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Ducati has an extensive brand awareness far beyond the Italian company's actual size, based on its illustrious racing history and lineage of hardcore sportbikes. But the versatile new Multistrada is set to open the Ducati experience to a wide swath of conquest consumers.

"There are a lot of riders out there who are Ducati-curious," says David James, Ducati international press manager, adding that they may have been intimidated by the firm's hard-edged reputation.

From our experience testing the new Multistrada 1200 on the varied roads of the Canary Islands, we're confident that many of the Ducati-curious will really appreciate the flexibility, comfort and performance of this sharp-beaked new bird.

Did we say performance? Hell, yeah! Forget the homely old air-cooled MTS. This one is powered by a revised version of the 1198 superbike V-Twin, cut down from 170 crankshaft horsepower to a still-very-potent 150 hp. The $14,995 versa-bike may have pretentions as a BMW GS competitor, but it, in relative terms, is a racebike in comparison.

More: 2010 Ducati Multistrada Review on Motorcycle.com
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