Is Ducati’s Multistrada V4 the Fastest Adventure-Touring Bike?

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edited February 22 in Cars Motorcycles

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Ducati loves to change the rules of the game. Originally delivered as a sport-touring bike, the first Multistrada evolved into a light-duty adventure-touring rig. Now for 2021, the Italian brand pushes the design—delivering a hotrod in the segment. Powered by a punched-out version of its powerful and pleasantly rambunctious Stradale V4 engine, this Multistrada V4 S ($24,095-$24,695 as tested) is not only faster but a more capable all-arounder.

Is Ducati’s 2021 Multistrada V4 the fastest adventure-touring motorcycle built today? We think so.
Is Ducati’s 2021 Multistrada V4 the fastest adventure-touring motorcycle built today? We think so. (Phlewid Films/)

Editor’s Note: We’ve reported on the 2021 Ducati Multistrada V4 extensively during the 2021 Ducati Multistrada V4 S MC Commute Review, 2021 Ducati Multistrada V4 S First Ride Review, and 2021 Ducati Multistrada V4 First Look Preview articles and videos. Please review this content to learn more about the new Multi.

Ducati continues to evolve its Multistrada platform. For 2021 it has been hot-rodded and is more sporty. Yet it also plays nice off-road and is more comfortable, too.
Ducati continues to evolve its Multistrada platform. For 2021 it has been hot-rodded and is more sporty. Yet it also plays nice off-road and is more comfortable, too. (Phlewid Films/)

Of course the highlight of the Multi is its rip-roaring 1,158cc V-4. Although no longer employing Ducati’s signature desmodromic valvetrain (it employs a conventional spring valvetrain for reduced maintenance intervals), it continues to sound and feel like a genuine Ducati. Smooth-running with added bottom-end and mid-range thrust versus the Panigale superbike, this configuration will be appreciated by those seeking a punchy and fun-loving engine they can wail on. Simply put, this engine rips. A smooth-shifting electronic up, and down-quickshifter allows for fast gear exchanges through the six-speed gearbox. The setup also greatly boosts stability when downshifting into turns during spirited rides.

The Multistrada V4 benefits from added ground clearance and a larger diameter 19-inch front wheel to boost capability off-road. It is certainly more practical than the previous iterations, but needs a 21/18-inch wheel combo for it to be truly competitive in the dirt.
The Multistrada V4 benefits from added ground clearance and a larger diameter 19-inch front wheel to boost capability off-road. It is certainly more practical than the previous iterations, but needs a 21/18-inch wheel combo for it to be truly competitive in the dirt. (Phlewid Films/)

The engine offers a visceral and exhiliaring note that makes it easy to keep tabs on rpm, off sound alone. A crisp 6.5-inch color TFT display provides visual vehicle cues and is loaded with information. Although it looks nice, the menu and location of the various settings aren’t laid out as well as Motorrad bikes. Still, it is an improvement versus the previous screen.

As usual, the Multistrada offers a highly charismatic powertrain. We love the sound, feel and power of its bore-out 1,158cc V-4.
As usual, the Multistrada offers a highly charismatic powertrain. We love the sound, feel and power of its bore-out 1,158cc V-4. (Phlewid Films/)

As usual, the Multistrada is loaded with electronic rider aids. But what’s most important is the added refinement of the individual function. From adjustable combined engine power/throttle maps, traction, and wheelie control, it all functions to make the rider feel more comfortable, regardless of their skill level or riding experience. The programming of the adjustable level ABS (with cornering function) is at an advanced level so greedy brake squeezers have significant room to play before the electronics chime in. The ABS can be partially (rear brake), or fully disabled if the rider desires.

In typical Ducati form, the Multistrada has an astounding level of sport-appeal. Even with the larger diameter front hoop, its road handling remains dreamy.
In typical Ducati form, the Multistrada has an astounding level of sport-appeal. Even with the larger diameter front hoop, its road handling remains dreamy. (Phlewid Films/)

Equally impressive is Ducati’s new Bosch-sourced adaptive cruise control and blind spot detection. Powered by front and rear radar, the cruise control function enables the Multi to maintain pace with the vehicle ahead (through throttle, engine brake, and subtle hydraulic brake application [not full braking force, however]). The electronics are simple to operate and allow you to better enjoy the ride. However, the system performs so well that it’s easy for your attention to fade which could expose the rider to other problems… but we’ll save that debate for another day.

The Multistrada V4 benefits from adaptive cruise control which allows it to maintain pace with a vehicle that is ahead of it. The electronics perform as advertised and make for a more enjoyable riding experience.
The Multistrada V4 benefits from adaptive cruise control which allows it to maintain pace with a vehicle that is ahead of it. The electronics perform as advertised and make for a more enjoyable riding experience. (Phlewid Films/)

The blind spot detection on the other hand is fantastic. Neatly integrated amber lights inside the rear view mirrors illuminate upon detection of an object positioned in the rear blind spot area of the vehicle. The system performs as advertised and has the ability to make riding safer when traveling on multi-lane highways.

Miles melt away with ease on the ‘21 Multistrada V4 S. The chassis affords superb handling through twisties with pleasing comfort, too.
Miles melt away with ease on the ‘21 Multistrada V4 S. The chassis affords superb handling through twisties with pleasing comfort, too. (Phlewid Films/)

Although it weighs 535-pound with a full tank of fuel (claimed), the Multistrada handles like a dream on pavement. It’s ergonomics are well laid out allowing you to manipulate the controls in a natural way, both in the sitting or standing position. It’s agile enough to make quick low-speed direction changes yet offers excellent stability at triple digits speeds. The semi-active suspension does a fine job of adjusting damping settings to facilitate a calm, well-supported ride in any condition, on or off-pavement. It also provides superior comfort on the highway.

The 2021 Multistrada V4 S can be outfitted in traditional or spoked aluminum wheels ($200 upcharge).
The 2021 Multistrada V4 S can be outfitted in traditional or spoked aluminum wheels ($200 upcharge). (Phlewid Films/)

The ’21 Multistrada is a jack of all trades. And with its lofty sport aptitude, it’s even a master of some. Pair that with its high-level of comfort and advanced rider and safety aids, and the Multistrada V4 will be a welcome motorcycle for riders that want a touring bike that stands out versus the competition in the adventure-and-sport-touring categories.

Gear Box

Helmet: Shoei RF-SR

Jacket: Rev’It Offtrack

Gloves: Rev’It Cayenne Pro

Pant: Rev’It Offtrack Trousers

Boots: Rev’It Discovery Outdry

2021 Ducati Multistrada V4 S Technical Specifications and Price

PRICE $24,095-$24,695 as tested
ENGINE 1,158cc, DOHC, liquid-cooled V-4; 16-valve
BORE x STROKE 83.0 x 53.5mm
COMPRESSION RATIO 14.0:1
FUEL DELIVERY Fuel injection w/ 46mm throttle bodies, ride-by-wire
CLUTCH Wet, multiplate slipper clutch; hydraulic actuation
TRANSMISSION/FINAL DRIVE 6-speed/chain
CLAIMED HORSEPOWER 170 bhp @ 10,500 rpm
CLAIMED TORQUE 92 lb.-ft. @ 8,750 rpm
FRAME Aluminum monocoque
FRONT SUSPENSION 50mm fork, fully adjustable w/ electronic Skyhook; 6.7 in. travel
REAR SUSPENSION Single shock, fully adjustable w/ electronic Skyhook; 7.1 in. travel
FRONT BRAKE Radial-mount 4-piston caliper, 330mm discs w/ ABS cornering
REAR BRAKE 2-piston caliper, 265mm disc w/ ABS cornering
WHEELS, FRONT/REAR Cast alloy; 19 x 3 in. / 17 x 4.5 in.
TIRES, FRONT/REAR Pirelli Scorpion Trail II; 120/70-19 / 170/60-17
RAKE/TRAIL 24.5°/4.0 in.
WHEELBASE 61.7 in.
SEAT HEIGHT 33.1–33.9 in.
FUEL CAPACITY 5.8 gal.
CLAIMED DRY WEIGHT 481 lb.
WARRANTY 2 years, unlimited mileage
AVAILABLE December 2020
CONTACT ducati.com
Six-foot tall riders will value the ergonomics of the Multistrada V4. It’s a comfortable mount both in seated and standing positions.
Six-foot tall riders will value the ergonomics of the Multistrada V4. It’s a comfortable mount both in seated and standing positions. (Phlewid Films/)The Multistrada V4 S sources a bright 6.5-inch color TFT display. While we value its crisp fonts the layout and menu navigation could benefit from added intuitiveness.
The Multistrada V4 S sources a bright 6.5-inch color TFT display. While we value its crisp fonts the layout and menu navigation could benefit from added intuitiveness. (Phlewid Films/)Touring is way more entertaining aboard the 2021 Ducati Multistrada V4 S. It’s as rich in character as it is fast, and a worthy option for sport-minded adventure riders.
Touring is way more entertaining aboard the 2021 Ducati Multistrada V4 S. It’s as rich in character as it is fast, and a worthy option for sport-minded adventure riders. (Phlewid Films/)
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