Is the Ducati Multistrada V4 S the new "King of ADV"?
We've had our brush with several adventure-touring bikes from different manufacturers in our time, and judging by the number of units in this particular segment seen on the roads today, there's no denying that the BMW GS family is 'King'. However, there's a new challenger from Italy that might just convert a few ADV/touring 'purists' towards the direction of Ducati, and its latest ADV beast, the 2021 Ducati Multistrada V4.
Officially launched in Malaysia back in September, the 2021 Ducati Multistrada V4 is priced from RM135,900 to RM146,900 (excluding insurance, road tax, and registration). We had a go at the range-topping Multistrada V4 S for a few days in an attempt to prove that you don't really need to have a 'GS' nameplate to be a true and powerful adventure-touring machine. So, is the MTS V4 S any good?
First and foremost, it's hard to deny the fact that this bike looks exceptionally sexy. Although the dimensions might scare off a few interested parties, the Multistrada V4 is actually really easy to ride and intuitive from the get-go (and more compact than the previous-gen model). It might be promoted as powerful, agile, and smart-as-heck, but you'd be surprised at how fast you can get used to what it can offer in terms of comfort and ease of riding.
The compactness of it all also means that you can ride through traffic fairly well, even with its dedicated panniers. Its slim nature allows it to navigate through congestions in the cities and putting it into Urban mode ensures better smoothness when working the throttle. Surprisingly light on its feet (or wheels), we find the whole experience of traffic congestions to be quite manageable. If there's ever a time that you don't want to ride with the panniers, removing them is as easy as pie. Just lift the handle, twist the key, move the tiny red lever, and pull that thing right off. Reverse the steps to simply put it back on again.
So, the bike looks sexy, but what about power? Its 1,158cc V4 Granturismo engine produces a solid 170hp and 125Nm of torque, making it the most powerful ADV bike in its class. There are four riding modes to choose from depending on your riding situation, and these modes are also connected to the load mode settings as well as its Ducati Skyhook semi-active suspension system. In other words, that are 400 possible configurations to ensure that you can always ride the MTS V4 S at its full potential. Plus, the auto-leveling function looks very cool.
Power delivery is solid even for newer riders to enjoy, particularly when paired with its very efficient Ducati Quick Shift system. But if it's sheer gut-wrenching power that you're looking for, switch things up to Sport or Enduro and you'll be flying upon opening the throttle. The MTS V4 can be as pleasant as a warm cup of coffee, and it can be as crazy as a nitro-injected energy drink with quadruple shots of espresso. It all depends on how smooth or fast you decide to open up the throttle (and which Riding Mode you're in). Versatile? Yes. On all roads? Yesser.
Every single can be info is relayed to the rider via the bike's 6.5-inch TFT screen and scrolling around the menu can be done via the controls on the left side of the handlebar. This is probably the most overwhelming aspect of the bike where we needed some time to go through and get used to, but the most important parts like toggling riding and load modes can be achieved fairly easily.
To ensure that the bike is as safe as it can be, the Multistrada V4 is also the first production bike in the world to be fitted with a front and rear radar system as standard. The front helps with the Adaptive Cruise Control (which works just as well as any four-wheeler with the same feature) while the rear assists with Blind Spot Detection (a very useful feature that we wish can be adopted for other bikes in all categories). We especially adore the latter function because it's one of those things that you don't really think is necessary, but you'll go "Wah, damn nice" once you experience it for yourself.
To conclude, to say that the Multistrada V4 S is a balance between comfort and power is not really accurate. It has both extremes, yes, but which direction it goes depends on the rider's input and riding situation. The test unit we had was set for the ultimate touring experience, and it delivered with flying colours. For those who are asking about the GS, it might arguably carry the title of the most efficient two-wheel specimen of German engineering, but the Ducati Multistrada V4 has something that no other bike manufacturers can replicate - pure Italian power and flair. Two thumbs up from us.