Rule Mountains with Ducati’s all new Pikes Peak edition Multistrada V4!

As November nears an end and the weather starts to get too chilly to fully send my supersport around mountain corners here in Georgia, I start to get a little depressed. So this is the perfect time for Ducati to give me a call and ask if I’m interested in test riding the 2022 Pikes Peak inspired Multistrada V4. Uuuuh yes please! I accept with sincere excitement and zero reservations while at the same time realizing this is a big machine for me to handle, both size wise and performance ability. But you know what? I refuse to shy away from adventure these days and if given the opportunity I just figure it out!

I’m going to be honest here, I have very little experience riding touring bikes, I’ve spent only a few hundred miles on a handful of them and they were mostly highway miles. This is an entirely new arena for me, but one which I’ve been embracing with open arms this year. As I recently turned 40, my body just hasn’t been as happy with me wanting to put hundreds of miles a day on my supersport. In this review I go over my first impression of riding the Multistrada in real word situations rather than all of the technical bits and specifications (although I do touch on the aspects that I feel make this bike stand out).

As I get my first in-person look at the Multi I realize it is quite tall with an adjustable seat height of 840mm-860mm. I consider myself tall at 5’8”(1.72m), however the seat is wide for riding comfort so my feet spread far apart and I’m barely able to tippy toe the machine. This normally isn’t a big issue for most riders, but I deal with some neurological pain so straining my feet to push and pull a bike off it’s kickstand (especially on off-camber or gravel pull offs) can be nerve racking and painful for me. However I’m in luck because Ducati outfitted one of the press bikes with the after market lower seat option that is 800mm (and bonus points—it’s heated!!). This allowed me to have a much more solidly planted foot at least on one side as I came to a stop—yay! And for you very tall riders there’s also a taller seat option.

As we pull out onto the streets of Palm Springs I instantly get a solid feel for the clutch and brake-everything feels smooth and precise. Since the first part of the test is in the city I set the bike to Touring mode. It comes with 4 modes: Urban, Touring, Sport and Race.

Urban Mode is a low power (produces 115HP) mode with full traction control and ABS—I honestly didn’t even bother setting the bike to this mode at all, however I can see it being perfect for fully wet conditions.

Touring Mode bumps up to the full 170HP, however the power delivery is on a very smooth and controlled curve—that akin to what you would feel on an in line 4 Japanese machine which is what I’m used to. The power rolls on so smooth and you can modulate exactly how much you want to feel to the millimeter. I really enjoyed this mode when dealing with bumper to bumper traffic and when we were on wet and icy roads.

Sport Mode is a lot more responsive right away and you feel the snappy power of the V4 Granturismo engine-which by the way is extremely lightweight coming in at 147.05lb. This is where you really start to see why this 1158cc machine is named the sportiest Dual bike ever. I adored this mode and used it the most, it gave me an exhilarating sense of joy as I twisted the throttle out of the apex in canyon corners. By comparison it is much smoother than the Panigale V4 I recently rode, but still has plenty of personality and emotion…it made me feel alive and was fun but also manageable enough that I felt I wasn’t going to lose control.

Race Mode delivers an even more raw and direct throttle response making this hands down the sportiest Multistrada to date. This mode unlocks full race track capabilities and is the ideal choice for experienced riders who wish to exploit all of the exclusive performance the Multistrada has to offer. Furthermore you can tailor all the electronic to your preferences like traction control, wheelie control, rear wheel lift (under extreme braking) and control of the Bosch-Brembo braking system with ABC cornering—and YES you can disable ABS to the rear wheel if you want to back it in.

All these modes are clearly accessible on the large TFT screen. Navigation and adjustment mode changes are very intuitive and easy to complete even while riding.

But what is all the power without control?

And this is where the Multistrada truly surprised and impressed me. This is not a small/light bike with a curb weight of 527lbs and it appears to be top heavy. However all of that is negated as instantly as you start rolling. The Granturismo engine utilizes a counter-rotating crankshaft which is really quite brilliant because it works “against” the inertia generated by the wheels which improves efficiency and riding pleasure. This is literally one of the smoothest and flickable bikes I’ve ridden recently, and that speaks volumes for its size! Going around the corners I was repeatedly surprised with the ease of control I had and how smoothly I was able to transition in chicanes.

The addition of a 17” front wheel is also invaluable to the Multistrada’s handling because now that means you have more premium options in your tire choices. On top of that the machine has beautiful aluminum forged Marchesini rims which boast considerable weight savings of 5.95lb over that previous Multistrada, undoubtedly influencing the dynamic behavior of the bike. The Multistrada was an absolute pleasure to ride in both canyons and city streets providing both comfort and precision.

Speaking of comfort, Ducati has managed to perfectly blend a machine that can be both comfortable for hours on end while touring and also can tear it up at the track straight out of the box. This Pikes Peak edition was specifically designed with ergonomics that ensure maximum control and optimize lean angles. The riding position has been refreshed compared to the previous Multistrada(s) with the foot pegs being pulled back and up higher for more lean possibility. The handlebars are also lower and narrower which makes the machine feel sporty but still exceptionally comfortable. The windshield is lower but can be pulled up when you require more wind protection on those longer fast paced rides. I personally found the Multistrada very roomy. My only gripe was that the levers could benefit from being rotated down a bit in their positioning on the bars. It would have been easier for me to have my finger tips pointing naturally down when pulling on the brake lever rather than having to extend them up so high, but that is also a personal preference and can be adjusted.

Along with the Ergonomic comforts Ducati took into consideration the heat aspect of the engine. The bike has several specifically designed vents to pull in cold surrounding air while riding and vent it towards the seat and ride’s legs while other vents pull and push hot air from the engine out and away. Another very neat thing the engine does to control heat is that it “turns off” the combustion in the rear cylinder when in idle at a stop so that you aren’t getting the full brunt of it at a red light. My test day wasn’t super hot (65º in the city) so I can’t say I got to see a massive difference, however I never once did get over heated and I was wearing only riding jeans.

For me personally bike performance and comfort are the most important, I’ve never been one to need much electronics. However, this wouldn’t be a masterpiece without Ducati’s state of the art electronics package, and this thing is chock full of all the latest and greatest goodies! In 2010 Ducati pioneered the world’s first motorcycle equipped with Riding Modes (which I had mentioned above) but since then they have continued to perfect and add on to their packages. Not only do the electronics allow you to tailor the machine to your specific needs in every possible aspect, but the user interface is intuitive and simply makes sense. Today on top of rider modes the Multistrada comes with many features and some of my favorites are Adaptive Cruise Control, Blind Spot Detection, Auto Blinker shut off and Vehicle Hold Control—or what I like to call “hill assist”. I never realized how nice it is to have these features until I started using them, (especially the adaptive cruise control) it made me absolutely giddy! It’s one of those things you never realized you “needed” and once you’ve experienced it, it really spoils you…but I wouldn’t expect anything less from this top of the line machine.

Final Takeaway:

Ducati has done a spectacular job creating a machine that is an absolute beast and at the same time is confidence inspiring. With all the modes and safety technology this is such an intuitive and inviting machine. My biggest and most pleasant surprise came in the form of just how fast I felt 100% comfortable on it; typically I only feel this level of comfort on smaller machines. Not once did I feel I was in over my head or that I couldn’t attempt something, by the end of the day I was even trying to wheelie it…albite very poorly since I really have no idea how to wheelie and have been too scared to try on my own sportbike. But, if that doesn’t at least illustrate my emotions for the Multistrada than I don’t know what will haha!

This is definitely a machine focused to bring thrill and adrenaline to your ride wherever it may be, street or track.

photography credits: @mk_lvn