The phrase “Super-Mid” is about as meaningless as they come in motorcycling, but nonetheless, Ducati has used it to label its smaller displacement sportbike; in this case the Panigale V2. Essentially the previous Panigale 959 with a facelift and V4-level electronics, this odd-displacement sportbike not only has a weird engine size – 955cc – but it’s a V-Twin to boot (and no need to “correct” me about not calling it an L-Twin, because even Ducati calls it a V2 now), putting it in a distinguished field of outliers in the sportbike class, joining the Suzuki GSX-R750, Kawasaki ZX-6R and its 636cc engine, and the now-discontinued Triumph Daytona 675. We’re not counting the Triumph Street Triple 765 since it’s not really a sportbike.
Motorcycle categories have gotten a bit widespread, haven’t they? Companies like Ducati aren’t making things any easier when they call its 955cc Panigale V2 – an update from the 959 Panigale – a “Super-Mid.” Ironic, especially considering Ducati’s iconic 916 was formerly the cream of the sportbike crop. I think the proper way of looking at the current nomenclature is to consider the machine’s performance. With 1100cc V4s skewing the definitions of what a Superbike is, it seems natural for the Panigale V2 to follow along and break the middleweight rules, too. Because, looking at it from a performance aspect, this is the new level of middleweight performance. Time marches on, everyone, and technology just gets better and better.
For the past few years, the collective motorcycling world has lost its minds with the Ducati Panigale V4. Understandable, considering how much of a departure it is for Ducati to abandon the V-Twin for its flagship sportbike, but also because the Panigale V4 and V4R are absolute knockouts in the engine department. Lost in the hoopla of the Ducati V4 engine sat the lowly 959 Panigale, a pleasant and capable machine, it serves as a gentle reminder to everyone that Ducati hadn’t completely abandoned the V-Twin. A part of the “Super-Mid” category of sportbikes (“Standard-Mid” being something in the 750cc-ish category, we assume?), it’s a little funny to think Ducati’s lower-displacement sportbike, at 955cc, is now larger than it’s former legendary flagship, the 916 family.
Lost in the buzz Ducati’s Panigale V4 stirred since its introduction was the fact its baby brother, the 959 Panigale, had remained untouched. Squashing any concern that the model was going away (at least for now), Ducati today announced the Panigale V2 – the new name for the 959 Panigale – featuring updates and technology from its V4 sibling. While they were at it, the V4 family received some updates too, which we’ll get to later.