Versatility is one big reason why the Ducati Multistrada 1200 collected Cycle World’s Best Open Class Streetbike for the second year running. An upright riding position, 135 horsepower from its “Testastretta 11-degrees” liquid-cooled Desmo Twin and long-travel Öhlins suspension; all you have to do is get off the throttle long enough to facilitate a few button pushes and optimize ride quality. Thanks to Ducati Electronic Suspension (DES), the ’Strada then can instantly transform from decomposed-road super-Supermoto to frequent freeway flyer. Four electronically actuated control modes—Sport, Touring, City and Enduro—also let you vary power output from as little as 100 to as much as 136 hp. And don’t forget the ABS.
Our S Touring model—equipped with hard bags and heated grips—further warps tradition and redefines what we call a “sportbike.” Drop us a line if you can think of a better mount to ride to, then race up, Pikes Peak.
Race preparation included bolting AKRA Plastics side numberplates with 6-inch numbers where the hard bags were. The windshield was replaced by a shorter Carbon Spider front numberplate/headlight plug (removal of lighting equipment is required), thus losing 5 pounds of luminescence. Our rear rack/handrail was supposed to be hacked off per the rules; luckily, head PPIHC tech inspector Sonny Anderson was an old friend of dearly departed Cycle World founder Joe Parkhurst, and he allowed us that exemption, seeing that our Multistrada was on loan from Ducati and all…
Other important bobble-stoppers came from a small shop in Portland, Oregon, called SpeedyMoto (www.speedymoto.com), who design and build everything in-house. Their EVO Waterpump Housing ($289.95), stylishly cut from 6061 billet aluminum, is not only designed to protect the left side of the Multistrada, it’s also claimed to decrease running temperature by 10 percent. Fit: perfect—and complete with all stainless hardware, an easy install. SpeedyMoto frame sliders ($149.95) serve and protect the Duc; the kit includes chrome-moly steel aircraft-grade bolts that far surpass OEM spec.
SpeedyMoto uses high-density polyethylene (HDPE) plastic for the slider pucks, and so did we. Good thing, too: After a minor low-side at the end of day two and a long dirt skid to a stop, the sliders remained barely scuffed. As did the axle sliders ($64.95) and swingarm spool sliders ($39.95, all of which kept our fork and rear axle looking like new. Our SpeedyMoto clutch cover ($199.95) went untouched, but its promise of increased crash protection was reassuring nonetheless.
Seattle, Washington, is home to AltRider.com, who graciously provided an AltRider Radiator Guard ($142.46) and Oil Cooler Guard ($107.46), both made of 1/16-inch-thick, black-anodized aluminum. Both guards nearly disappear once in place and are held there with (supplied) 3M 300-degree-temperature-rated foam tape; to be certain, we added some safety wire. We employed the AltRiders Header Guard ($119.96), made from 1/8-inch aluminum, to fill the scrub-grabbing gap between the OEM skidplates and to protect the lower portion of the head pipe from impact damage.
Finally, a set of M1 Spider Grips ($16.95) for my acquisitive paws and a pair of hand-cut Pirelli Diablo Supercorsas—rear ($257) and rain front ($216)—were what we raced.
Our best-laid plan included remounting the OE Pirelli Scorpion Trails for the ride home, but you know how that goes. After an untimely flat jacked not only our results but also our rear wheel and brake, we rode home in an unmodified Airbus instead.