Riding the Ducati Panigale V4 S is quite a trip, as the experience is nothing short of relentless. There’s power everywhere, and if ever there was a machine to remind us that we, the riders, are the limiting factors in performance, this is it. By now there has been quite a lot written about the Ducati Panigale V4 S on the digital pages of Motorcycle.com. From our First Look of the bike a year ago, to Kevin Duke’s subsequent First Ride Review, we’ve then gone on to put it on the dyno against its natural rival, the Aprilia RSV4 RF, followed by a full-on showdown between the two Italians on both the street and the track. Hell, despite some of its shortcomings, we even gave the Panigale V4 S our 2018 Motorcycle of the Year award!
On the racetrack, the fight between the Aprilia RSV4 RF and Ducati Panigale V4 S was so close, it resulted in one of, if not the, closest shootout in Motorcycle.com history, with the two protagonists separated by 0.2% – two-tenths of a percentage point! – on our scorecards. On paper, anyway, the Ducati emerged victorious for a track tool, but it was only our racetrack ringer, Shane Turpin, who ultimately picked the Panigale V4 S – and its $4k heftier price tag – as his weapon of choice. Meanwhile, both Tom and I would elect to save the extra dough and be perfectly happy with the Aprilia – despite what the scorecard says.
For those who’ve lapped up every word, expression, and metaphor of the performance novel that was our 2017 Superbike Track Shootout and Superbike Street Shootout, the heir apparent is as obvious as the bike coming in last place. For those still wallowing in anticipation, unable to decipher our MOrse code, you can take a breath because, without further ado, we give you…
A few days riding seven of the most powerful sportbikes available on public roadways without incurring a single speeding ticket is next to miraculous. Johnny Law, wildlife, tourists, and sharing hotel rooms with one another are only a few of the occupational hazards we navigated when conducting our 2017 Superbike Street Shootout. The street-centric comparison may be representative of the actual lives most of these motorcycles will lead in the real world, but for us it’s a necessary precursor to where we prefer to be and where these bikes should actually be ridden: the racetrack.
I could be wrong, but I feel like the demise of the sportbike has been greatly exaggerated. That or I’m confusing the demise of the sportbike with the demise of myself? We’re junkies loose in the pharmacy with all kinds of motorcycles here at MO, but every year – or at least every couple of years – when it’s time for the big Superbike Comparison!, well, all of us get even more amped-up than usual.