Meet the Ducati Multistrada V4: Long Service Intervals, High HP
Where does one even begin when talking about Ducati’s new Multistrada V4? This one basically takes Ducati’s playbook and rips it apart. And yet, somehow, the new Multi is still distinctly a Ducati.
You adventure riders have probably known about the Multistrada for some time but probably haven’t taken it very seriously as an adventure machine. Fair enough—for much of its life the Multi was largely a sport-touring bike, primarily happiest on paved roads.
With the adventure segment’s rise in popularity, Ducati had adapted the Multistrada to better handle paths unpaved, most notably with the 1260 Enduro model.
With the Multistrada V4 though, Ducati basically took a clean-sheet approach to make the new Multi a better adventure bike—one that just so happens to be powered by a monstrous V4 engine that the world first saw in the Panigale V4 superbike.
In that trim, Ducati is able to coax 200-plus horsepower out of it. But as we know, having all that power means nothing if you can’t put it to the ground, or if it’s all at the top of the rpm range.
A Reimagined V4
This wasn’t lost on Ducati engineers, either. So they went back to the drawing board to make the V4 usable in the rpm range riders normally use. Despite having two more cylinders than the V-Twin used before, the new V4 is actually lighter, smaller, and more compact than its predecessor.
At 1158cc, Ducati increased the bore over the 1103cc V4 in the Panigale and shifted the power curve lower in the rev range compared to the superbike, giving it a maximum output of 170 horsepower and 92 lb-ft of torque.
Those are still huge numbers, but the important thing is the power curve is very linear and right where street and ADV riders want it.
Maybe the biggest surprise from the V4 Granturismo is the fact it uses valve springs! If you know Ducati, then you know the company is all about its Desmodromic valve actuation, where a rocker arm not only opens the valve but also closes the valve.
The benefit of the desmo system is extremely accurate valve timing, which can yield big horsepower. This is why it’s used in racing.
The downside is that the desmo system is more complex and requires valve clearance intervals that are relatively short. Ducati (finally) realized the Multistrada rider doesn’t care about high horsepower, but definitely cares about easy maintenance and reliability.
This was the driving factor pushing the switch from the Desmodromic valve system to using traditional valve springs. The result is a valve maintenance interval of nearly 38,000 miles! That’s simply unheard of. For reference, the Earth’s circumference is only 25,000 miles.
Moving away from Desmodromic valves is a big deal in the Ducati world, but the V4 has other interesting features, too. The counter-rotating crankshaft means it spins in the opposite direction of the wheels, to help counter the gyroscopic effects of wheels and make for a better handling motorcycle.
The 70-degree offset of the crankpins gives the engine a firing order mimicking a V-Twin, which of course, Ducati is well known for. They call it the “Twin Pulse” firing order. And in a move sure to please touring riders, the V4 Granturismo has rear cylinder deactivation.
As you can likely guess, the rear cylinders are turned off at low speed to reduce the heat traveling to the rider. If you’ve ridden a recent Ducati, then you’ll know how big this is.
In typical Ducati fashion, there are a ton of electronic rider aids to help you harness all that power, whether you’re on the road or on the trail. You have different ride modes, Cornering-ABS, lean-sensitive traction control, wheelie control, and even electronic suspension depending on which model you get.
Ducati is also one of the first to pioneer radar technology on the Multistrada, similar to what you find on many cars these days to judge distance for the dynamic cruise control.
From the outset, though, Ducati wanted to make the Multistrada V4 a true jack of all trades. Multi’s have historically been great sport-touring motorcycles on asphalt, so a big push was made to make it worthy in the dirt.
Primary among those changes compared to the previous Multi is the 19/17-inch wheel combo, opening up a wider variety of tire options.
Ergonomically, being as the bike is so big, a focus was put on making the bike comfortable and maneuverable in the standing position. There’s a slim midsection and wide, tall bars that’s comfortable whether you’re sitting or standing.
Going back to the engine for a moment, and riders from all over the industry have praised the linear power delivery as being very easy to handle off-road. With so much power on tap, being able to put it down was an obvious concern to many testers.
Of course, the Enduro ride mode basically sets the bike up for maximum fun off-road with just the minimal amount of safety net there in case you get a little too ambitious.
But going off-road means being able to handle varying terrain and even the occasional jump or two. This wasn’t lost on Ducati. With around 7 inches of suspension travel at either end, that’s decent for the category, and both the fork and shock are well equipped to handle rocks, bumps, ruts, and even the occasional launch without getting completely overwhelmed or bottoming out (within reason, of course).
Opt for the Skyhook suspension on the S model and it’ll further adapt to the terrain (on-road or off) in real-time.
Ducati has come out with a true do-it-all motorcycle in the Multistrada V4. Short of riding it though, it’s simply amazing what the company has pulled off with this V4 Granturismo engine.
Conventional thought would not have you putting a huge V4 engine from a sportbike into a touring/adventure motorcycle, but Ducati isn’t known as a company that follows convention.
The power output is hugely impressive, its delivery to the ground appears to be buttery smooth, and the fact it does all this with 38,000-mile valve intervals and 9,000 miles between oil changes is a feat of engineering.
And we’ve barely scratched the surface on the rest of the abilities and technologies the Multistrada V4 has to offer...