Ducati’s Multistrada V4 Rally is about as close as it gets to a no-expense-spared mega adventure-touring motorcycle. It’s big in every sense of the word, and for a good reason—it has to be if you want to go anywhere your mind can dream up.
Specifically, Ducati took the already capable Multistrada V4 and focused on ways to make it go farther, especially off-road, and with greater comfort and long-distance practicality. Let’s get into the changes.
Suspension has to be top of the list when you’re talking about serious dirt excursions, and with the Multistrada Rally, Ducati gave the Skyhook Evo semi-active suspension even more travel.
Both front and rear travel is now 7.9 inches, giving it a lift of 1.2 and 0.8 inches, respectively. This accounts for the 9.1-inch ground clearance. The semi-active suspension is now more accurate thanks to revised sensors that can better track the position of the front wheel.
This design increases the accuracy of the Auto leveling function that keeps the riding characteristics constant should you add or subtract weight from the bike (via a passenger, luggage, or both).
More ground clearance also means the Rally has a higher seat height—34.9/35 inches compared to the standard’s 33.1/33.9 inches. To help make it easier for the rider to hop on, Ducati have employed a trick similar to the Harley-Davidson Pan America (already used on the Multistrada V4S).
Called the Minimum Preload function, the rider can lower the bike at a stop or low speed by minimizing the preload in the shock. Once the rider is on, the Easy Lift function tells the semi-active suspension to open the valves for a few minutes to completely soften the suspension. This effectively makes it easier for the rider to “bounce” the bike off the side stand and into the upright position.
A reinforced bash plate is also included to keep the engine safe since the bike can tackle even more gnarly terrain. And since you’re going to want to go places, the 19/17-inch spoked wheelset allows you to put on good tires.
The key to going far is having enough fuel. While the standard Multistrada’s 5.8-gallon tank is rather large in itself, the Rally’s new 7.9-gallon fuel tank dwarfs it in comparison. After you have the big gas tank, you must also find ways to make the rider comfortable for the long haul.
Ducati’s solution comes in many subtle tweaks throughout the bike, both for the rider and their passenger.
Reducing the amount of wind hitting the rider keeps them fresh for longer, so the windscreen is 1.6 inches taller and 0.8 inches wider. Additional deflectors adjacent to the windscreen further direct air around the rider and passenger.
As you can see, Ducati hasn’t forgotten about whoever is sitting in the back seat. Further comfort details for the pillion include a longer tail unit to provide a longer seat for both rider and passenger. The top case attachment point is moved further rearward to give more leg room, and the passenger pegs have rubber inserts to reduce transmitted vibrations.
To give the rider more control, especially off-road, the steel footpegs are wider, have a more aggressive profile, and feature tool-less adjustment. A center stand makes it easier to perform maintenance and load bags evenly.
In typical Ducati fashion, the Multistrada V4 Rally is loaded with tech. The Bosch six-axis IMU is the heart of so many various tech functions, including the latest Bosch 10.3ME Cornering ABS, which takes into account the bike’s pitch and lean angle when determining the amount of brake pressure to apply.
Similarly, the IMU is vital in metering power output with the Ducati Traction Control and Wheelie Control. The IMU even helps with the cornering lights, allowing the lights to help illuminate around a corner.
Another new technology is the millimeter-wave radar system. On the V4 Rally, the system is used at both ends of the bike; the front is employed by the active cruise control, while the rear unit powers the blind spot monitoring system.
Of course, a modern Ducati is nothing without riding modes, and the Rally has four: Sport, Touring, Urban, and Enduro.
If you’re familiar with riding modes on other bikes, then these should be familiar to you; Sport gives you full power and taut suspension settings, Touring still has full power but delivers it more progressively, while Urban cuts power back to 115hp, gives mild response, and a softer ride.
Enduro, however, is a little different. It still cuts power to 115hp, but throttle response is sharper than in Urban. Suspension settings are tailored for off-road riding, while traction and wheelie control are set to their lowest positions. Basically, the rear tire is set free and is totally under your control.
Finally, the V4 Rally uses a new rear cylinder deactivation system to help with heat getting to the rider and with fuel mileage. Rear cylinder deactivation isn’t new for Ducati, but before, the tech was only used at a stop. With the V4 Rally, the rear cylinders will still turn off at a stop, but also at low speeds (except in first gear). If you want to accelerate and tap into the 1,158cc V4 engine’s power, the cylinders come back to life.
For a company known for its sportbikes, Ducati has built a very focused adventure machine that, on paper anyway, looks capable of handling any adventure you can dish out.
Time will tell if it can be mentioned in the same breath as BMW or KTM in the mega ADV wars (and don’t forget Ducati is now involved in the mid-weight war with its DesertX).
So far, we know that the Ducati Multistrada V4 Rally will be coming to North American dealers starting in May 2023 and will be available in Ducati Red and Brushed Aluminum & Matt black. Pricing starts at $31,495 USD.