The Ducati Streetfighter V4 S might be touted as a more practical version of the mighty Panigale V4. And if you consider the upright ergonomics, the claim does stand true. But twist that throttle, and you would realise that it’s just as mad as the flagship Ducati supersport motorcycle and belongs to a racetrack. Now, when a manufacturer uses its supersport platform to develop a roadster-segment product, it tunes down the power output to favour a linear torque delivery. The Aprilia Tuono V4, for example, which is based on the RSV4 supersport, makes about 172bhp as against the 214bhp on the latter.
But Ducati seems to have missed that memo since the Streetfighter V4 makes 205bhp as against the 212.5bhp on the Panigale V4. And its kerb weight of just 201kg gives it a power-to-weight ratio over 1:1. While the Streetfighter V4 would have felt at home on a racetrack, we tried to live with it in real-life conditions to find out how it fares in a metropolitan city like Mumbai. But first, let’s take a minute to appreciate the visuals.
The Italians are known for creating poster-worthy motorcycles, and the products from Ducati are no different. Any Ducati out there would make you look at it in awe and inspire you to write poems and songs about it. And the Streetfighter V4 in the Ducati Red paint scheme is no different. But the Dark Stealth colour option we had for this review would make you want to listen to a hardcore metal song, whilst admiring the motorcycle before you take it for a spin, only to return to more music from the same genre. And you won’t miss listening to that music, since the V4 engine, no matter what revs are displayed on the tachometer, sounds nothing short of a Metallica concert.
The design comprises a twin-pod headlight with an eyebrow-style DRL, a body-coloured mask, a chiseled fuel tank, a Panigale V4-inspired tail section, and aerodynamic winglets. The underbelly design of the exhaust and the single-sided swingarm deliver a clear view of the Marchesini wheels. Then, the brushed aluminium surrounds near the radiator and the exhaust pipes add a neat contrast to the Stealth Black paint theme. Calling it the most beautiful motorcycle in the segment would not be enough – it’s worthy of being a centrepiece in the Wayne Manor Estate, especially in this black shade.
The Streetfighter V4 is built around the same chassis as the Panigale V4, using the engine as the stressed member. The sub-frame has been tweaked and the wheelbase extended as compared to the Panigale V4 to suit the roadster character. This chassis houses the MotoGP-derived 1,103cc, four-cylinder, liquid-cooled engine that redlines at 14,500rpm!
The peak power and torque arrive in the higher rev band, with this engine dishing out 205bhp at 12,750rpm and 123Nm at 9,500rpm. And you really have to stay in the higher revs to make the most of this motor. But that does not necessarily mean that you always have to keep revving it as the Streetfighter V4 feels easily manageable between 3,000rpm and 6,000rpm. It sounds pretty aggressive even at these revs, but the real symphony begins in the higher rev band. Things step up post 6,000rpm and there’s another bump in acceleration post 11,000rpm. It uses three modes, with Street being the most docile, limiting the power output to 150bhp. Then, there are the Sport and Race modes that give access to full power, but alter the throttle sensitivity and electronic levels.
Crouch on the fuel tank, twist the throttle in the Race mode, and you would experience what it feels like to get slingshot into the horizon. In fact, the bike will cross 100kmph in the first gear, much before the rev limiter kicks in. And you can go fast with utmost confidence as you have the assurance of the Brembo Monobloc Stylema M4.30 front callipers, the Pirelli Diablo Rosso Corsa 2 tyres, and the aerodynamic winglets. Drop the anchor, and get ready to feel the sensation of hitting a wall. Now, this can be an uncomfortable experience for your family jewels if you aren’t holding the fuel tank with your legs. Moreover, going fast does come at the cost of fuel economy, and the on-board indicator dropped to as low as 8kmpl when we rode it aggressively.
Then, there’s the bidirectional quickshifter that works at its finest in the higher revs. But low-speed operations aren’t the smoothest. The assist clutch offers a light feeling to the left hand. Additionally, the comprehensive electronics package, which includes traction control, ABS, wheelie control, launch control, engine braking controls, riding and power modes, and slide control ensures you put down the power to the ground in the most efficient and safest way possible. You can toggle between the ride modes and electronic aids on-the-fly. Now, things do get warm, but the heat from the V4 engine, despite its high power output, feels bearable.
Since we had the S variant of the Streetfighter V4, we got the Ohlins suspension with electronic controls. We let the computer handle the compression and damping, and it did a fantastic job of balancing between comfort and sporty feedback. The motorcycle feels light on its feet and slices through traffic like a hot knife through butter. But the turning radius is wide and it can get bothersome when filtering through bumper-to-bumper traffic.
Take it on twisting roads, and the sporty character of the motorcycle takes the front seat. This is also where the Pirelli Diablo Rosso Corsa 2 tyres show their worth. However, these feel less than ideal in wet conditions, triggering the traction control at the slightest of aggressive throttle input. But out in the dry, these are the best piece of rubber for the Streetfighter V4. Then, the seat height of 845mm may not suit all riders, and people under 5’6” may have a tough time in the parking lot. However, once in motion, the rider’s triangle feels upright and comfortable, while the saddle is well-padded for long hours of riding.
The features include full-LED lighting and a colour TFT display. How do they perform? The headlight delivers a satisfactory performance but feels insufficient to keep up with the engine performance. Then, the instrument cluster, which shows a wide range of information, surprisingly misses a fuel gauge, and you only get a low-fuel indicator on the display. Other readouts on the console include a speedometer, tachometer, gear position indicator, engine temperature, ride mode, and electronic aid levels.
Should You Buy It?
The Ducati Streetfighter V4 is a lot of things – it looks stylish, goes faster than you can handle, and is filled with character. The engine performance makes it likeable, while the upright ergonomics make it more comfortable than the Panigale V4. And then there are the electronic nannies that make it safe to ride, even for relatively inexperienced riders. Is it the best V4 from Ducati? This motorcycle is sportier than the Multistrada V4 and more practical than the Panigale V4, putting it in a sweet spot in Ducati’s V4 engine-powered portfolio. That makes it a must-buy for people looking for a premium motorcycle and can pay Rs. 30 lakh (on-road) without burning out their life’s savings.
Photography by Kapil Angane
Ducati Streetfighter V4 Front View