Ducati Multistrada Ahead of Its Time - the Best-Selling Newcomer Class

The motorcycle industry is constantly changing, but it looks like this process has been accelerated in the last years. First, the financial crisis which has literally wreaked havoc through the world economy made people reconsider their spending habits and triggered what we may call the small-displacement revolution.
Ducati Multistrada Granturismo 1 photo
Photo: Ducati
More and more customers started thinking twice before deciding on what kind of bike they’ll spend their hard-earned money. Affordable bikes with low maintenance and running costs have become more appealing to people who would have chosen differently several years ago.

However, the motorcycle industry and the whole economic climate are slowly becoming less chaotic, and it looks like the aftermath of all this turmoil has brought a new trend, sport-adventure motorcycles. This name is arguably the best possible one, and we welcome any other label these bikes may come with. What is certain, though is the fact at least five renowned manufacturers are betting big money on them.

So far we have Ducati, BMW, KTM, EBR and Triumph who have jumped in the game. All of them are extremely confident. We had face-to-face discussions at EICMA 2014 with the Germans, the Austrians and the Americans. Each of them has openheartedly admitted that the new bikes they are either launching or planning to launch are a part of what they believe is the new prodigal generation of motorcycles.

Some people say that all this started with the Ducati Multistrada, which was a bike a little ahead of its time. The purpose of this article is not to coin the Multistrada in this position or to disprove it. Such a matter can be investigated at a later time, of course, if needed.

Doubtlessly, it has brought together the sporty nature of a bike and the adventure-inspired stance, and bound these two into a package backed with high-end motorcycle technology. The result looked good and performed well, despite some of the riders openly shunning it.

The passing of time has proved that the recipe Ducati had for the Multistrada was a successful one and the most recent additions to the class are telling the same story. The 2015 BMW S1000XR and the 2015 KTM 1050 Adventure may be two different machines, in turn, themselves different from the Multistrada.

Deeper into the details

Still, it’s their particular approach to motorcycling which brings them together in what both Joseph Machler (S-series product manager for BMW) and Thomas Kuttruff (KTM PR manager) believe is destined to the new best-selling class. In KTM’s case it will be most interesting to see how well the new 1050 Adventure will sell compared to the 1190 and the 1290 flagship. As for BMW, we can definitely bet that the S1000XR will quickly outsell the S1000RR from which it was derived (sort of) right from the first couple of months after launching.

You can read both the BMW and the KTM exclusive interviews to get a better picture of how much trust the two makers have put in these machines. They don’t seem to be talking gibberish and even more, neither of them has made huge mistakes so far. As for EBR, they are also eyeing sport-adventure bike in the future, with the AX moniker. If a brand traditionally associated with top-drawer racing bikes is considering this new segment, we can only believe that things are for real.

Of course, there are several Triumph bikes which fall more or less into this category, the new Yamaha FJ-09 and more to come in 2015, for sure. It only took two top manufacturers to deliver such bikes and the rest of the pack seems to follow.

Wondering how will the Japanese respond to this… We’re waiting for the renderings of a CBR 1000RR-based adventure machine, a touring version of the GSX-R1000 which can do gravel and why not, an R1 Adventure. Sounds silly maybe, but this was one of the strong feeling EICMA 2014 left us with.
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