Ducati Panigale V4 S motorcycle test

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The price of the exception

V4, 1103 cm3, 214 hp and 124 Nm, 195 kg all full facts, 28,890 euros

"The bike that was being born was obviously exceptional: slender, beautiful, red, elegant, essential, dedicated to the track, like all previous illustrious Superbikes, from the 851 to the 1098. We are part of this tradition, which is the identity of the Ducati brand.

We therefore had to succeed in making a motorcycle worthy of the name Panigale in terms of design: the Panigale was already legendary when it was released in 2012. But we knew that the switch from two to four cylinders would inevitably have caused an increase in dimensions. of the motor. Ducatis and sports cars in particular have the advantage of being very narrow from the front because they take advantage of the transverse compactness of the V-twin. beautiful as a Panigale V2 despite an engine that will necessarily be larger. Results ? Our Panigale V4 cylinder is still the most compact in the hypersport segment !

Aerodynamics was the technology transfer from Ducati Corse (racing department) that most influenced our work. The integration began with the first models, to try to understand, with specialists from the aerodynamics department, how this mysterious art works. We naturally continued in this fashion throughout the refinement of the clay model, ending with the results of the wind tunnel and track tests, followed by modifications, some significant, to the styling of the fairing. "

Andrea Ferraresi, Ducati design director.

Ducati Panigale V4 S motorcycle testDucati Panigale V4 S motorcycle test

Of course, one will find a lot of bias in Mr Ferraresi’s speech and even a little emphasis. But we would be even more angry with him for appearing blase, impartial and talking about the Panigale with a disgusted air, no? Above all, we must recognize that he is not wrong. The Panigale V4 is an exceptional motorcycle; not because it’s a Ducati but because:

  • she is beautiful, without possible contradiction.
  • it uses technical solutions that are specific to it and emanate from Ducati’s experience in racing.
  • it is powerful: 214 hp, 195 kg all full, a V4 at maximum speed of 14,500 rpm ….
  • it is expensive, without possible contradiction.
  • it is exclusive, which I was able to notice during the fifteen days of daily testing, just for work-sleep on certain days.

Driving modes reviewed, Race mode divided into two maps A and BDriving modes reviewed, Race mode divided into two maps A and B

Discovery

There, in the banal parking lot of a town near the La Defense district, in the Paris region, the Panigale V4 still manages to look good. It’s like that. More objective data also convince: in 2014, the Panigale was crowned with the Compaso d’Oro (Golden Compass) by the Italian jury of the “Associazione per il Disegno Industriale”, which for the first time in its history awarded its price to a motorcycle.

LED headlights and finsLED headlights and fins

And when I pulled out of that gray parking lot into the city arena, I saw all eyes turn not to me, but to her; driver’s windows roll down to put their thumbs up and say, "She’s beautiful!" "As if I had something to do with it. I am envied, I am jealous, I grapple a little on his aura. As long as I’m on it.

LED tail lightLED rear light

I am sometimes asked (rarely, of course): "What is displacement? "Or even, exceptionally," What is driving force? ", On the tone of" What is this bottle of milk? ".

"So this engine is…. "Yes, I will. What is happening behind the scenes sheds light on the stage performance: the cavernous sound, the crazy revs, especially after 10,500 rpm…. So this engine is the Desmosedici Stradale, scientific name for the V4. Desmosedici therefore referring to the motor of the MotoGP, itself V4 open at 90 °, with a desmodromic distribution (which uses an active valve return system and not by springs or pneumatic type). This opening of 90 ° (approximately….) Between the two banks of cylinders would have the advantage of a natural balance, without the need for a balancing shaft (thus saving weight) to reduce vibrations, which also provides advantage in terms of reliability. Hence the spaced 24,000 km service intervals, which is probably four years of road riding (at best) for the majority of Panigale V4 owners. Disadvantage of this architecture, this 90 ° angle takes up space on a sports car where the millimeter is expensive. The engineers therefore worked hard to design a compact engine, with a large bore, 81 mm (identical to that of the MotoGP) and a stroke of 53.5 mm (a little longer than that of the MotoGP for gain in torque), so a slightly high engine. The narrowness is guaranteed by the V4 (two cylinders in front, two behind). The internal moving parts of the engine have been made from lightweight materials, which, together with the short stroke and desmodromic timing, allows high revs.

Euro5 engine, 4 cylinders in V at 90 ° 4T, distribution by double overhead camshaft, 16 valvesEuro5 engine, 4 cylinders in V а 90 ° 4T, distribution by double overhead camshaft, 16 valves

Finally, the 90 ° V, the displacement of 1100 cm3 and the engine timing are the authors of this wonderful noise, with a high sound for a Euro5 motorcycle, which attracts the ears of passers-by, attracts the eye and gives birth to the smile and sometimes pester old people. Euro5, this is one of the 2021 novelties for the Panigale. It does not lose power, receives a new exhaust and ad hoc injection parameters.

We should also talk about other technical solutions from MotoGP, such as the counter-rotating crankshaft or engine timing with crankpins offset by 70 °, as in MotoGP…. but I feel like someone would blame me. Because in addition I have to add a word on the chassis.

The gills on the fairingThe gills on the fairing

The V4 abandoned the monocoque structure of the V2. Ducati had to redesign a frame to fix the V4 engine differently, so that it was a bit more on the rear of the bike, to free up space in front, for the huge radiator and to suit the science of distribution of masses. This new frame, or rather semi-frame, encloses the engine from the top but uses the rigidity of the latter to extend. The engine is therefore an element of the chassis. On the V4S we are interested in here, the Ohlins suspensions (from the shock absorber to the fork via the steering damper) are piloted, electronically controlled according to multiple parameters. Electronics evolving for 2021, with two sub-choices for the Race motor mode: Race A and Race B, which each react a little (a little bit….) Differently according to the constraints analyzed by the IMU brain, an organ now running on motorcycles, even those that are no exception. The DTC traction control receives an upgrade to refine its reaction and its speed of intervention (with the DSC function which helps to control the glide; we are taken for gods). More interestingly, the up & down shifter changes, also improved and we know that some Panigale owners have experienced some problems with the first generation shifter..

New frame, fairing revised in 2021 compared to 2020New frame, fairing revised in 2021 compared to 2020

Is the technological exception the exception of sensation? Is it enough to stuff a motorcycle with chips, a V4 whose vilo turns in the opposite direction of the wheels (as in MotoGP …) and I pass, for the magic to work? ?

In the saddle

I return to my gray parking lot, where I swapped my good old 105,000 km Honda CBF 600 for the 2021 Panigale V4S, the Cinderella-style scam. I was a little worried about the driving position, this raised rear, the bracelets under the upper triple tree, the tiny bubble. Probably too used to the luxury of the CBF ….

Heated grips as standardOptional heated grips

I was not wrong. The Panigale, high on the buttocks, low on the chin, guides itself, at low speed, from the stiff forearms, the back of the neck raised and the air stupid. It only takes a little, around 30 km / h, for everything to change; you also have to understand the motorcycle. She controls herself from the footrests, swings with the lower body, the pelvis: she dances. The more we tense up, the more she refuses. The V4 is more forgiving, supple, progressive (I started with the Sport engine mode). It only took me a short kilometer from the Paris region to learn what now seems to me to be the Panigale’s biggest weakness: the heat given off by this engine. I am looking forward to the winter period, I dare not imagine the hell of the summer, by 30 °, with so many raging calories escaping from the V4.

Single seat 835 mmSingle seat 835 mm

I take a break to air my stumps, get off the bike and rummage through the computer menu (the dashboards are there now), select the Street engine mode, try virtual excursions…. Operation is still fairly simple, but I still had three minutes before being able to confirm the mode chosen from the two controls on the left. Street mode allows for a smoother throttle response, cool in town.

5 inch TFT screen (186.59 DPI - 800xRVBx480)5 inch TFT screen (186.59 DPI – 800xRVBx480)

In the city

This is where the riding position, the heat from the engine, and the frustration of using only one-hundredth of the bike’s capacity all get in the mood. Some positive points, however: the turning radius is not as catastrophic as one might fear, the smoothness of the controls tempers the bitterness of frustration and the lightness of the motorcycle combines with its extreme precision, appreciable on the Parisian ring road, between cars or in changes of direction at right angles. The gears shift well with the shifter, even at 5,000 rpm, almost idle for her. Not that bad the Panigale in town, as long as it’s not too hot. Much livelier and lighter than a Suzuki GSX-R or a Kawa ZX-10R, its lack of inertia is appreciated even in urban areas..

Rather Sport, Street or Race modes?Rather Sport, Street or Race modes ?

On the highway

Wide expressways are often the start of a getaway for anyone who lives in the city. I settle down on the tank, extend my back on the single-seater, long and wide but a little stiff, relax my arms, slightly bent. The bubble protects very little, unless you burrow into it, like on the racetrack, but it’s fine for a kilometer straight. I stay in fourth, 6000 rpm, 130 km / h, there are two reports to go, in short…. The Panigale pulls, certainly to meet homologation standards, it deserves one tooth less on the road at the gearbox output pinion.

214 HP (157.5 kW)150 km / h in first

On departmental

In the tradition of an antique 999, the Panigale has the enormous advantage of knowing how to be flexible, alert, forgiving at low speed and adapt to the rhythm, tightening its muscles according to constraints. I got lost at the gates of the Eure, on the edge of the Yvelines, on narrow and poorly paved roads, at first cushy. I remembered the 999 or so that I was trying about fifteen years ago and found similar sensations, plus the power. How can two such different motorcycles, one with a twin cylinder and a trellis frame, the other with a V4 and its aluminum frame, produce such similar effects? The identity of a brand does not stop at raw technical choices, there are notions of lightness, rigor and even sound that are unique to Ducati. With the added electronics, the quality of the Ohlins suspensions and the Pirelli SuperCorsa, the Panigale is at a much higher level than that of the 999, but it does not deny an obvious lineage. Another exceptional brand, because this lineage is less easily detected at Kawasaki, Honda or Suzuki.

124.0 Nm of torque124.0 Nm of torque

However, I found myself faced with the frustrations of the city, unable to appreciate the engine’s 214 hp. To be honest, I thought for a moment that my Panigale was restricted. Its 12.5 mkg of torque at 10,000 rpm is in no way transcendent, comparable to the torque of a BMW R 1250 GS and then before reaching 10,000 rpm on a small road, it takes a little ‘space. I found some on a viroleuse national another day and I understood: I was shifting to around 9-10,000 rpm, while the Panigale exploded between 10,500 and 14,500 rpm! In this interval, the cyclone rises, the four pistons merge. If on the track you get used to the effect, it is much different on the road. Not to mention the angst of the radar.

Fortunately, you don’t need to wake up the cyclone to take advantage of the chassis, especially the light and rigorous front end, precise, without any perverse effects. The constraint of the powerful front brake does not impress him. Ditto for the long single-sided arm that takes acceleration without failing, helped by the hyper efficient shock absorber and the Pirelli chewing gum. The Ducati, whose lack of inertia is always present (by that I mean one endlessly marvels at its featherweight side), leaves constant control. You would have to play the Tourist Trophy pilot to maybe start to disrupt it, but I think I’m at the bottom of a ditch long before that. She emphasizes my limits and pushing hers.

214 HP (157.5 kW)214 HP (157.5 kW)

Part-cycle

The work of the Ohlins suspensions driven by the IMU computer, specific to the S, is never felt on the road, it adapts silently and discreetly. The Pirelli SuperCorsa tire fitment is perfect in the dry, but glides very easily on wet roads and triggers traction control every time you start, unless you are super soft.

Shock absorber Ohlins TTX36Shock absorber Цhlins TTX36

The natural balance of the V4 amazes, the excellent weight distribution, the ease with which it adapts to the pace. This balance contrasts with certain tricks imposed by Japanese sports cars, especially the ZX10-R and GSX-R 1000, to which you have to adapt rather than the other way around, due to a certain heaviness of the front axle..

Braking

Crazy brake calipers, the Brembo Stylema M4.30 squeeze the enormous 330mm discs powerfully but with the progressiveness necessary for control. The rear brake only slows down. The V4S benefits from an intelligent ABS, Cornering Evo system, whose Road mode is very effective. Even on bumps, the ABS remains quiet.

New for 2021, all Panigales receive self-bleeding brake and clutch master cylinders.

2 330 mm discs, Brembo M50 Stylema 4-piston radial calipers, curved ABS2 330 mm discs, Brembo M50 Stylema 4-piston radial calipers, curved ABS

Comfort

The suspensions absorb the various shocks well, even better the mass transfers, but the shock absorber filters the sensations of the rear axle a little too much. The comfort of the saddle is mediocre, but its width and length allow position changes. After two weeks, the driving position still wore me out.

Consumption

The 16-liter tank and the average fuel consumption of 7.8 l / 100 km during the test mean that you have to refuel every 120 km, which is painful. The Panigale does not have a fuel gauge, a shame also not to have included it among the multiple functions of the dashboard.

174 kg dry, 195 kg full load174 kg dry, 195 kg fully loaded

Video test of V4S

Conclusion

The Panigale V4S does indeed live on Mount Olympus of the motorcycle goddesses. I was afraid to live two weeks in hell, there were many different little paradises. It is exceptional because the source of pleasure never runs dry on its handlebars. Would I want to live with it the whole year? No, my bones are probably too worn out. But at twenty, I would have sworn it. The only frustration comes from this apparent paradox: the more the repression on the road has intensified, the more sportswomen have become radicalized; logical since most of them ride on the track. But getting 214 hp at 13,000 rpm on the road is no longer a paradox but an impossibility.

Strong points

  • Weight
  • Stability
  • Power at high revs
  • Electronic
  • Natural balance

Weak points

  • Heat released by the engine
  • Exclusive engine
  • Mid-range torque? (10,000 rpm)

The technical sheet of the Ducati Panigale V4 S

Test conditions

  • Itinerary: winding roads, highway, city ….
  • Weather forecast: sun, rain, 1 ° to 15 ° C
  • Mileage: 500 km on the road
  • Problem encountered: ras

Test equipment

  • Roof RO200 Helmet
  • Helstons Vintage Rocket Jacket
  • Motorcycle jeans
  • Manchester Esquad Gloves
  • Vanucci Tifoso VTS Shoes

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4 thoughts on “Ducati Panigale V4 S motorcycle test

  1. Sacketty, on the Gold, the handling on the wet is very correct except that the flat has torque everywhere and all the time so you not only have to calm your joy at the go-around on the angle but also remember that the ballerina weighs half a ton with an average fifty on it. Last recce of Bridgestone …. and that’s it !!!

  2. Hello,

    Thank you for this interesting and informative article.

    Two things seem to me inconsistent in the figures announced by Honda:

    – only 4kg more by adding the DCT and the air-bag? Knowing that the AfricaTwin’s DCT (which has only 6 gears) weighs down the bike by 10 kg, it is difficult to believe in an overweight of only 4 kg when we add the DCT (7 gears) + the airBag to a Gold … It will deserve to pass on a journalist’s scale to be clear about it.

    – the most beautiful: 7000 euros difference between the Bagger and the Tour version (without DCT) !!! It gives us the top case at the price of an MT07 !!?! I hope the said Top-Case is solid gold with the interior lined with Zebu skin! (Or the Bagger has a lot less: drum brakes maybe? …)

    Thank you for enlightening our lantern on this point.

    On the other hand, I find it surprising that the tester considers the increase of 5400 euros to be defensible over the old model. It seems to me that the industrial-commercial game generally consists in offering a better product for "barely" more expensive than the previous version (let’s admit 10% … very blithely exceeded here).

    Extremely tempting machine despite everything by its refocused position between GT in the European and the machine to eat the highway in the American…

    Looking forward to reading from you, thanks again for the article.

  3. Quoteduroc
    Hello,

    Thank you for this interesting and informative article.

    Yop, Service M’sieur. Thank you.

    Quoteduroc
    Two things seem to me inconsistent in the figures announced by Honda:

    – only 4kg more by adding the DCT and the air-bag? Knowing that the AfricaTwin’s DCT (which has only 6 gears) weighs down the bike by 10 kg, it is difficult to believe in an overweight of only 4 kg when we add the DCT (7 gears) + the airBag to a Gold … It will deserve to pass on a journalist’s scale to be clear about it.

    We totally agree. I had a bathroom scale at the hotel… to smile

    But we’ll see that again, we promise.

    Quoteduroc
    – the most beautiful: 7000 euros difference between the Bagger and the Tour version (without DCT) !!! It gives us the top case at the price of an MT07 !!?! I hope the said Top-Case is solid gold with the interior lined with Zebu skin! (Or the Bagger has a lot less: drum brakes maybe? …)

    Thank you for enlightening our lantern on this point.

    As noted in conclusion, yes, the bagger has a lot less features.

    Quoteduroc
    On the other hand, I find it surprising that the tester considers the increase of 5400 euros to be defensible over the old model. It seems to me that the industrial-commercial game generally consists in offering a better product for "barely" more expensive than the previous version (let’s admit 10% … very blithely exceeded here).

    So, yes, and no. In absolute terms, yes, I agree, for a vehicle evolution. And, no, not for a NEW model. Everything is different, from the engine completely redesigned and produced to the completely reinvented chassis: swing arm, frame, and especially triangulated fork.

    Adds, as detailed in detail, the electric damping, the electronics controlling the suspension, engine, brake, anti-skidding and the new DCT gearbox, specific, with 7 gears … LED lights everywhere, maneuvering system coupled to the engine ( brilliant!), multimedia technology, 7 "GPS screen and the removable top case to make a very stylish and complete bagger (unlike the standard version)

    So, no, there is no theft from one to the other, even if, yes, it is expensive, and in fact certain details, also noted wink , should be corrected at this price.

    Frankly, try one and the other afterwards … your opinion will be less clear-cut.

    cool

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