Ducati Ducati Multistrada V4 S [2021] | FIRST RIDE REVIEW

The Ducati Multistrada V4 maximises its new engine and piles on the innovation to take high-speed adventure touring to a new, advanced scale

Details
Manufacturer:
Ducati
Category:
Sports Tourers
Overall
3.5
Average: 3.5 (1 vote)
The Multistrada V4 is truly is four bikes in one: capable off-road, comfortable for touring, makes you smile in the mountains and is easy around town

A model that already straddles the sports-tourer-adventure segments better than perhaps any other, for 2021 Ducati is hammering home its ‘motorcycle for all seasons’ message with the Multistrada by making it the first model outside the Panigale to showcase its V4 engine. 

So far so enticing, but the the fresh Multistrada V4 goes beyond the engine and its chiselled looks, with Ducati taking the opportunity to bestow its new flagship with a host of new tech - including some world firsts - and the promise of class-leading service intervals.

One of the few launches to go ahead during this second wave of COVID-19, we find out whether the Ducati Multistrada V4 is the perfect long-range motorcycle to self-isolate on.

Ducati Multistrada V4 - REVIEW VIDEO

Ducati Multistrada V4 engine

Ducati’s new Multistrada V4 for 2021 is a significant step forward over the previous model. There’s a completely new V4 engine, a new, lighter chassis, new wheels, including a more off-road oriented 19in front. There is also class-leading technology never before seen in the motorcycle market, most notably rear and forward-facing radar, and obviously a new Panigale-influenced new look.

Also derived from the Italian sportsbike is the V4 engine with its counter-rotating crank. However, this is ultimately where the similarities end with not a lot of that original 214bhp motor making its way into the Multistrada in order to prioritise refinement and reliability over outright power and acceleration.

The big talking point is the move to conventional spring-operated valves, rather than desmodromic actuation. The main reason for this is to extend the service intervals to an industry-leading 36,000 miles (60,000km), before the clearances need checking. Contrasted to the V4 Panigale engine, capacity is up by 55cc from 1103cc to 1158cc, with a larger bore of 83mm, out from 81mm. 

Peak power of the conventionally valve operated engine is an impressive 168bhp/125kw @10,500rpm, and 92lbft/125Nm of torque @ 8750rpm. Compared to the old V-twin, that peak power figure is up by 10bhp and, like the torque, higher up in the rev range while peak torque is down from 95.5lbft to 92.2lbft. 

The new V4 is 1.2 kg lighter than the former model, 8.5cm shorter, 9.5cm lower and only 2cm wider. The V4 now sits higher in the chassis, which gives the new Multi 220mm of ground clearance, 46mm more than before. 

Ducati has also thought about the heat generated by the V4, meaning the back two cylinder are switched off at tickover to stop heat build-up, and there are additional, neat little wings on either side of the engine to deflect the heat from the rider.

Technology and innovations

The Mutlistrada V4 has the honour of becoming the first volume motorcycle to hit the market with Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) and Blind Spot Detection (BSD) with front and rear radar detection, albeit only as an optional extra.

In straightforward terms, you set the cruise control at any speed between 30km and 160km, and the adaptive system will control your speed, gently accelerating or decelerating dependant on the information gathered via the radar’s detection. 

The blind spot detection uses the rear radar, and monitors vehicles approaching from the rear, and illuminates an LED in the rear-view mirror as a warning. It goes without saying the new Multi V4 is laden with other advanced rider aids, including cornering ABS, lean-sensitive traction control, wheelie control, cornering headlights and hold control (both standard on the V4S or optional) plus multiple rider modes, Sport, Touring, Urban, and Enduro.

Off-road abilities

For 2021, the new Multi comes equipped with a 19in front-wheel, as opposed to the conventional 17-incher on the previous model. The rear wheel also reduces in width. This is a major step for Ducati and a clear signal of the new bike’s ability on off-road. The second big change is the introduction of a new aluminium monocoque (like the Panigale) 4KG lighter. Chassis dimensions are also sportier. 

Those who like to venture off-road won’t be upset either. The mirrors are deliberately curved, which means they don’t hit your forearms when you’re standing up, while the pegs have been designed to allow you to wear bulky off-road boots and have an easy to remove rubber, which requires no tools, giving you plentiful grip off-road. 

Even the intake and exhaust are high up so you can ride through deep water, the standard bars have multiple-positions better equipped for off-road riding.

Handling and chassis

With the keyless ignition engaged, that full colour 6’5 TFT dash comes alive. A new back-lit toggle switch on the left bars enables me to scroll through the informative clocks with ease and choose my specific riding mode. With blips of the throttle, the counter-rotating V4 comes alive and has a nice little bark to it. 

When the revs drop to tickover the rear cylinders are deactivated to reduce heat to the rider. A light clutch, into first and we’re away, and the clutch is now unnecessary as it’s smooth, clutchless changes with the up and down quick shifter from here.

The fuelling is perfect, the engine is smooth. In the dedicated Urban mode, it’s easy, simple, and user friendly. It doesn’t have the top-heavy, intimidating feeling of some adventure bikes, either. The acceleration onto the freeway is exciting, those 168 Italian horses want to run. Up to cruising speed and this is a delight. With the screen fully upright there is very little wind noise. The all-new clocks are clear and easy to navigate, and as we enter the countless tunnels I notice the backlit switchgear, which is a nice touch.

The Italian designers has increased the fuel tank capacity to 22 litres to presumably compensate for the thirstier V4. Ducati claim 43mpg and on the test I averaged a little less than 39mpg, though the pace was brisk. Thankfully the Multi V4 isn’t going to be as thirsty as Ducati’s other V4 models, as they drink faster than a drunk in happy hour after a two-month lockdown. The quoted tank range should be 208 miles, with 188 a more realistic estimate, meaning you are going to start needing to look for fuel around 160miles. Is that enough for a big adventure tourer?

The steering is excellent. It does not steer like a 243kg (kerb weight) adventure bike with a 19in front tyre. Instead it is accurate and relatively easy to throw around and change direction as speed. Excellent cornering ABS and Brembo Stylema brakes are always on hand if you should dive in a little too hot. Ground clearance is impressive, even in aggressive cornering I didn’t have any issues and the feedback and grip from the Pirelli Scorpion Trail 2 rubber, which has been designed in partnership with Ducati for this model, are spot on.

The 50mm-diameter forks’ control is impressive, but possibly more so is the rear, which stays planted and under control. You hit an undulation hard on the power and you can feel the rear compress, the Pirelli grip, but then it controls the rebound, and importantly doesn’t recoil too quickly reducing the push/grip to the rear Pirelli. There is 180mm of travel on the rear 10mm more than before, but it’s superbly controlled. A well ridden Multi could give a sportier bike a run for its money on the right road, and that larger front wheel hasn’t hampered the steering or fun.

After a full day in the saddle, comfort was still excellent and I had no grievances. The wind protection and lack of wind noise meant I didn’t even bother with earplugs, very impressive. Into Touring mode, the suspension becomes more compliant compared to Sport, and again the rear radar detection was spotting crazy Italian drivers whizzing down the outside lane at speed, despite the fact I was cruising at 90mph. 

Back into Bologna, now careful of the fitted panniers, and into Urban mode, which noticeably softens the suspension, gives more fluidity, and reduces the power. This really is a bike for all occasions.

Ducati Multistrada V4 Equipment and Specifications

Now for the tech. I’m riding in the middle lane and the left LED light above the mirror illuminates to warn me a vehicle is approaching from the left. Sure enough, a quick glance in the mirror and over my left shoulder reveals an aggressively driven BMW. Impressive. The Blind Spot Detection is spotting vehicles approaching from the rear, which I may have missed. Now time to try the Adaptative Cruise Control. I set the cruise control to 140kph, release the throttle and we’re set. 

A digital graphic on the bottom right of the huge TFT clocks shows the ACC is working, and I can increase or reduce the range of the radar. I’m slowly getting closer to a car in the middle lane, and the radar has detected this, reducing power to match the speed of the car in front. 

I now check my mirror, indicate left, pull out into the outside lane, and we accelerate back up to 140kph, and I’ve not touched the throttle or brake in the process. Simple.

Away from the class-leading gadgetry, comfort is excellent. The Skyhook ride is forgiving, and there is little vibration despite the V4 cruising along at 100mph with ease. Sixth gear is tall, but at 100mph I thought the revs would be a little lower, and in this respect, it will be interesting to see how it compares to the competition. 

VERDICT

As ever, the Ducati Multistrada  V4wears its sporting heritage on its sleeve and adding a larger front wheel hasn’t impeded the fun and has vastly improved its off-road capabilities. 

Fuel consumption is higher than the competition though and for some tank range may not be enough, even if those service intervals should help balance the books over a long period. 

It’s not cheap, either, but service costs are low and there is a market leading four-year warranty in Europe too. If you can make a financial case for it, then the Multi V4 does everything remarkably regardless of what you’ll be using it for most. 

Now more versatile than ever, it truly is four bikes in one: capable off-road, comfortable for touring, it can make you smile in the mountains, and is relatively easy to live with and use around town. The 2021 Adventure group test is going to be interesting.

Ducati Multistrada V4 Specifications & Key Details

Make and modelDucati Multistrada V4
Price£18,395 (£20,345 model tested)
Engine:1158, V4 90-degree, water cooled 16-valves, counter rotating crank
Power:168bhp & 125kW @10,500rpm
Torque:92lb-ft & 125Nm @ 8750rpm
Frame:Aluminium monocoque frame

Brakes:

Front 2 x 330 mm semi-floating discs, radially mounted Brembo M50 Stylema monobloc 4-piston.
Rear 265 mm disc, Brembo 2-piston floating calliper, Cornering ABS
Transmission:6 & chain drive

Suspension:

50 mm fully adjustable USD fork, electronic compression and rebound damping adjustment.
Rear Fully adjustable monoshock, electronic adjustment with Ducati Skyhook Suspension, aluminium double-sided swingarm
Wheels/tyres:Light alloy cast, 3" x 19" Pirelli Scorpion Trail II 120/70 ZR 19. Light alloy cast, 4.5" x 17" Pirelli Scorpion Trail II 170/60 ZR 17
Seat height:Adjustable, 840 mm - 860 mm (33.1 in - 33.9 in)
Fuel capacity:22l & 4.84 UK Gallons
Fuel consumption:43.45mpg & 6.5l/100km. Tested 39mpg
Weight:218kg dry/243kg Kerb
Warranty:24-month unlimited mileage.
Service intervals:15,000km/9000miles 60,000km/36,000miles (valve)