TESTASTRETTA 11° power and control, the ideal travelling companion
The starting point for the complex and innovative Multistrada 1200 project was the engine.
As a prestigious model the motorcycle had to be powered by the most advanced, evolved twin-cylinder engine to come out of the Ducati factory. It had to be the Testastretta Evoluzione used on the world-beating 1198.
The challenge, however, was to produce an engine that would be enjoyable to use in all conditions and able to adapt to the rider’s character and not the other way around. Making the best ever L-Twin performance engine smoother and more user-friendly was indeed a challenge, but Ducati’s innovative designers and engineers met the challenge by creating the revolutionary Testastretta 11° engine.
For a motorcycle intended for touring, the smoothness and user-friendliness of the engine is key to achieving an effortless and comfortable ride. The main engine characteristic that enabled this configuration was the valve overlap angle.
The overlap angle is defined as the interval of crankshaft rotation, measured in degrees, during which both the intake and exhaust valves are open at the same time. This overlap occurs between the end of the exhaust stroke and the start of the intake stroke. High performance engines, which are subject to compromising smoothness for extreme power delivery, use high values of this parameter in order to benefit from the pressure waves to improve engine performance by maximising volumetric efficiency.
On the new Testastretta 11° engine, this angle has been reduced from 41°, used in the Testastretta Evoluzione engine which powers the 1198, to just 11°. As a result, the fresh inlet charge flow is less compromised by the exiting exhaust gases, resulting in a much smoother combustion in addition to improved fuel economy and lower exhaust emissions. Unburnt hydrocarbon emissions (pre-catalyser) are reduced by up to 65% and specific fuel consumption (and consequent CO2 emissions) by up to 15% (Euro3).
With its 150hp and 12.1kgm (87.5lb-ft) of torque, the new Testastretta 11° sets a new standard for Ducati twin-cylinder engines. Tests on fluid dynamics through the ports and in the combustion chamber have resulted in a modified power delivery profile and specifically the torque. New intake and exhaust ports combined with a radical adjustment of the cam timing and slight reduction of the compression ratio have enabled Ducati to achieve a favourable torque curve at low rpm, which remains strong through a wide range. This particular characteristic considerably enhances the Multistrada 1200’s ridability.
The gearbox and final drive ratios have also been optimised to enable the use of a higher-ratio 6th gear. This solution not only enables reduced fuel consumption, but also achieves increased riding comfort by reducing vibration. To give a practical example, if the 1198 reaches its top speed in 6th gear, the Multistrada 1200 is able to reach it in 5th gear and maintain it effortlessly in 6th.
The Multistrada 1200 features an oil bath clutch with ‘slipper’ function and super-light feel at the lever. Its design uses a progressive self-servo mechanism that presses the plates together when under drive from the engine, enabling the reduction of the clutch spring rates. This results in a much lighter clutch lever at the handlebar, ideal in stop-start traffic or long journeys. When the drive force is reversed, the same mechanism reduces the pressure on the clutch plates, enabling them to provide a race-like ‘slipper’ action, which reduces the destabilizing effect of the rear-end under aggressive down-shifting and provides a much smoother feeling when closing the throttle or down-shifting under normal riding conditions.
189kg sets a new benchmark
Constantly reducing weight is part of the design brief for all Ducati models. Less weight enables maximum performances both in terms of dynamic behaviour and safety. A lighter motorcycle will brake in a shorter distance, accelerate faster and be easier to steer. Every single component of the Multistrada 1200, therefore, has been designed to achieve weight reduction without compromising its load-bearing capacity. With a dry weight of just 189kg (417lb) the Multistrada 1200 is lighter than any other road enduro, touring or sport touring bike currently available. The light weight combined with an excellent chassis set-up ensure exceptional handling, a key factor for sports, touring, urban or enduro riding.
This weight saving is the result of applying new technologies to Ducati’s design and engineering of all major components. Crankcases are now cast using Vacural® technology and frame components use welded Trellis tubes, cast alloy elements and hi-tech polymers. Further savings have also been made with the single-sided swingarm in aluminium and the fuel tank has been developed using blow moulding technology in pursuit of the best compromise between capacity and weight.
Furthermore, the layout of the exhaust system, which is simple and minimalistic, uses two primary manifolds flowing directly into the triple chamber single silencer. Apart from carrying out the 2-1-2 compensator function, the silencer also contains the catalyser and sound-absorbent materials. The two compact and lightweight aluminium alloy end pipes depart in a low, lateral configuration to keep the overall weight to a minimum.