Plus Ça Change (Tweaking Part II)

I’ve had my Multistrada for just over a month now — time enough to find out the good, the bad and the incomprehensible about it. And yes, it IS as good as the reviews say it is (my own full review has been much-delayed by the simple fact that I’ve been out riding it!) but it ain’t entirely perfect, so here’s my thoughts to date on what can be improved in future and what needs to be fixed by Ducati right now. It’s a very short list, considering that this is a brand new bike designed to appeal to a much wider market than Ducatis of yore — and, by definition, a market less accommodating of Italian, ah, idiosyncrasies. But here they are, in all their ignominy — let’s see what Ducati come back with:

  1. The Centre Stand: Very simple this: presumably in an attempt to provide the maximum leverage for getting a fully-laden ‘Strada onto the stand, Ducati have made the stand’s arm far too long: it fouls the rider’s left foot and pushes the stand down, causing it to ground out far too early. And, if you’re like me and ride with the balls of your feet on the pegs, as the pace rises and you put more weight on your feet, the stand gets pushed down further and grounds out more readily the faster you go. Not a good combination.
  2. The Termignoni Carbon Slip-On Exhaust (official Ducati accessory): The heat shield for this bulges out so much that it’s impossible to place your right foot properly on the footrest. It also fouls the centrestand spring, pushing the stand down and causing it to bounce against the bike when riding. Not fit for purpose and not an accessory to be recommended.
  3. The Pannier Lids: While the panniers are well designed for the most part (particularly the handles and locks), the lids are sealed with a simple rubber compression seal, rather than the interlocking labyrinth seal as found on the ST series panniers. This causes two problems, one actual and one potential: the first being that, if the lid moulding doesn’t apply enough pressure around its whole perimeter, it’ll flex away from the pannier. It does. The second is that if you’re trying to close a pannier against slightly recalcitrant contents, there’s absolutely no tolerance — as soon as there’s any pressure against the lid, the seal springs apart. The real answer here is to redesign the panniers with proper labyrinth seals, but a tolerable solution would be to mould the lids deliberately and slightly out of true, so that they’re compressed into their proper seal when the catch is closed — production engineering 101, but something that seems to have passed Ducati and Givi by.

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