Ducati Multistrada V4 S review: It’s so good they had to change it – Geoff Hill
With 110,000 bikes sold, the previous version of the Multistrada was the sleekest, smoothest and most satisfying adventure bike around. So why on earth would Ducati replace the engine with a less powerful one? Read on and find out
Ducati Multistrada V4S
Here’s a question for you – what do you do if you make the world’s most stylish and satisfying adventure bike and you’ve sold 110,000 of them?
If you are Ducati, the answer is obvious: change everything.
Well, not quite. The Multistrada V4 looks a lot like the V2 version, but under the tank the 182bhp 1260cc V-twin has been replaced with the Streetfighter’s 1158cc V4, detuned from 208 to 170bhp.
Madness? Maybe not, because although peak power is down, the detuned motor does it at 10,500 rpm instead of the Streetfighter’s 12,750, and in the midrange, where the motors spend most of their time and where riders need the power and torque the most, there’s a big fat, creamy dollop of both waiting to be lapped up.
For any geeks reading, Ducati has also ditched the Desmodromic valve system it’s used since the 1970s in favor of simpler springs, meaning you only have to have the valve clearance checked after 37 000 miles.
And while Ducati threw it all away, it included the iconic red steel trellis frame, replacing it with an aluminum monocoque – just like in the new Monster.
So let’s see how this whole theory works in practice.
Climb aboard, and so far, so Multistrada, with a commanding, comfortable riding position slightly on the sporty side of neutral, tilting you forward a bit to rest your little fingers lightly on the tall, wide bars.
Brilliant mirrors and a fabulous TFT screen, with all the basic info nice and big, and the less important stuff if you need it, such as drive mode and drain range, which on a full tank, is worth 200 miles indicated.
That said, at the end of the day my average mpg was 38 mpg, so I suspect some spirited driving could reduce that range to no more than 150 miles.
Roll up, and although the bike weighs 243kg, it’s so well balanced that handling, even at walking pace, is a breeze, while at speed it’s perfect as a feather.
Acceleration, even in Touring mode, is vigorous enough to satisfy even the most ardent adrenaline junkie, with the aforementioned dollop of power and torque just where you need it for smooth, effortless passing while laughing into your headphones and hoping no one is listening.
In Sport mode, the laughs get even louder. Hilariously fast, but still smooth and safe.
The quick shifter is firm yet precise in both upshifting and downshifting, and the semi-active suspension manages to be both plush and firm, remaining completely calm even when the bike rocks through a hard corner. Hugely impressive.
Braking, as you’d expect from Brembo calipers, huge twin 330mm discs up front and cornering ABS, brings you to a stop as smoothly and quickly as the engine propels you towards the horizon.
The optional heated seat and grips, meanwhile, are so effective that I had to lower the grips from full to medium before my little pinky fingers flared up. Nothing worse.
The screen is manually adjustable with one hand and, at the highest level, keeps even the tallest pilot, and I speak as one, in a blissful bubble of silence.
It’s even less of a hooligan over a KTM 1290 than the previous Multistrada, but still more thrilling than the ubiquitous BMW R 1250 GS, and now even more satisfying than ever thanks to all that silky-smooth power and torque in the middle. of range.
And if you can’t quite switch to a V4 S, neat low-mileage examples of the base V4 are on Auto Trader starting at under 14,000.
The main differences are that the base V4 has adjustable suspension, standard Brembo calipers, ride modes, cornering ABS, traction and wheelie control, and a 5-inch TFT display.
The V4 S adds semi-active suspension linked to drive modes, upgraded Brembo calipers, cornering lights, 6.5-inch TFT display, quick shifter, anti-weave control in case you throw a wobbly hill hold control for uphill starts and a keyless ignition.
For the perfectionists, hundreds of accessories include a full pack of aluminum panniers and top box for £2,053, heated grips for £208 and a heated seat for £216.
Only complaint? I prefer the sound of a V-twin to that of a V4, but that’s only my opinion. For anyone else, it’s the best Multistrada to date, which is really high praise.
Ducati Multistrada V4S
Engine: 1158cc liquid-cooled V-twin
Power: 170 hp at 10,500 rpm
Torque: 92 lb-ft at 8,7500 rpm
Price: V4 £16,295; V4S £18,995
*Test bike provided by Millsport Motors millsportmotorcycles.com