All the fun of a superbike, all the technology. Has Ducati built all the bike a buyer could possibly want, or has it overcooked the cake? See our Multistrada V4 S review here:
What we like:
- Magnificent engine
- Super high-tech
- Italian cool and emotion in spades
Room for improvement:
- Bar position a bit odd
- Bags and plastics quality lacking
- Low speed quickshifter clunky
There are those that want super performance, but don’t want to require a chiropractor after every ride. There are those that want high tech equipment levels but also require a degree of cool and thoroughbred branding. Enter the Ducati Multistrada V4 S.
Essentially Ducati has squeezed its potent Panigale V4 powerplant into a tall and roomy dual-sport chassis to arrive at a bike that offers all the thrill of a superbike with the ergos of a sit-up-and-beg adventure tool. With very little compromise.
Ducati was the first to go this way, and it quickly sent designers at other brands directly to the drawing board.
Indeed, an all-new category was born – now Ducati has serious rivals in BMW’s S 1000 XR and the KTM 1290 Super Duke GT. The market for bikes of this ilk is as hot as a chop right now and it doesn’t look like slowing any time soon. Au contraire.
The 1158cc V-four engine is the hero of the package. And that is saying something, because this bike fairly bristles with innovation and highlights. But the shooting star here, without question, is that magnificent donk.
Good for 125kW at 10,000rpm and 125Nm at 8750rpm, the bike is tuned for more midrange than its all-out Panigale cousin, but those numbers tell you that Ducati was determined to keep this thing smack-bang in the Excito-Band.
Yes. ‘Giri supersonico’ must have been the excitedly scrawled theme on the most significant whiteboard in Bologna when the bike was proposed – and the Italians hit that mark right tra gli occhi. Save yourself the Google Translate bother. That means ‘between the eyes’.
Now to the tech on-board. Ducati can boast yet another first here, with Adaptive cruise control fitted to a road bike. The technology has been around for a while when it comes to our four-wheeled enemies, but it’s a big deal on a motorcycle.
In lay terms, it uses radar technology to maintain a safe distance from a vehicle in front while Cruise Control is enabled. It works well and I reckon it will be soon become optional for any bike offering Cruise Control. BMW is already on board there. Well, done Ducati.
Another innovation is the Blind Spot Detection system. Basically, present in the inside edge of the mirrors, the setup senses any vehicle that is sitting either side of the bike and illuminates.
I thought it was a bit of a gimmick, when I first saw it. I was quickly converted. It works brilliantly and will save lives. Top marks there.
Our test bike came fitted with the ‘Travel’ and ‘Radar’ packages fitted. This gets you: hard panniers, Adaptive Cruise Control, Blind Spot Detection, centre-stand, and heated grips and seats. This lot adds $4100 to the base V4 S price of $33,490 to arrive at $37,590.
Now that I’ve sampled it, I’d have to option similarly if I was in the market. That’s a lot of extra gear at a reasonable quid, for mine.
So, I love my 2019 BMW S 1000 XR. I adore it. But that red thing just won’t get outta my mind. Have a test ride. You’ll be the same, I guarantee it.
Snag’s career in motoring journalism spans 26 years with stints at major bike mags Australian Road Rider, Motorcycle Trader and AMCN along with contributions to just about every other outlet worth a hill of beans. He was editor of Unique Cars magazine and hosts his legendary podcast ‘Snag Says’ when he gets off his date.