The new Ducati Multistrada V4 S is one of the most fabulously accomplished bikes you can buy, loaded with an almost perfect blend of extreme performance, supreme comfort, market-leading practicality and unrivalled levels of technology. Inserting the supremely potent Panigale V4 motor into a big, lofty all-rounder sounds like a recipe for a mis-matched disaster – but Ducati have pulled it off big time.
It stretches the definition of an all-rounder – the Multistrada isn’t just capable of riding on its eponymous ‘many roads’, it excels on them. From touring to track days to off-road to hammering round town, there will be few bikes can match the Ducati in any one discipline, let alone all of them.
Ducati say their intended rival for the new Multistrada is BMW’s R1250GS, which is an odd thing to say at first because the rival that springs immediately to mind when you see a 170bhp motor in a tall rounder chassis with tons of gadgets and continent-crushing capacity is BMW’s S1000XR – a bike against which the Multi V4 is most obviously similar.
But comparing the V4 to the GS shows how Ducati have sought to expand the Multi’s role. Previously, if you wanted a big-bore Ducati adventure bike you bought the Enduro. Now, you buy the Multi V4 and spec it to Enduro spec with wire wheels and knobblies. It’s the same bike, apart from that, as the model you’d have with cast wheels and happily take to a