The folks in Borgo Panigale makes the bold claim that the Ducati Multistrada V4 Pikes Peak is the sportiest adventure bike ever produced. And with its 1,158cc Grandturismo V-4 cranking out a claimed 170 hp and 92 lb-ft of torque and a new Race ride mode, the Pikes Peak can walk the walk.
The Multistrada is one of Ducati’s bestselling models, and 1 in 6 sold is a Pikes Peak. The Multistrada 1200 S Pikes Peak was introduced in 2011 to celebrate Greg Tracy’s win on a Multistrada at the 2010 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, the legendary “Race to the Clouds” in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado.
Related Story: 2021 Ducati Multistrada V4 S | First Ride Review
Carlin Dunne claimed a second win on a Multistrada in 2011, setting a new motorcycle record of 11:11.329. The following year, Dunne and Tracy swept the top two positions on Multistradas, with Dunne becoming the first to break the 10-minute barrier on a motorcycle with a new record of 9:52.819 and Tracy close behind at 9:58.262. Ducati Multistradas went on to claim two more wins at Pikes Peak in 2013 and 2018.
In the past, Pikes Peak models were little more than styling variations on the base Multistrada. But for 2022, Ducati pulled out all the stops, moving the Pikes Peak to the top of the lineup by giving it the primo treatment from stem to stern.
Race mode replaces the Enduro mode found on other Multistrada models, and it is joined by Sport, Touring, and Urban modes. In Race mode, the rev limiter kicks in more gradually to allow uninterrupted drive at high revs. A revised quickshifter helps the cause with faster gear changes both up and down.
The Pikes Peak’s comprehensive IMU-based electronics suite includes customizable power modes, traction control, ABS, wheelie control, and Öhlins Smart EC 2.0 semi-active suspension with event-based settings that adapt to the user’s riding style. It’s also equipped with front and rear radar that informs adaptive cruise control and blind-spot detection.
As racy as the Pikes Peak is, we got our first ride on speed-limited public roads near Palm Springs, California, including the sinuous Palms to Pines Scenic Byway (State Route 74), which climbs out of the Coachella Valley and into Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains, ascending more than 5,000 feet.
Even at a spirited pace, the Pikes Peak felt like a greyhound on a short leash, eager to dash off at a moment’s notice. The Granturismo is a fireball of an engine, generating a heady mix of power, sound, and sensation that is exciting and engaging. In either Race or Sport mode, where power and throttle response are at their highest setting, the connection between the right grip and the rear tire was direct and fueling felt spot-on.
We’ve tested every iteration of the Multistrada over the years, and the V4 platform represents a high-water mark in terms of performance and handling. Ducati went a step further with the Pikes Peak to give it more stability at speed. Compared to the standard Multistrada V4, its wheelbase was lengthened by 1.1 inches to 62.8, its rake was increased by 1.25 degrees to 25.75, and its trail was increased by 0.7 inch to 4.7. Front wheel travel remains the same at 6.7 inches, but rear wheel travel was reduced by 0.4 inch to 6.7.
Ergonomics are sportier too. Compared to the standard Multistrada V4, the Pikes Peak has a narrower, straighter handlebar that’s 0.6 inch lower and footpegs that are 0.4 inch higher and 0.4 inch farther back. But it’s still based on an adventure bike platform, so it’s far more comfortable than nearly any sportbike on the market, especially those in Ducati’s lineup.
Diving into corners, the Pikes Peak clung to the pavement like a mountain goat on the side of a cliff, and it transitioned from side to side with ease. Credit goes to the adaptability of the Öhlins electronic suspension, the grip of the Pirelli Diablo Rosso IV tires, and the lightness of the Marchesini forged aluminum wheels, which shave off a whopping 8.8 lb of unsprung weight compared to the Multistrada V4.
When the go must slow, Brembo Stylema front calipers with Panigale brake pads pinching enormous 330mm discs are like a giant pause button that freezes time and space. These impressive stoppers seem to defy physics.
With motorcycles no longer competing in the Race to the Clouds, the livery of the V4 Pikes Peak was inspired by Ducati’s Desmosedici GP21 MotoGP racebike. Ducati Red paint is complemented by white number-plate graphics with the number “1” in black and a two-tone red and black seat with “V4” embossed on the pillion. Grace notes include carbon fiber accents on the beak and front fender, a dark smoke low windscreen, and a carbon fiber cap on the titanium Akrapovič silencer. And it’s a treat to see Ducati’s signature single-sided swingarm reappear on the V4 Pikes Peak, recalling Multis of the past.
As racy as the Pikes Peak is in terms of its capabilities and style, it’s still practical enough to be used as a daily rider or a sport-tourer. It has standard hangers for optional saddlebags, and available accessories include heated grips, a heated seat, a centerstand, and luggage/accessory packs (Touring, Urban, and Enduro). You can also go full hero with carbon fiber front and rear fenders, a racing exhaust system (+10 hp, +5 lb-ft, -11 lb), and a dry clutch kit.
Admittedly, in the 120 or so miles I put on the Multistrada V4 Pikes Peak, I barely scratched the surface of its capabilities. Only on a racetrack or a deserted road far from watchful eyes can the true nature of the Pikes Peak be revealed. That would be a special moment, and you’d better hang on.
2022 Ducati Multistrada V4 Pikes Peak Specs
Base Price: $30,395
Warranty: 2 yrs., unltd. miles
Engine Type: Liquid-cooled, transverse 90-degree V-4, DOHC w/ 4 valves per cyl.
Bore x Stroke: 83.0 x 53.5mm
Horsepower: 170 hp at 10,500 rpm (factory claim)
Torque: 92 lb-ft at 8,750 rpm (factory claim)
Transmission: 6-speed, hydraulically actuated slip/assist wet clutch
Final Drive: Chain
Wheelbase: 62.8 in.
Rake/Trail: 25.8 degrees/4.7 in.
Seat Height: 33.1/33.9 in.
Wet Weight: 527 lb
Fuel Capacity: 5.8 gals.