As big capacity road focussed adventure bikes, aka ‘tall rounders’, continue to grow in not just sales but also in terms of power, size and stature, it still has to be remembered that a lot of people don’t want or need 160bhp, 250kg of metal and a seat that’s so high the bike should come equipped with its own step ladder. Sometimes less can actually be more, and that’s exactly what Ducati have done with their latest iteration of the Multistrada V2 and V2 S.
Of course, Ducati has a bigger, flagship, Multistrada, powered by their V4 engine – but that doesn’t make the V2 edition small or insignificant in any sense of the world. That 937cc motor packs a respectable 113bhp and 96Nm torque, which to put into perspective, was more peak power than an R1200GS packed just ten years ago – and more than even the Africa Twin does now. Although it’s the same basic motor as the previous generation, it’s had a whole host of changes, including to the conrods and the clutch. In total it saves 2kg, while an updated gearbox promises to make gearchanges that little bit smoother. It’s also got everything you could ask for from a tall-rounder in terms of handling too, thanks to a tried and tested steel trellis frame, lighter, cast-aluminium wheels, long travel Ducati Skyhook semi-active suspension, Brembo brakes and Pirelli Scorpion Trail 2 tyres. Electronically, the V2 S has all the bells and whistles you could ever need, starting with a TFT dash that powers three different rider modes, cornering ABS, traction control, a quickshifter and autoblipper and of course, the semi-active suspension. It all sounds fairly similar to the last one, right? Well yes, but not exactly, as the ’22 model has shed a whopping 5kg, to weigh in at 225kg, alongside a lower and narrower seat unit among the few tweaks. At £14,495, it’s by no means a cheap bit of kit, but is it the perfect balance of performance and usability, complete with that special, Ducati zest?
In the metal, it’s hard to think otherwise. The Multistrada V2 has the presence of a range topping machine, with its aggressive looks and exquisite finish. Just like the outgoing Multistrada 950 it really is a lovely bit of kit, but for someone who only has a 29” inside leg, it has vastly improved by becoming more accessible. Not only is the seat 10mm lower, at 830mm, but just as importantly the saddle is actually slimmer too, which when combined with the narrow, V-twin engine, makes the Multistrada V2 S a doddle to straddle. Combined with a really nice balance of weight, even at a standstill, the Multistrada feels easier, and more user-friendly, towards a smaller rider.
As with with so many modern Ducatis the dash is incredibly easy to use, and everything is exactly where you’d expect it to be on the handlebars. Although I’m not a big fan of keyless ignition I can just about accept it on a sports touring machine, and flicking the V2 into life gave off that reassuringly familiar bark from the 937cc Testastretta motor. Although Ducati have made a few internal tweaks and it’s now Euro5 compliant, it’s just as sweet as it always has been, offering up a smooth, torque-y ride that’s just as happy sitting at 20mph as it is blasting its way urgently up the revs at full throttle. Although I didn’t feel that there was a big issue before, the gearbox feels incredibly sweet both up and down with the ‘shifter at just about any revs, and I have to say, the clutch is nice and light too. If you’ve always wanted a tall-rounder but are a bit cautious when it comes to manoeuvres, the V2 really will make life easy for you. But it’s not just about being easy and docile, as the Multistrada V2 S really is as much bike as I’d ever look for in a sports tourer. Not only does that engine provide ample amounts of fun on the throttle but it’s also incredibly capable in the corners, offering up a level of agility that will keep sportsbikes on their toes throughout a twisty set of corners.
But then again, if you want to be touring and racking up the miles, even with the adjustments to the seat it’s still and incredibly roomy and comfortable machine, that feels just as much like a snug armchair as it does a motorbike. The new footpegs (lifted from the V4 machine) are a nice touch and the seat is a really nice level of soft, while the engine will sit comfortably and quietly at 70mph. As far as the riding experience goes, it really does tick all of my boxes.
The only downer for me is the price. It’s a lot of money, and it’s even more for the Travel pack. That bumps the price up to £15,525 and gives the Multistrada V2 S panniers, a centre stand and heated grips, which is something that I’d have to have if it was my own machine. It’s also worth noting that these bikes can be prone to a bit of buffeting from the screen, but at 5”7 and with that screen up top, I barely got any, even sitting at 70mph. I’ve heard a few taller riders say that they had some issues, but if you’re on the shorter side with a decent helmet, you should be absolutely fine.
Ducati’s Multistrada 950 was an incredible bit of kit, that offered up just as much in terms of durability, fun and ease, while being that little more attainable than its V4 beast of a big brother. Now though, the V2 S has pushed itself that little bit more; it’s an incredible machine that’s just as capable as before, while being easier to ride and exactly all you could ever need in a sports tourer. It’s a lot of money, yes, but if you’ve got the cash and you’re after a big, tall-rounder that’s friendlier than Ned Flanders from The Simpsons? Well this is the bike for you – and it’s complete with that Italian zest that makes riding a Ducati so special.