2500 mile musings on 2016 Ducati Multistrada

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As the title indicates, I'm at 2500 miles ( ~ 4000 km). Here are my observations. - Handling: Ducati has placed this bike right at the leading edge of a balance between stability for commuting and touring vs. sport. They pulled the rake in another degree from the prev gen. Can tell the difference from my '13. On the '13 I could slow crawl easily even when looking downward. With the '16 it's eyes up or start wobbling. It's like when you go across the room with a glass of water filled to the brim. If you watch the glass it may spill, eyes up and fixed on your destination and all okay. The rake edit pays off in whipping the bike around curves, very effortless and light, very fast transition in s-curves noticeably more so than the '13. Totally flickable. However, those same tendencies make the bike less stable when you have to be out on the slab in the wake turbulence of 18 wheelers, suv's and such-- bike slaps around more than the '13 did. - Engine: Ducati still needs to refine the power deliver of the DVT. It's an 11,000 redline engine. Below 4000 it feels torquey enough but nothing earth shaking of course. the infamous flat spot pegged between about 4000 - 6000 seems settled in at 4500 - 6000 on mine. it is not like a power dip it's just as if the linearity of the throttle response falls off, i.e. the power is there you all of the sudden have to roll more in to maintain the pull and what happens is that at 6000 the turbo kicks in (not equipped, just rhetoric). This requires getting used to and adapting how you apply power exiting a curves and it really needs to be better addressed in a software update. The work around is to not be between 4000-6000 when doing curve work, but my riding style is not that aggressive so I often find myself in the flat spot, but I am working on it. If the readout is to be considered accurate it is averaging 42 mpg (6.7 liter/100km) mix of city commuting and joyriding outlying areas. It runs best on 91 octane (R+M/2). I have tested this a bit. It pulls better on 91 than 93. I don't know why it just is how it is with this particular bike, honestly my '13 was similar but the DVT now has knock sensors whereas the previous version of the Testastretta did not, so I would think that the DVT would incrementally add more advance with 93 until ping is detected but maybe they've just got the tuning optimized for 91 who knows. Generic 10% ethanol convenience store premium 91 and it runs [censored] strong. There is a problem in 1st gear after moving off from a stop where around 3000 - 4000 rpm it feels like either a misfire or clutch buck/judder that clears up if more twist is applied. It is not a misfire I don't think because the exhaust note stays rock steady and putting more twist in smooths it out. I suspect some bizarre calibration issue with the throttle-by-wire or maybe the twist grip needs replaced. I would think they are using the Hall Effect type twist grip and not a sweeper and pot mechanical contact (i.e. El Cheapo) for signal generation in the twist grip. But either way since it only does it in 1st gear who knows. Have tried burping the clutch at the master but no air came out. Which brings me to another issue. The clutch master cylinder emits a rubber-on-metal dry squeak sound when pulling the lever. This is apparently an issue for others with the new DVT Multi based on postings on Ducati specific forums. It is not the lever system I have lubed all that, it has to be coming from inside the master cylinder assembly. Cruise ctrl works great and flawless, but seldom use for it so far. As far as power, once you pass 6000 make sure of a firm grip on the bars. Used to watch re-runs of Gilligan's Island as a kid after school in the '70's and there was an episode where a typhoon hit and Gilligan was holding onto a palm tree for dear life while the wind blew him to full horizontal. Full throttle on this bike reminds me of that. Transmission: Same feel as the previous one, little clunky, but once used to it not bad. Previous multi's trans was finicky about what oil. It was smoothest on Silkolene synthetic and Mobil 1 4T and clunkier on anything else, this one may be same-- if I keep the bike I will find out (a hint as to my intentions). More straight cut gear noise in 3rd than other gears for some reason, hope not a sign of impending problem. Maintenance: Oil changes will be as easy as previously. Chain and sprocket not bad due to single sided swing arm. Air filter requires removing tank, hummmmm on that. Service intervals set by Ducati for oil change and etc. are every 9000 miles ( ~ 15,000 km) with major service (valve adjust check and etc.) every 18,000 ( ~ 30,000 km). My plan is oil change every 4500 miles ( ~ 7500 km). - Body and misc: Emits a lot more heat between the legs than the '13 did, very noticeable, mainly mid inner thigh between crotch and knee. Seat comfort sucks after about 90 minutes in the saddle, gf says same for pillion seat. Wind protection was better on my '13. More buffeting with this one and they cheapened the wind screen-- this one looks about half as thick of plexi than the '13's was and already has a few scratches and chips whereas the '13's looked new to the day I wrecked into bambi. Tank mounted kill switch was a quality feeling rubber covered push button before, now it is a plastic radial rotating toggle that looks and feels cheap. The LED headlights certainly grab motorists' attention day or night, but my '13 had them too. Preferred the set up of the '13 here too, LED lo beams and halogen hi's meant the hi's threw a light more readable to my eyes. The LED hi beams of the new one don't light the road ahead as far or as wide and the pure white isn't picked up by my eye as well. The cornering lights don't really do much but I understand they had to keep them dim to avoid blinding any oncoming traffic you might meet in curves. Rear brake is much better than previous gen. The exhaust note is much nicer than the previous. Deep and throaty instead of high and raspy, and emits some pops on downshifting which while may be symptoms of need for better fueling still sound cool. TFT display is nice but seems prone to feather scratches. It is a gloss finish whereas the '13's was a non-glare matte type clear so most likely it is just showing feather scratches that the matte of the '13 had but didn't show. I never have used the bluetooth other than for pairing my phone to be notified on the bike's TFT screen with a little cartoon speech box icon if I've received a text message or voicemail. As far as styling appearance, it is what it is, unusual looking and I don't get offended by those who call it ugly or weird looking. Conclusion: Pro's and cons as expected. In Sport Mode they have taken it as close to a pure sport bike as possible and while you can tame it to a more touring or commuting friendly engine and suspension configuration, the rake, trail, and balance of the bike seems setup to be as close to sport bike flickability as possible and that still shows through in every mode. My former bike I was always solo, this one since I am engaged there is a bit of two-up riding. I love the flickability of the bike when solo and messing around having fun but I am going to want two-up touring comfort and stability which so far it looks like I will at least need to pony up north of $1000 for a Corbin seat and pillion back rest combo to help with that, plus unknown $$ on improving wind protection. The bike will always suffer from being slapped about out on the interstate in traffic due to it's tall stance, 24 deg rake w/ 4.3 inch trail, and light weight and of course motorways/interstate slab is not where I prefer to be but it is a necessity at times depending on destination. Need to make a decision on keeping or trading before too many more miles rack up and cause a worse bath on trade allowance than I'd already take.
 
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Nice review from an owners perspective. I guess my only question is do you love it? It seems you love many things about it, but at the same time I sense a little disappointment in the bike overall. I love those bikes in general. Ducati bikes are sweet! I loved the monster, but I just couldn't bring myself to fork out $3k more than my XSR was. Same with the MV Agusta Brutale 800. I love that bike from a build quality and obvious passion in engineering, I just couldn't justify the additional $4k premium over my XSR. One day I will buy an exotic Italian bike!
 

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Yes, kind of miss my '13. Main things I need resolved to keep the bike: - Touring comfort (better wind screen, better seat) - Refinement of engine power delivery - Resolve the 1st gear hesitation/shudder. This will be looked at by dealer soon and likely will be fixed. Was hoping to post-pone until I make the trip for tire replacement but it's bugging me too much to wait now. I have a curious interest in Moto Guzzi Norge GT 8V. Probably bad idea as dealer locations are even fewer than Ducati.
 
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Nice review, thanks for sharing. I know better than to take a new Multistrada or BMW GS for a test ride! It would not be a happy day for my wallet. I have found that once I get a bike set up and properly farkled to my taste and comfort that it is hard to give up. I hope that you keep it so that you can share your ownership experience with us and I can live vicariously through you.
 
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LoneRanger, Nice synopsis, I appreciate your passion for the esoteric. I'm curious about your future oil choice. Tell me if I'm wrong or not, but I understand Silkolene may not make that forumula any longer. Assuming Duc' spec's a JASO MA2 oil there are not yet a lot of choices in the US....yet.
 

LoneRanger

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You are correct about JASO MA2. From page 385 of the Owner Manual: "Ducati recommends you use Shell Advance 4T Ultra 15W-50 oil. As an alternative it is possible to use a motorcycle engine oil having the same degree SAE 15W-50 and meeting the following specifications JASO: MA2 and API: SM." The Spectro oil in it now is JASO MA2 compliant and is API SL, but as we know on API ratings that simply means it can have a higher ppm of zddp and phosphorus than SM, which is a good thing. The dealer from whom I bought strongly recommends Spectro Platinum 4, perhaps partially because they sell it there as Spectro is heavily marketed to motorcycle shops. However, the Master Tech has extensive experience with Duc's, as well as MV Augusta, Triumph, KTM. More so than only wrenching on them in a service department manner, but due to his personal passion for bikes in general and building and rebuilding race engines. Plus, I think Spectro is pretty good synthetic oil in general.
 
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A 15W-50 has no phosphorus restrictions whether it is API SL or API SM. Only the low viscosity grades starting from 10W-30/5W-30 and below have restrictions on their phosphorus content.
 
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Originally Posted By: MotoTribologist
A 15W-50 has no phosphorus restrictions whether it is API SL or API SM. Only the low iscosity grades starting from 10W-30/5W-30 and below have restrictions on their phosphorus content.
I don't think this is useful information regarding 2015 forward EU spec' motorcycle oils. JASO MA2 is now much more than a clutch friction focused standard. It now includes what can/cannot come out the tailpipe. Even bigger formulation/additive differences now between motorcycle and car oils even though they are both using API designations. LoneRanger, are you able to source the Shell Ultra? You may have read it another post...Shell cust svc in Houston provided me all the specs and Shell stock/part number on the Ultra motorcycle oils including telling me they had a warehouse full of it on the east cost. After several calls to local Shell distributors, they told me they were unable to get it for me. Have you checked if Liqui-moly has your Spec viscosity in MA2? Another alternative for you would be BMW Advantec Ultima in your viscosity.
 
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JALOS introduced the phosphorus limit in 2006. Page 5 of the past 3 specification updates over the last 10 years shows the requirement and the phosphorus limit has not changed since its addition. There are no other chemical restrictions unless you count the sulfated ash which has also not changed over the years. They require reporting of certain other chemistries, but no limits. So moving forward, neither JALOS nor the API are imposing any additional chemical restrictions with the newer specifications on the more common viscosity grades for moto. As more bikes move to 10W-30 and below in the coming years, this may change but for now, our SAE 40s and 50s are safe cheers I am not as familiar with EU specs since I primarily deal with API and JALOS, so there certainly may be changes there that I am not aware of. JASO T903:2006 Specification JASO T903:2011 Specification JASO T903:2016 Specification
 

LoneRanger

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Originally Posted By: JonfromCB
[quote=MotoTribologist] LoneRanger, are you able to source the Shell Ultra? You may have read it another post...Shell cust svc in Houston provided me all the specs and Shell stock/part number on the Ultra motorcycle oils including telling me they had a warehouse full of it on the east cost. After several calls to local Shell distributors, they told me they were unable to get it for me. Have you checked if Liqui-moly has your Spec viscosity in MA2? Another alternative for you would be BMW Advantec Ultima in your viscosity.
Haven't tried yet. If you have the TDS or better yet a VOA of the 15W50 Shell Advance Synthetic, I would be interested in reading. I know it is a GTL base. Is GTL considered group III or IV? I thought I saw something last year that Ducati was going to begin requiring dealers in US to stock Shell Advance, but it could have been merely an interwebs rumor. I chose Spectro because the master tech at the dealer is big on it, AND spectro continues to say it uses a PAO base but contains ester too. I like PAO/ester blends-- yields a product with the strong points of both.
 
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I had TDS' on the Shell, but no VOA. Sheets were faxed from Shell Customer Service in Houston. Got the Info' I was looking for and threw the sheets away after a couple of weeks. Actually, the Shell Lab gave me more useful info than was on the data sheets. As I remember there were no surprises from either of the Ultra weights. High TBN, as expected from a gas-solid-liquefied mineral oil with an additive package specifically for shared sumps/motorcycles. Since Ultra isn't a synthetic and Shell isn't making it easy to get other than importing it from Europe at ridiculous prices I turned my attention towards getting a true synthetic group IV oil. Specifically, I needed a lighter weight than you do (5w40 JASO MA2). I narrowed it down to Spectro and Liqui-moly, and went with the Liqui-moly because it has a higher TBN than Spectro, so it's a safe bet it'll go the 6K service interval I want from a water cooled touring bike, It's cheaper, and I know they developed their additive packages specifically for/with European shared sump bikes...also why they are the #1 selling brand of motorcycle oil in Germany/central Europe. I'm waiting for the new Motul 7100, JASO MA2 blends and the Motorex JASO MA2 blends to show up in the states. It seems that oil company marketing people are slower than US politicians, and US retailers are more interested in high volume US cruiser market oils with no interest in ordering, stocking, and selling the low volume MA2 stuff. Regarding your comment on Spectro containing ester. Ester is a common ingredient of almost all additive packages. It's there to swell/condition seals. In several conversations with Spectro, they have told me their base oils are 100% PAO. An oil with ester in the "AD PACK" and an oil with Esters as a measurable portion of the base oils are two entirely different animals. Ester's are superior and expensive base oils...I'll guarantee that if the word "ester" is not on the label, it's not a minimum measured part of the base oil.
 
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LoneRanger

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Good info. I actually looked into Liqui Moly a while back, here is the thread: http://www.bobistheoilguy.com/forums/ubbthreads.php/ubb/showflat/Number/3199519 Currently I have a 4 liter jug of Spectro Platinum 4 15W50 MA2 still in the unopened shipping box from Chaparral bought late last year. My 2013 Multistrada was coming due for an oil change right before I smacked the deer with it and so I'll likely just use that jug for the next change on the '16.
 
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