Ducati Multistrada V4 Review (2021)


Just when you thought 2020 couldn’t get any more screwed up, how utterly bonkers does this sound: Ducati drop the V4 motor from the Panigale – big-bored, retuned to a ‘mere’ 170bhp, and running normal valve springs, not Desmodromic valve gear, for the first time in forty years – into an aluminium-framed Multistrada, then add radar-assisted cruise control, a radar at the back for blind spot detection and the world’s first anti-weave control, then get their MotoGP engineers to streamline the whole thing in a wind tunnel?

That sounds crazy, right? Even in 2020, it’d never happen. Except, of course, it has. 




A bit of history...

In 2003, Ducati’s first Multistrada – ‘Many Roads’ – was an oddity: a 992cc air-cooled 2-valve 90° V-twin making 80bhp and hitting 133mph, on stiff, long-travel suspension and dressed in the same whacky Art Deco Pierre Terblanche styling as the 999 (with a split fairing – the top half was handlebar mounted and turned with the steering). The Multistrada didn’t fit neatly into a biking template; neither supermoto nor adventure bike, sportsbike nor tourer. The UK gave a collective shrug and moved on to the next GSX-R1000/R1150 GS.




By 2010, only seven years later, motorcycling’s tectonic plates had shifted. Ducati, like Triumph and BMW, transformed into a high-tech manufacturer of diverse, sophisticated, civilised premium motorcycles. At the same time, riders got older and wiser, and realised there was something to be said for large, powerful engines on well-damped, long-travel suspension with upright, comfy riding positions. Adventure bikes were in the ascendant. A re-born Multistrada – with a retuned 1198 Testastretta V-twin making 150bhp, palatable styling (by Giandrea Fabbro, who also penned the 1098 and Panigale) and a swathe of flagship electronics including traction control, rider modes and switchable electronic suspension – wasn’t such a bad idea after all.

More model variations followed, with luggage and performance options; in 2013 the Multi got semi-active suspension, variable valve timing in 2015, and in 2018 it grew to 1262cc – all the while, accumulating technology, sophistication, handling and performance.

With global sales of all Multistradas now totalling more than 110,000 units, the 1260 S incarnation of Multistrada, with a 30-litre Enduro model alongside it, is surely about as smart, powerful and luxurious as a Multistrada can be? It’s hard to imagine anything Ducati could do to it to improve the bike, short of giving it away free with breakfast cereal.

Wrong. Welcome to Ducati’s Multistrada V4, V4 S and V4 S Sport.


2021 Ducati Multistrada V4 Review
Simon Hargreaves spends many happy miles both on-and-off-road on Ducati's new "many road" motorcycle with its funky new engine.


Ducati Multistrada V4, V4 S and V4 S Sport price and availability

The 2021 Multistrada V4 will land in dealers by the end of 2020 in three base specs: the V4, V4 S and V4 S Sport.

All come with the same 170bhp V4 engine, aluminium monocoque frame, and core electronics and ergonomics. The V4 S and Sport add different levels of electronic spec, suspension, brakes and trim.

The base V4 comes with fully adjustable Marzocchi suspension, standard Brembo M4.32 calipers, rider and power modes, cornering ABS, traction and wheelie control, and a 5in TFT dash. It costs £15,395 (£15,665 OTR).

The V4 S adds Marzocchi semi-active suspension, uprated Brembo Stylema calipers, cornering lights, a 6.5in TFT dash, the world’s first electronic anti-weave control, up/down quickshifter, hill hold control and hands-free ignition. It costs £18,395 (£18,565 OTR) in base red. Gunmetal paint is £200 extra.

A V4 S with wire-spoked wheels, instead of cast aluminium, adds £1404 to the price.

The V4 S Sport is a ‘Performance’ version; basically the same as the S with an Akrapovic can, carbon front mudguard and a fetching red/white/black paint scheme, is £19,995 (£20,165)

All models are available to be up-spec’d with a huge range of ‘Packs’ and accessories, including adding the world’s first adaptive cruise control with front-facing radar, a rear radar for a blind spot detection system, as well as the usual heated grips, centre stand, panniers, engine bars, fog lamps, and of course wire spoke wheels and knobbly Pirelli Scorpion Rally tyres instead of the standard-fit Pirelli Scorpion Trail IIs.

No PCP details are available yet.

Here’s how the Multistrada compares with its rivals, in OTR price order:






Ducati Multistrada V4 S (tested spec)


1158cc V-four


92 lb ft

Ducati Multistrada V4 S Sport


1158cc V-four


92 lb ft

Ducati Multistrada V4 S


1158cc V-four


92 lb ft

BMW R1250 GS TE (spec’d as close to the V4 S as possible)


1254cc flat twin


105 lb ft

Ducati Multistrada 1260 Enduro (2021)


1262cc V-twin


94 lb ft

Ducati Multistrada 1260 S (2020 only)


1262cc V-twin


94 lb ft

BMW S1000XR TE (spec’d as close to the V4 S as possible)


999cc inline four


84 lb ft

Ducati Multistrada V4 (base)


1158cc V-four


92 lb ft

BMW S1000XR (base)


999cc inline four


84 lb ft

BMW R1250 GS (base)


1254cc flat twin


105 lb ft

KTM 1290 Super Adventure S (base)


1301cc V-twin


103 lb ft




Power and torque (all figures are Ducati claimed)

Multistrada V4

170bhp @ 10,500rpm

92 lb.ft @ 8750rpm


For reference:

Ducati Streetfighter V4

208bhp @ 12,750rpm

90 lb.ft @ 11,500rpm


Ducati Multitrada 1260 S

158bhp @ 9500rpm

95 lbft @ 7500rpm


The Multistrada V4’s power and torque curves – the engine is called the V4 Granturismo – are significantly reshaped compared to the delivery of the Streetfighter and Panigale’s V4 Stradale (“Road-going”) motor.

The Multi V4’s peak power is down by 38bhp over the 208bhp Streetfighter V4, and at lower revs: the Multi peaks at 10,500rpm; the naked bike is much higher, at 12,750rpm (the Panigale has a bit more power and few more revs than the Streetfighter).

Same story with torque: the V4 Granturismo’s peak torque is 92 lb.ft at 8750rpm; the Streetfighter is making a claimed 90.4 lb.ft at a much revvier 11,500rpm.

So, as you’d hope with an all-rounder, the Mulitistrada’s performance has been shifted substantially lower in the rev range compared to the sportier, revvier Streetfighter: at 5000rpm, the Stradale motor makes just over 60bhp; Ducati say the Multistrada’s Granturismo V4 is making 90bhp at the same revs. So that’s a heap more midrange performance, which should make the Multistrada’s motor feel more flexible and better suited to general road riding than the fairly barking Streetfighter.

Perhaps the more interesting comparison is with the out-going Multistrada 1260 S’s V-twin engine – it’s 12bhp down on outright power versus the new V4, but makes the same torque, still lower in the revs. At 5000rpm, the 1260 is making over 80bhp compared to the V4’s 90bhp. At 4000rpm, the 1260 is making nearly 90 lbft of torque; the V4 is just over 70 lbft.

The 1260 motor is a beast of a thing – pretty sure no-one ever rode one and complained it wasn’t fast enough – but although Ducati have tried to tune the V4 as closely as possible to match the V-twin’s bottom end, it’s hard to compare them on paper because it doesn’t reflect how different they feel to use, and especially after gearing is taken into account. 




Engine, gearbox and exhaust

There’s a lot to get through, so strap in!

The new V4 in the Multistrada has a few things in common with the V4s in the Streetfighter and Panigale, but plenty very different. The common stuff first: as with the Stradale motor, the Multi’s Granturismo is a 90° V4 with Ducati’s Twin Pulse firing order and firing interval; it effectively fires as a pair of V-twins alongside each other, in quick succession; cylinders one and two, then three and four, at 0-90-290-380 degrees – leaving a long gap before they fire again. It gives the motor about as much of a V-twin feel as possible short of actually firing it as a big bang V-twin.




Big bore

So those are the design and mechanical things the Multi V4 has in common with the Stradale in the Streetfighter and Panigale. The list of differences starts with capacity: the Granturismo V4 is an 1158cc motor, bored out by 2mm and 55cc over the 1103cc Stradale engine. A bigger engine is a bigger pump, increasing torque – which may partly be to effectively replace torque lost elsewhere in the re-tuning process (and possibly in Euro 5 emissions compliance). Bigger engines can also be tuned to work less to achieve the same performance as a smaller engine, increasing durability and managing fuel consumption targets – which are all big selling points in a long-distance tourer.

More cubes therefore means the Granturismo engine runs different pistons, rods and crank to the Stradale motor – as well as different gearing (shorter first, longer top), different combustion chamber shapes, a heavier flywheel for easier throttle transitions, narrower and longer throttle bodies and ducts, a different airbox (featuring a quick-removal air-filter) and different exhaust. These are all changes to tune the V4’s power delivery from a gnarly, top-endy sports motor into a softer, easier, more general-purpose engine.




Desmo goner

And then there’s the really big engine news: the Multistrada V4 Granturismo motor is the first Ducati since (I think) the 1970s not to feature Desmodromic valve gear.

Yes, the famous Ducati trademark has been ditched; instead of mechanically opening and closing the valves, the Multi now relies on good-old hardened finger rockers, shims and springs to do the work. Why the change?

Pragmatism. In the black and white days of spring manufacturing and technology, making a spring that could handle high rpm and extreme cam profiles without going into self-oscillation and causing valve float (where the valve loses contact with the spring) usually meant making it stronger (thicker and heavier), which meant the engine had to work harder to overcome spring resistance at lower rpm. The Desmo solution made sense at the time, even if it added complexity to the valve train, and was good for high-revving engines with lumpy cams. But spring technology evolved, with progressively wound springs and new manufacturing materials meaning, on a road engine, the continued use of Desmo technology became as much of a Ducati tradition as much as offering a practical benefit.

The evolution of modern spring-based valve trains has given them some serious advantages over Desmodromics: easier to assemble, cheaper, lighter, easier to maintain and service, and lower mechanical stresses on the valves. These are all things that matter – especially the reduction in mechanical stress: the Multistrada V4 isn’t the first bike to come with a 37,000-mile valve clearance check by accident.

To complement the Granturismo’s new valve train, Ducati have been cute with its cam drive, and used a single, crank-driven chain per cylinder bank on each side of the motor. The chains run to the inlet cam on the front bank and exhaust cam at the rear, then each is geared the other cam (exhaust at the font, inlet at the rear). Again, this increases durability and consistency, as well as allowing the valvetrain to fit into pretty much the same space as the Stradale motor.

So while Ducati are keen on historical tradition, they’re more keen on pragmatic engineering solutions: so Desmo has gone the same way as bevel gears, cam belts and – well, even V-twins.




Where Honda meets Ducati

Because by filtering V4 technology down from the Desmosedici MotoGP bike to the Panigale, then Streetfighter, and now Multistrada, Ducati are admitting the configuration has a lot going for it. This is a quote from Ducati’s press release: “The V4 compact layout allows to house the engine in the frame more effectively and centrally to positively influence the position of the bike's centre of gravity.”

That could come from a press release by the other great proponent of the V4, Honda; the favourable mass centralisation of the layout was what Soichiro Honda recognised many years ago, and why his company consistently strove to place the V4 at the heart of their road and racing efforts.

And it’s the V4’s advantages in proportion that make it so ideal for the Multistrada: the new motor is both lighter and more compact than the out-going 1262cc Testastretta V-twin – it’s 85mm shorter, 95mm lower, only 20mm wider (it is two V-twins side by side). The engine (minus exhaust and throttle bodies) is even 1.2kg lighter.

Making an engine more compact has huge advantages; it means that little bundle of weight can be optimally placed to influence handling favourably, and packaging is easier – you don’t have to worry about a cylinder head getting in the way of a front wheel, or finding room for the rear shock where it won’t get cooked by the rear cylinder. It means you can use a longer swingarm for the same wheelbase, giving you more control over optimising leverage and rear suspension dynamics. And you can focus the weight exactly where you want it.

Ducati have done all the above with the Multistrada V4 – the engine is higher in the frame for more ground clearance, but overall centre of gravity is lower. The swingarm (double-sided to allow the use of wire spoked wheels) is exceptionally long. Wheelbase is shorter than the 1260 V-twin, rake angle steeper and trail shorter.




So how does it feel?

I have to declare an interest at this stage – I absolutely adore V4s. I love their compactness and the way they make a chassis feel to use; it’s like steering with your knees. I love the ruffled smoothness; the off-kilter pattering that’s neither V-twin rumbling nor inline four screaming but a delicious blend of both. I love the deceptive turbine-drive in the midrange that somehow feels, at first, as if the engine is barely working. And I love the way they howl at the top end with a low, guttural drone, like Joey down Sulby Straight.

Most V4s have powered sportsbikes or sport tourers (apart from Honda’s Crosstourer and Crossrunner). And while the Crosstourer had a 130bhp motor, it was a big, soft, wallowy thing – lovely for what it did, but it kept its thrills very much hidden under a marshmallow.

The engine in the Multi V4 is a different animal altogether. It almost goes without saying it’s fabulously potent, spinning up with none of the colossal, weight-lifting throb of the 1260 V-twin, but instead an active, measured pulsating. The motor responds to a blipped throttle with a mesmeric flurry – V4s have a unique cadence and rhythm that, to me at least, just feels the way a bike engine should. Super-light clutch, tap into first with a deeply civilized gearbox (not a single missed gear or double-tap on the fantastic up and down quickshifter – it’s the first Ducati quickshfter I’ve ever used that hasn’t done that momentary second cut because I haven’t moved my foot quickly enough – result!). Then feeeeed in that throttle – clean, no snatch, linear, exactly as it should feel – and you can instantly tell you’re riding something special. Clearly a very large amount of grunt, but so easily accessed, so smooth and unchallenging to use. It’s as if Ducati took the Stradale motor and wrapped it in a silk blanket, told it to calm down a bit, popped in a couple of happy pills and told it to go off and enjoy itself.

This is one of the best motorcycle engines I’ve experienced, in terms of delivering the ideal balance of mind-melting performance and usability, the right vibes and sensations, the right power delivery. It’s as if Ducati built my perfect engine.

Which isn’t to say it’ll suit everyone; this is no big V-twin, with shuddering great gobs of long-legged drive – and if you like that, you can still buy the 1260 Enduro for another year (after which it’ll join the 1260 S in the sky, with no Euro 5 planned). Or a KTM 1290. Or the much less potent BMW R1250 GS. And the Multi is no inline four either, with an exponential torrent of revs, as per the S1000XR. It is utterly unique. I love it.




Fuel economy

The only fly in the fuel is the V4’s fondness for petrol. The Streetfighter and Panigale are notoriously thirsty, not helped by having tiny tanks. The Multistrada is making a lot less power and has a 22-litre tank (two more than the 1260S, but not the 30 litres of the Enduro), so it should be better. And it is. But.

Ducati claim 43mpg for the V4 Multi, against the 1260 V-twin’s 54mpg. That’s a 20% difference. The V4’s tank is only 10% bigger – so where the 1260 has a theoretical range of some 240 miles, the V4 works out at just over 200. And, of course, claimed fuel consumption is usually nowhere near the real world figure; over the course of a tankful’s fairly gentle blatting around the hills above Bologna, plus a very short but slightly enthusiastic stint on a motorway, my V4 S was recording 38mpg – which would give it a tank range of 180 miles. Still not too bad – but then take 30 miles off that for reserve and the reality is you’ll be looking for fuel somewhere between 150 and 180 miles, depending how you ride. And with its capacity for going very, very fast, chances are that will be nearer 150 than 180...




Handling: frame, suspension and weight

Having disposed of Desmo, Ducati have had no qualms about ditching the old Multistrada’s steel trellis frame, and have used an aluminium monocoque frame for the new bike. It’s lighter, by around 4kg.

Which immediately poses a question: the engine is 1.2kg lighter, the frame is 4kg lighter, but the V4 S overall is 8kg heavier than the 1260 S (243kg v 235kg). Where has the extra weight come from? Ducati says it’s because there are four throttle bodies and fuel injectors instead of two, the exhaust is also heavier, and the added weight of the electronics systems includes a second CNA-bus wiring loom. And, presumably, an extra two litres of fuel.

But none of it is noticeable. Yes, the Multi V4 is a substantial chunk of motorbike; so was the 1260 S. You get a lot of metal and plastic for your money. But the new focussed mass of the engine, sharper steering geometry, 19in front wheel and 170-section rear tyre deliver as sweet a handling package as you could wish for. There isn’t a trace of weight or bias in the V4’s steering as it rolls into bends with an easy, fluid grace; utterly composed, completely glued to the tarmac, no discernable – or certainly no unsettling – weight transfer on the brakes. The Marzocchi electric springs and Ducati’s semi-active Skyhook software algorithms on the V4 S (didn’t ride the V4 on standard Marzocchis) have been transformed over years, since their first appearance in 2010; I rode that bike on the launch and crashed it braking into a corner. With no IMU to detect lean angle, the forks stiffened under braking even while turning in (as is the fashion). It’s the last thing you want suspension to do while you’re trail-braking, and the result was a bit of guessing game between you and the bike’s software programming. Not brilliant.

But all that’s in the past; the latest incarnation of the system on the V4 Multi is staggering; the bike holds its poise under all conditions, hovering across bumps and ripples, the bike refusing to lurch about under braking or on the gas. It’s so good you actually notice how poised and settled it feels – yet never remote or vague. The engagement between the rider’s brain and the road is as good as any dialled-in sportsbike, plus you get the added benefit of soaking up bumps that would send a race rep skittling off line.

I’ve spent the summer bombing about on an Africa Twin Adventure Sports and, much as I like the bike, there’s no getting away from how ridiculously soft the back end is – hit one of the yumps and dips common in my part of the world, and you immediately tense up, waiting for the shock to bottom out and then unload; I spend half the time riding bike like a jockey as it bounces around beneath me.

The twisty hillside roads around Bologna have their fair share of yumps and dips – but despite hitting them at speed, and even mid-corner, the Multi V4 S somehow maintained stability – no bottoming out, no being bucked out of the seat on the rebound. It’s one of those moments where you say, “Oooo, that’s really gooooood,” to yourself as you ride. And it really is impressive.

The V4 S also features, for the first time on a Ducati, self-levelling adjustment; the bike recognises the load – rider, rider plus passenger, rider and passenger and luggage etc – and automatically calibrates the correct preload (as well as incorporating the load into its damping algorithm).




Wheels, tyres and brakes

Braking is pretty good too, on the V4 S and S Sport – an impressive array of Brembo Stylema calipers, 330mm discs, radial master cylinder and Ducati’s ABS kills speed even more effectively as the V4 motor generates it. The base V4 gets standard-issue Brembo monobloc calipers on 320mm discs. Cornering ABS is standard on all bikes, but the V4 S and S Sport also get cornering lights.

Wheels and tyres have options depending what you specify from the factory; the road set-up would be cast wheels running Pirelli Scorpion Trail II general-purpose tyres, with a 19in 120/70 up front, and a 17in rear running a 170/60 on a 17 x 4.5in rim. For a more off-road look (and performance), wire spoked wheels and Pirelli Scorpion Rally tyres are a £550 upgrade. Not only do they look tougher, Ducati’s lead ride Beppe says they’re just as good in terms of grip in tarmac, and the spoked wheels even make the ride quality a bit better. 




Equipment and radar love

The base V4 comes with a 5in TFT screen, and core electronics: traction control, rider modes, cornering ABS, wheelie control and daytime running lights. It also comes with backlit switches. And a key.

The V4 S ups the ante with all that plus a 6.5in TFT screen with tilt adjustment (via a knob under the clocks, easily adjustable with a gloved hand), keyless ignition, hill hold control, cornering lights, semi-active suspension options integrated into the rider modes, and Ducati Connect (so you can connect your phone, the one charging from the USB port in the tank pocket, and cast the screen onto the Ducati’s dash – including sat nav). As well as USB charging, there are two 12v sockets.

The V4 also comes with weave control – something Ducati haven’t even mentioned in their literature. If the IMU detects a yaw change over 3Hz – ie a weave – it rolls off the throttle to bring the bike back into line. To be clear, it won’t chop the gas and leave you stranded; think of it more like traction control – a gentle reduction in power until stability returns.




But it doesn’t end there. Available as an optional extra, the V4 Multi offers the world’s first radar-assisted cruise control as an optional extra (price tba); it comes as a package with rear-facing radar for blind spot detection (unfortunately, the neither front nor rear radar will jam Gatsos or speed cameras).

So hold on, I can hear you seething about having control taken away from you. It’s not. I’ve messed about with it and – as far as I’m concerned – the adaptive cruise control is fantastic. No more setting your speed on a motorway then having to roll off because the car in front is 1mph slower than you. With adaptive cruise, the V4 slows – gently – and matches the vehicle’s speed until it’s out of the way, then it speeds – gently – back up again. It’s not dangerous, nothing happens suddenly, and it works. I love it.

The radar sees up to 160m in front; you can adjust the distance in four steps (with up/down buttons on the left bar cluster and a pictogram on the clocks). It works up to 98mph; a trick is to set it to 98mph, then sit behind another rider – they effectively become your throttle, as your bike will speed up and slow down with them, matching their speed at a set distance precisely.

To re-affirm; whatever your prejudice, don’t knock it till you’ve tried it. It works. But if for some reason you don’t like it, there’s no option for normal cruise control.




There’s more. At the back, another radar scans 160m behind too. When it detects a vehicle approaching (doesn’t get triggered by stationary objects) it flashes a small amber light in the appropriate mirror – nothing too bright (in the daytime, at least), but just an alert to let you know. For anyone who makes habitual life-savers before changing lanes (which should be all of us!), it sounds unnecessary – but within a few miles you’re using it; not as a replacement for the shoulder-look, but as another source of information. Again, this is good stuff and worth having. It’s ironic, really, that the V4 Multi also comes with the best mirrors I’ve ever used – gracefully curved stems (for off-road stand-up clearance) place them so far apart, you could see someone standing right behind the bike. And no, they don’t blur. At all.




Styling, ergonomics and comfort

Wedging the V4 motor into a Multistrada body was always going to look a bit unbalanced, and it does – despite slimming and trimming and lots of use of winglets and slats, there’s still a disproportion between the central V4 block and the rest of the bike. It’s not ugly, but it’s not gorgeous either.

But who cares, when it’s so good to sit on? And it’s very, very good. The V4’s riding position, like the bike, is a little more compact than the 1260 S – not in leg room; with 840mm to 860mm adjustable seat height (810 to 875mm optional) there’s as much vertical space as before, and the V4 feels only slightly wider between the legs than the V-twin. But the space between the rider and the bars has closed up – pegs and seat put the rider a few cm closer to the front of the bike. The seat is re-shaped; wide and supportive, it feels nicely firm – not the sort of seat to give you pressure spots after a hundred miles.

But the big revelation is the V4’s new fairing design and screen. Already the best adjustment action on the market, the new Multi’s screen is now lighter to lift and lower than ever; it’s genuinely one-finger action.

And the shape is amazing; with the screen up, you can still see over it but somehow can ride at 80mph with your visor up without wind blast. No idea how they’ve done that. The side-deflectors keep wind off the shoulders – and you can tell how effective the screen and fairing are because it’s so quiet. Ducati say the fairing and heat ducts (fairing slats and winglets) were designed in a wind tunnel by Ducati Corsa engineers – the same people who designed the aero package on the Desmosedici MotoGP bike.

The time spent in the wind tunnel has been well spent. The Multistrada needs all the help it can get guiding hot air away from the rider’s bum; even in fairly mild weather, the heat coming off the engine is substantial. I’d have guessed the seat was heated, if I didn’t know. However, speaking as someone who doesn’t mind being hot and absolutely loathes being cold, I’m good with a bit of gentle warming of the nethers.

Heated grips and centrestand are, somehow, also on a huge list of accessories; imagine paying £18 grand for a bike and not getting them as standard? But hey ho. The grips are a £244 accessory and the centrestand costs and eye-watering £216. Panniers – which slide from side to side to help stability – are £648 and slot straight into the tail unit. A top box is £432. Heated rider seat is £216. Haven’t you spent enough by now?

As with the 950 Multistradas, the online configurator allows you to spec you perfect Multistrada V4, send the details to the dealer, who then sends it to the factory where your bespoke Multi V4 is built. No fitting is carried out by the dealer; it’s factory all the way.





Ducati say they Multi V4’s main rival is BMW’s R1250 GS, which is weird because I spent all day riding it thinking about how it compared to BMW’s S1000XR (and the answer was very, very favourably; I’d take the Ducati all day long, I think).

But then, a swap to an Enduro-spec V4 S Sport – complete with wire spoke wheels, Pirelli Scorpion Rallys, engine bars, bash plate and turned-up handlebars – reminded me an XR can’t go off-road. And the Multi V4 can... as long as it’s spec’d to an Enduro-trim in the first place. Otherwise it’s just as compromised as an XR.

Either way the V4, like the 1260 Enduro, is a hell of a thing to take off-road. No-one needs radar and 170bhp in the soup in Derbyshire, and to be clear – the V4 might get away with a bit more than a gravel drive, but not by a lot for normal mortals. Italian fire trails and 10-second photo ops are one thing; hauling the V4 up a muddy trail in the Peaks in December is quite another. And probably not recommended for most of us, however much Ducati claims it’s possible. I’d definitely spec my V4 S with wire wheels because they look boss, not because I’m actually going trail riding.




2021 Ducati Multistrada V4 S: VERDICT

Trying very hard to remain dispassionate about the V4 Multi is tricky because, personally, it’s one of the best bikes I’ve ever ridden, and it’s the bike I would buy right now if I had anything like the £20,000 to spec it the way I want. But it’s perfect for me – and chances are you’ll like it a lot too.

The engine is monstrous: with 170bhp it’s not exactly lacking, but never has so much power been wrapped up so comfortably in a blissful chassis and riding position. It’s barking to unravel the Multi’s performance, and it feels as if there’s not much would get close on real roads – but add that to the uncanny stillness behind the fairing, the sheer beauty of detailed thought that’s gone in to everything from the one-finger dash to the backlit buttons to the one-hand adjustable dash to the radar cruise to the excellent mirrors... and the massive service intervals. The only criticism I can think of to level at the bike is I wish it had another few litres in the tank. Aside from that, Ducati have built my perfect bike.

See if it’s yours too.


Four things I like best about Ducati’s Multistrada V4 S

  • engine – power, torque, character, more performance
  • suspension – the thing just floats. Astonishing
  • tech – it’s amazing and I love it
  • gearbox – quickshifter now has no double tap – the best I’ve used

The thing I don’t...

  • tank range – look, 150 plus isn’t bad... but over 200 would be better.


Here are the matrix details of the accessory packs for the V4, V4 S and V4 S Sport:

Multistrada V4 accessory packs



Radiator protection, side frame protection, sump plate, LED fog lights



Panniers, centre stand, heated grips



Top box, tank bag, USB port



Akrapovič can, carbon front mudguard



Up/down q/shifter, hill hold control,

cruise control

Multistrada V4 S trim



Panniers, centrestand, heated grips, heated seats

Travel + radar:


Panniers, centrestand, heated grips, heated seats, radar cruise & blind spot detection



Akrapovič can, carbon front mudguard



Panniers, centrestand, heated grips, heated seats radar cruise & blind spot detection, Akrapovic can, carbon front mudguard

Multistrada V4 S accessory packs



Radiator protection, side frame protection, sump plate, LED fog lights



Panniers, centrestand, heated grips



Top box, tank bag, USB port



Akrapovič can, carbon front mudguard

Multistrada V4 S Sport trim



Akrapovič can, carbon front mudguard



Panniers, centrestand, heated grips, heated seats radar cruise & blind spot detection, Akrapovič can, carbon front mudguard

Multistrada V4 S Sport accessory packs



Radiator protection, side frame protection, sump plate, LED fog lights



Panniers, centrestand, heated grips



Top box, tank bag, USB port


2021 Ducati Multistrada V4 S Spec



Bore x Stroke

83.0mm x 53.5mm

Engine layout


Engine details

8v dohc, l/c


170bhp @ 10,500rpm


92 lb.ft @ 8750rpm

Top speed

155mph (est, ish)

Average fuel consumption


Tank size

22 litres

Max range to empty

208 miles

Rider aids

rider modes, traction control, cornering ABS, hill hold, wheelie control, anti-weave


Aluminium monocoque

Front suspension

50mm Marzocchi usd forks

Front suspension adjustment


Rear suspension

Marzocchi monoshock

Rear suspension adjustment

semi-active, auto-levelling preload

Front brake

2 x 330mm disc, four-pot Brembo M50 Stylema

Rear brake

265mm disc, two-pot Brembo caliper

Front tyre


Rear tyre






Seat height


Kerb weight



unlimited miles/4 years

MCIA Secure Rating

Not yet rated (but MTS 1260 rated 4/5)




What is MCIA Secured?

MCIA Secured gives bike buyers the chance to see just how much work a manufacturer has put into making their new investment as resistant to theft as possible. 

As we all know, the more security you use, the less chance there is of your bike being stolen. In fact, based on research by Bennetts, using a disc lock makes your machine three times less likely to be stolen, while heavy duty kit can make it less likely to be stolen than a car. For reviews of the best security products, click here.

MCIA Secured gives motorcycles a rating out of five stars, based on the following being fitted to a new bike as standard:

  • A steering lock that meets the UNECE 62 standard
  • An ignition immobiliser system
  • A vehicle marking system
  • An alarm system
  • A vehicle tracking system with subscription

The higher the star rating, the better the security, so always ask your dealer what rating your bike has, and compare it to other machines on your shortlist. 


Looking for motorcycle insurance? Get a quote for this motorbike with Bennetts bike insurance