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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I just completed an 1,800 mile, 7 day road trip on my loaded '17 Multistrada. It was a great trip except for 2 days when I had to use the interstate. The wind was blowing 25-30 mph and there were lots of big trucks. (Wide open spaces in southern Utah and Wyoming) I've experienced this many times before and found it difficult at times. One time I tried to pass a large flat bed that was hauling 2 large bulldozers. I was about 100 feet behind the truck when the turbulence caused my bike to move around a lot. I gave up, went into a rest area for a few minutes and never saw that truck again. Regular semis were doable but that odd load got the best of me. I am wondering if the additional 2 inches of wheelbase on the new '18s would have helped. BTW, the only motorcycle that passed my during about 6 hours of windy interstate riding was a Harley Road King.
 

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I'm thinking it might come down to your tires. I found the OEM Scorpion Trail II tires to cause the handlebars to shake at high speeds or fast sweepers. When I switched to the Roadtec's that I'm using now, the bike became a lot more stable.

In the short term, you could try playing with your tire pressures. Maybe you have them set too high.
 

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Did you have a top box on?

This!

I tried a top box riding solo to work one day, and the turbulence was very noticeable. I don't really need the top box to commute to work, so I try not to use it when going solo if I'll be on the highway.
 

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I dont find the MTS suitable for highway use. Riding on the highway at 70 or 80 mph fatigues me within minutes. I do lots of multi-day road trips and plan very carefully to avoid superslab sections. If it's a long boring slog to get to good roads I trailer the bike. I dont ride bikes to be on straight boring roads - period. But if I did want to do highway trips I'd buy a goldwing or GTL1600 or something similar.
 

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My bet is that your preload was insufficient because your rear spring was overloaded.
 

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In a strong wind any bike will suffer buffeting around big trucks (especially one's with weird loads that increase turbulence). The Multi at 500lb'ish is (hard to believe) on the light side for a slab cruiser... more weight is your friend if you ride interstates. I personally avoid interstates but when touring sometimes you have to do it.

The other bigger issue with the Multi is that it has insufficient wind protection for many to deal with long term high speed cruising... that's what will increase fatigue. It's not as bad as some bikes but if you're used to big touring bikes then the Multi won't feel very comfortable. Personally I find the Multi perfectly comfortable up to about 75mph (lower in a headwind)... above that it gets progressively less comfortable up to about 90 which is as fast as I'll ride for long periods of time (95mph is pretty fatiguing after 30 minutes to an hour). Not a huge issue for me... I've been on bikes that are fatiguing at 75mph for any length of time.

Finally... if you are carrying gear then you're subject to more wind forces... keep stuff packed tight and low. I do use the top case when touring but typically only light items, and I generally have gear strapped on the pillion seat in front of it so it doesn't seem to make things a lot worse wind wise (no gap to increase turbulence). I do set the rear as stiff as I can get it when I've got a lot of gear... and wish I could get a heavier dual rate rear spring... but I've put a lot of miles on the bike with full gear (15-20kmiles) and have not had stability problems (buffeting is not the same thing).
 

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I'm a highway cruiser and love it on the Multi. I commute 12 miles on a section on highway and typically range between 70 and 95 mph.
Last year I did a 3000 mile (6 day) trip around the great lakes at an average speed of 56mph (meaning I was riding large chunks 80+ mph.
I have the top box on 90% of the time and highly doubt that is a cause here - at least I have never seen any impact at speed without or with it.

I concur that tire type, tire pressure and suspension settings are more likely as a cause - assuming riding style is eliminated.
 

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My 2018 has the top box mounted most of the time. Regularly hit interstate speeds, 85+ MPH for extended periods. I've not experienced even a hint of instability, matter of fact it's all too easy to forget the box is back there at all.

I'm also running a taller and wider windscreen, though, which probably doesn't hurt. I couldn't say if added wheelbase is the primary improvement, there are too many factors at play with high speed instability.
 

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I never had an issue with the top box until you were above 120-130mph, things could get sketchy but usually isn't a big deal even at that speed most of the time. You do notice it there, almost at any speed, but it doesn't make things hairy.

My guess it was something to do with the turbulence of the truck, I've gone over a few bridges that seem to move more than others even though their length seems to be the same, add in wind and sometimes I get thrown around a lot even at low speeds from a combination of the wind and the slab flexing. This obviously isn't relevant as I don't think you were going over a bridge, but I've seen plenty of crazy loaded logging trucks here in Northern Maine. Tire pressure and worn tires can make things sketchy as well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I do not ride with a top box but I had a medium duffel on the pillion seat. My tires are almost new Angel GTs. Pressures and preload per the book. I know it was the turbulence from the odd load on the truck but wonder if another bike would have done better. I do most of my riding in the mountains near my home in western Colorado and the Multi is perfect. I was just wondering if the new Multi ('18) would do better in this situation. Am I just looking for an excuse to buy a new bike?
 

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Hammer Down
2020 Multistrada 1260 S Touring
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The best hwy bike I've ever had was a Harley Road Glide, you could set the cruise on that thing at 80-90mph and kick back. It was close to 930lbs fully fueled without me on it. Unfortunately you have to turn at some point and I always end up scraping hard parts so no HD for me.

That being said, I have done a few stints up and down the freeway on my Multi and usually with a top box. In relatively clean air, I don't notice issues until I'm over 125mph. I think the main issue here was the load of the truck and how dirty the air was from the unusual/non aerodynamic load vs. the weight of the Multi.
 

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On the issue of instability without the wind factor, anybody tried taking both hands off the handlebars at say 40mph and up? My 2017 multistrada dvt S version veers to the left that i have to shift weight to the right to counter the tendency. When i raised the issue to the local ducati dealer, they rode-test my bike and a handful other multis in the shop and found the issue to be in the dvt S versions only. Anybody have the same experience?

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I've had that on every bike I've owned...I usually wear out the right side of a tire before the left.
 

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Commuting 64 miles a day. 24 mi of it is on Interstate and it's god damn rock solid. I have the top box and windscreen set to lowest setting.
 

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Over the past 10 yrs I've had three models of multistradas as my sport-touring mount. I like the multis because they are acceptable highway bikes, and fun as shit when you get to the good roads, even when loaded for a trip. Yes, one gives up some creature comforts when forced to slog it out on the slabs, but the bike has enough power to blow by any dirty air on the highway and put it behind you. Compared to the days when I used to take trips on sportbikes and UMJs, I find the multi to be quite stable.
 

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No issues with my 2011. I have a topcase that lives on the bike and commute with it daily at speeds up to 90 mph on the slab. Rock solid. Even with loaded up with the saddle bags, it's not a problem.

The windscreen makes a HUGE impact on stability. The stock windscreen is only passable in my opinion, but my shorty Puig is fantastic at speeds up to 130 mph. I've even had the bike fully loaded up to that speed for quick stints. I have a large V Stream windscreen for the winter that makes the bike usable on the highway for me. I'm playing with some spacers, but haven't quite figured it out yet.

If you're a bigger dude (i.e. a lot of drag) and/or death grip the bars, that will make this all a lot worse. Same goes for suspension. If you're a heavier guy, the soft mushy springs will sag out even more than for someone lighter. Geometry changes make a big difference stability.
 

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I commute 35 mile each way on the highway. I always ride with a top case on my commute. My 2013 is very stable, and ride 75 to 95 mph. I have yet to experience any instability on my commute.

However, I recently rode from Houston to Moab UT and experience similar wind conditions. I was getting pushed all over the road by the wind gusting. It was very unnerving. At times I would be leaning in to the crosswind on a straight section just to stay on the road, then a semi would pass in the other direction, blocking the wind, and I would immediately be swerving toward them. Even when the wind wasn't strong enough to push me off the road, I had to tuck behind my screen as oncoming trucks past. The blast of turbulence was like hitting a wall.

It was the same issue when passing. As I would get close the turbulence would be incredible, so I would open up the throttle as I got close to get through it quickly.

I think the wind conditions you mentioned were the significant factor. Better aerodynamics or a heavier bike may help, but I think it would be marginal.
 

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I live in the southwestern desert riding frequently at 75+ and in high winds. And find my 15 MTS getting buffeted by everything and anything causing dirty air. Just plain unpleasant. A better choice is my 18 K1600 GT, but the best riding bike in open desert and wind is my 11 ROAD GLIDE. IMO the variables are profile, weight and wheelbase. However, for spending summers in the northwest, no better bike than the Duck for those mountain roads.

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