Bike India

Ducati Multistrad­a V4 S

Vehicle Project Engineer


ducati have thought about the heat generated by the V4, meaning the back two cylinders are switched off at tick-over to stop heat build-up and there are additional, neat little wings on either side of the engine to deflect the heat from the rider. the seat’s height range is slightly taller (up from 825 mm-845 mm on the old model to 840 mm-860 mm) but is thinner towards the 22-litre fuel-tank and is easily adjustable. the pillion gets increased comfort and even the option of a heated seat. the optional pannier system is “floating” to allow slight lateral movement, which increases stability.

Off-road fans won’t be disappoint­ed either. the mirrors are deliberate­ly curved, which means they don’t hit your forearms when you’re standing up, while the pegs have been designed to allow you to wear bulky off-road boots and have an easy to remove rubber, which requires no tools, giving you plentiful grip off road.

the detail is outstandin­g. the ducati team have certainly been busy. normally, when i arrive to ride a new bike, i can immediatel­y start to find fault, picking away at the details like a vulture on a carcass, but i’m struggling with the new Multi. Just when i think they haven’t thought of this or that, it turns out they have.

even the intake and exhaust are high up, so you can ride through deep water, the standard bars have multiple positions better equipped for off-road riding, there are even optional lower and higher seats and, obviously, a huge list of accessorie­s which includes carbon accessorie­s, luggage options, and an akrapovic end can — euro 5 compliant, of course.

January 2021

Price: Rs £18,395 (Rs 18.02 lakh) (£20,345, or Rs 19.94 lakh, as tested)

Configurat­ion: Water-cooled, 90° V4 Valve-train: 16-valves, desmodromi­c Displaceme­nt: 1,158 cc

Bore x Stroke: 83.0 x 53.5 mm Compressio­n Ratio: 14.0:1

Fuelling: Electronic fuel-injection Maximum Power: 170 hp @ 10,500 rpm Maximum Torque: 125 Nm @ 8,750 rpm Clutch: Wet, multi-plate, slipper Transmissi­on: Six-speed, chain final drive

Type: Aluminium monocoque frame

Front Suspension: 50-mm fully adjustable USD fork, electronic compressio­n and rebound damping adjustment.

Rear Suspension: Fully adjustable monoshock, electronic adjustment with Ducati Skyhook Suspension, aluminium double-sided swing-arm

Front Brake: Twin 330-mm semi-floating discs, radially mounted Brembo M50 Stylema monobloc four-piston

Rear Brake: Single 265-mm disc, Brembo two-piston floating caliper, cornering ABS

Front Wheel: Light alloy cast, 3.00 x 19-inch

Rear wheel: Light alloy cast, 4.50 x 17-inch

Front Tyre: 120/70 ZR 19 Pirelli Scorpion Trail II

Rear Tyre: 170/60 ZR 17 Pirelli Scorpion Trail II

Rake/Trail: Xxx 63.5°/NA

Wheelbase: Xxx 1,430 mm

Seat Height: Adjustable, 840 mm to 860 mm

Ground Clearance: Xxx 200 mm

Tank Capacity: 22 litres

Weight: 218 kg dry/243 kg kerb

The new model is slightly heavier than the previous model, but the frame and engine are lighter…?

Yes, the frame is four kilos lighter and the engine is lighter, but you have to remember with a V4, you have double the intake, double the exhaust, now four pipes and we have a larger fuel-tank, and there is more wiring with the new rider radar technology and electronic­s.

Why change the wheel sizes?

we wanted to improve the capabiliti­es of the new bike, make it more Multistrad­a than before, a true global bike which can succeed on all types of road, not just tarmac. we spent a lot of time making sure the bike performs off road, like re-shaping the rear pegs and mirrors to allow the rider to move around freely whilst stood up on the pegs. the rear is thin to allow the rider to move around. we’ve changed the chassis to make the bike sporty, but with a 19-inch front wheel, the progressio­n is smooth and sporty.

Why now convention­al valves and not Desmo?

we will still have desmo bikes, it will remain in certain bikes and on our MotoGP project. the new scrambler is desmo, but for the Multistrad­a, we wanted to produce a bike with class-leading service intervals, lower labour cost, and one easier to maintain, which is done with the convention­al spring operation. we also wanted to build on the trust and reliabilit­y customers have with us, so the new Multi now has a four-year warranty.

January 2021

we’re away and the clutch is now redundant as it’s smooth, clutch-less changes with the up and down quick-shifter from here.

the fuelling is perfect, the engine is smooth, this angry V4 Panigale-derived engine has clearly been living in india for six months studying yoga and chilling out — there’s no angriness about it. at low revs around the city streets of Bologna in the dedicated urban mode, it’s easy, simple, and user-friendly. it doesn’t have the top-heavy, intimidati­ng feeling of some adventure bikes either. again, i’m only a small rider, but around town this feels more like a ducati Multi 950, not an adventure bike with a 19inch front wheel with a superbike engine. it’s about as intimidati­ng as a disgruntle­d kitten armed with a cotton bud.

leaving Bologna behind, on to the freeway and a quick flick into the touring mode. the accelerati­on on to the freeway is impressive, those 168 italian horses want to run. up to cruising speed and this is bliss. with the screen fully upright, there is very little wind noise. even at 160 km/h, i’m visor-up, no problem. the clocks are clear and easy to navigate and, as we enter the countless tunnels, i notice the backlit switchgear, which is a nice touch.

My first realisatio­n of the radar technology is when i’m riding in the middle lane and the left led above the mirror illuminate­s to warn me a vehicle is approachin­g from the left. sure enough, a quick glance in the mirror and over my left shoulder reveals an aggressive­ly driven alfa romeo. wow. the Blind spot detection is spotting vehicles approachin­g from the rear, which i may have missed. why hasn’t this been done before? those who distrust technology will be pleased to know you can deactivate the system and even change how far the radar projects backwards — but i can’t think why you would ever want to switch off this excellent safety aid.

next up: time to try the adaptative cruise control. i set the cruise control to 140 km/h, release the throttle, and we’re set. a digital graphic on the bottom right of the huge tFt clocks shows the acc is working and i can increase or reduce the range of the radar. i’m slowly getting closer to a car in the middle lane and the radar has detected this, reducing power to match the speed of the car in front. i now check my mirror, indicate left, pull out into the outside lane, and we accelerate back up to 140 km/h and i’ve not touched the throttle or brake in the process.

i try to trick the system by riding in the inside lane at 150 km/h, approachin­g slowmoving lorries at speed. But, again, the radar detects the vehicle and the difference in vehicle speed, reduces the power, and applies some gentle braking. i can then choose to follow the lorry at a safe radar-controlled distance or switch lanes and automatica­lly accelerate. it’s worth noting that the system is only working when you’ve selected the cruise control; touch either brake or the throttle and it’s automatica­lly cancelled. the system is similar to those found on many cars but is very well adapted for two wheels

No longer Desmo but convention­al springoper­ated valves, the 1,158-cc V4 Granturism­o engine delivers 170 hp at 10,500 rpm and a maximum torque of 125 Nm at 8,750 rpm. Long service intervals mean it’s 60,000 km before the valves need checking.

rear is now smaller, a 170 not 190 section, the wheelbase is shorter, and the rake and trail more aggressive, not forgetting a lighter chassis and engine. Overall weight is a little more than the V-twin, depending on the model and spec, and the exhaust is now heavier, throttle bodies have doubled in number, there is more wiring and technology... But even so, the best compliment i can bestow is that the new Multi handles and feels like a bike with a 17-inch front wheel.

the steering is excellent. it does not steer like a 243-kg (kerb weight) adventure bike with a 19-inch front tyre. instead it is accurate and relatively easy to throw around and change direction as speed. excellent cornering aBs and Brembo stylema brakes are always on hand should you dive in a little too hot. Ground clearance is impressive; even in fast cornering i didn’t have any issues and the feedback and grip from the Pirelli scorpion trail 2 rubber, which has been designed in partnershi­p with

A world first, front and rear radar detection, which allows the introducti­on of Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) and Blind Sport Detection (BSD). The system has been produced in partnershi­p with Bosch and monitors vehicles around the bike, approachin­g the rear, or in front when the cruise control is activated. ducati for this mode, are spot on.

You can really have some fun with the V4 Multi, throwing it on its side at any given opportunit­y. i personalis­ed the sporty mode, reduced the tc, and turned off the wheelie control. Grip in the dry is excellent and there’s enough power for the odd effortless wheelie over crests and tight corners. let’s not forget there is a 170-hp V4 that wants to run.

in sports mode, the Marzocchi skyhook electronic suspension really comes into its own. i deliberate­ly pushed hard on uneven roads and the new Multi delivered. the 50-mm diameter forks’ control is impressive, but possibly more so is the rear, which stays planted and under control. You hit an undulation hard on the power and you can feel the rear compress, the tyre grip, but then it controls the rebound and, importantl­y, doesn’t recoil too quickly, reducing the push/grip to the rear Pirelli. there is 180 mm of travel on the rear, 10 mm more than before, but it’s superbly controlled. a wellridden

The standard model receives a five-inch TFT full colour display, the S gains a new joystick on the left bar and the screen increases in size to 6.5 inches with Bluetooth connectivi­ty. With the Ducati Connect system you can convert the large dash to mirror your phone, which means full, clear navigation and the ability to make and receive calls, via Bluetooth, and even play music.

Both the stock V4 and S model come equipped with cast alloy wheels and Pirelli Scorpion Trail 2 rubber, 120/70-19 and 170/60-17. Ducati also offer Scorpion Rally and STR rubber as an alternativ­e. Spoke wheels are also an option, S model only, which, like the tyres, you specify when ordering your bike. Multi could give a sportier bike a run for its money on the right road and that larger front wheel hasn’t hindered the steering or fun. it will be interestin­g when we test both the new and old bikes back to back.

after some off-road riding (see box) and as the temperatur­e dropped, it was heated grips on (optional) and time to head back to the factory down the freeway. even after a full day in the saddle, comfort was still excellent and i had no complaints. the wind protection and absence of wind noise meant i didn’t even bother with earplugs. into touring mode, the suspension becomes more compliant compared to sport and again the rear radar detection was spotting fast italian drivers whizzing down the outside lane at speed, despite the fact i was cruising at 145 km/h. Back into Bologna, now careful of the fitted panniers, and into urban mode, which noticeably softens the suspension, gives more fluidity, and reduces the power. this really is a bike for all occasions.

Four modes to choose from, which can be changed on the fly: Sport, Touring, Urban, and Enduro. Sport is full power, has a sporty ride, and deploys low levels of rider aids. Touring is still full power but has a less direct throttle, with rider aids increased, ABS is on “3”, which controls rear wheel lift, and, on the S model, suspension is set for comfort. Urban sees power reduced to 115 hp, suspension set to take on speed humps, and rider aids set higher. Enduro power is reduced to 115 hp, with off-road oriented suspension, rider aids reduced, and the ABS set to “1” for low grip surfaces, there’s no rear lift detection, no cornering ABS, and no ABS on the rear. Each mode can be altered and tailored; for example, more or less TC from levels 1-8.

IMU as standard, which communicat­es with the multiple cornering ABS, Ducati Wheelie Control (DWC), and Ducati Traction Control (DTC). The S model also comes equipped with Skyhook electronic suspension, cornering headlights, daytime running lights, hold control, and Ducati quick-shift.

January 2021

Ducati Multistrad­a V4

£15,495 (Rs 15.2 lakh). Weight 215 kg, riding modes, cornering ABS, traction control, wheelie control, daytime running lights, five-inch TFT clocks. 50-mm fully adjustable USD forks, fully adjustable rear shock. Twin 320-mm discs, Brembo four-piston radial caliper, 265-mm rear disc Brembo two-piston caliper. Available in accessorie­s pack, Enduro, Touring, Urban, Performanc­e and Functional­ity. Radar not available on the standard model, nor spoke wheels.

Ducati Multistrad­a V4S Sport

£19,995 (Rs 19.60 lakh). Weight 217 kg, same as the S model, with Akrapovic carbon-fibre and titanium silencer and a carbon front mudguard. Again, alloy or spoked wheels, available in Performanc­e or Full trim and accessory packs Enduro Touring or Urban.

Ducati Multistrad­a V4S

£18,395 (Rs 18.03 lakh). Weight 218 kg. Same as above with additional cornering lights, hill control, Skyhook suspension, quick-shifter, cruise control, backlit switchgear, 6.5” TFT display. Braking now larger 2 x 330-mm discs with Brembo M50 Stylema caliper. Keyless ignition is now standard and you can choose between spoke or alloy wheels. You can choose between Travel, Travel & Radar, Performanc­e and Full trims, and accessory packs can be added Enduro, Touring, Urban, and Performanc­e. ducati have made huge gains in the off-road capabiliti­es of the new Mutistrada V4, with the introducti­on of a larger 19-inch front wheel and greater ground clearance than before, along with a specific enduro riding mode and electronic suspension. to allow us to get a flavour of the new bike’s off-road capabiliti­es, ducati provided a more off-road oriented model, with spoked wheels, crash protection, and off-road-biased Pirelli scorpion rally rubber.

in the specific enduro mode, the skyhook suspension is more accommodat­ing to off-road riding, aBs is set to “1”, there’s no cornering aBs, no aBs on the rear, and no rear wheel lift-up prevention, while rider aids are also reduced. i went a little further and turned off the tc. we also re-positioned the standard bars a little higher and removed the rubber from the pegs for greater grip.

the new Multi feels more at home off road. the old model was only good for a gravel drive or the pub car park. now the ducati feels at home on the loose stuff. the slim seat allows you to move freely whilst stood up, the high bars are more accommodat­ing, the mirrors don’t get in the way, and there is a lot of peg-room for bulky boots, you can even change the gear position to accommodat­e them.

the power is soft and isn’t peaky and the new Multi finds grip; in fact, you have to provoke a slide in order to show off to friends. the suspension is controlled, so even when the shock is on the upward stroke, it’s controlled and doesn’t allow the rear to break free. i was worried there would be too much power, but in enduro mode is limited to 115 hp and this isn’t the powerful tailhappy bike i thought it would be.

despite its size and weight, i felt comfortabl­e off road. we only got a taste of what this bike can do, but first impression­s are good and it is clearly ahead of the old model off road, though it will be interestin­g to see how it compares with the competitio­n on tougher terrain.

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