April 20, 2021 By Maynard Marcelo Photos by Randy Silva-Netto

Bike Review: 2021 Ducati Multistrada V4S

Last March 30 Ducati issued a recall order to some Multistrada V4 owners after they discovered a quality issue with the new Granturismo V4 motor. Apparently despite stringent quality checks and assurances prior to production, it was discovered that the valve-guides from one of two parts suppliers have been found to have longevity issues, which would potentially lead to excessive engine wear, and could cause the engine to lose power and ultimately fail. Since the valve-guide in question came from one of two parts suppliers, not all Multistrada V4 models produced were affected. A quick check with Ducati Manila revealed that none of the Multistrada V4 shipped to the Philippines were affected. 

If this particular recall concerning the faulty valve-guides somehow affects your purchasing decision, then you’d be missing out on what could possibly be the best Multistrada ever built. This problem is unique to the Multistrada with the Granturismo V4 motor because it uses conventional spring-operated valves as opposed to the traditional Ducati Desmodromic valve system, allowing it to have an industry-leading service interval of 36,000 miles (valve clearance check), or 57,936 kilometers. That’s more than twice the 15,000 miles (24,140 kilometers) recommended service intervals of traditional Desmodromic valve systems. Change oil intervals are every 9000 miles, or 14,484 kilometers. Less visits to the dealerships could only mean bigger savings in the long run. And more savings means more money for other essential stuff.

It’s pretty obvious that the Multistrada V4 was totally redesigned from the ground up and Ducati went to extreme lengths to improve upon every aspect of the original 4 bikes in 1 (Sport, Touring, Enduro, and Urban) concept. Aside from departing from the L-twin motor configuration and desmodromic valve actuation, the fourth generation Multistrada also replaced the traditional steel trellis frame with a monocoque chassis.

Like on the Panigale V4, the Multistrada V4 uses a fully integrated cast aluminum triangular-shaped monocoque structure that’s lighter and more compact than a traditional steel trellis frame. The monocoque structure also uses the V4 motor as a stressed member. For strength the Multistrada V4 uses steel tubing for the subframe. Also in lieu of a single-sided swingarm, the Multistrada V4 has a new two-sided aluminum swingarm. A nod towards the enduro part of the Multistrada concept was the switch to a 19-inch front wheel. 

Ducati has always been at the forefront of technological innovations, and for the Multistrada V4 S Ducati introduced new technologies that put it ahead of its competitors. Our Multistrada V4 S test unit, for example, features an all-new adaptive cruise control with radar technology, a first for Ducati and the first motorcycle application in the world. A rear facing radar detects vehicles on the bike’s blind spots. It remains to be seen if other manufacturers will follow suit, but it’s a new technology worth having that adds active safety on the road, and that’s always a good thing.

Other more familiar technologies carried over from the previous Multistrada are the semi-active Marzocchi suspension with Skyhook technology. It now features an auto-leveling system which automatically adjusts to extra load whether it be for a passenger, luggage, or both. Suspension travel is a generous 175.26mm (6.9 inches) in the rear and 177.8mm (7 inches) in front.   

What I’m sure everybody will love about the new Multistrada V4 S is none other than the characterful Granturismo V4 motor. It basically uses the same architecture as the Stradale V4 motor minus the Desmodromic valve train but it was bored out to 1158cc from 1103cc for better mid-range power. While it revs lower compared to the Stradale V4 (10,500 rpm vs. 15,000 rpm), the Granturismo V4 sacrifices peak power for a more accessible power across the rev range that’s more suitable for adventure touring.

The Granturismo V4 produces 170 hp at 10,000 rpm and maximum torque of 92 lb-ft at 8750 rpm. For comparison, the DVT 1260cc L-twin it replaces produces 158 hp at 9,500 rpm and 95 lb-ft of torque at 7,500 rpm. Interestingly, Ducati claims the Granturismo V4 is 2 pounds lighter and more compact than the DVT 1260cc L-twin, allowing them to reposition the motor a bit higher for proper weight bias and a more neutral handling characteristic.  

To compensate for the bigger 19-inch diameter front wheel, Ducati reduced the front end rake and trail to 24.5 degrees (from 25) and 4.03 inches (from 4.4 inches), respectively. As a result the Multistrada V4 S still turns into corners with as much agility as the 17-inch equipped Multistradas as before, but now has more off-road capabilities as well. I guess the only drawback with this kind of setup is the limited tire choices. But with regards to handling, very little, if any, affected the Multistrada’s sporty demeanor.

In the braking department, Ducati equipped the Multistrada V4 S with top-shelf Brembo Stylema calipers with 330mm rotors. Keeping the Multistrada V4 S grounded are the sophisticated electronic rider aid package with the Bosch six-axis inertial measurement unit that manages the Ducati Traction Control, Ducati Wheelie Control, Ducati Cornering ABS, Ducati Cornering Lights, and Vehicle Hold Control. Completing the package is a bi-directional Ducati Quick Shifter. 

The first thing you’ll notice about the Multistrada V4 S is its weight, or its lack thereof. Compared to the Multistrada 1260S DVT, the new Multistrada V4 S is lighter by as much as 8kg. This is immediately apparent from the moment you pick it up from its side stand and when you twist the throttle. The Multistrada V4 is more flickable and pounces forward with more Panigale-like eagerness.

The Multistrada V4 is now accessible to more riders because of the height adjustable seat; the seat height can be adjusted from 840mm to 860mm. Adjusting the spring preload of the rear shock absorber to its softest setting will help lower the ride height by a few more millimeters. The rider and passenger seat are generously padded and are comfortable for extended time on the saddle. The rider’s seat is narrower to the front where it meets the fuel tank to allow riders a more direct access to the ground. 

The wide handlebars provide plenty of leverage for a wide variety of riding scenarios, whether it be for spirited riding on canyon roads or while standing up off-road. The various switches need some getting used to but once you memorize their locations and know their individual functions using them are pretty much straight forward, plus the joystick for navigating the menu is easy and intuitive to use.

The switches are also backlit at night for quicker location. The large high resolution colored 6.5 inch TFT screen integrates all the information the rider needs. It even has a Ducati Connect system, compatible with Android and iOs, so you can mirror your smartphone into the TFT screen for added functionality. Ducati even provided a small hinged waterproof compartment on top of the fuel tank where you can store and charge your smartphone. 

The windscreen has a genius push-pull locking mechanism that can be adjusted up and down by one hand even on the fly. Spending extended time on the Multistrada V4 is made more pleasant by efficient and effective engine heat management. Strategically placed vents and ducts on the fairings redirect engine heat away from the rider. The Granturismo V4 motor also automatically shuts off the rear cylinder bank at low speeds to prevent uncomfortable heat build up underneath the seat. And it works. So far this is the most traffic friendly Ducati I’ve ever used.  

I have yet to meet a fellow motorcycle journalist who doesn’t love the new Multistrada V4 after spending significant time with it as we did, and for me that’s saying a lot. Adventure bikes are often a mixed bag of compromises that perform satisfactorily on everything but seldom excel on anything else. The Multistrada V4 changes that. It simply excels in sport, touring, enduro, and urban settings; it’s truly a 4 bikes in 1. If you don’t mind the PhP1,745,000 asking price then book yourself a test ride and be ready to part ways with your cash. 


Specifications: 

Engine: Fuel injected, liquid-cooled, V4, 4 stroke, 16 valves

Displacement: 1158cc

Max Power: 170 hp @ 10500 rpm

Max Torque: 92 lb-ft @ 8750 rpm

Transmission: 6-speed

Seat Height: 840mm-860mm

Fuel Capacity: 22 Liters

Tire, Front: 120/70-19

Tire, Rear: 170/60-17

Brakes, Front/ Rear: 2 Disc/Disc ABS

Curb Weight: 243 kg.

Top Speed:  300 Km/h 

Price: PhP 1,745,000 

+: Handsome and functional styling, comprehensive electronics package, characterful and smooth V4 power plant, plush semi-active suspension, active radar 

-: Not much

C! Rating 10/10 


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