By John Burns
All our conjecture was resolved early this morning when Ducati CEO Domenicali unveiled the new V-Four engine that will power the next generation Ducati Multistrada. The biggest surprise is that the new “Granturismo” 1158 engine will not use desmodromic valve actuation, but regular springs. That doesn’t seem like a bad thing in this application, as it gives the engine “record-breaking maintenance intervals”– 60,000 km or just over 37,000 miles. (It’s probably an excellent thing, in fact, since the mystery and expense of having to have one’s desmodromic valves adjusted has always loomed large for the non-wealthy when contemplating Ducati ownership.)
The new engine has been developed for maximum smoothness of operation, says Ducati: “Compact and light, featuring rich torque values: an engine designed for “adventouring” use, at the same time offers great thrills and sportiness.” Not only is the new V4 a few pounds lighter than the outgoing Twin, it’s also 95mm shorter in height, 85mm shorter front to back, and only 20mm wider, which gives the chassis designers much greater leeway. Ducati claims 170 horsepower at 10,500 rpm and 92 foot-pounds of torque at 8750 rpm, which is likely to translate to around 145 horses and 80 ft-lbs of torque or so on our rear-wheel dyno. At super-high MotoGP rpm, desmodromics still makes sense. At these lower rpm levels, with modern valve springs, desmo is mainly a needlessly complex marketing tool. Full props to Ducati for being able to break with tradition.
In another break with recent desmoquattro tradition, rear-cylinder bank deactivation is going to keep this Ducati much cooler when it’s stuck in traffic. It was first used on the Streetfighter V4.
The Granturismo will make its first appearance in the new, fourth-generation Multistrada V4, to be introduced November 4. One of us will have to ride …read more