Ducati has redesigned the Multistrada to create the Rally model, a premium adventure bike to travel faster, farther, and more comfortably, even off-road and with a passenger. I took the bike for my first ride in Sardinia, Italy.
With the Rally, Ducati goes one step further than the previous Multistradas and squeezes almost everything technically feasible into a luxury adventure bike that can comfortably take two people almost anywhere.
The specs show improvements to the chassis, rider comfort, and fuel range, while engine power remains unchanged. To reduce fuel consumption, the electronic engine management has been revised and the bike can now temporarily deactivate the two read cylinders in certain riding conditions. This should also reduce the amount of heat blasted at the rider.
During the 115-mile loop on and off-road in southern Sardinia, I noticed an increase in the fuel range, also thanks to the larger, almost eight-gallon aluminum tank. Fortunately, the tank’s design is the same and it still offered a comfortable position for the knees and legs.
To improve the bike’s off-road chops, suspension travel has been increased by 1.18 inches at the front and 0.78 inches at the rear. As a result, ground clearance under the 3mm thick engine cover plate has increased to 9.2 inches.
Thanks to a revamped rear brake assembly, the brake pump has been repositioned so that it no longer protrudes downward beyond the skid plate, which could turn into a problem riding through rocks on the old Multistrada.
With the chassis update, the seat height has been raised to 32.4 inches. There are options with different foam heights, for both the rider and passenger seat.
To provide more space for the passenger, the aluminum panniers have been moved back by more than an inch. They now hang from a frame that can be attached to the bike either flexibly or rigidly by attaching or removing two mounting plates and the rear strut. The manufacturer recommends the flexible solution for fast highway travel.
To make it easier to lift the 620-pound bike from the side stand, Ducati engineers have developed a system called Easy Lift. This system opens the suspension hydraulics on the fork and shock so that the Multi sinks slightly into the springs when lifted up. Also, at a low speed and when stopping, the suspension is lowered slightly thanks to the minimum preload feature that reduces the spring preload of the shock.
On the Road and on the Trail
During my test ride in southwestern Sardinia, the V4 purred placidly during the first miles, making me feel safe and protected behind the 0.7 inches taller windshield that remains adjustable with one hand. The seating position is very comfortable without having to crouch too deep in the seat.
The new transparent spoilers cover the arms and hands better. The air intakes now have flaps on the side of the engine to keep cold drafts and rainwater away from the rider.
The winding 20-mile test route snaked directly along the Mediterranean coast. On the grippy tarmac, the Multistrada Rally threw herself into the turns with ease, as if she was a Panigale Superbike.
Hard braking hardly worried the mounted Pirelli Scorpion STR tires. The Multistrada keeps pointing straight into the corners, exactly where you want it to go.
At the same time, the front fork responded to heavy braking maneuvers with ingenious progressivity, compressing only as much as needed to get clear feedback from tire contact with the road. Sporty or relaxed, the Rally is suitable for any riding style and it seems that the famous tires have never offered such exceptional performance on the road as they do with the Ducati.
No doubt this is also to the credit of the exceptionally good overall chassis design, which covers a very wide range of riding conditions. I tested three (of the four) riding modes during the loop—Sport, Touring, and Enduro—and the suspension setup was always perfect.
Even on the very narrow inland roads with many curves and switchbacks, the Multi handled very well. However, due to the high center of gravity with a full tank and the associated inertia, you should always enter fast turns or slow corners with maximum concentration. Otherwise, the Ducati "pendulum" could swing over too much when whipping the Rally from one side to the other.
With calm and good riding skills, the Rally can also be ridden safely off-road. The Enduro mode cuts 56 hp of power and adjusts the hydraulics and spring preload to better cope with bumps, jumps, and rocks.
Pay attention when sliding the back of the Multistrada around gravel roads, though—there is some inertia that wants to keep pushing!
With a moderate riding style, it is possible to get beyond where dirt roads end, even with two people and luggage, all the way to the beach or the mountain hut.
Despite the heavier weight and longer suspension travel, the Multistrada Rally has conserved all her qualities as an excellent road bike. Comfort, range, and off-road capabilities have been improved, and the fuel consumption is noticeably lower.
The bike's workmanship, quality, and design are absolutely first class. The Multistrada Rally is the ultimate adventure tourer at a (admittedly hefty) base price.
+ Engine performance, stability, comfort
- Weight, price, seat height (if you are below 5,5” tall)
Facts & Info
Distributor: Ducati North America
Engine: V4, liquid-cooled, 90°, counter-rotating crankshaft, 4-valve
Power: 70hp @10,750 rpm; 89lb-ft @8.750rpm
Transmission: 6-speed, up/down quickshifter, multi-plate clutch, chain final drive
Weight (Wet): 573lbs (claimed)
Seat Height: 34.3-35in
Fuel Capacity: 7.9gal
Fuel Consumption: 15.5mpg (claimed)
Colors: brushed aluminum/matte black