The Multistrada 1200S (2012) comes with Öhlins suspension. The rear spring is rated at 85Nm which is fine for riding solo, and in the city. But if you pack the bike oheavily (2-3 luggages plus pillion) the 100Nm spring is a better option in my opinion.
1. The S version of the Multistrada comes with Öhlins rear spring, rated at 85Nm
Although it’s feasible to change the spring by yourself, it does require some special tools. Considering the small cost for this installation(30€-60€) you could just visit a local Öhlins dealer. Please note that this setup might affect your Ducati warranty (consult your local dealer).
The “stiffer” 100Nm spring on the Öhlins catalog has the part number 21729-34. It costs about 100€.
As of today the spring cannot be ordered straight from a Ducati dealer. To have a similar riding height, the shock will be “screwed in” (by the mechanic) as to compensate the 5mm difference of length (the 100Nm spring is shorter than the original). You might consider adjusting the front forks preload, too.
2. The suspension “ring” will have to be adjusted, when installing the 100Nm spring
The result: the bike is now even better to ride when fully loaded. It’s also safer, as there’s more ground clearance e.g. during cornering. That is perhaps why the 2013 model which wears a SkyHook suspension, has a progressive spring rated at 85Nm – 125Nm.
Similar results have been stated by AndyW’s: http://www.motorcycleinfo.co.uk/index.cfm?fa=contentGeneric.qsconequekcvtgsq&pageId=4678916
What hasn’t been stated clearly enough though, is that the electronic settings of the suspension must be modified, too. This can be done easily through the Multistrada’s settings menu. The Preload adjustment is what you need to change especially if you are under 80-85kg. The bike might otherwise feel badly balanced.
3. The preload adjustments menu for the rear spring
Below can be seen the preload settings, as altered for the “Touring” mode. The higher the number the more “stiff” the bike feels the lower the more “loose”. These depend on your weight and riding preferences. In my case 80kg solo plus 55kg pillion, plus 20-60kg of luggage (top case and side luggage).
4. Altered suspension settings in Touring mode.
Update June 2014 – Afterthoughts
The difference is quite large when going from e.g. 6 to 2 in solo mode.
Note that I didn’t find it necessary to change the rest of the settings in any mode (front compression, front re-bound etc). Riding for some months with the 100Nm spring, I came to the conclusion that the bike was still not so well balanced. Decided to visit the local Ducati dealer and change the Front Forks Preload +2 full turns. That made a big difference! Perhaps the second best option, if you don’t want to change the Front Forks Springs. The bike feels now:
- More “planned” when cruising on the town
- During hard acceleration, the handlebar shakes less
- Front suspension doesn’t “dive” as before
- With pillion, more controllable braking in traffic
As I do a lot of touring fully loaded, I didn’t want to stiffen more the front suspension.