As an old African proverb goes, “If you want to go fast, go alone; if you want to go far, go together.” Well, the 2022 Ducati Multistrada V4 Pikes Peak responds to that adage by asking, “Why not both?”While the adventure sport-touring Multistrada has always proudly displayed its performance DNA, the Pikes Peak version goes back to its street-oriented roots. Plenty of changes are afoot for the Multistrada V4 Pikes Peak, including revised geometry, updated ergonomics, a single-sided swingarm, retuned electronics, and a 17-inch front wheel. It all adds up to a machine that’ll go fast and far.
With sunshine on our backs and dry roads ahead, we were able to put Ducati’s sportiest sport-tourer to the test in the comfort of our favorite back roads in Southern California. Now, let’s get on with the Fast Facts.
Updated ergonomics emphasize sport without detracting from comfort. Moving from ADV powerhouse to high-performance sport-tourer led to a few changes in the rider triangle—the handlebar is lowered 0.6 inches, narrowed 0.71 inches, and its sweep reduced. Those differences alone promote a bit more weight on the front end and a better connection to the pavement. The rearsets are raised and kicked back 0.4 inches, adding a whiff of aggression into the riding position and greater ground clearance. Importantly, it’s as roomy as its ADV brethren with wind protection that’s nearly on par—the abbreviated windscreen is still quite effective and marvelously easy to adjust. At the same time, the Multi’s ample fairing bust does its fair share of shielding. While we won’t be blasting through any brush on the Pikes Peak, the handguards also can be added to the list of creature comforts.
Don’t think we would avoid the elephant in the room—ADV and ADV-styled machines are tall. Ducati endeavored to create a motorcycle that’s thin at the waist, and with the smaller 17-inch wheel in play, the whole bike sits lower than its ADV-focused sibling. Thanks to those attributes, the low position of the plush two-position saddle (33.1 or 33.9 inches) allows my 32-inch to reach terra firma confidently. And things can be taken a step further in either direction. Optional low (1.2 inches shorter than standard) and high (0.6 inches taller than standard) seats open the door to riders of more shapes and sizes. Accessory seats are $312 and pre-wired for heat. Our test was equipped with the low seat that certainly makes me feel I am “in” the chassis. Although it isn’t plush at the standard seat, I did enjoy reaching the deck easily.
Speaking of styling, the 2022 Ducati Multistrada V4 Pikes Peak flexes a few special bits. While the “1” plate might reference the Multis history of claiming victories at PPIHC, the whole of the livery is inspired by Ducati’s Desmosedici GP21 race bikes. In that vein, we also see a lovely carbon fiber nose fairing and mudguard, with a stubby smoked-windscreen and Akrapovič titanium-carbon fiber muffler rounding out the model-exclusive aesthetic choices.
The Pikes Peak International Hill Climb is near and dear to Ducati. It’s a course where the Italian brand amassed seven class wins—five achieved on Multistradas before an indefinite hiatus was placed on two-wheeled racing following the passing of Carlin Dunne during the 2019 PPIHC. Records were broken, victories were had, and the Multistrada V4 Pikes Peak carries on the tradition of celebrating its namesake’s time and the brand’s efforts at The Race to the Clouds.
The 1158cc 90-degree V4 Granturismo powerplant is the definition of high-performance sport-touring. Laying down a whopping claimed 170 horsepower at 10,500 rpm and 92 ft-lbs of torque 8750 rpm, the V4’s performance figures almost speak for themselves. It is a burly block, undoubtedly, but docile when needed and loaded to the hilt with ultra-refined features. A decent blip of the throttle, and you’ll have access to loads of low-end shove before riding an endless midrange wave, and of course, top-end rush that will feel at home on the racetrack. A new redline strategy softens power as you creep up on rev-limiter, giving riders more of a warning that they’re running out of steam. Meanwhile, the gyroscopic-force-defying counter-rotating crankshaft plays a role in improving this beast’s handling abilities.
A six-speed gearbox and updated quickshift algorithms are a match made for hard riding. Immense power and wide ratios give you lots of leeway with gear choice; crack the throttle and the shifter with glee, or plunk it in a taller gear and let the torque figure it out. The updated up/down quickshifter utilizes shorter cut-times and raised over-rev protection, perfect for spirited riding. In that setting, the shifts are flawless. It can be a bit harsh at lower- and mid-rpm, specifically when transitioning from 1st to 2nd to 3rd gear. All of that clears up in the latter half of the gearbox.
Chassis changes make the Multistrada V4 Pikes Peak handling sweet as can be. Ducati engineers worked to ramp up stability and agility in equal measure. The PP is endowed with a new monocoque frame that kicked the rake to 25.75 degrees and a longer single-sided swingarm that results in an unflappable 62.8-inch wheelbase. This thing is stout and steady on the edge of the tire that now uses a taller 190/55 rear tire profile for greater grip while cornering. What’s undeniably impressive is how agile this motorcycle is, thanks to the forged-aluminum 17-inch wheels that save a massive 8.8 pounds of unsprung weight, making this 527-pound motorcycle feel downright acrobatic. Racetrack duty? Oh, yes, please. I’d say the Pikes Peak will live up to that Multistrada tradition nicely. No comparison is needed—it’s the top of the heap in this department.
Öhlins Smart EC 2.0 suspension is in the mix. Yes, the very same kit that’s bolted onto the Streetfighter V4 S and Panigale V4 S has made its way onto the Pikes Peak, which Ducati feels is better suited for this road application than the off-road-focused Marzocchi Skyhook suspension on the Multistrada V4 S. At the touch of a button, one can dial in luxury-touring comfort or stiffness that parallels a Panigale. The software keeps the whole affair dive- or wallow-free, pretty much regardless of settings. In addition, you can adjust the shock’s spring-preload from the dash to compensate for passengers, luggage, or sportier aspirations. A good canyon route with the suspension in its “hard” setting gave the Pikes Peak balance and precision that many purpose-built sport motorcycles can only wish to achieve.
Alter the personality of your Pikes Peak on the fly. There are four fully customizable riding modes on deck—Race, Sport, Touring, and Urban. Each mode dictates your throttle map, and groups your engine power mode, multi-level cornering ABS, lean-angle-sensitive traction control, wheelie control, and suspension settings. Once you dive into the bright 6.5-inch TFT dash and pick your settings, you can have a mode for every part of your ride. New to the Multi platform is Race mode, borrowed from its superbike cousin, which offers racetrack-ready throttle response. In faster sections of road, it’s a blast, though it can be a tad overzealous in slower arenas. Sport is the perfect balance between them all, providing all the aggression I want, and it’s delivered smoothly. Touring tamps things down reasonably for the long haul, while 115-horsepower Urban mode tames the Pikes Peak.
The rider aids are suitable for all conditions. During our first outing with the 2022 Ducati Multistrada V4 Pikes Peak, I put my faith in the ABS, TC, and WC systems and was rewarded with a safe passage home. The updated and sport-focused ABS updates only complimented spirited riding, while the TC and revised WC earn top marks for stepping in strictly when necessary—no more, no less, matching the levels you choose.
Brembo brings out its best, once again. As if we expected any differently, we’re seeing Panigale-pilfered Brembo Stylema calipers and honking 330mm rotors. My word, do they haul this beast to a stop lickety-split and have all the feel you can imagine, and even more so now that they use the same brake pads as the Panigale. In the rear, a less extravagant setup does a fine job correcting lines and helping with low-speed puttering.
Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) and Blind Spot Detection (BSD) welcome you to a new age. Front- and rear-facing radar units are standard on the Pikes Peak edition, accommodating the latest ACC and BSD features, first launched on the Multistrada V4 platform. Select your desired distance, and ACC will automatically adjust your speed based on what’s in your line of sight—it maintains distance, speeds up, or piles on the binders, as necessary. Meanwhile, BSD provides a warning in the mirror when a vehicle, well, enters your blind spot. It works as advertised and, once you learn to use it, ensures that you won’t get caught out by another vehicle unexpectedly closing in on you. If there aren’t enough electronic feathers in your cap, you also get hill-hold assist and keyless ignition.
A laundry list of accessories is already available. Whether you’re doing to the track, across the country, or simply to the office, Ducati offers a formidable list of accessories for the PP. Essentially, anything available on the Multistrada V4 (save for the wheel options) is applicable here—no need to worry about luggage compatibility. Complete Akra race system, anyone? Dry clutch conversion? Oh, all the naughty Ducati bits are there. Though, for a motorcycle of this caliber, price, and purpose, I feel that heated grips should be included.
As mean as that twin-pulse firing order sounds out of the Akrapovič titanium-carbon fiber muffler, the Granturismo’s 36,000-mile valve service interval is easy on the wallet.
The 2022 Ducati Multistrada V4 Pikes Peak is taking Sport-Touring to new heights. The Multistrada’s many roads eventually led it to Pikes Peak, where it saw plenty of success at the hands of numerous riders during its tenure at the Race to the Clouds, and this is the most potent Pikes Peak edition yet. Near superbike levels of handling, performance, and electronic aids are mated to a platform designed to rack up mileage in pure comfort. A flagship of this distinction asks for quite a few pretty pennies, but few motorcycles can offer the amount of thrilling performance and versatility on tap.
Hello everyone and welcome once again to Ultimate Motorcycling’s weekly Podcast—Motos and Friends.
My name is Arthur Coldwells.
This week’s Podcast is brought to you by Yamaha motorcycles. Discover how the YZF-R7 provides the perfect balance of rider comfort and true supersport performance by checking it out at YamahaMotorsports.com, or see it for yourself at your local dealer.
This week’s episode features Senior Editor Nic de Sena’s impressions of the beautiful new Harley-Davidson Low Rider ST that is loosely based around the original FXRT Sport Glide from the 1980s. Hailing from The Golden State, these cult-status performance machines became known as West Coast style, with sportier suspension, increased horsepower, and niceties including creature comforts such as a tidy fairing and sporty luggage.
In past episodes you might have heard us mention my best friend, Daniel Schoenewald, and in the second segment I chat with him about some of the really special machines in his 170 or so—and growing—motorcycle collection. He’s always said to me that he doesn’t consider himself the owner, merely the curator of the motorcycles for the next generation.
Yet Daniel is not just a collector, but I can attest a really skilled rider. His bikes are not trailer queens, they’re ridden, and they’re ridden pretty hard. Actually, we have had many, many memorable rides on pretty much all of the machines in the collection at one time or another.
From all of us here at Ultimate Motorcycling, we hope you enjoy this episode!