The 2021 Ducati Multistrada V4 Offers a Real Adventure

Adventure bikes are common choices for those interested in do-it-all motorcycles. They work as good urban commuters, excellent tourers, and, as befits their name, can tackle off-road terrain. Hence why Ducati calls its adventure bike ‘Multistrada,’ for ‘many roads.’ And for 2021, it’s been updated into the Ducati Multistrada V4, complete with some significant industry-first features. But the bike has more to offer than just its tech.

What’s new about the 2021 Ducati Multistrada V4?

A silver and a red 2021 Ducati Multistrada V4 S on a desert trail
2021 Ducati Multistrada V4 S | Ducati

One of the biggest changes the 2021 Ducati Multistrada V4 brings is a different engine. Instead of the brand’s characteristic 90° V-twin (L-twin), the 2021 Multistrada V4 has an 1158cc V4 linked to a 6-speed manual and a slipper clutch.

The engine is based on the one in the Panigale and Streetfighter V4, Motorcyclist reports. The Multistrada V4’s engine isn’t quite as powerful—Ducati claims it makes 170 hp and 92 lb-ft. However, it’s more powerful than the outgoing Multistrada 1260’s V-twin, and it’s both lighter and more compact, Cycle World reports.

While the 2021 Ducati Multistrada V4’s engine isn’t as powerful as the Panigale V4’s engine, it makes more power at lower revs, Bennetts reports. The transmission also has a lower first gear, for better hill starts. Plus, while it lacks Ducati’s trademark desmodromic valves, the new valvetrain is easier and cheaper to maintain. And its service interval is twice as long, Motorcyclist reports. But it retains the Panigale’s counter-rotating crankshaft for better handling, Motorcyclist reports.

The rear view of the 2021 Ducati Multistrada V4 S's handlebar and dash
2021 Ducati Multistrada V4 S handlebar and dash | Ducati

But the even bigger news is the 2021 Ducati Multistrada V4’s safety features. Thanks to front and rear radar, it’s the first production motorcycle with adaptive cruise control and blind-spot monitoring, RideApart reports. Though they’re admittedly optional extras.

But like the outgoing model, it comes with traction control, wheelie control, cornering ABS, and multiple riding modes. The V4 S and S Sport trims add electronically-adjustable self-leveling semi-active suspension, hill-start assist, and cornering headlights. They also come standard with a quick-shifter, which is optional on the base model, Motorcyclist reports.

The rear 3/4 view of a silver 2021 Ducati Multistrada V4 S in a quarry
2021 Ducati Multistrada V4 S rear 3/4 | Ducati

Ducati also tweaked the Multistrada V4’s riding position slightly for 2021 and fitted a lower and narrower seat. The front suspension travel is still 6.7”, but the rear travel is up to 7.1”. Ground clearance has also increased from 8.1” to 8.6”.

The 2021 Ducati Multistrada V4 is “truly four bikes in one,” Motorcyclist says

The base 2021 Ducati Multistrada V4 doesn’t have all the bells-and-whistles of the V4 S and S Sport trims. Instead of a 6.5” TFT display, it has a 5” one, for example. And it lacks standard cruise control and the Ducati Connect navigation system.

But it still has an adjustable windscreen, an adjustable seat, Pirelli Scorpion off-road tires, and multi-position handlebars, VisorDown reports. And you can remove the footpegs’ rubber inserts for extra grip. Though if you want a metal skid plate or crash bars, those are optional extras.

Regardless of trim, on paved roads, the 2021 Ducati Multistrada V4 impresses. At 536 pounds fully-fueled in S trim, it’s not necessarily a light bike. But in the corners, it “feels deceptively nimble,” Motorcyclist reports, with accurate steering and a comfortable ride. It really handles “like a sportbike,” Motorcyclist reports. And even in its sportiest settings, the engine, though certainly powerful, “remains flexible and pleasant,” RideApart reports. Plus, the riding position, seat, and wind protection mean you can ride all day with little to no discomfort, Bennetts reports.

But adventure bikes are meant to tackle unpaved roads, too. And while the Ducati Multistrada V4 hasn’t yet been independently-tested extensively off-road, initial impressions are positive. In base trim, the suspension occasionally shows its limits on larger bumps, RideApart reports. But overall, the bike handles itself well.

The narrower seat and engine make it easier to move around on the bike, and the mirrors are curved so they don’t hit your arms. However, if you’re going further than a gravel road, you need the off-road-focused Enduro package, Bennetts reports.

Should you get one?

Admittedly, the 2021 Ducati Multistrada V4 isn’t perfect. For one, the new V4 engine has a lower fuel-economy rating than the outgoing L-twin, Bennetts reports. So, even with a larger tank, the updated bike has a shorter range.

Plus, the Ducati Multistrada V4 isn’t necessarily cheap. The base model starts at $19,995; the S starts at $24,095. And that’s before adding things like luggage, skid plates, heated grips, adaptive cruise control, and so on.

A blue-tanked 2021 Yamaha Ténéré 700 adventure bike power-sliding in the desert
2021 Yamaha Ténéré 700 | Yamaha

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As with any motorcycle, take a test ride before you consider buying it. If you’re after an adventure bike, there are cheaper options, such as the Royal Enfield Himalayan and Yamaha Ténéré 700. Or, if you want something that can go off-road but is more about around-town riding, there’s the Triumph Scrambler. But if you want a bike that can do it all with aplomb, the Ducati Multistrada V4 is worth a look.

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