Ducati has an ambitious schedule of new bike launches coming over the next five weeks, with the first of them completely revamping the company’s iconic Multistrada. Not only does the Multistrada V4 have a brand new engine—hence the V4 in its name—but the Italians have crafted a totally new aluminum monocoque chassis for the bike that can tackle all of the stradas. I really enjoyed my time with the Multistrada 1260S earlier this year, but everything new on this bike sounds like a huge improvement.
In addition to the 170 horsepower and 92 lb-ft four cylinder engine, which is an enlarged 1158 cc version of the Panigale’s 998 cc screamer. Not only is that a slight improvement in power and torque over the outgoing L-twin, but the new V4 also manages to double its maintenance interval, now only requiring adjustment every 37,280 miles. I’ve got a lot of experience with that 1260S engine, but the V4 sounds like it’ll be an awesome motor for this thing. Smooth, torquey, even, and rev-happy like nobody’s business, is a great recipe for a great engine.
The gearbox has been improved with a shorter first gear for urban and off-road riding, which I think the Multistrada desperately needed, and a longer sixth gear for comfort and fuel mileage when you’re logging big miles.
Visually, the Multistrada hasn’t changed all that much. It still has the resting bitch face beak at the front, a nice tall windshield, and chunky off-road looks. The fuel tank is bigger, now 5.8 gallons, which has pulled some of the bike’s bulk forward. Along with a taller ride height and a shorter wheelbase, making the bike look shorter, the styling has also pushed some of that visual weight forward by slimming down the back of the bike.
The new V4 features a new 19 inch wheel at the front and a pretty standard 17 inch wheel at the back for good off-road capability and weight management. 6.7 inches of travel are available from the Marzocchi inverted front fork, while the rear trailing arm gets you a full 7 inches of travel. Ground clearance is 8.6 inches. The 33 inch seat height is a tick over what the outgoing model sported, which makes me think it’ll be a bit tall for short riders, but you can opt for a 31 inch low seat.
A pair of Brembos at the front, a single Brembo at the back, a full suite of advanced electronics from Bosch, you know, the usual. As with the 1260S, the V4S will offer adjustable Ducati Skyhook electronic suspension management, and the option to upgrade to wire-spoke wheels. A new V4S Sport model comes equipped with an Akrapovic exhaust and a carbon fiber mudguard.
The standard model has a 5 inch TFT color screen, but the S models size that up to 6.5 inches. Power and riding modes are available to choose from in all models, giving riders a choice of sport, touring, urban, or enduro modes. Wheelie control, lean-sensitive ABS, and advanced traction control are all standard. The S models will add vehicle hold control, radar adaptive cruise, blind spot monitoring, smartphone connectivity, hands-free ignition, Ducati quickshifter, cornering lights, and a neat little place to keep your cell phone with a USB charger (which was one of my minor gripes with the old model).
Everything here sounds pretty great, you know? The Multistrada was already a pretty great bike, so to see Ducati make such massive sweeping improvements tells me the company is quite serious about this competitive ADV bike market.