Should I upgrade my 2013 Ducati Multistrada Pikes Peak with the 2016 Pikes Peak model? That’s the question. I’m not the only one grappling with this question since 2015, when Ducati incorporated many upgrades to the Multistrada, especially the DVT motor.
On this post I will discuss ten reasons to keep my Multistrada Pikes Peak or to get the new DVT model. These reasons are not “either or” scenarios, they are just considerations on specific items, where, on my personal view, I would favor one motorcycle or the other. Your take might be different than mine item by item, but you can use this framework to reach your own conclusions.
A premise for this comparison is that besides the DVT Multistrada I haven’t seen other motorcycles that would work as an upgrade to my Multistrada. There are some motorcycles that are better on sport or touring performance. When you combine sport and touring, though, and put together on a upright riding position package, the Multistrada is still my favorite so far. I say “so far” because I’m open to other motorcycles, and will look for alternatives if something comes up. For now the Multistrada DVT is the natural upgrade to my sport/touring motorcycle, the 2013 Ducati Multistrada Pikes Peak.
Within the Multistrada line the alternatives have improved with the addition of the Enduro version. But it is the Pikes Peak primarily the one that gathers my attention, hence the one that will be discussed here.
Now that we have discussed the context at hand, we are ready to start bringing up, one by one, the items, the differences between the 2013/14 and the 2015/16 Pikes Peak bikes, that can make me, or you, favor one or the other.
Reason 1: The Testatretta motor!
No question, one of the most critical elements that makes the Multistrada successful is its motor. When this bike first came out in 2010, the motor was all the rage. This bike was a first on that front and has created a new segment, we now have a few other options delivering similar or better level performance from their motors from KTM, BMW, Aprilia, and others. So let’s start with the Testastretta motor.
The case to keep the 2013: The dual spark motor performance and characteristics
Although the DVT motor has more power, is more stable on low RPM, and is smoother throughout the rev band when compared to the 2013 motor, its power delivery at the mid portion of the RPM range does not feel as strong as what I experience in my motorcycle’s Testratretta dual spark motor.
The 2013/14 Multistrada’s motor is a re-designed version of the original Testastretta motor on the 2010/12 models. The re-design included several modifications that improved the management of spark, fuel, and the air mixture maximizing its efficiency and stability at lower RPM. It was a subtle but critical improvement.
The 2013/14 motors maintain just enough of the characteristic vibration of a V-twin, it is something I actually like. But it is not overwhelming at all, it is just a light touch you feel via the handlebars, seat and pegs. When you add the v-twin vibration to the dynamic forces of acceleration and sound, it does give a feel of raw performance, it delivers an aggressive attitude. It is telling you there is a strong v-twin in there, taking you on this high performance adventure, and in the case of this specific motor, it is willing to give you more as you climb the rev range.
In preparation for this write up, I rode my Mutistrada over the weekend, just to be reminded of what this motor is all about. At 4,500 RPM that motor is already very responsive and linear. The magic spot, the characteristic of a motorcycle where I enjoy the riding experience the most, happens at the confluence of vibration, RPM gain, speed gain, and induction sounds. On this bike it starts just above 5K RPM on the “150 hp high” setting. That’s the sweet spot of its motor, all the way to about 8K RPM, giving me a great latitude, a wide range for fun. This is ultimately the reason I like this motor, and why I keep it at the 150 hp and on the high setting, where its delivery is sharp, even when on Urban mode.
The case to get the DVT bikes: The DVT motor performance and characteristics
As a counter point, though, the DVT motor is sublime. Although it is smooth at higher RPMs, you would never question there is a V-twin pulling you through when riding this motorcycle, especially at lower RPMs. There are several advantages to this motor, from technical to experiential in relation to the motor on my motorcycle.
From the technical side, it is yet more efficient than the motor from each it evolved. Actually, there are so many differences, it is a different motor altogether. The most important one, of course, is on its name, the variable valve timing on intake and exhaust valves. It delivers more power and yet more improvements to low RPM motor stability, and better fuel efficiency, without compromising performance on the higher end of the rev range. As a matter of fact, this motor has about 10% more torque than the dual spark motor.
On the experiential side of things, when comparing to my 2013, the DVT motor does feel more stable at low RPM. However where I noticed the most improvement was on how smooth it is under strong acceleration. And since we are talking about strong acceleration, there is rush of power you get above 6K RPM from this motor… it is something out of this world. That’s where the sweet spot of this motor resides.
Although that rush of power is great, it comes with a down side. If you are in touring mode you will experience a slow down on the acceleration rate when the motor goes from 4K to 6K RPM. It is somewhat of a disappointment to have that flat spot on the torque curve, but it only makes the acceleration you experience above 6K so much more intense.
In conclusion, I would say both motors are great. The dual-spark motor delivers more of a raw performance, it is an in your face performance, and you get some nice induction sounds along the way, it is a true v-twin motor, perhaps the last of a generation. The DVT motor, on the other hand, is a lot more refined, but it is still delivering a thrilling performance. It requires a change on how you use the gears, if you want to be on the sweet spot, but when you are there you will be rewarded! For as much as I like the feel of the dual spark motor, there is no looking back, the DVT motor on itself is already a good reason to upgrade to a 2015 or 20156 model.
Reason 2: Reliability and Service intervals
Anytime someone knows I ride a Ducati one of the questions that comes up in the conversation is about reliability and service intervals. These are important items to consider when we know these bikes are expensive to maintain and service.
The case to keep it: reliability
The twin-spark motor turned out to be reliable. My motorcycle has never had any mechanical problems. It was also the first Ducati motor to have a 15,000 mile service interval, which is great progress for these service demanding Ducati motors. However, it still requires belts to be changed every two years.
The case to get the DVT bikes:
While we are still learning about the DVT motors, who knows what reliability level they will reach, they incorporate lots of changes and new technology. What we know is that these motors have yet a longer service interval than the motor they substitute. Its service interval is 30,000 Km which translates to 18,750 miles. And I hear (to be confirmed) the belts need to serviced only every 5 years. That is not bad at all.
I would say, in the long term, the DVT motor, with its longer service intervals, will carry more value, not even considering what it already gains in performance and efficiency from the variable valve timing technology.
Reason 3: The Suspension
Aside from the motor, another important item that makes the Multistrada successful is the suspension. The 2010-12 models had the Öhlins suspension, and from the 2013 model the Multistrada line comes equipped with Sachs semi-active suspension, also called the Skyhook which with Ducati’s name added to the acronym it becomes DSS. In 2015 the Multistrada continues with the Skyhook, but with evolutionary upgrades.
However the 2015-16 Pikes Peak comes with an evolution of the Öhlins you would find on the first versions (2010-12). This makes for a difficult decision here, and it will probably be the most important one for several people. I remember on motorcycle forums in 2013 some people were very passionate for Öhlins or for Sachs semi-active suspension. The reason for the controversy is obvious: they are both good suspension systems. But they are also different.
The case to keep it: Sachs Skyhook Suspension (DSS)
The case for Skyhook is comfort and the easiness to get performance from it. You can dial it in to your own style of riding going through a series of menu items. It is incredible how the DSS, Ducati’s semi-active suspension, works.
Once you ride a motorcycle with it, and you happen to like it, which is my case, you want all suspensions to work the same way, especially when you travel on rough surfaces. On sport mode, for example, it keeps the damping you need for aggressive riding, but softens the edges of imperfections on the road. Overall, it is likely to keep the wheels on the ground on a more evenly fashion while making the ride more comfortable as well.
Therefore, you should get more performance, safety, and also comfort out of it. The tendency is that more and more motorcycles will have semi-active suspensions. We already these systems on premium brands such as KTM, Aprilia, BMW, and MV Agusta.
The case to upgrade to the DVT: Öhlins suspension, including the fully adjustable Öhlins TTX36 shock
On the other hand, Öhlins is known to deliver high performance suspension. I rode a 2010 Multistrada with Öhlins and liked it. I also rode the 2016 DVT with the standard suspension (not semi-active) more recently. After so many years riding Skyhook semi-active suspension, I’ve gotten used with it. However, riding the standard Multistrada I got reminded about how good it is to have better feedback from the front end of the bike.
Semi-active suspensions don’t give you that important detail, the feedback you may want to feel at the handle bars. The feedback makes it easier to ride faster, even if semi-active suspensions deliver optimized performance in varying conditions. You need to trust the semi-active suspension, you read the bike better on “analog” suspension.
Overall, I would like to have both suspensions, and then switch to one or the other by a flick of a button. Since that is not possible, if I had to opt, I would give a try to Öhlins next. I know I would miss the Skyhook, though. That is a tough decision. You can go with Multistrada S with DVT, in which case you get the DVT motor, but an evolutionary version of the semi-active suspension.
Reason 4: Riding technology package, the case to get the DVT bikes
Since both bikes offer high level of technology, and the choice is between these two bikes, having technology is not an issue favoring one or the other bike. As a matter of fact, riding technology is another element that characterized the Multistrada, since it was one of the first motorcycles to have a full package including riding modes, power delivery modes, suspension settings, levels of ABS and traction control.
That is, if you like a Multistrada, chances are you like the technology that comes with it as well. Therefore, when comparing the 2013/14 Multistradas to the 2015/16 models, there is no question, advantage goes to the DVT bikes.
And that’s because of the upgrades it includes. Two items are probably making the case unambiguous: Bosch’s ABS with stability control, the famous “cornering ABS”; and cruise control.
Thanks to Bosch and KTM for introducing the cornering ABS to their Adventure models, a technology that has become a requirement on all top brands since then. KTM has it, BMW has it, and the DVT Multistradas have it. I want my next performance motorcycle to have cornering ABS.
The second item, cruise control, is not the most important item, but there are moments when you really wish you had it, when you need to do something with both hands, things you shouldn’t be doing (like turning the camera on). Or when you need to rest your right wrist on a long ride. It is very convenient even if you only use it once in a while. I’m at the “why not” camp for that one. I want my next touring motorcycle to have cruise control.
Reason 5: Seat height
The DVT Multistradas have a lower seat, offering better reach to the ground for inseam challenged people.
Depending on how tall you are you may find this a reason to upgrade or not. For me, this is a major positive item! When riding my Multistrada I’m always observant when stopping about how at least one foot will reach the ground and how stable that reach needs to be.
Reason 6: Marchesini wheels, the case for the 2o13/14 models
On the previous Pikes Peak models, Marchesini wheels has been the one major item that characterized the model, besides the color scheme.
That’s no longer the case, the DVT Pikes Peak models come with cast wheels.
This is not a priority item, but it makes a difference on performance and strength of the wheel and is one of those contributing items that help with the decision.
Reason 7: Information display, the case for the DVT models
This is a no-brainer. The new TFT color display of the DVT models is so much better than the monochrome displays of the previous series.
Some have complained the new TFT displays scratch easily. There is always a downside, right? You can apply protective film to them, problem solved.
Aside from looking better, the DVT model offers a much easier navigation process. Just one more reason to go for the DVT models.
Reason 8: Engine sounds and the Termignoni silencer, the case for the DVT Models (2015/16)
When Ducati announced the Pikes Peak model in 2013 it showed pictures of the bike with the Termignoni slip on. It happened that it was not included on the bikes destined for the American market. Now it is part of the Pikes Peak package.
It happens that I like the sound of the DVT bikes better and with the Termignoni silencer it gets even better. It is the case of getting the Pikes Peak DVT.
Item 9: The overall package, the case for the DVT bikes
There are so many other items on the new model, like cornering lights (lights that come on when the bike is leaned to illuminate the direction when cornering), back lit switches. I also like the shorty carbon fiber wind screen on the DVT better.
The overall fit and finish quality seems to have been improved as well. It is, overall, a more refined motorcycle.
Item 10: The looks! So subjective…
It took me a long time to acquire a taste for the Multistrada, what with the beak and the angry bird face. The Pikes Peak bikes were always a better paint scheme in my opinion. And the 2013/14 Pikes Peak models in particular are unique when compared to the other two Pikes Peak versions. The first Pikes Peak version had the red and white and black and the shiny carbon pieces, a nice looking beast.
But the 2013-2014 model is the only one that is only red and white. It looks more aggressive, sharp, and the satin carbon fiber adds a nice touch to it. It is my favorite.
It is not that I don’t like the new Pikes Peak paint scheme, but on looks alone, I prefer the 2013.
Of course, this is very subjective. And it should not be a determinant factor on someone’s choice. But it helps. I doubt Multistrada motorcycles of this vintage (2010-2016) will become collectible items some day, but if it were the case, I would bet on the Pikes Peak models more than the others to have that space in history. And perhaps the 2013-14 models are a special case on that scenario, or so I would hope. Aside from the Pikes Peak versions, a potentially collectible version of the Multistrada could be the black color on the 2010-2011 S models which are rare motorcycles. And those black bikes look great as well.
In my mind, there is no question the DVT is a much improved motorcycle. If my Pikes Peak checked all boxes when I got it, the new one comes with “optional” boxes that did not exist at that time.
At this point, I want the DVT motorcycle. I have other priorities at the moment which do not allow me to indulge on the new level of performance and quality the DVT bikes deliver, and in specific the Pikes Peak, my unambiguous choice. Also, I think I have a few more adventures to accomplish with my Pikes Peak. It is still my favorite and the best motorcycle I’ve ever had.
But if someone is considering the upgrade, Ducati has a campaign with the Pikes Peak where you can get 1.99% financing or $1,200 cash for accessories. That should make it easy, right?
I will dream about the DVT, but I can’t complain, my Pikes Peak is an awesome motorcycle.
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