Flexible Flier

Can a motorcycle be both a street rocket and an off-road demon in one?

Ducati Multistrada 1200 S (Courtesy of Ducati)
Ducati Multistrada 1200 S

On long trips, you want a comfortable touring motorcycle. Off-road, you want a bike with good shocks and clearance. Need to let it rip on open seaside highways? You want a rocket. That's why Ducati's Multistrada 1200 S is such a brilliant idea. Press a button and the onboard computer morphs this remarkably light (417 pounds) but powerful (150 horsepower) bike into an off-road, urban, touring, or neck-straining sport ride—instantly adjusting the ground clearance, suspension, traction control, and horsepower. On my 1,500-mile test ride from New York City to Maine's north woods and back, the urban mode nixed accidental wheelies in the city, the tour mode kept the long days comfortable, and the aggro sport mode let me rip up the twisty ascents of the White Mountains. I came away bug-splattered and sold: if I could have only one bike, it'd be these four. $20,000; multistrada.ducati.com.

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