Ducati unveils the 2023 Multistrada V4 Rally all-terrain globetrotter
Ducati has expanded its best-selling Multistrada family with a new Rally model based on the luxurious V4 S and upgraded with a series of changes and new tech designed to enhance its touring character, both on and off the road.
Since 2021, when Ducati infused the Multistrada with the 1,158-cc V4 Granturismo engine, the four-cylinder family has grown to include the higher-spec V4 S and V4 S Sport, as well as the more road-oriented Pikes Peak version.
The latest addition to the clan is built on the luscious foundation of the Multistrada V4 S, enhancing its already impressive equipment list that includes electronic suspension and two radars, with new tricks and upgrades.
Starting with the bike’s aerodynamics, Ducati opted for a redesigned windshield which is 40 mm (1.6 in) taller and 20 mm (0.8 in) wider, supported by two lower deflectors that promise to make life a lot quieter for both rider and passenger.
Compared to the other Multistrada V4 models, the Rally has a longer tail unit that allows for spacier seating and more leg room for the passenger when the standard side cases are fitted.
A timid redesign of the front part of the motorcycle was required in order to fit a larger fuel tank, upping its capacity to 30 liters (7.9 gal) from 22 L (5.8 gal), although the result doesn’t really change the familiar silhouette; more noticeable are the extra side protectors of the fuel tank, designed to prevent scratches from synthetic off-road pants and hard knee protectors rubbing against it.
The spoked rims, suitable for tubeless tires, and the larger engine guard are the only other features that set the Rally apart to the naked eye.
The off-road nature of the 2023 Multistrada V4 Rally is reflected in wider rider footpegs, longer suspension travel of 200 mm (7.9 inch), retuned off-road settings for the Marzocchi suspensions equipped with the sem-active Ducati Skyhook Suspension Evolution (DSS Evo) system, as well as a new power mode that comes into play whenever the Enduro Riding Mode is activated.
In this case the engine output is limited to 114 hp, with crisp throttle action and fitting settings for all the electronic systems, including the DSS Evo. The ABS deactivates at the rear wheel, the cornering function switches off at the front, and intervention level is set to minimum. Traction control is also dialed down while the wheelie control and the rear lift detection systems are turned off.
One compromise that Ducati made with the Rally is the decision to keep the same 19-inch front wheel found on the V4 S instead of going for the 21-inch rim of the Desert X. It’s a more or less understandable choice, as the large front wheel would weigh significantly on its road-carving ability. On the other hand, at 260 kg (573 lb) in running order the Multistrada V4 Rally doesn’t exactly sound like the easiest of motorcycles for demanding off-road riding, so going for the industry-standard front wheel size does sound more sensible.
Ducati introduced two new tricks with the Rally model, both employed with comfort and ease of use in mind. The Easy Lift function comes into play automatically when the ignition is turned on, opening the valves of the suspensions’ oil circuits in order to soften hydraulic compression and make lifting the bike from the side stand easier. It complements another similar feature that was introduced with the V4 S in 2022, the Minimum Preload function that lowers the motorcycle when stopped or riding at very low speed by minimizing the spring preload of the rear shock absorber.
There’s also an evolution of the rear cylinder bank deactivation system that’s used on all Multistrada V4 models and kills the ignition of the two rear cylinders when the bike is stopped, saving fuel, emissions, as well as some of the heat that would radiate to the passengers. In the Rally variant Ducati has extended this scheme to also operate when cruising at very low speeds.
Present in all riding modes, the system deactivates the rear cylinders when moving very slowly, and once the throttle twists for more acceleration the whole V4 powerplant comes instantly back to its normal state. Ducati says that it is calibrated differently for each gear, but does not work when the first gear is engaged to avoid standing starts on only two cylinders.
Apart from this kit, the V4 Granturismo engine has no changes from other Multistrada V4 applications. It delivers 170 hp at 10,750 rpm and 125 Nm at 8,750 rpm, and is characterized by the counter-rotating crankshaft that reduces the bike’s inertia for a very light feeling in corner entry.
The Ducati engine that did away with the desmodromic valve system also enjoys extremely wide service intervals; 15,000 km (9,320 miles) between oil changes and 60,000 km (37,282 miles) between valve clearance checks set the V4 Granturismo apart from most other motorcycle motors in the market.
The rest of the equipment of the Multistrada V4 Rally is identical to the V4 S, including the front and rear radar system that supports adaptive cruise control and blind spot detection.
The bike also enjoys the full Ducati Safety Pack, with numerous electronic systems that include engine braking control, traction control, wheelie control, vehicle hold control, keyless ignition, cornering ABS, cornering lights, and a luscious 6.5-inch TFT color screen with Bluetooth connectivity as standard.
The Ducati Multistrada V4 Rally will be available in February 2023 in three different versions; Adventure Radar, Adventure Travel & Radar equipped with aluminum side cases, heated grips and seats, and Full Adventure that also adds an Akrapovic exhaust silencer and a carbon fiber front mudguard.
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What's that long plug doing sticking out at the very lowest part of the skid plate?