2006 Ducati Multistrada 620

Love at first…no second…ok, love eventually

The first time I had the pleasure of riding the small (and now extinct) version of Ducati’s Multistrada, I have to say that I was underwhelmed. Coming off of a Honda 919, it didn’t have the power I was used to, and with the stock exhaust, it was eerily quiet. I tested it back to back with the 620 version of the Monster and neither one of them spoke to me the same way an 800cc carbon-fiber clad SuperSport had.

A couple of months passed by and I tried the 620 Multistrada again. With some distance between this ride and the SuperSport, I was better able to focus on the Multistrada. Suddenly I really liked the Baby Strada. It was quick enough to be entertaining, but not so powerful that it was scary, and that made it easy to ride. I liked it’s sit up straight riding position (it was actually more comfortable than my Honda), and I really liked the fact that it had some wind protection since many of the roads I like to ride are a few hours from home. There was just one snag–it didn’t sound the way Ducatis are supposed to sound.

After the ride I asked whether after-market pipes were available for the bike and was assured that they were, although the dealer didn’t have any installed for me to hear. He did, however, have a Monster 620 with pipes that I could listen to. About 30 seconds after the little Monster roared to life, I knew one thing for sure: the 620 engine was definitely a Ducati engine. Ok, I thought to myself grinning, the Baby Strada will do nicely.

I drug my wife into the dealer to look at shirts (she’d agreed to buy me a Ducati shirt for Christmas) and casually mentioned–while gesturing like Vanna White finding vowels on Wheel of Fortune–that I finally decided which Ducati I wanted. A few weeks later it showed up in my garage (on my birthday).

I’ve put nearly 10000 miles on it so far and have to say that the bike has been great. Good range and gas mileage (55-65 mpg, so 200 miles on a tank is doable), good power, light weight, solid cornering ability (it can lean well past my comfort level), and good looks all add up to one seriously fun motorcycle.

The bad? It’s a Ducati, so I spend $400-$600 for maintenance every 6000 miles. If you lay it down (I did), OEM replacement parts are expensive and hard to come by–my bike wasn’t completely back together for more than a month (though I was able to ride it within a few weeks). The 620 motor is great around town, but runs out of steam above 70 mph…making passing a well-planned event on the highway. Finally, the seat needs help. I haven’t decided whether to replace it or get some kind of pad, but after a day in the saddle, I’m REALLY ready for a break.

From commuting to light touring to casual cruising, the Multi 620 really does it all. And I’m still grinning ever time I ride it.

UPDATE: Sold the Multistrada in August of 2008. And yes I miss it. But I’d probably be selling it now anyway with the economy where it is and my job being cut back 20%.

UPDATE2: I REALLY should NOT have sold this motorcycle. The Multi now occupies the “favorite motorcycle ever” spot in my memory. Wonder how long until I find another one like that…