The Perfect Motorcycle?

Story by David Booth// Photos by David Booth & Nadine Filion
May 28 2024

The first motorcycle I’ve ever tested where I didn’t want to change anything. Okay, almost anything.

I think I might have found the holy grail. A motorcycle that needs absolutely no modification. Or at least a motorcycle that needs no modification for me.
To be more specific, there is, with but one exception — and, even that, is a matter of half-an-inch or so — there’s absolutely nothing I’d change about Ducati’s Multistrada V4 Rally. Not a damned thing. Not the handle-bar, no alternate bend or bar riser needed thank you very much. Not the windshield, Ducati’s latest featuring the first adventure bike windscreen in history I wouldn’t change for a Givi Airflow. Nor the seat or, as is so common these days, the suspension. Hell, when the tires wore out, I’d even put on another set of OEM Pirelli Scorpion Trail IIs. As an old curmudgeon who revels in finding fault in anything and everything — I’m pretty sure that’s the very definition of being curmudgeonly — not having anything to complain about borders on the traumatic.

The V4 Granturismo is a Giant Amongst Adventure Bike Engines

That should be taken figuratively, not literally. Despite boasting twice as many pistons and a bunch more horsepower, Ducati’s V4 is only marginally bigger — it’s a little wider, but not as long or as tall — than the V-twin it replaces. It is also plenty powerful. In this guise, Ducati’s V4 displaces 1,158-cc, 55-cc more than the Panigale’s Desmosedici Stradale it’s based on. But, in a first in recent Ducati history, the bigger version uses springs to control its intake and exhaust valves rather than the company’s trademark Desmo system.

There are two immediate consequences. First, the Multistrada “only” puts out 170 horsepower, down from the as much as 240-hp the company wrings out of the V4 in pure Panigale superbike guise. The second is that all Multistrada V4s boast an incredible 60,000 kilometre valve service interval. Yes, 60,000 klicks between major services, with only minor items like air cleaners, oil and filters needing attention on a more regular basis. Compared with all its competition — save Harley-Davidson’s Pan America, with its hydraulic lash adjusters — it is now Ducati that offers the least intensive service regimen. Somewhere, Soichiro Honda is rolling over in his grave.

Not Enough Torque?

As for those 170 horses, they are more than enough. So too is, contrary to some reports, the Duke’s 89 lb-ft of maximum torque at 8,750 rpm. To hear some tell it, the Granturismo lacks low-end grunt. And ’tis true that BMW’s new R1300GS boasts more peak torque which is, as is characteristic of a twin, produced at a lower rpm. It’s also true that even BMW’s R1250 version of the big Boxer twin is a little…

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