Superbike upgrades for Ducati’s awesome V4-powered adventure bike
If you were in any doubt as to how far ‘big trailies’ have come in the past twenty years or so, just check this beast out. It’s the new Pikes Peak* version of the latest Ducati V4 Multistrada, and it looks properly awesome – especially if you compare it with the first ever Multistrada from 2003. Back then, an adventure touring machine would take on gentle twisting back roads well enough – but would have a bit of a fit if you showed it a race track. Now though, Ducati actually showed the 2022 version bombing around the Modena circuit in Italy during the press unveiling, to underline just how sporty the new Multistrada is.
The foundation for this machine is the current Multistrada V4S, and the Pikes Peak uses the same 1,158cc V4 Granturismo engine, with its unique-on-a-Ducati non-desmodromic valve gear and 170bhp peak power output. It’s fitted into an aluminium monocoque frame, and the bodywork shares a similar outline – but there the similarities end. The Pikes Peak bike has had a heap of engine and chassis tweaks that make it much sportier, while keeping most of the practicality of the standard Multistrada V4.
The wheels are now lightweight forged aluminium Marchesinis, with a 17-inch front for sharper steering and better performance tyre choice. Stock rubber is the new Pirelli Diablo Rosso IV with a 120/70 front and 190/55 rear. That smaller front wheel (down from the 19” on the Multistrada V4S) also means different steering geometry, tweaked for nimbler handling. Out back, the double-sided swingarm on the standard Multistrada is swapped for a superbike-style single-sided swinger.
Suspension is the high-end Öhlins Smart EC 2.0 semi-active setup, with a simple-to-use ‘event-based’ interface, as seen on the Panigale V4S and Streetfighter V4S models. Brakes are also shared with the firm’s high-end superbike: Brembo Stylema calipers and massive 330mm discs up front, with a radial master cylinder and dual-piston rear caliper. The Pikes Peak is 4kg lighter than the stock Multistrada V4S.
On the engine front, Ducati’s not had to spend much time on the basics of the Multistrada V4 Granturismo engine, but it has fettled the ride-by-wire throttle setup over the standard bike. It’s now got even sharper throttle response in the performance riding modes, and the quickshifter mapping is now more aggressive, for faster up- and down-shifts. It comes with an Akrapovic homologated carbon silencer, and there’s an optional full race Akra available as an aftermarket add-on.
The rest of the electronics package has been moved up the performance league too: there’s now a ‘Race’ riding mode for the first time on a Multistrada, which gives even higher performance for use on track. The ABS can be switched to allow a degree of rear wheel lift under hard braking, while the wheelie and traction control settings are also more ‘enthusiastic’, to suit hardcore track fans. At the other end of the rider aids scale, the Pikes Peak is also set up for Ducati’s radar-assisted adaptive cruise control system, for relaxed touring. It’s all controlled via a massive 6.5” colour LCD dashboard, with revamped backlit switchgear.
The bodywork has been reshaped, for a more sporty riding position, with higher pegs and narrower handlebars. The front mudguard and ‘beak’ are now full carbon fibre, and the paintscheme is by Aldo Drudi, in 2021 Desmosedici GP colours with a natty Ducati Corse badge on the front. You also get a two-tone seat and carbon fibre/titanium Akrapovic end can.
It’s a premium package, and the price is premium too: from £24,595. That’s an awful lot of cash, but then the Pikes Peak Multistrada V4 is an awful lot of bike.
* Pikes Peak is the name given to Ducati’s sportiest Multistradas, to celebrate the firm’s involvement with the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb race in Colorado in the US. Sadly, bikes are now barred from the competition after Ducati factory rider Carlin Dunne died in a crash on the course in 2019, while riding a prototype Streetfighter V4. But Ducati, it seems, is keeping the evocative title for its high-end Multistradas.
2022 Ducati Multistrada V4 Pikes Peak edition SPECS
Engine: DOHC 16v, 90° V-four, l/c, 1,158cc,
Bore x stroke: 83×53.5mm
Compression ratio: 14:1
Carburation: ride-by-wire fuel injection, 46mm equivalent elliptical throttle bodies
Max power (claimed) 170hp@10,500rpm
Max torque (claimed) 92ft lb@8,750rpm
Transmission: six speed gearbox, wet slipper clutch, chain final drive
Frame: aluminium monocoque
Front suspension: Öhlins 48mm USD forks, Smart EC2.0 semi-active electronic control
Rear suspension: single-sided swingarm, fully-adjustable Öhlins TTX monoshock, Smart EC2.0 semi-active electronic control
Brakes: twin 330mm discs, four-piston Brembo Stylema calipers (front), 260mm disc, twin-piston caliper (rear), cornering ABS
Wheels/tyres: forged aluminium/Pirelli Diablo Rossi IV, 120/70 17 front, 190/55 17 rear
Kerb weight : 239kg (214kg dry)
Fuel capacity: 22 litres
Equipment: 6.5” TFT, LED cornering headlight, radar-assisted cruise control, linked ABS, wheelie control, traction control, keyless ignition, rider power modes, heated grips