Redline Magazine

Multistrada dynasty

As the Multistrada turns twenty, we look back at the history and successes of a family that changed the course of history for Ducati and the motorcycling world in general.
A name, a promise

Multistrada (meaning ‘Multi-road’) - there was never a more perfect name for a bike that would shape Ducati history like few others. A name that says so much about a model that changed the course of the Italian company, essentially becoming a brand within the brand. Multistrada. An international name, because it is always pronounced in the same way, whatever part of the world you come from. It is a Multistrada, whether you live in Italy, France, Germany or Australia.

Ahead of its time for twenty years

The idea of proposing a multi-faceted Ducati, more versatile and suited to a variety of conditions of use – without forgetting the high performance that characterises every Ducati – dates all the way back to 2003. Twenty years and more than 100,000 bike sales later, the Multistrada has traced a rather unexpected path, venturing down roads that the brand had not previously explored and even carving new ones. The arrival of each new model on the market has represented a milestone not just for Ducati but for the entire motorcycling world. Because each new model has debuted technologies that other companies have gone on to adopt within their own ranges.

2003. Multistrada 1000.

First generation

2003 marks the start of the Multistrada dynasty. With a new lease of life, Ducati has long been associated with the concept of extreme sports attitude. The 916 and the Monster have become icons, while the Supersport bikes are for the purists. But the company realises that while sports bikes satisfy the hard-core enthusiasts, the future that is developing will require more versatile models, suited to sports use but also touring, perhaps heavily loaded up with luggage. All without losing that Ducati spirit. 

With its 17” front wheel (other crossovers of the time had an 18-inch solution), the newly created Multistrada promises supermotard-style corner entry and sports-style performance. Crossover yes, but with a Ducati soul and all the right elements, including the trellis frame, single-sided swingarm, 1100 cc air-cooled Desmodue engine, and a dry clutch. And a record-breaking weight of just 195 kg. The front-heavy setup seems to emphasise the speed with which it will enter the corners.

A Ducati the likes of which has never been seen before

Is it a Ducati? Undoubtedly so, as the engine and trellis frame never lie, but the Multistrada is something that has never before been seen. A bike that begins to carve an innovative path, gaining in volume but losing none of its sleekness. One example is the tank, produced as a single piece that ends under the rider’s seat, a solution that the Superbikes and GP bikes of the time are beginning to adopt, but that has never been seen on a bike in this segment. And then there is the unique design, so very different that the first prototype is truly tantalising in style.

01 | DESIGN Pierre Terblanche, the Ducati designer of the day, comes up with a unique design, so unusual that the first prototype is truly tantalising in style.
02 | CONCEPT The pleasure of high-speed riding? Sure, but without forgetting that touring attitude and the possibility to travel off-road.
03 | S VERSION 2005 brings the S version, complete with Öhlins fork and shock lifted directly from the 999S sports bike, a series of carbon fibre components, and an additional 8 HP.
More than a bike. An entire family.

Introducing the fourth generation of Multistrada.

Sportier and more touring-oriented, more capable off-road and easier in an urban setting. The most advanced Multistrada of all time.

Discover Multistrada V4
Discover Multistrada V4
2010. Multistrada 1200

Second generation

Codename “Cayenne”. This is how the Multistrada 1200 comes to be known internally. A name that says a lot about how different the project is set to be, in the minds of those working on it, with respect to everything Ducati has done up until this point. The most symbolic bike in Multistrada history and the one that, at least until the arrival of the V4, will represent the real turning point. Not only for the family, but for the brand as a whole, which goes from being simply a manufacturer of sports bikes to something more, proving that it can branch out and look to the future.

A two-wheeled sports SUV

The Multistrada 1200 does not just chase the maxi enduros but overtakes them, going so far as to create a new segment and forcing the competition to expand its vision. A crazy bike, at least on paper, with a level of technology and performance never before achieved by a bike of this kind. Are those at Ducati right in thinking that they have invented the bike that the world was missing?

Design: a change of course

In designing the Multistrada 1200, the work group expands its vision to conquer a segment in which comfort and space on board are the priority. It is important to cut, lengthen, lift and boost the dimensions, creating more space for both rider and passenger, improving the aerodynamic protection, and offering more luggage loading options.

Engine: new timing

Ducati has the Testastretta 1198, an extremely high-performance sports twin. But as well as horsepower, the Multistrada also requires torque and fluidity. This leads to the idea (one that persists to this day) to radically modify the timing, while retaining the desmodromic system. Hence, the creation of the Testastretta Evoluzione 11° engine, eleven like the degrees of crankshaft rotation during which both the intake and exhaust valves are open.

1 | ENGINE Thanks to its new engine, the Multistrada 1200 boasts maximum power of 150 HP at 9250 rpm, record-breaking in its category, and maximum torque of 12.1 kgm at 7500 rpm.
2 | ENGINE The Testastretta Evoluzione 11° ensures full delivery right from low revs, which also brings benefits in terms of consumption and emissions.
3 | ENGINE Up to 7000 rpm, the Multistrada 1200 delivery curve is even fuller than that of the 1198 supersport.
Electronics: the riding mode revolution

On launching the Multistrada 1200, Ducati adopts the “four bikes in one” claim. An assertion that is not far from the truth, because a simple click on the handlebar of the Multistrada is enough to alter the power delivered by the engine, the throttle response, and the intervention threshold for the electronic DTC.

This is the riding mode revolution, with four modes - Sport, Touring, City and Enduro - further enhancing a bike that has made versatility its very essence.


The most aggressive configuration is Sport, which sees the single shock and fork set to stiff, unleashes the engine’s full power, offers a direct throttle response and adjusts the traction control to a level of 3, on a scale of 1 to 8.


The second step is Touring, again with full power but with smoother responses on opening the accelerator (the throttle bodies opened less quickly), traction control at level 5 and a softer set-up.


The third option is known as City. In this case, power is reduced to 100 HP, traction control increased to level 7 and shock spring preload set to the absolute minimum, which also helps the rider to reach the floor more comfortably with their feet.


The final solution is Enduro mode, again with 100 HP, but with level 1 traction control and a raised shock so as to increase the ground clearance by 20 mm. All this is multiplied by three because the various Riding Mode settings adjust the suspension calibration depending on whether there is just a rider, a passenger, or a passenger with bags.

2015. New Multistrada 1200

Third generation

With the third generation of Multistrada, Ducati again picks up the pace, focusing particularly on the mechanics, which are worthily represented by the engine. The brand-new Testastretta DVT with its 160 HP and 136 Nm of torque is equipped with double variable timing. Both the intake and exhaust valves can vary the timing, and this is an absolute first, the Multistrada once again raising the technological bar.

Introducing the IMU

The new Multistrada also stands out for its on-board technology, which reaches new heights with the arrival of the most cutting-edge electronics to be found on a bike at this time.

An essential role is played by “big brother”, which monitors the entire system, managed by various control units. This is known as the IMU (Inertial Measurement Unit).

1 | IMU The IMU processes the data collected by electronic sensors, such as accelerometers and gyroscopes, all contained in a box smaller than a pack of cigarettes.
2 | IMU The IMU reads roll, pitch and yaw as well as the rate of their change, improving the ABS Cornering, traction control and semi-active suspension functions.
3 | IMU In addition to performance, the IMU also boosts comfort and travel safety thanks to additional functions such as cornering lights and cruise control.
The evolution continues: Multistrada 1260

It almost goes unnoticed, because the Multistrada 1260 project is not as revolutionary as that of the previous 1200, or the subsequent V4. Yet in reality, and although it technically inherits the layout of the 1200, the 1260 can still be considered a brand-new bike.

Once again, the evolution of the Multistrada revolves around the arrival of a new engine, an updated version of the 1262 cc Testastretta 11° DVT used to power the Diavel. An engine that perfectly marries with the Multistrada philosophy, ensuring both first-rate performance but also usability and an enjoyable ride.

Multistrada 950: compact and accessible

The Multistrada 950 is not simply a scaled-down version of the 1200, but a bike that carves its very own path, offering a combination of never-before-seen technical solutions and, particularly, a level of equipment that stands out in the segment.


The Ducati Style Centre skilfully combines elements taken from the two flagships, Multistrada 1200 and Multistrada 1200 Enduro.


The Multistrada 950 exploits the 937 cc Testastretta 11° twin. An explosive engine, delivering 113 HP at 9000 rpm and torque of 96.2 Nm at 7750 rpm.


The Ducati Safety Pack guarantees the active safety of the rider and passenger thanks to Bosch ABS 9.1, adjustable according to three levels, and DTC, with its eight levels of adjustment.

Multistrada V2

Easier, more comfortable, more enjoyable. New Multistrada V2

The ideal bike with which to fully enjoy every trip, versatile during every-day and urban use, but with the sports attitude and unmistakeable style that characterise very Ducati.
2020. Multistrada V4

Fourth generation

“Are we still calling it Multistrada?” This is the doubt, a legitimate one, raised by Ducati designers as the Multistrada V4 project dawns. Because just like the 2010 bike, the Multistrada V4 changes the paradigm, revolutionises the concept, turns the tables. And, naturally, it continues to raise the bar when it comes to technology, forcing others to follow suit.

A new engine: the V4 Granturismo

As with every Ducati, the engine is at the centre of the changes, which are momentous in this case, not just in terms of the framework adopted but also the technical solutions.

Deriving from the Desmosedici Stradale, which conquered hearts and minds on the Panigale and the Streetfighter, the V4 Granturismo exploits that sports attitude and combines it with technical characteristics that highlight the versatility and ease of use in all conditions.


The V4 Granturismo introduces timing with a spring valve return system, a technical solution that subjects the mechanical organs to less stress, allowing for extended maintenance intervals of 60,000 km.


Performance once again proves to be the best in the segment, with the V4 Granturismo delivering 170 HP (125 kW) at 10,500 rpm. Never has a bike with a 19-inch wheel achieved such power.


Just 20 mm wider, the V4 Granturismo manages to be shorter, lower and lighter than the 1260 twin. Weighing just 66.7 kg, it is a true masterpiece of engineering.


As with the MotoGP engine, the V4 Granturismo marries the counter-rotating crankshaft, which offsets the gyroscopic effect, improving handling and agility and reducing pitch during the acceleration phase.

A new technological high

The perfect synthesis of almost twenty years of development, the Multistrada V4 brings a technical revolution in which the ultra-compact and lightweight V4 Granturismo engine is undoubtedly the linchpin. Added to this are the electronics with front and rear radar, the chassis with monocoque frame and the 19-inch front wheel, for a design that is even more oriented towards function.

The sportiest of the Multistradas: Pikes Peak

In 2010, American rider Greg Tracy powers what is essentially a production Multistrada to victory in the Pikes Peak Hill Climb, the famous timed ascent that takes place each year on the slopes of the Rocky Mountains. The following year, Ducati decides to participate in the race in an official capacity and creates a special version of the Multistrada, the sportiest and most adrenaline-fuelled of them all.

With the V4, the Multistrada Pikes Peak outdoes itself. It is no longer just a “version” of the Multistrada, enriched in terms of its equipment and with a sportier look, but a separate model entirely that starts from the same platform but differs in terms of its front wheel diameter, tyre section, suspension, swingarm and even electronics.

1 | DESIGN The distinctive elements of the Pikes Peak are the Akrapovič silencer, the black anodised aluminium details and the Ducati Corse sports graphics.
2 | ATTITUDE The Pikes Peak highlights the extreme versatility of the Multistrada, able to travel, carry a passenger and bags, and run and win a race.
3 | ENGINE The latest evolution of the Pikes Peak is a true supersport bike with a high handlebar, similar in some ways to the motard-style of the family’s forefather, the Multistrada 1000.
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