The color range consists of the classic Ducati Red with black rims, available for both Multistrada V2 and Multistrada V2 S, together with the new Street Grey livery with black frame and GP Red rims, which can only be ordered for the version S. (Ducati/)
Back in 2003 an unusual-looking streetbike slipped away from the Ducati factory and into the night. Like a probe for a coming alien invasion, the Multistrada 1000DS was sent ahead to test our appetite for change and sitting upright on all-round road bikes with plush, long-travel suspension.
Not many of us bought Ducati’s first attempt at an adventure bike, but the seeds were sown. Eighteen years later the Multistrada V4 has become synonymous with performance, sophistication, and above all, versatility. Touring, sport and trail riding, commuting, and especially with the new Pikes Peak V4 on the horizon, even trackdays fall within its zone.
The engine update has produced a saving of about 4.4 pounds, including the clutch (3.3 pounds) and its cover, gearbox drum, and connecting rods. (Ducati/)
Editor’s note: the Multistrada V4 has been reported on during the 2021 Ducati Multistrada V4 First Look Preview, 2021 Ducati Multistrada V4 S MC Commute Review, Is Ducati’s Multistrada V4 the Fastest Adventure-Touring Bike?, and 2021 Ducati Multistrada V4 S First Ride Review articles and videos.
But it’s really the “other” Multistrada, the smaller and less expensive 950 V2, that links most directly to the concept and spirit of the original 1000DS. Ducati introduced the 950 back in 2017 as an entry point into the Multistrada family. Its versatility, price, and proportionate performance made it a hit with those who don’t believe biggest is always best, but the 950 has largely remained in the shadow of the V4 Multis, particularly the best-selling V4 S.
Inner brake discs hubs save another 1.1 pounds and the wheels are, front 1.5 pounds and rear 2.2 pounds, lighter. (Ducati/)
For 2022 the Italians have focused on emphasising the V2′s strengths by making it lighter, more comfortable, and even easier to ride and maneuver, especially for shorter riders. New, rider-friendly ergonomics, including a thinner and lower seat, and a significant weight saving of 5 kilograms (11 pounds) result.
Ducati hasn’t tried to reinvent its adventure bike; it has developed and refreshed the existing model with small but significant changes, many of which have been asked for by existing Multistrada owners. There’s a lighter clutch, a roomier riding position (with 0.4 inch more between pegs and seat), and a saving on unsprung weight with 3.7-pound-lighter wheels from the premium Multistrada V4 replacing the older rims.
It uses the 937cc Testastretta 11° with power and torque remaining unchanged at 113 hp at 9,000 rpm and 71 pound-feet at 7,750 rpm. (Ducati/)
As before there are four riding modes to choose from: Urban, Touring, Sport, and Enduro. With a 19-inch front wheel and off-road-capable Pirelli Scorpion Trail II rubber, the new Multi V2 is unfazed by moderately challenging off-road terrain. Unlike the base V2, this more expensive S model option comes equipped with Ducat’s Skyhook EVO semi-active suspension, meaning each riding mode changes the suspension setup, as well as the lean-sensitive traction control, and ABS rider aids.
Given that my testbikes’s fully loaded panniers—included in the Travel pack fitted to my test unit—added extra weight to the rear end, I electronically adjusted the suspension accordingly by selecting “rider plus luggage” from the menu, which added a little spring preload.
There are four riding modes: Sport, Touring, Urban, and Enduro. (Ducati/)
Throwing a leg over for the first time, I found the 0.4-inch-lower seat height and narrower seat shape, which shortens the length of the inner-seam arch, are immediately evident. I’m 5-foot-7 and almost flat-footed on the tarmac, which is rare on bikes of this type. This standard seat now sits at 32.7 inches and can’t be lowered on a ratchet system like some; instead, Ducati offers a lower seat option of 31.9 inches as well as a suspension lowering kit that drops seat height to 31.1 inches, while a higher 33.5-inch seat option has been added to the catalog for taller riders.
Wide service schedules means an oil change every 9,300 miles and valve clearance checks every 18,600 miles. (Ducati/)
The Multi V2 lacks the 21-inch-diameter front wheel of the genuine off-road-focused adventure bikes, but it can definitely take on the trails. As Enduro mode is selected you feel the electronic Sachs suspension rise slightly in readiness for the rough terrain. Ducati fitted lighter, Multi V4-style mirrors to the V2 and the curvature of their stems means your forearms aren’t impeded when you stand up. The manually adjustable screen is, on its lowest setting, just about low enough to gaze over in the standing position. It all works nicely.
And now, when you come to a standstill, it’s easier for feet to reach and get traction on the uneven surface, which inspires trust, especially for short riders. There is a threshold, of course, as the road-biased bars are set too low for prolonged or technical dirt adventures and I’d want more room around the pegs for my heels, especially on the right side, which is slightly limited due to the exhaust routing.
The Ducati Performance catalog offers a lower seat and lowering suspension kit, which in combination reduce the seat height to 31.1 inches. (Ducati/)
As I left the dusty trails at the rear, it’s a quick switch into Urban mode, which behaves like a wet mode with relatively early intervention from the TC and ABS. The V2 is in its element on flowing asphalt and tight urban streets alike. The fueling in Urban mode is softer and accurate, and tickling the throttle results in a seamless, linear response from the 937cc Testastretta 11°—a far cry from the snatchy old 1000DS.
The ingenious semi-active suspension runs on noticeably soft settings, delivering control over speed ramps and ironing out broken surfaces nicely. New riders will welcome the V2′s balance and calm nature at slow speed and now, thanks to that narrower and lower seat, how easy it is to bring to a standstill.
At 26 liters the right pannier is slightly smaller than the left (30 liters), due to the exhaust routing, but both ooze quality. (Ducati/)
On open roads it’s another mode change—into Touring mode, easily done on the move with a closed throttle—and again the changes in the Ducati’s performance and suspension are immediately notable. The setup is still on the soft side but the fueling is more urgent, with what appears to be more power to play with.
On the open road you begin to get a flavor of the 113 hp twin. There is a pleasant bark to the engine and exhaust, and Ducati has made clutch actuation lighter while an up-and-down quickshifter that’s standard on the S model adds to the acoustic experience as it cuts the ignition. It’s pleasingly smooth and effortless too.
Ducati created a two-day road test to enable us to get a flavor for its “entry-level” Multi V2 S, including an epic tour around Tuscany in northern Italy. (Ducati/)
As the corners start coming, the V2′s chassis begins to reveal its ability. Ducati has reduced the new bike’s weight—most significantly its unsprung weight by adopting wheels from the V4 Multi—which in theory should allow it to steer quicker, but the added bulk of those panniers pretty much cancels out any obvious new sportiness.
Steering is, however, precise and neutral, and the Skyhook EVO suspension immaculately controls the fork dive and squat from rear squat, making the ride smooth and effortless.
Three levels of Bosch cornering ABS and eight levels of traction control are standard on both the standard and S model. (Ducati/)
The ride is as high quality and as plush as you’d expect from a $17,895 ($15,295 for the V2) Ducati, and in mixed weather conditions Ducati’s advanced rider aids, both the lean-sensitive traction control and ABS, are quietly superb. It’s comforting to have such effective electronic backup which, like the rider modes, can be tailored to match the rider and conditions via the TFT dash.
In Sport mode there is another detectable adjustment to the chassis and the reaction of the semi-active Skyhook EVO suspension. There is less travel, the chassis feels tauter, the body of the bike moves less—particularly when you start to ride hard.
The Multistrada family is expanding for 2022. The new base-model Multi V2 is the entry into this class, followed by the Multi V2 S (as tested). (Ducati/)
While 113 hp may not appear like a lot of power, especially when it’s pushing 496 pounds (plus loaded panniers and rider) through the air, it never feels inder-clubbed. There is plenty of torque and drive lower down, plus a clean and satisfying spread of power further up the rev range.
But after two days of riding the Multi V2 S nobody was complaining; comfort simply isn’t an issue. The engine proved frugal, returning 5.1 liters per 100 kilometers (46 mpg) and 5.3L/100km (44 mpg), which equates to a best range of 244 miles. Three uninterrupted hours in the saddle shouldn’t be a problem. Heated grips are options but cruise control is fitted as standard and operated via the left bar. The screen is manually adjustable and offers sufficient wind protection and low buffeting for most rider sizes. My only niggle is the wind noise, which at speed is noisier than expected.
The S comes equipped with semi-active suspension, a quickshifter, hands-free cornering headlights, cruise control, a 5-inch TFT dash, and backlit handlebar controls. (Ducati/)
This 2022 refresh isn’t a gigantic leap ahead for the smaller Multistrada but it is a significant model for those who—be it by seat height, weight, or price—are disconcerted by big adventure bikes. It is far more accessible than the V4 and more user-friendly than the current V2, and deserves to attract a new and younger audience. The base model is an attractive $15,295, but fully loaded with the Travel package and you push that to more than TBD.
For that, however, you get Ducati styling, excellence, and character plus a high level of performance and handling and excellent rider aids. It’s a competitive market, but the new V2 S should carry on the accomplishments of the now old 950 as it’s now more appealing to a greater audience than earlier.
The heated grips, centerstand, and panniers are all optional extras as part of the Travel pack. (Ducati/)
2022 Ducati Multistrada V2 S Technical Specifications and Price
||937cc, liquid-cooled L-twin; 4-valves/cyl.
|BORE x STROKE
||94.0 x 67.5mm
||Fuel injection w/ ride-by-wire 53mm throttle bodies
||Wet, multiplate slipper; hydraulically actuated
||113 hp @ 9,000 rpm
||71 lb.-ft. @ 7,750 rpm
||Electronic fully adjustable 48mm inverted fork; 6.7 in. travel
||Electronic shock, fully adjustable; 6.7 in. travel
||Brembo radial 4-piston caliper, 320mm disc w/ cornering ABS
||Brembo 2-piston floating caliper, 265mm disc w/ cornering ABS
||Cast aluminum; 19 x 3.0 in. / 17 x 4.5 in.
||Pirelli Scorpion Trail II
|CLAIMED WET WEIGHT
||2 years, unlimited mileage