as with BMW’s ESA, Ducati allows individual damping settings (front and rear compression and rebound) and rear preload to be altered and saved in the memory of each riding mode.

And if you get overly zealous with the suspension tweaking and make the bike unrideable, you can always revert to the default settings, which do work remarkably well.

You can also change the power settings and DTC levels in each riding mode. For instance, if you want full power in all modes and DTC set to minimum, you can do so — though I’d really advise against it.

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Switchgear is kept uncluttered by making some switches do double duty.

Two rocker switches are used to make these adjustments. To keep the handlebar switch pods as uncluttered as possible, some switches serve double duty — the turn signal cancelling button acts as riding mode switch when the turn signals are inactive, and on the 1200S Touring model the starter button operates the heated handgrips.

Here’s the rundown of the default settings for a solo rider; modes can be adjusted for different loads. DTC is least intrusive in level 1, most intrusive in level 8 (suspension settings apply only to the 1200S models):

SPORT: 150 hp with aggressive power curve; DTC level 4; suspension damping firm, preload set to medium.

TOURING: 150 hp with soft power delivery; DTC level 5; suspension damping soft, preload set to medium.

URBAN: 100 hp with soft power delivery; DTC level 6; suspension damping very soft, preload set to minimum for low seat height.

ENDURO: 100 hp with soft power delivery; DTC level 2; suspension soft, preload set to maximum for added ground clearance.

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