When Ducati Motorcycles announced the 2013 Ducati Multistrada lineup, it was surprisingly very quiet about the incorporation of the Ducati Skyhook suspension. The only piece of information let out was that Ducati has incorporated semi-active suspension setup into the bikes using Sachs components that can adjust the damper settings according to the rider’s riding mode. However, to quench our thirst, Ducati has provided detailed information about its internal working.
Ducati’s semi-active suspension system called the Ducati Skyhook Suspension (DSS for short) utilizes a number of sensors that are placed at the sprung and the unsprung parts of the motorcycle chassis. For the sprung parts, vertical accelerometers are placed on the lower triple clamp and rear sub frame while for the unsprung parts, the sensors are placed on the fork legs and the rear swingarm. The suspension ECU runs an algorithm that constantly monitors an imaginary reference point directly above the motorcycle and adjusts the damper settings to maintain that imaginary reference point. This is the inspiration behind the name “Skyhook”. The term “Skyhook” refers to to an imaginary hook at this floating reference point, from which the front and rear of the motorcycle is suspended. All this sounds a bit complicated but it works very fast. It is capable of switching from maximum to minimum damping in just 10 milliseconds.
To imagine how fast that is, consider you are riding gently on a smooth road in a Soft setting say, Urban mode. In this case, the damping of the front forks is close to minimum. Suddenly you see a dog in the front and you slam the brakes hard to avoid the dog. In the meantime, the fork damping would have switched to maximum compression well before they reach the end of their travel. Because the damping is entirely electronically controlled it’s possible to have a much wider range of damping settings than with a conventional system. The DSS also incorporates a longitudinal accelerometer sensor for traction control and an ABS pressure sensor. Based on the damping changes, the ECU adjusts the suspension to even out the jerks due to sudden acceleration and deceleration.
The Skyhook suspension comes as a standard fitment to the Multistrada 1200S, the Multistrada Touring, the Multistrada Pikes Peak and the Multistrada GranTurismo. Only the Multistrada 1200 gets this as optional.