There’s a collection of bikes on the market that doesn’t seem to fit neatly into one category or another. One of these odd beasts is the Ducati Multistrada. Like its Island of Misfit Toys brethren – Suzuki V-Stroms, Kawasaki Versys, Yamaha TDM, Triumph Tiger, and a few others – the upright Duc causes division among bike fans with its ambiguous intention and quirky styling. Is it a dual-sport? Is it a streetbike that’s meant to look like a dual-sport?
The arc of the aging sportbike rider goes a little something like this: In their youth, going fast and taking chances is the name of the game. Sportbikes are the status symbol that fulfills this desire and is the closest thing to a two-wheeled land missile they can get their hands on. Not to mention it costs a fraction of what supercars go for. The aggressive position of clip-on bars and rearset pegs adds to the sensation of speed and places the young rider in a position of power they may not have experienced yet in their young lives.
Ducati has revealed the new Multistrada V4 S Grand Tour, a long-distance traveler designed for comfort and safety. Fully loaded with luggage, front and rear radars and creature comforts like heated grips and seats, Ducati describes it as the “most complete Multistrada V4 ever.” The 2024 Ducati Multistrada V4 S Grand Tour will land in dealerships very soon, with an MSRP of $28,395.
Adventure bikes were made to unlock possibilities, to transport you from your garage to places unknown. As the category has evolved it has become more segmented to better suit the needs of the intrepid pilots looking to explore the furthest reaches of their abilities – whatever that may mean to said pilot. The new Ducati Multistrada V4 Rally was built to be the best long-haul ADV steed the Italian firm has ever built. With increased comfort, fuel capacity, suspension, and tech, on paper it looks to have checked the boxes. But everyone knows you can’t always believe what you read on paper. For that, you should turn to the internet and Motorcycle.com for the unadulterated facts.
As I observed to my Ducati host just before we started up the mountain toward Idyllwild (elevation 5,800 feet) from Palm Desert, California (220 ft) – this is either going to be one of the greatest rides ever or one of the worst. Pity the poor new model launch planner: If it rains hard more than a few days a year around Palm Springs I’d be surprised. But logistics have to be laid out weeks ahead of time, and as the day for our ride drew nearer, the weather forecast for last Tuesday had evolved from 20% to 40% to 100% rain, to “atmospheric river.”
I’ve been fortunate enough to attend the last two Ducati Multistrada press launches for MO. In late 2017, I was in Gran Canaria putting the then-new Multistrada 1260 through an endless series of switchbacks up the side of a volcano. I came away thoroughly impressed with the chassis and quickness of that big adventure/sport/touring bike. In addition to the motorcycle’s natural ability, the electronics suite allowed the ride to be tailored to fit a large swath of rider preferences. From the throttle response to the suspension – all was easily adjusted with the handlebar’s switchgear. It was the swiss army knife of motorcycles, I thought.
Ducati is set to introduce a new member of the Multistrada family, powered by a 1158cc version of the Stradale V4 engine. The new model, which we’ll call the Multistrada V4 for lack of a better name, will join the 2021 Ducati lineup alongside the twin-cylinder 1260 and 950 Multistradas.
I’ve ridden touring bikes all across the American continent. From a transcontinental dash on a touring cruiser to multi-day jaunts on Gold Wings to a gravel road to the Arctic Ocean in Prudhoe Bay, AK, I’ve done my time and racked up the miles, but none of the touring motorcycles I’ve ridden appeal to me as much as the sport adventure touring class of motorcycles. They appeal to me and the type of riding that I like to do. With that said, the 2020 Ducati Multistrada 1260 S Grand Tour is a great example of the species.
The Ducati World Premiere held in Italy’s motor valley brought with it the unveiling of a couple of new e-bikes, a new Panigale V2, slightly tweaked Panigale V4s, and the highly anticipated Ducati Streetfighter V4/S. Other models such as the Diavel and Scrambler received additional color options while the Multistrada 1260 family received a new lux trim package aptly named the Grand Tour. Let’s take a closer look at what Ducati calls “new versions” of these existing models.
At first blush, the upgrades for the base 2019 Ducati Multistrada 950 were mostly centered around the 6-axis Bosch IMU (Inertial Measurement Unit), translating into better traction control and cornering ABS, but Ducatisti in the United States don’t have the option of buying that plain Jane Multistrada 950. Instead, Americans are forced to enjoy the premium componentry and electronic upgrades of the Multistrada 950 S. Oh how will we ever endure the slings and arrows of Ducati Skyhook Suspension (DSS) continuously adjusting the damping while Ducati Quick Shift (DQS) renders the clutch obsolete after you pull away from a start? After riding the 2019 Ducati Multistrada 950 S for a couple hundred miles of the twistiest Spanish tarmac I’ve had the privilege of sampling, I can answer with certainty that the North American market will get along just fine.
On a humid and hazy southern California morning our cast of misfits began to stir to life from all stretches of the LA basin. Showers were had (by some), coffee was made and consumed, gear was donned. We seven fortunate souls set out on what would be our first true challenge of the next 72 hours, the first gauntlet that our machines would be subjected to, weekday traffic in Los Angeles with a destination of none other than Starbucks. The unofficial meeting place of adventure riders the world over, yet, for so many, the journey’s end before it ever even begins.
The Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli was bursting with Ducatisti during World Ducati Week 2018 this past July 20-22. Ducati claims attendance was up more than ten thousand from the previous year for this tenth edition of the event, seeing more than 90,000 passionate Ducati loving fans in attendance. With exciting events such as the Race of Champions, Scrambler Flat Track, Ducatista Parade, and live music, Ducatisti from all over the world made their way to the Adriatic Riviera to celebrate the Italian marque.