Article posted: Saturday, September 05, 2015
Ride Report: Zionsville to Sioux Falls, SD and back on a 2015 Multistrada
Zionsville, IN to Sioux Falls, SD and Back
On the 2015 Multistrada 1200S
It’s been over a year since I have been on a long motorcycle ride except for my trip two weekends ago to East Lansing Michigan and back. My riding has consisted of day rides south and east of Indianapolis within the state. So when I knew I needed to be in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, for a Ducati meeting with 15 other dealers, I thought this would be a good excuse for getting out on a longer road trip. It would also be a good opportunity to take one of our Multistrada demos and do a write up of my impressions of the bike.
I left Zionsville, Indiana, on Saturday, August 22, 2015, at 6:30pm. I had loaded my side bags and a 30 liter Kriega bag with my extra clothing to make it through 2.5 days of meetings in Sioux Falls. The newly designed bags mounted easier than the older models and were easier to close and open. Although it didn’t rain on my trip the bags appeared to seal very well. You can also match them with an upper cover that is changeable and matches the bike.
My plan for the first night was to get as far west as possible on I-74. I made it to Galesburg, IL, in 3 ½ hours with one stop for gas in Leroy, IL. The next day I planned to take mostly U.S., state, and county secondary roads from S.E. Iowa to N.W. Iowa and on to Sioux Falls, S.D. There is no direct route across Iowa from corner to corner.
As I passed field after field of corn and soybeans that were starting to turn mature looking toward harvest time, my thoughts turned to how great it was to get out solo on the open read. I soon found out that the big Multi was smooth at all speeds, but seemed to have a sweet spot at about 85 mph. I do not particularly like riding after dark, so I pushed it toward the setting sun. I was getting about 41 mpg by the computer, which did not seem too bad given that I was running between 80 –85 mph. The electronic cruise control worked flawlessly on my entire trip. What a plus it was on the limited access highways. One can really ride relaxed and use the cruise control to speed up or slow down. The last hour or so of the ride was in the dark and the all LED lights of the S model gave me excellent visibility especially turning.
Sunday morning was cool and wet because of an overnight rain. Luckily I had convinced the night manager at the motel to let me park under the overhang at the entrance so my bike was dry. I waited awhile to leave to let the roads dry out some. By 8:30 AM I was on the road and soon I was crossing the Mississippi and made it to Fairfield, Iowa, where I stopped for coffee. The Multistrada collects a crowd whenever I stop, especially in the rural areas. After a side trip to Grant Wood’s American Gothic House in Eldon, IA, I made it to Pella, IA, by noon.
On the East side of Des Moines I got caught up in Iowa State Fair traffic so it took me awhile to get to I – 35 North to Ames where I picked up US 20 West. From there I picked my way across Iowa riding west and north through Ft. Dodge, Storm Lake, Cherokee and Sioux Center on my way to Sioux Falls mostly on state and county roads. As usual in the summer I had some detours, but Iowa roads are in better shape than our Indiana roads.
I rolled into the Clubhouse Hotel parking lot around 6 o’clock having done 550 miles for the day. One of the great things about the Multistrada is that I don’t feel tired when I get off the bike. After checking into the hotel, I met up with our accountant Kori and some of the other dealers for dinner at the Italian restaurant next to the hotel. At dinner one of the dealers said that when he was checking into the hotel the clerk told him about some old guy who “had to ride a motorcycle here all the way from Indianapolis”. Many people don’t get it.
After two and half days of meetings it was time to head back to Indianapolis. Based on a recommendation by the owner of Ducati Omaha, I headed south on I -29 to pick up some twisties south of Sioux City. I hit the Loess Hills National Scenic Byway around Smithland, Iowa. I rode south through some very picturesque scenery and great curves until I picked up Iowa 44, another scenic byway with a few nice sweepers and rolling hills.
Thirty miles west of Des Moines I merged onto I-80 for some quick miles. That night I stayed in Fairfield, IA. If I had had more time I could have ridden more of the scenic roads across Iowa. I rode 446 miles in a little over six hours on the Multi, which left about 350 miles yet to ride before arriving at 4629 Northwestern Drive.
The next morning I packed up, had my free breakfast, checked the tire pressure and headed off to cross the Big Muddy, the state of Illinois and half of Indiana. I pulled into the shop about 1:30pm. My average mileage for the entire trip was about 43 mpg, which was not bad considering my speed and all the small towns I went through.
All in all it was a good ride on a great bike. I have been riding a 2013 Multistrada standard for two years and have a good starting point to evaluate the 2015 model. The new bike is smoother at lower RPMs than previous models and also has more power in the higher revs due to the variable valve timing. I rode mostly in the sport and touring modes. The front end and windscreen has been reengineered to yield less turbulence for someone of my 5’9’height. A 6 footer might require a different windscreen. The feature that most impressed me was how well the cruise worked throughout the trip. I am used to my Kaoko on the 2013 that has to be constantly changed when the grade changes. The seating position and ergonomics of the bike feels better than previous models and I am flat footed with the standard seat in the higher position. The switches are more functional and the backlighting makes easier to find them at night. I never had the opportunity to use the blue tooth technology, but plan on trying that in the future. All in all I will say what I said when the 2013 models were introduced. Ducati made a great bike even better with the new model. I might have to trade my 13 on a new one.