Because the Ducati brand is synonymous with track-ready superbikes, the concept of a multipurpose Ducati met with early skepticism from enthusiasts. Yet the Bolognese manufacturer has fulfilled its unlikely mission in the overachieving 2010 Multistrada 1200.
Bearing virtually no resemblance to its air-cooled predecessor, the new $14,995 Multistrada incorporates a superbike-sourced powerplant that actually produces more low-end torque in its reconfigured application. An electronically adjustable Öhlins suspension package available on the S model ($19,995) transforms ride characteristics at the push of a button, while traction control and ABS systems—the latter can be entirely disabled—inspire new levels of rider confidence.
The Multistrada earns our kudos not only for its outstanding technological achievements, but also because it tackles both tarmac and trail with a refreshing combination of vehemence and practicality.