Ducati called my ride in northern Italy a blind test of the prototype Multistrada V4, which will become the newest Pikes Peak variant of the adventure-tourer and is to be revealed to press and public at the end of this year. Ducati let me loose on the bike at the Autodromo di Modena, but remained guarded about its probable price, weight, and power and torque figures. And since the company wasn’t ready to reveal any significant specifications, it was just a case of jumping on and riding the thing.
So What Is the Multistrada V4 Pike Peak?
The Multistrada V4 Pikes Peak promises to be the most powerful and sporty Multistrada yet. Ducati wouldn’t reveal any power or torque output figures, but its Panigale-derived Granturismo V4, which now features conventional spring-operated valves, is certain to have more grunt than the older Pikes Peak’s Testastretta DVT L-twin. Expect peak power to be a fraction higher than the current Multistrada V4′s 170 hp at 10,500 rpm (up from V-twin’s 158 hp at 9,500 rpm) with torque output similar to the current V4′s 92 pound-feet at 8,750 rpm. A small increase in the over-rev is possible given that it’s such a sport-focused machine.
When Ducati introduced the new Multi V4 this year, the move to a 19-inch front wheel to improve its off-road capabilities was a major shift. For the Pikes Peak model, Ducati has opted for 17-inch wheels, underlining its new track focus and lack of off-road ambition. Further underscoring Ducati’s serious sporting aspirations for the model, the testbike was fitted with Pirelli SC1 slicks (120/70-17 front, 200/60-17 rear) especially for the day of my ride.
The older twin-cylinder Pikes Peak ran conventional Öhlins suspension units, but now Ducati has opted for semi-active Öhlins suspension, both front and rear, instead of the electronic Skyhook Marzocchi items found on the 2021 Multi V4 S. Ducati wouldn’t confirm the spec, but they appear similar to those on Panigale V4 S.
There are four riding modes to choose from: Race, Sport, Touring, and Urban. The Race mode has replaced the standard bike’s Enduro mode.
As expected, a whole array of rider aids are linked to these modes, including lean-sensitive traction control and ABS, plus wheelie control. The large TFT dash highlights the riding mode, rider aids, and the preselected suspension setup, right down to spring preload. There’s also an up and down quickshifter. These rider aids will be completely new, with new settings and algorithms to match the new chassis and shorter-travel suspension. Launch control wasn’t discussed or tried, but we can assume cruise control as standard, probably the Adaptive Cruise Control first seen on the Multi V4 this year.
The radial-mounted Brembo Stylema brake calipers appear to be the same as those found on the V4S Multistrada, although the discs and brake pad material are likely to be different. Again, the lean-sensitive ABS will have a different setting compared to the long-travel Multi V4.
Riding the 2022 Ducati Multistrada V4 Pikes Peak
At the end of the autodromo’s straight, approaching the top of fifth gear, it’s hard on the Brembo stoppers and back to second gear on the quickshifter’s auto-blipper for a tight right. Stopping power is enormous, and the bike’s stability and control are equally striking.
Yes, the Pikes Peak is in a different league than the Multi V4S, itself a competent ride. In fact, knee-down left to knee-down right is so easy and accurate it can’t just be down to the smaller-diameter wheels. I guess Ducati has reduced both unsprung weight and possibly the bike’s overall weight too.
Going to Sport mode it seems power isn’t arm-ripping fierce, and I suspect available torque is limited in the first two gears. Driving hard out of the Modena circuit’s final turn in second gear, it’s quick but not aggressive. With the throttle pinned to the stop, the rider aids can be felt controlling the front wheel lift in second gear.
Grip isn’t an issue on slicks, but ultimately pegs start to scrape and the bike begins to run wide of corner apexes, signaling the limit for Sport mode suspension settings designed for brisk riding on road tires.
Then it’s into Race mode. The ride is firmer, while preload is taken up from 16 to 21 and clearly shown on the dash. Rider aids are also backed off. The difference between Race and Sport modes is immediately evident, highlighting the thought put into the electronics and the quality of the semi-active suspension.
There is even more control and noticeably less fork travel along with less intrusive lean-sensitive ABS. Stability when braking heavily from high speed is solid, and at the extreme lean angles generated by the Pirelli slicks the pegs still touch down, but they’re not buried into the racetrack as they were in Sport mode. Changes in direction are now lightning fast, as the taut chassis allows you to turn a fraction quicker and put the Pikes Peak’s power down sooner. Power output in Sport and Race modes feels similar, with Race a little sharper at the bottom and the throttle map slightly more aggressive.
We’ve only gotten a taste of what the new Multistrada V4 Pikes Peak will be. There’s no spec sheet at the moment, and the development team is still putting the final touches onto the bike. But we can safely predict it will be the sportiest Multistrada yet.
When it arrives in showrooms in 2022, the new Pikes Peak will be radically different to its stablemate V4 with 17-inch wheels, new chassis dimensions, and all-new track focus—the same in name and engine only. We can’t wait to ride the finished bike.