Ducati Multistrada V4 Rally

FIRST RIDE: 2023 Ducati Multistrada V4 Rally



It turns out that the Italians know how to make a pretty damn good rocket. While other entities are working to build rockets that take off vertically toward the moon or other celestial bodies, the Italian rocket I’m referring to works in a horizontal direction. It’s fast. Like the transition to hyperspace as depicted in the Star Wars movies fast. Controlled with an accelerator, which is Italian for warp drive control widget, or the throttle in plain old English, this Italian rocket works thusly: whack the throttle and four cylinders start converting air and refined dinosaur juice into angular momentum at a rate that would have enabled Wile E. Coyote to actually catch the roadrunner. 5,000 RPM feels powerful. 7,000 RPM is where you better be hanging on. If you’ve got the road in front of you and the cajones to hold the throttle on the stop all the way to 10,750 RPM, you’ll be using all 170 horsepower (at the crank) and experiencing the completion of the transition to hyperspace. It’s ridiculously good fun, and the rocket that makes this possible is called the Ducati Multistrada V4 Rally.


The V4 Rally is the latest variant of the Multistrada platform built to, in Ducati’s words “unlock the world.” To accomplish this, the bike has a number of changes and revisions compared to the other flavors of Multistrada that make it one of the most premium, technologically advanced, powerful, capable, and expensive rockets - I mean bikes - ever produced.

Ducati Multistrada V4 Rally
Ducati Multistrada V4 Rally

To share the Multistrada V4 Rally with us, Ducati USA created a two-day riding experience in the San Juan Mountains of Colorado; a place in which I was fortunate enough to grow up, so trust me when I say it’s a great place to ride an adventure bike. Our two-day event would let us ride the Rally on plenty of awesome high altitude twisty windy two lane roads, gravel superhighways, dirt tracks, through a few rainstorms, and even a high mountain pass. As someone who is very unfamiliar with all things Multistrada, I had a lot to learn about how Italian bikes do this adventure riding thing.


Sitting on the bike for the first time, Ducati started my familiarization tour by briefing me on the

Multistrada V4 Rally’s suspension: fully electronic Skyhook DSS EVO suspension offers 200 mm or 7.9 inches of front and rear stroke. With a few flicks of a control stick on the left hand switch gear, riders can adjust suspension settings to their preferences and riding conditions. Another button lets you tell the bike whether you’re riding one up, two up, with luggage, or if you just want the bike to set the perfect amount of sag for the weight it’s carrying. The Rally’s suspension also has a minimum preload function where the bike will reduce seat height when you stop, and Easy Lift, which softens up the suspension making it easier to get the bike off the side stand.


Speaking of seat height, the Rally has a plethora of available seats, and combined with different seat positions and an optional lowered suspension kit, I’ll just say there are many different seat heights that can be configured to help the rider better fit the bike ranging from 805mm or 31.7 inches to 905mm or 35.6 inches. The standard seat can be set at either 870mm or 34.3 inches or 890mm or 35.0 inches. I opted for the standard seat in the high position, and found it ideal for my 6 foot, 1 inch frame. On the standard suspension, ground clearance measures in at 235mm or 9.25 inches.

Ducati Multistrada V4 Rally

Forward of the Rally’s seat, you’ll find the beautiful, brushed aluminum fuel tank which holds 30L or 7.9 gallons of fuel. Ducati claims fuel consumption should be around 36 mpg, so figure around 300 miles on a tank – but don’t be surprised if you get lower economy numbers than that, because you can’t help but let the Multistrada V4 Rally’s brilliant motor eat.


The V4 Granturismo Evo engine is an impressive motor with a feature set that sounds like it came out of a car and not a motorcycle. The rear cylinders deactivate at idle or at light engine loads under 4,500 RPM, which helps with fuel consumption and heat output. Service intervals are oil every 9,000 miles or two years, and you don’t need to pop a valve cover off until you’ve logged 36,000 miles.


The centerpiece of the Rally’s cockpit is a 6.5 inch TFT display that does a great job of communicating information to the rider, but it’s not the fastest UI/UX in town. In front of the dash, you’ll find an enlarged windscreen which has the best height adjustment system I’ve ever used. You simply press a lever to drop the windscreen and pull up on the same lever to raise the windscreen. Other manufacturers take note – Ducati has nailed how to make a windscreen work.

Other call-outs during my pre-ride familiarization tour of the bike included the Blind Spot Monitoring system, which lights up part of the mirror to let you know when someone is hiding where you can’t see them, and how to use the adaptive cruise control. There’s so much tech on this bike that you really need to spend time with it to fully appreciate all of the features available to the rider – but it was time to go riding, so further learning would have to take place as they say, on the job.


Starting in Touring Mode with default settings, the Rally quickly demonstrated what an impressive grand touring bike it is. The motor is smooth and tractable down low, which makes the Rally confidence inspiring and approachable. Working our way out of town in weekday traffic was no sweat, and I didn’t find myself wanting the additional support the rider aids provide in the Urban Riding Mode.


Out on the open road, the Rally’s in its element. The bike makes miles melt away thanks to its dialed ergos, and that wonderful windscreen that provided great wind protection at any speed to my body and my MX style helmet. If I was going for an Iron Butt attempt – this would be a hard bike to beat, with the way it makes any rate of travel feel as easy as drinking a morning cup of coffee. Road handling is outstanding. The bike is precise, nimble, and tracks through any shape of corner brilliantly, but what else would you expect from a Ducati?

Ducati Multistrada V4 Rally

The challenge quickly becomes balancing keeping your license with your lizard brain desire for more throttle. When you do eventually decide that you should slow down to speeds where you’ll actually get to keep your license if you’re caught – the Rally’s monster 330mm front brakes have all the stopping power, if not the most consistent lever feel out there. Squeezing the front brake lever hard while stopped will also activate Hill Hold Mode, which is a great feature for making quick stops to futz with some piece of gear.


Heading north out of Silverton, the road gets distinctly more twisty, more windy, and much more exposed. An off here is game over. The only logical thing to do then is to click into Sport Mode which backs off of the intervention from the acronym soup of rider aids. I also opted to customize the Ride Mode by stiffening up the Rally’s suspension. Red mountain pass has a little bit of everything: rapid successions of corners that let you really appreciate side to side transitions, 180 degree horseshoes, and all sorts of increasing and decreasing radius turns with elevation changes and exposure for good measure. If there’s a better, more beautiful place to stretch a bike’s legs – I have yet to find it.


The V4 Granturismo Evo engine is hard to put into words. Once you open it up, this motor will keep pouring on linear power for so long, you can’t help but glance down at the dash to confirm what your ears are telling you – yes, RPM is in fact currently being measured with five significant figures. The Rally revs like a modern 350, except the Rally’s motor is like four 350 motors working in concert; it’s quite an addicting experience, and it makes almost everything else feel slow in comparison. In Sport Mode, The Multistrada V4 Rally was an absolute giggle, and to be clear, the bike is far more capable than I am on road. But boy howdy – it’s good fun on a road like Red Mountain pass, and even at elevations greater than 10,000 feet above sea level, it’s still quite the rocket.

Ducati Multistrada V4 Rally
Ducati Multistrada V4 Rally

After a bit more San Juan Skyway, our route finally turned to dirt and it was time to answer the question, “How does the Rally actually get on in the dirt?” On well graveled ranch roads where carrying plenty of speed was all too easy, the Rally felt at home. The 19 inch front and 17 inch rear wheels shod in Pirelli Rally STR tires performed great on-road in the morning, and now I was enjoying how well they slid under power on corner exit on miles of well graveled road. At speed, the Rally tracks well and the Enduro Mode’s default suspension setting did a great job soaking up the chatter to provide a very smooth ride. The default traction control setting for Enduro Mode was developed on the Rally STR tires, and it provided a good balance between drive and powerslide on corner exit.


Day two of our ride started off with a dirt road that I’m intimately familiar with. Thanks to a rainstorm the night before, things were a little slippery as we started logging miles for the day, and I found myself missing the on-the-fly traction control adjustment found on other bikes. It’s always interesting to see how a bike’s traction control system can find grip in slippery conditions, but I didn’t get the chance to stop and change the Rally’s traction control settings.


Thankfully, before we got into a section of trail where I knew I would have the opportunity to air out the Rally, I quickly stopped to crank the suspension to its firmest setting to see how the fancy electronic suspension would handle 573 pounds of bike and call it 220 pounds of rider and gear coming in for a landing. Let’s just say that if you put enough air under the tires before landing on uneven ground, parts of the bike’s belly will get a soil sample. Yet even on a particularly hard landing, the Rally stayed perfectly composed, so other than the recognition of the fact that I should stop scratching the belly of Ducati’s bike, things didn’t get scary at all, and I’m a fan of how easy it is to dial in the Rally’s suspension for the terrain in which you’re riding.

Our ride culminated in a run over Cinnamon Pass. Due to an unexpected delay that involved a reminder of why hard boxes are scary, we ended up riding the pass at last light. With a storm bearing down on myself and two other riders, it was time to take full advantage of being separated from the rest of our group to squirrel around a little bit and really see what the Rally could do on more technical, wet, muddy, and rocky terrain. I took full advantage of the situation by doing things like stopping on the loosest, rockiest climb I could find, just to see what getting going again was like. Technical lines were equally enjoyable, and I took every opportunity to ride though the fun stuff instead of just getting around it. With the exception of the road biased foot controls being somewhat of a hinderance (rear brake lever and shift lever too low), the Rally is light on its feet and confident off road, and it did a great job climbing to the top of Cinnamon Pass.


The way down was equally enjoyable as I got to play with the bike’s adjustable engine braking which makes the bike feel somewhat like a two stroke on its lowest setting, and conversely provides impressive levels of braking on its highest setting. This is a great feature for descending mountain passes without cooking your brakes, and just one more example of how much tech is packed into the Multi Rally.


Pulling into town that night with light rain falling, I found myself wanting more time with the Ducati Multistrada V4 Rally. This bike impressed me with its tech, performance, on and off-road capabilities, and most importantly, the experience it provided. I wanted to ride one more pass, powerslide out of one more gravel corner, or make one more lap over Red Mountain Pass – but as they say, all good things must come to an end.


Ducati's Multistrada V4 Rally is an impressive bike – and it better be given the price tag it commands. The bikes we rode start at $30,595, and that’s before you factor in the accessories like crash bars, fog lights, and the extra guards that Ducati added on to our loaner bikes. This price point knocks the Rally off the radar for many riders, but for those who can afford it, the Multi Rally is a premium bike that’s quite capable, packed with tech, and an absolute hoot to ride. If I was buying a Multi V4 Rally, I’d be ditching the hard boxes and sorting out the foot controls, but otherwise – I’d be a smitten kitten. If it’s in your budget, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed. I also think that the GS crowd should schedule a test ride at their local Ducati dealer soon – I expect Ducati is going to win over a few GS fans with the Multistrada V4 Rally.


For our First Ridewith the Ducati Desert X from Issue 74: CLICK HERE


For our First Ridewith the Ducati Multistrada 1200 Enduro Pro from Issue 18: CLICK HERE



ENGINE TYPE: Ducati V4 Granturismo, V4 – 90°, 4 valves per cylinder, counter-rotating crankshaft, twin pulse firing order, semi dry sump, liquid cooled




BORE X STROKE: 83 x 53.3 mm




POWER: 125 kW (170 hp) @ 10,750 rpm


TORQUE: 121 Nm (89.2 ft-lbs) @ 8,750 rpm


FUEL INJECTION: Continental electronic fuel injection system, Øeq 46mm equivalent elliptical throttle bodies with Ride-by-Wire system


GEARBOX: 6 speed with Ducati Quick Shift up/down


PRIMARY DRIVE: Straight cut gears; Ratio 1.8:1


CLUTCH: Multiplate clutch with hydraulic control. Self-servo action on drive, slipper

action on over-run


FRAME: Aluminum monocoque frame


FRONT SUSPENSION: Ø50 mm fully adjustable usd fork with internal stroke sensor. Electronic

compression and rebound damping adjustment with Ducati Skyhook

Suspension EVO (DSS)


FRONT WHEEL: Spoked wheel 3″ x 19 Tubeless″


FRONT TIRE: Pirelli Scorpion Trail II 120/70 R19


REAR SUSPENSION: Cantilever suspension with fully adjustable monoshock. Electronic compression and rebound damping adjustment. Electronic spring preload adjustment with Ducati Skyhook Suspension (DSS). Aluminum double-sided swingarm


REAR WHEEL: Spoked wheel 4.5″ x 17″


REAR TIRE: Pirelli Scorpion Trail II 170/60 R17 Tubeless″


WHEEL TRAVEL: (FRONT/REAR): 200 mm – 200 mm (7.9 in – 7.9 in)


GROUND CLEARANCE: 235 mm (9.25 in)


FRONT BRAKE:2 x 330 mm semi-floating discs, radially mounted Brembo Stylema 4-piston calipers, 2-pad, radial master cylinder with cornering ABS as standard equipment


REAR BRAKE:265 mm disc, 2-piston floating calliper, with cornering ABS as standard equipment


INSTRUMENTATION: 6.5″ TFT color display with Ducati Connect and full-map navi system


DRY WEIGHT:227 kg (500 lb)


WET WEIGHT: 260 kg (573 lb)


SEAT HEIGHT:Adjustable 870 – 890 mm (34.3 – 35.0 in);


WHEELBASE: 1,572 mm (61.9 in)


FUEL TANK CAPACITY: 30 l (7.9 US gal)


PRICE (MSRP): Starting at $30.595 USD




This story was originally published in Issue 83