Last week, Ducati announced it would once again present its new product announcements in a series of online presentations. Just like in 2020 and 2021, the Ducati World Première 2023 series will take place over multiple episodes, with each part featuring a different product line.
In addition to the updated Supersport 950 recently announced, Ducati has also unveiled a new member of the Panigale V4 family – the 2021 Panigale V4 SP. Essentially a Panigale V4 R but with the S model’s 1103cc engine, carbon fiber wheels, and electronic Öhlins suspension, the SP marks a return for the Sport Production initials after several years away.
You all know the saying, “You get what you pay for.” It’s an important life lesson that rings true for many aspects of life. Like cheap tools, the pleasure we get for the minimal cost outlay quickly evaporates as soon as it breaks much sooner than it should. Shoulda bought the good one is what we inevitably say to ourselves every time.
On the heels of its uber exclusive RSV4 X winged wonder, Aprilia announced a naked version with the Tuono V4 X. As with the RSV4 X, the Tuono version is designed only for track use and will be produced in very limited numbers. Only 10 units of the RSV4 X were made, and all were scooped up in a few hours after online orders were opened, but Aprilia hasn’t announced how many Tuono V4 X models will be made. We do have a price: 34,000 euros, or about US$40,473.
As the world is flying past at a rapid pace, it’s all I can do to mentally process the rate of acceleration and the sheer speed of the Ducati Superleggera V4. When all 234 horses are unleashed from the mighty Desmosedici Stradale R, forget turn one – all of these thoroughbreds are hell-bent on launching me to the future, completely bending my perceptions of time, speed, and reality. I’m Captain Picard to the Superleggera’s Starship Enterprise, warp drive has just been engaged, and we’re about to leave behind streaks of starlight as we blast off. Doing it again and again is intoxicating, it’s breathtaking, and it’s simply incredible. This is what it’s like when Ducati engineers are allowed to let their imaginations run free and build the baddest machine they can. God bless ’em.
I couldn’t take it anymore. My surroundings were whizzing past my eyeballs quicker than my brain could process. Instead of relenting and slowing down, I thought maybe an upshift would bring the engine speed lower and give me a moment to recalibrate. But before clicking up a gear I had to glance down at the tach to see how fast the engine was spinning. It was somewhere around 10-11,000 rpm. That’s pretty fast for most motorcycles, especially those displacing 1103 cc – but the Desmosedici Stradale inside the 2020 Ducati Streetfighter V4S I’m piloting shows an (indicated) redline of 14,500 rpm. I still had over 4,000 rpm left to melt my brain! Incredible.
Poor Ducati. It seems as though the mystical powers that be simply have something against its new model, the Streetfighter V4. After all the hype surrounding a naked version of the mighty Panigale V4, nothing has gone to plan. First was the death of Carlin Dunne while en route to a commanding victory at the Pikes Peak hill climb, then came the cancellation of the international press intro for the SF V4 at the Ascari Circuit in Spain due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
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.
According to various online weather services I looked at prior to jumping on a plane to Bahrain, the desert country only gets about 10 days of rain for the entire year. With those kind of odds it’s no wonder Ducati chose this location to hold the international press launch of its new and improved 2020 Panigale V4 S in the middle of January; with beautiful sunshine, a world-class Formula1 track, and stacks of Pirelli tires at hand, it’s every track rider’s dream, and a perfect venue to test the improvements Ducati have made.
Today, surprising no one, Ducati unveiled the Streetfighter V4 and Streetfighter V4 S naked hyperbikes. Still, it’s good to finally get a gander at the latest winged V4 beast that will be gracing showrooms in model year 2020. We’ve known the general scope of the Streetfighter for a while – a Panigale V4 shorn of bodywork – but now that we get an official look at it, it seems like much more.
Well yeah, the FTR did not win our little Monster 1200/Yamaha XSR900 comparo, and is currently taking heavy fire in the Comments section from the sportbike purists. But as you know, MOBOs are also selected using other criteria, including historical significance, originality, and the debating skills and/or ability of a given bike’s proponent to wear the other contenders down with BS via Google Hangout.
Despite the fact Ducati has hit it big with the Panigale V4R this year, racking up numerous World Superbike victories with Alvaro Bautista (and, let’s be honest, likely the 2019 WSBK title), it appears as though Ducati isn’t done with the Panigale V4, as these spy photos Motorcycle.com has received would indicate.
Blah, blah, blah, we say it all the time – the Aprilia RSV4 is one of our favorite bikes ever. But seriously, it really is special. So how, then, does one improve upon a fan favorite? Give it more power, of course. That’s exactly what we have with the new 2019 Aprilia RSV4 1100 Factory. On the surface, you wouldn’t necessarily be wrong in saying Aprilia telegraphed this move long ago – four years ago in 2015, actually – with the Tuono 1100, even though doing so would make the RSV4 illegal for basically every racing class out there.
In just a few days I’ll be the lucky bas—- who gets to unwind the new Aprilia RSV4 1100 Factory around the legendary Mugello circuit as part of the bike’s international press launch. Stay tuned next week for my thoughts on it. However, in anticipation for that event, I thought I’d look back to see what makes the RSV4 such a darling in the eyes of the moto press. So rewind your minds back ten or so years to 2008/2009 and think about the literbike landscape back then. With the benefit of hindsight, we can say with confidence the space looked pretty bland, with the Big Four Japanese, Ducati, and KTM’s RC8 the only real players (sorry MV Agusta fanboys). The field then got a jolt in 2009 with the announcement of both the BMW S1000RR and Aprilia RSV4 – both models promising to shake up the status quo. If you’ve read any motorcycle magazine since then, you undoubtedly know each bike lives up to the claim. Personally, the Aprilia is one of my favorite liter-class bikes out there. Here are seven ways the RSV4 shook up the game.