Ducati chose to break with tradition in the name of longevity and reliability. It developed a new V4 engine for the upcoming Multistrada that abandons desmodromic technology in favor of conventional valve springs. The four-cylinder nonetheless stands out with impressive specifications and a few clever engineering bits.
Called Granturismo, the engine has 1.2 liters (1,200cc) of displacement, and its cylinder banks are set at a 90-degree angle. It develops 170 horsepower at 10,500 rpm and 92 pound-feet of torque at 8,750 rpm. Although it's related to the unit that powers the Panigale V4, it's fitted with conventional valve springs instead of the desmodromic valves that Ducati is famous for, which are opened and closed by cam-operated rocker arms. It's a system that helps engines generate more power, but it wears more quickly and it needs to be frequently adjusted.
Ducati designed the V4 specifically for the Multistrada, a motorcycle often used to cover long distances, so its engineers felt comfortable sacrificing some power to achieve longer service intervals. Its valves need to be adjusted every 37,000 miles, according to Motorcycle News, while many Desmodromic engines require a valve adjustment after 19,000 miles. Conversely, the Multistrada will likely spend more time idling than the track-ready Panigale, so its V4 gets a cylinder deactivation system that shuts off the rear bank to prevent overheating while stopped.
Additional details about the Ducati Multistrada V4 will emerge in the coming weeks, and the bike is scheduled to make its global debut on November 4, 2020, which is also when the next-generation Volkswagen Golf R will break cover. When it arrives in stores, it will stand out as one of the safest motorcycles on the market thanks to Bosch-developed front- and rear-facing radars that power electronic driving aids like adaptive cruise control, blind spot detection, and a technology that warns the rider if a vehicle is quickly approaching from behind.