Recently launched in Malaysia, the 2021 Ducati Multistrada V4 and Multistrada V4S are a pair of new adventure-touring motorcycles from the Bologna motorcycle maker, its first every v-four tourers. Priced at RM135,900 for the Ducati Multistrada V4 and RM146,900 for the Multistrada V4S, this duo is loaded with as much technology as Ducati can cram onto two-wheels.
With the installation of the Granturismo V-four in the Multistrada’s frame, Ducati is clearly indicating that its top-of-the-line motorcycles – the Panigale V4, the Streetfighter V4 and now the Multistrada V4 – form a triumvirate of four-cylinder 1200s designed to take the fight to its direct market rival in Europe, BMW Motorrad.
Pride of place goes to the Ducati rider assistance radar-system, a world’s first and available only in the Multistrada V4S, that provides forward and rear looking radar which increases rider safety. The fore radar is mounted directly below the LED headlights and allows cruise control and distance keeping while on the highway.
Don’t look for Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB), motorcycle dynamics are different from cars and braking when the rider isn’t expecting it usually ends badly. The aft radar is placed on the rear fender, and blind spot warnings are shown on the rear view mirrors via amber LEDs.
The display on the Multistrada V4S which is adjustable for viewing angle in four positions deserves mention – the base Multistrada V4 makes do with a 5.5-inch TFT-LCD with significantly fewer functions. Aside from allowing the rider to configure the Mulitstrada V4S through a joystick on the handlebar, the instrument panel also has the capability of mirroring the rider’s smartphone, compatible with both Android and iOS.
This allows for the smartphone screen to be replicated via the Ducati Connect app, allowing for all the phone’s functions such as navigation (via the Sygic navigation app), music and the such to be displayed and controlled. No, we didn’t try to Netflix and chill using the Multistrada V4S’ mirroring function and we recommend you don’t, either.
A neat design touch is the waterproof phone locker complete with USB charging port located in the tank, negating the need for a phone mount on the handlebars. Combining Ducati Connect with a smartphone and a Bluetooth headset in the helmet gives a complete motorcycle infotainment system.
For the engine, the V-four Granturismo mill now uses conventional bucket on valve actuation, dropping Ducati’s Desmodromic valve actuation. Set up to deliver more power in the mid-range than the 204 hp Panigale V4, the Multistrada V4 gets 170 hp and 125 Nm of torque with lubrication intervals set at 15,000 km and the valve adjustment service now required at 60,000 km.
The V-four on the Multistrada now comes with rear cylinder deactivation, designed both to reduce emissions and fuel consumption as well as increase rider comfort during stops. Ergonomics on the Multistrada have also been improved, with the centre of the bike cut narrow to allow riders to get both feet down.
Seat height is dual-position adjustable, between 840 mm and 860 mm, while both low (810 mm) and tall (875 mm) seats are available as options. Ready to roll, the Multistrada V4S weighs 243 kg, the base Multistrada V4 comes in at 240 kg, and 22-litres of fuel is carried in the tank.
Ducati’s Skyhook semi-active electronic suspension is used for the Multistrada V4S with the Multistrada V4 using manual fully-adjustable fork and monoshock. With Skyhook, the rider gets some 400 permutations of suspension settings, if so desired.
There are also four ride modes – Sport, Touring, Urban and Enduro – which affect power delivery and for the V4S, suspension setup. Both Sport and Touring modes make the full 170 hp available with Touring mode having a softer throttle response.
Switching to Urban mode drops power to 115 hp with the traction control and ABS set to maximum for safety. Enduro mode, meant for off-road use, delivers 115 hp but with suspension and power delivery intended for riding in the dirt, combined with minimum intervention from the electronics.
In Urban mode, ABS is applied only to the front wheel and set to level 1 while cornering ABS is switched off. Rear wheel lift detection is also disabled while wheelie control is set to the absolute minimum.
For braking, Brembo does the duties, as is typical for Ducati. On the Multistrada V4S, Brembo Stylema M50 callipers clamp twin 330 mm discs while the Multistrada V4 gets Brembo monobloc four-piston callipers on 320 mm discs.
However, as with adventure-touring motorcycles in this class, such as the BMW Motorrad R1250GS and KTM Super Adventure 1290, the specifications sheet only tells half the story. We are scheduled to take the Ducati Multistrada V4 out on review, and will give you our verdict then as to whether this is the machine that dethrones the all conquering Gelande Strasse.
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