The Multistrada is capable...
The Multistrada is capable of mild off-road duty, but that's all. Note the lack of ground clearance, as well as the exposed front exhaust header; the Pirelli Scorpion Trail rubber is OK on hard-pack soil, but not much more.
Being a motorcycle that has some minor off-road aspirations, the Multistrada's chassis sits fairly high, so seat height is pretty tall. The official listing is 33.5 inches, but it feels taller than that. While we didn't have a chance to try out the one-inch-lower accessory seat, we think that those who have less than a 30-inch inseam and/or aren't accustomed to hanging off to one side at a stop probably shouldn't apply.
Ergos are basic adventure-tour style, with tapered-diameter, off-road-bend handlebars that are wide and high, and slightly forward-set footpegs with ample leg room to allow enough space for body positioning and good leverage while riding off-road (although the Ducati's abilities are more limited than most of the typical adventure-tourers in that respect - more on that later). The small flyscreen actually does a decent job of deflecting windblast away from your helmet and chest area, and the range of adjustment is plentiful enough to work for most riders. The seat is wide and flat toward the rear for decent comfort on long straight hauls, but narrow in front to permit proper lower body positioning in those riding situations that require it.
In any of the engine modes, the first thing you notice is that the Multistrada's engine has gobs of quick-revving low-end torque. The testastretta V-twin has never really been lacking in this department, but the "11°" version (so-named because of its shorter 11 degree valve timing overlap compared to the standard 41 degrees in the 1198) puts this Ducati on a whole new level. The Multistrada 1200 basically combines the stump-pulling low-end of the old Buell XB12 with the rev-happy nature of an 1198, making for a potent mix off the line and out of corners. Add overall gears shorter than the 1198 into the equation, and you have the makings of a motorcycle that can squirt between paved corners with a quickness that will surprise even the latest and greatest sportbikes in the right hands.
The Urban and Enduro modes...
The Urban and Enduro modes have basically the same power as the Touring and Sport modes up to 5250 rpm, at which point the Touring/Sport modes leave them behind.
In Sport or Touring mode where the engine has its full complement of power (150 claimed horsepower at the crankshaft, which turned out to be approximately 130 horsepower at the rear wheel on our SuperFlow dyno), the Multistrada continues making good power all the way to its 9500 rpm rev limiter. In fact, it zips through the rev range so quickly from 2500 rpm on up that you need to pay close attention to engine rpm if you grab a handful of throttle - a constant occurrence due to how much fun the engine is to play with - to avoid slamming into the rev limiter, which can be a little tricky with the small bar-graph tachometer on the LCD dash. The power is such that despite its 60-plus-inch wheelbase, the Multistrada easily lofts the front wheel in second gear just from acceleration alone.
When set in Enduro or Urban mode, the same responsive low-end and midrange torque is present on up to about 5500 rpm. But instead of voraciously continuing its climb up to 9500 rpm, the power curve begins a gradual tailing off that actually ends sooner at 8750 rpm. Although we can see this shorter power curve being suitable in the Enduro mode's semi-off-road situations a Multistrada might encounter, we weren't so enamored of the Urban mode's similar setting. Power is clipped at 90 horsepower, which when combined with the Ducati's 503-pound wet weight, makes for a somewhat uninspiring ride unless you're negotiating your way through tight, slick alleyways (which, in retrospect, is probably more of the "urban" Ducati engineers had in mind, rather than squirting into an opening in traffic on 55 mph expressways).