2023 Ducati Multistrada Rally - Review

Technical review: Ben Purvis (29/9/22)

Riding review: Michael Mann (27/3/23)


Price: from £23,595 | Power: 168hp | Weight: 264kg | Overall BikeSocial Rating: 5/5


You only need to look at the sales figures of machines like BMW’s R1250GS Adventure to see that in the unstoppable market for big-capacity globetrotters the top-of-the-range models often outsell the cheaper entry level versions. As such the new V4 Rally could well become the most important model in Ducati’s Multistrada range.

The most off-road-oriented V4 Ducati yet, the Rally steps into the gap left by the demise of the Multistrada 1260 Enduro by adding wire wheels, raised suspension and a 30-litre fuel tank (up from 22l) to the Multistrada V4 platform. Allied to updated bodywork, increased comfort and even more technology including an advanced version of Ducati’s cylinder deactivation system that leaves it running as a twin for improved economy when you don’t need all the power, the Rally is surely the most multipurpose bike Ducati has ever built. Twenty years on from the first iteration of the “Many Roads” model, known as the 1000DS, if the 2023 version can stand-up to a GS in its off-road ability and on-road versatility, we could easily have a new adventure sector king. Off to southern Sardinia we went to put the Ducati Multistrada V4 Rally through its paces both on-and-off-road.


Pros & Cons
  • The wire wheels and off-road suspension add a vital new string to the Multistrada V4’s bow for enhanced look and ability.
  • Cylinder deactivation promises improved economy, range and emissions.
  • Better comfort for rider and passengers
  • Additional weight is hardly noticeable.
  • As dynamic on the road as the MTS V4
  • The price means this isn’t a Ducati for the masses.
  • Looks aren’t everything but this might divide opinion #Crosstourer
  • Windscreen in highest setting means too much black plastic in your field of view.
  • Those intimidated by its size might dismiss it without trying.
Ducati Multistrada Rally (2023) - review

New-for-2023, the Ducati Multistrada V4 Rally is the possibly the most versatile Ducati ever, so Michael Mann went to Sardinia to put it through its paces on-and-off road.


Review – In Detail

Price & PCP
For and against
Power & Torque
Engine, Gearbox and Exhaust
Handling, Suspension and Weight
Comfort & Economy
Rider Aids, Extra Equipment and Accessories


Ducati Multistrada V4 Rally (2023) Price & PCP

How much is the 2023 Ducati Multistrada Rally? From £23,590. Before you even start to delve into the options catalogue the Multistrada V4 Rally starts at an eye-watering £23,590 – nearly £10,000 more than the starting price of the BMW R1250GS Adventure that arguably still sets the standard in this class. However, there are plenty of ways to accessorise the BMW and close the gap between the two, so £20k-plus adventure bikes are no rarity and the Ducati’s 170PS V4 engine (that’s 168 imperial horses) gives it a USP that no rival can match.

It's not the most expensive Multistrada – that’s still the £25k Pikes Peak version – but add either the £2200 ‘Adventure Travel & Radar’ package (heated grips and seats, radar system and aluminium panniers) or the £3550 ‘Full Adventure’ package (heated grips and seats, radar system, Akrapovic muffler, carbon fibre front mudguard and aluminium panniers) and the V4 Rally becomes a £27,140 machine. Throw on some accessories in Ducati’s online configurator and it’s not hard to hit the £30,000 mark! Colour options include the inevitable red and a more sinister black, red and silver version with a brushed alloy finish on the tank. Both colours are due in dealers in April 2023, though the black version will actually cost more at £24,090.

Example PCP Deal:

  • On the road price: £23,746
  • Deposit: £5936.50 (25%)
  • Total amount of credit: £17,809.50
  • Agreement duration: 37 months
  • Annual mileage: 4,000
  • Monthly repayments: £245.83
  • Optional final repayment: £13,566
  • APR: 9.9%

With a four-year warranty, oil service at 9,000 miles and valve check at 36,000 miles, the new Rally carries more owner appeal than ever.


Ducati Multistrada Rally (2023) - Power & Torque

Like the standard Multistrada V4, the Rally uses a slightly tweaked (for this model) version of Ducati’s rather clever ‘Granturismo’ engine making 125kW (170PS or 168hp), but it’s a dedicated version that hits that peak at a fractionally higher 10,750rpm. Peak torque is 121Nm (89lb-ft), a fraction less than the 125Nm (92lb-ft) claimed for other Multistrada V4 models, but it arrives at the same 8750rpm. Peak power is cut to 114hp (112.4bhp) when in Enduro or Urban riding mode, while the other two – Sport and Touring – offer the full whack.



Ducati Multistrada V4 Rally (2023) Engine, gearbox, and exhaust

The V4 Granturismo engine used in the Multistrada V4 Rally is the same 1158cc capacity as the other Multistrada V4 models as well as the new-for-2023 Diavel V4, with no change to the bore or stroke, but it features an ‘extended’ version of the cylinder deactivation system used on those machines. While Ducati’s other Multi’ V4s will drop to two cylinders when stationary to help improve economy and prevent heat soak, the V4 Rally’s version allows you to actually ride with the rear cylinder bank deactivated, like the Diavel V4 – essentially operating as a 579cc parallel twin. It’s designed to operate seamlessly at low revs, when you’re not demanding much power, cutting fuel and spark to the rear cylinders to improve economy and emissions.

The V4 drives through a six-speed transmission with a superb up/down quickshifter, and the cylinder deactivation has different maps depending on the gear selected. For instance, it won’t engage when first gear is selected to make sure you’re always firing on all four when pulling away from a standstill. Two will become four seamlessly at 3800rpm unless you crank the throttle back at even lower rpm. An audible change or power surge aren’t noticeable, though whipping back the throttle on a machine equipped with a peak power figure north of 150bhp (at the wheel) will require focus on the road ahead rather than listening for a noise quieter than a mouse hiccup.

The only other changes to the Granturismo motor are the new camshaft timing and exhaust system pre-silencer and, when combined, the recipe works harmoniously creating a raucous and deep bark from the neat muffler disguised well on the bike’s right-side. At low rpm, I liken it to a mechanical purr. God, I love a V4.

On the move and the digital tacho needle rockets through the mid-range with a surge of motion that is as neat as the bikes’ styling suggesting the apparent vibes were placed deliberately to reassure the rider of its combustion-related happenings below. Clean, no snatch, linear, the Granturismo engine is mesmerically special. It’s very much a tale of two halves with a sportier and more aggressive nature when you fancy, yet a gentle touring side when chewing through the motorway miles – another demonstration of the Multistrada V4 Rally’s flexibility. The rider modes can be conveniently amended on the fly with a tap, scroll, tap and momentary close of the throttle.

But open it in anger and the constant and consistent flow of horses and torques would result in a near-straight 45-degree power delivery line on a dyno graph from 3,000rpm tailing off at 9,000rpm, and that predictability inline with the smooth throttle action results in a real air of high quality engineering. The rideability of the Ducati compared to all rivals is a work of art. And while the black plastic covers might detract from its beauty, they’re instrumental in keeping noise and heat in. The already-excellent quickshift system has been tweaked too – promising smoother changes at low rpm, a factor checked when I was invited to take Francesca, a Ducati contracted pillion (56kg and 1m65cm), for a 5-mile round trip at lunchtime. Helmets remained unscathed, more on that later. When riding solo, the system is almost flawless; the gear selector requires little effort, has a short throw with a precise and reassuring click to confirm the next gear is engaged. No false neutrals here, no sir.


Above: the 30-litre tank is hardly bulbous, though the ‘phone compartment did need relocating


Ducati Multistrada V4 Rally (2023) Handling, suspension, and weight

While the V4 Rally’s alloy monocoque chassis is borrowed from the stock Multistrada V4, its suspension and wheels are new. The wire wheels are the same size as the alloys on the stock Multistrada V4, 19in front and 17in rear, but they’re mounted on taller, longer-travel Marzocchi suspension with Ducati’s Skyhook Evolution semi-active damping control system. The forks have 30mm more travel, while the rear gains 20mm, giving a total of 200mm of movement at each end, while the ground clearance is upped to 230mm.

New for the V4 Rally is an additional suspension travel sensor inside the 50mm forks, used to send information about the wheel’s movement to the computer controlling the semi-active damping, helping it constantly adjust the setup to suit the conditions and road surface.

Since the V4 Rally is physically bigger than the base V4, courtesy, on paper at least, to its larger capacity fuel plus taller, wider screen fairing, it’s also a heavier machine. At 260kg complete with fuel it’s a full 20kg more than the standard Multi V4. The fuel tank itself doesn’t take up much more room because not only has the plastic surround from the standard V4 been dispatched, and the mobile phone compartment moved from in front of the seat to the left side of the dashboard, the only noticeable difference is a slightly higher fuel cap position, and this is key to the dynamics of the ride. On the launch, the gorgeous, smooth and relatively traffic-free roads of southern Sardinia offered the perfect playground to push the bike into and out of miles of 2nd and 3rd gear flowing corners with hard acceleration and braking between them. I test Touring and Sport mode with a range of pre-set pre-load options from Auto to Rider + Baggage, and even Rider, Passenger and Baggage settings. I preferred to keep it out of Auto to make the transition from corner to corner more predictable as the bike made absolute mincemeat of the any irregularity or contour along the way. Under harder-than-normal braking and/or acceleration, the chassis is shepherded exquisitely by the suite of electronics and the technically-advanced suspension resulting in minimal, if any, dive to the bottom of the forks, squat down at the rear (making the front go light), or rebound to ping you out of the seat, all of which could potentially upset the balance of this 260kg bike + panniers, crash bars and lardy test rider. It carries that weight so deceptively well. Even on the Pirelli Scorpion Rally STR tyres (one of the homologated trio) fitted to our test bikes to cope with the off-road gravel sections and much smoother coastal roads, I felt confident when turning the bike quickly, transferring direction and pushing the front harder than one might expect to do on a 30-litre tanked adventure bike.


Above: two-up with full luggage is a cinch


Ducati Multistrada V4 Rally (2023) Comfort and economy

Comfort is one of the main reasons for that extra size and mass. The taller, wider screen gives more protection from the elements, and the rear luggage carriers (panniers and top box) are moved backwards to give more pillion space.

Despite its extra height, the clever suspension also helps disguise the bike’s size and weight. There’s a ‘Minimum Preload’ function that winds all the preload off as you come to a halt, lowering the ride height to make it easier to reach the ground. Ducati has also added an ‘Easy Lift’ function that opens the damping valves in the suspension when the bike is first switched on, making the suspension as soft as possible so it’s easier to lift off its side stand. While adding a 30-litre fuel tank in place of the standard 22 litre unit might have led to an uncomfortable, splayed-leg riding position, but no because Ducati has pushed the additional capacity forwards, into the broader shoulders of the tank, while keeping it slim where it meets the seat. It’s also no taller than the smaller tank, though the ‘phone compartment that used to sit in front of the rider within the tank has been relocated to the left side of the dash, and is now air-cooled.

While Ducati hasn’t released official consumption figures, the new cylinder deactivation system should make the Rally a more economical proposition, particularly at low speeds, and along with the 30-litre tank offer a vast touring range. The test ride wasn’t long enough to evaluate how far a full tank would reach and even the consumption figures displayed on the screen are to be taken with a pinch of sale because a press ride doesn’t usually result in an accurate representation even in usual circumstances, let alone when ¼ of it is off-road. I saw anywhere between 36.2 - 45.6mpg which would return between 238 – 300 miles. Part of the attraction for riders of any shape or size is the range of seat heights, each of the four options has two heights:

  • Ultra-Low: 825 – 845mm
  • Low: 855 – 875mm
  • Standard: 870 – 890mm
  • High: 889 – 905mm

They’re interchangeable with the Multistrada V4 too. Then even the pillion gets to choose a seat height with three on offer: standard, high (+15mm) or low (-10mm).

Speaking of a pillion, I had the chance to whisk away one of four young ladies I’d never met but who Ducati had employed to be a model pillion during the lunchbreak. At 56kg, Francesca is a near match to Mrs Mann, not that she ever rides with me, but the short five-mile loop gave me enough time to assess the Ducati’s balance and comfort. We used the Easy Lift system by pressing the button on the left ‘bar for three seconds before climbing on. There was as light wobble on the uneven surface as she did, but once on the move, and having re-set the pre-load by pressing the button for three more seconds, we were fine and dandy. Lots of room for Francesca, she didn’t seem cramped or inconvenienced by the panniers, and while there was not helmet clash, she didn’t notice any difference in the wind flow when I deliberately lowered the screen. I tested the gearchange between first and second with the clutch initially but then with the quickshifter and both were just as fluid.


Ducati Multistrada Rally (2023) Brakes

As usual for Ducati, there are Brembo stoppers – Stylema radial mount four-pots on the front with 330mm discs and a two-piston rear caliper on a 265mm disc. As on the rest of the firm’s models, there’s cornering ABS as standard, informed by the six-axis IMU that’s also key to an impressive array of other rider aids. The brakes can also be automatically applied – albeit in a limited way – by the radar-assisted cruise control.

The key difference in the Rally model over the standard Multistrada V4/S is the smaller rear brake master cylinder measuring 12mm diameter instead of 13mm which is a more powerful and, while not linear, offers a progressive nature which is easier to feel. With this in mind, for a section of the press ride I deliberately switched my riding style to test using more rear brake which is usually to keep the bike’s chassis settled when slowing for a corner meaning less front suspension travel – of course that would be normally expected on a bike with 200mm travel but not the Ducati. The Skyhook system keeps the bike from too much pitch (downwards fork travel) as you squeeze the front brake, and rebound when you release. That said, the performance of the rear brake when using it alone was admirable. The level of engine braking can be adjusted in each riding mode but those big twin 330mm discs were more than a match for anything I threw at them.


Above: wider and taller screen, centre stand, and a plethora of seat height combinations all add to the rider comfort and ease of use


Ducati Multistrada V4 Rally (2023) Rider aids, extra equipment, and accessories

Here’s where the Multistrada V4 Rally really gets serious. Few bikes come close to the level of technology on display here.

The front and rear radars are a highlight, having debuted on the original Multistrada V4, which was the first production bike with such a system. The front radar enables adaptive cruise control, accelerating and braking gently to keep pace with traffic ahead when it’s switched on. The rear one monitors your blind spot to look for danger approaching from the rear and warn if there’s another vehicle lurking over your shoulder to make sure you don’t change lanes into its path.

The Multistrada V4 Rally also has a host of initialisms to its credit, including the aforementioned adaptive cruise control (ACC) – a system I adored on my long term Multistrada V4 in 2021, taking the fatigue out of riding long distances, and actually keeping a constant and safe distance - and blind spot detection (BSD), the Ducati Skyhook Suspension (DSS) Evolution and the Ducati Quick Shift (DQS) that we’ve already mentioned. On top of those there’s DCL (Ducati Cornering Lights), DWC (Ducati Wheelie Control), DTC (Ducati Traction Control), VHC (Vehicle Hold Control) to help with hill starts, and EBC (Engine Brake Control). You also get four riding modes including a new ‘Enduro’ setting that limits power to 115hp, as does the existing ‘Urban’ mode. There’s also ‘Sport’ and ‘Touring’ each tailoring the suspension, throttle map, traction control and ABS to suit.

A 6.6in TFT dash including map navigation provides all the info as well as giving a link to your phone via the Ducati Multimedia System (DMS). As an option you can add tyre pressure monitoring.

Speaking of options, there are plenty, from exhausts and dry clutches to alloy luggage and additional lights. The bike we rode on the press launch was equipped with auxiliary lights, hard-case panniers and engine bars resulting in a mahince costing £26,943.



Ducati Multistrada V4 Rally (2023) Off-road

Fancy taking your new £25k behemoth on the gravel tracks? No? Well join the 98% of other owners. But if you’re in that 2% who do/can, then you’ve selected a highly competent machine to combat the chasms. To change into Enduro mode is the same process as changing to any other riding mode – tap a switch, select your mode, tap a switch and close the throttle or release the brake (the screen will instruct you). Done. If you fancy going a step further then stop, reach down to the rear brake lever and pull the horizontal part away from the bike against a spring and flick it through 90-degrees and hey presto, you’ve got a slightly higher lever should you wish to stand. Enduro mode cuts max power but offers the same ‘dynamic’ throttle response as Sport mode. All the other parameters are also set for the loose surfaces. On our test ride, remember we had the optional engine bars and hard panniers fitted so negotiating some of the trickier tracks was dauting at first for this rider, but with a little practice and momentum comes small crumbs of confidence. Though that can easily be wiped out with an up-hill hairpin stall… mark my words!

It's quite something to negotiate some of the hillier climbs on the shale and gravel on a machine with such a price tag and I understand why Ducati’s marketing folk urged us away from the smooth tarmac, to demonstrate just how capable their shiny new model is. To see it bounding along in the hands of more experienced riders was a real pleasure to see, and to think that once we ascended and descended, the very same bike on the very same tyres can hustle like it can. Those electronics can mask a rider’s flaws – but is that a good thing or bad?


Off-road second opinion - Adam 'Chad' Child

Despite the increase in weight and physical size, the Rally is just as impressive off-road as it is on road. Honestly, looking at the dimensions, weight, and after a short but superlative road ride, I didn’t think the Rally would cut it off-road, but I was wrong. Considering the weight and dimensions of the bike, not forgetting the added weight of accessories we had fitted to our test bike, panniers, and solid crash protection, it’s amazing how easy and ‘light’ feeling the new Rally was off-road.

Ok, it’s not a KTM 890 R, there are limitations, but with the optional Pirelli Scorpion Rally STR rubber fitted, I was honestly amazed at how well the Ducati performed off-road. It feels considerably smaller and lighter than it is. The fuelling is near perfect in Enduro mode, which limits power to 114hp, and the off-road rider aids are excellent, especially the off-road ABS.Flip the rear brake lever through 90-degrees to give a direct feel when stood up, remove the rubbers on the pegs, lower the screen, and take to dusty trails with confidence. Throughout the day I upped the pace, started to play with the Rally, and even took on a few small jumps and the Ducati performed way above my expectations, not like a ‘heavy’ 30l fuelled adventure bike. It didn’t feel like I was forcing the Rally to do anything it wasn’t designed to do. I didn’t have to make compensations for its road performance or weight.

There are limitations, as you’d expect. You must be aware of the wide fixed panniers when clipping apexes off-road, watch out for bushes etc. On very slow speed, tight corners, particularly downhill over small rocks and gravel the front skips and sometimes struggles a little, creating understeer, but this is expected on this type of bike. But in all other off-road areas the Rally is hugely impressive. Additionally, I can electronically lower the rear, removing the pre-load, so even I (at 5ft 7ins… on a warm day) can touch the floor on both sides at the same time – a huge bonus when riding and stopping off-road on uneven surfaces.

If you want more off-road ability then you can opt for Ducati’s DesertX, with longer travel suspension and a 21in front wheel.


Ducati Multistrada V4 Rally (2023) Rivals

There’s no question that the Multistrada V4 Rally is a tour de force when it comes to equipment, performance and technology but it’s diving into the toughest of all markets – not least because it has to face the BMW R1250GS Adventure that’s become the default choice for adventure riders over the last decade or so. While the BMW is down on performance compared to the Ducati, an all-new model is expected soon that should reconfirm its dominance. There are also other fast adventure bikes on the market, including the KTM 1290 Super Adventure R that comes close to the Ducati for power, not to mention eh Triumph Tiger 1200. Harley-Davidson’s 150hp Pan America is also a left-field rival that, like the Ducati, goes in hard on the high-tech aspects.


BMW R1250GS Adventure | £15,650

Power: 134hp (100kW) @ 7750rpm | Torque: 105lb-ft (143Nm) @ 6250rpm | Weight: 268kg (wet) | Seat Height: 890mm


Triumph Tiger 1200 Rally Pro | £17,700

Power: 148bhp (110.4kW) @ 9000rpm | Torque: 96lb-ft (130Nm) @ 7000rpm | Weight: 249kg (wet) | Seat Height: 875-895mm


KTM 1290 Super Adventure R | £16,649

Power: 158hp (118kW) @ 9000rpm | Torque: 102lb-ft (138Nm) @ 6500rpm | Weight: 245kg (wet) | Seat Height: 880mm


Harley-Davidson PanAmerica 1250 | £15,595

Power: 150hp (112kW) @ 8750rpm | Torque: 94lb-ft (128Nm) @ 6750rpm | Weight: 245kg (wet) | Seat Height: 869-890mm





Ducati Multistrada V4 Rally (2023) Verdict

It might be billed as the more extreme version of the Multistrada V4 because of its imposing size and weight, but the Rally version offers plenty of added luxury too with the improvement of electronically adjustable rider aids, seat options, and clever pre-load related wizardry too for comfort and accessibility. Advanced engineering aside, Ducati has a found a premium-level of out-and-out rideability that somehow manages to shine in a 240kg+ bike, offering dexterity, manageability and precision akin to a naked sportsbike… at least in the hands of the average rider. Impressive handling, booming and perfectly predictable power, and as adaptable enough for conquering the city commute as it is riding through Welsh forests, the list of positives goes on. While some may immediately cross the Rally off the list because of the dimensions, I’d urge them to look at the Easy Lift, seat height options and how well balanced the bike while stationary as well as at speed. It truly is a elegant and magnificent beast that can do the off-road thing too, an added bonus in the same way a Porsche GT3 RS has 523bhp, though you’d ever use it all.

Fine, the Ducati is pricy but you get what you pay for. It’s a go-anywhere, do-anything extreme machine that, minor niggles aside, can easily be the bike for all occasions and make you look extremely competent while doing so. Ducati’s most versatile bike ever is a GS-beater so it’s over to the German-marque to play its next card.


2023 Ducati Multistrada V4 Rally_191a


Ducati Multistrada Rally (2023) Technical Specification

New price




Bore x Stroke

83 x 53.5mm

Engine layout

90-degree V4

Engine details

Liquid-cooled, DOHC 16v, ‘twin pulse’ firing order, extended cylinder deactivation


125kW/168bhp @ 10,750rpm


121Nm / 89ft lbs @ 8750rpm


Six-speed manual with up/down quickshifter

Average fuel consumption

36.2 - 45.6mpg

Tank size

30 litres

Max range to empty


Rider aids

Riding Modes, Power Modes, cornering ABS, Ducati Traction Control, Ducati Wheelie Control, Ducati Brake Light, Ducati Cornering Light, Vehicle Hold Control, Engine Brake Control


Aluminium monocoque chassis

Front suspension

50mm USD forks with internal stroke sensor

Front suspension adjustment

Electronic compression and rebound damping adjustment with Ducati Skyhook Suspension EVO (DSS)

Rear suspension

Cantilever suspension with fully adjustable monoshock

Rear suspension adjustment

Electronic compression, rebound and preload adjustment with Ducati Skyhook Suspension (DSS)

Front brake

2 x 330 mm semi-floating discs, radial-mount Brembo Stylema 4-piston calipers, cornering ABS

Rear brake

265 mm disc, 2-piston floating caliper, with cornering ABS

Front wheel / tyre

Spoked 19in, Pirelli Scorpion Trail II 120/70 R19

Rear wheel / tyre

Spoked 17in, Pirelli Scorpion Trail II 170/60 R17



Seat height


Ground clearance



260kg (wet)

MCIA Secured rating

Not yet listed


48 months, unlimited mileage


Oil: 9,000 miles/24 months

Valve clearance check: 36,000 miles




2023 Ducati Multistrada V4 Rally Price Spec_05


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 (three stars for bikes of 125cc or less), 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.