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Ducati’s Go (Almost) Anywhere Multistrada 1200

Ducati’s outgoing Multistrada never quite lived up to its name, which translates to many roads. But it certainly paved the way for a dramatically different alternative to its air-cooled antecedent. The all-new ’Strada ($14,995 to $19,995) counterstrikes adventure tourers like the BMW R1200GS and the Yamaha Super Ténéré with a serious sport-bike engine and enough high-tech gadgetry to give the competition a run for their money.

Plucked from the 1198 super bike, the Multistrada 1200’s power plant directs 150 pounding horsepower to the rear wheels, mitigated by an optional traction-control system. Four different modes–Sport, Touring, Urban, and Enduro?negotiate traction, suspension damping, and throttle mapping, and available ABS builds confidence in wet weather.

The Multistrada’s personality proved appropriately multifarious during on- and off-road blasts around the volcanic island of Lanzarote, part of the Canary Islands, where its torquey mill, comfy saddle, and touring-ready windscreen made us nearly forget our test bike was equipped with capacious saddlebags. But the biggest surprise of the ride came when we ventured on a pothole- and rut-ridden trail. The bike–set on Enduro mode–offered reassuring grip, and more impressively, a disarmingly smooth ride.

This hot-rodded Italian may draw eye rolls from die-hard BMW riders, but devoted Ducatisti have a bona fide reason to celebrate: Their esteemed marque has stepped up its game by offering a versatile ride that not only does justice to its name but also to the very best the brand has to offer. (www.ducati.com/od/ducatinorthamerica/)

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