Ducati Streetfighter V4 Review (2020)

Overview

Wings like a bi-plane from the 30s, a 2020 Panigale V4 engine and electronics suite, top spec components and 205bhp is a baffling set of numbers to digest as well as being a recipe not for the feint-hearted. The Ducati Streetfighter V4s unique and headline-grabbing assets raise it high above rivals yet it’s not ‘all mouth and no trousers’ because this new hypernaked contender proves to be an absolute Tinder match for the UKs roads. Agile and proficient in the corners, stable and strong on the brakes and a whole heap of power and torque from right down low to keep everybody’s heartrate skipping along to its tune.

 

For and against
  • Incredible ride quality with fast, predictable, sportsbike-like steering
  • Raft of electronic rider options
  • Immense yet controllable power
  • Rear of the TFT panel needs a more stylish and aerodynamic finish
  • Radiator surrounds would look better in red or black
  • Off-throttle whine at low rpm

 

Ducati have been making supernakeds since the turn of the century with Monsters and Streetfighters in various guises and sizes rattling, shaking and booming their way around but none can touch the latest version – the Ducati Streetfighter V4 – for lunacy. It’s been one of the most highly anticipated bikes since the Panigale V4 hit the headlines at the back end of 2017. There were cries for a naked version even before the fully faired sportsbike had turned a wheel.

Traditionally excellent at cooking, did the Italians find the right ingredients and deliver this time? Oh yes. In the fearsomely competitive arena of crazy nakeds, the mixture of taking a Panigale V4, whipping the fairings off, adding two more wings, lifting the handlebars and re-tuning the motor to boost the low-to-mid range torque is a sure-fire hit. Packing more heat than a vindaloo in a viper’s nest, the claimed power and weight ratio beats any other production naked, and that’s in stock form. Then add the official exhaust system and the figures are almost unbelievable.

Even the Project manager, Paulo Quattrinu, told us, “At the beginning, we decided to create something mad.”

Does that make for a suitable machine for the road? Well we’ve seen plenty of lairy wheelies, skids and knee-grazing from the Ducati test riders in the promotional material but how does it perform on the B664 to Uppingham? COVID-19 saw off the press launch due to take place in and around Ascari in Spain so out into the English sunshine I ventured before the lockdown.

 

2020 Ducati Streetfighter V4S Video Review
First impressions count and here’s how the hyper naked Ducati affected our very own Michael Mann when he spent his first 100 miles with 205bhp and no fairing.

 

2020 Ducati Streetfighter V4 Price

As with many bikes in the Ducati catalogue, the standard model is attractive enough but add some bling as there’s an ‘S’ version to drool over and then convince yourself it’s worth the extra few quid per month.

The so-called standard model comes with a £17,595 price tag whereas the ‘S’ is £19,795. But what do you get for your extra £2,200? Simple; suspension and wheels. The S is equipped with 3-spoke Marchesini forged aluminium alloy rims while the stocker has 5-spoke light alloy versions. The S has electronically adjustable Ohlins suspension, rear shock and steering damper as opposed to the Showa and Sachs mixture on the standard bike.

Both are available only in red – they must have run out of red paint when it came to the radiator surrounds – are in dealerships now and come fitted with BikeTrac security as standard.

Here’s an example PCP deal of what a Streetfighter V4S will set you back:

Deposit

£4844.76 (24%)

Agreement duration

37 months

Annual mileage

5000

Monthly repayments

£195

Optional final repayment

£11,004

APR

7.5%

Total amount payable

£22,868.76

The standard model is achievable with a £500 lower deposit, £175 per month with a £9699 optional final payment.

 

 

Power and torque

All bikes have headlines, the reason why the manufacturer is selling them and the type of customer they’re trying to attract. So, when Ducati unveiled the naked version of their super brilliant Panigale V4 it was massive power figure and a twin set of wings that drew attention.

A peak power figure is there to compare and show off to your mates but the useable power -  and torque for that matter – remains as the holy grail of actual performance over facts. Nobody rides around at 12,750rpm in 5th or 6th gear unless they have access to a circuit with a very long straight. Remember, the Fireblade and Panigale V4 videos from earlier this year when 185mph (299kph was achieved in 5th gear alone! So, 205bhp (153kW) @ 12,750rpm is the claimed power figure while torque peaks at 123Nm (90.4 lb-ft) @ 11,500rpm.

The important measures here are the availability of the torque through the rev range. While it’s doesn’t hit its peak figure until 11,500rpm, you’ve still got 90% available from 9000rpm and 70% from 4000rpm – you know what that means? Massively impressive acceleration. Yes, it can be tamed with the raft of electronic aids but dial down the traction control and aim to familiarise the front wheel with tarmac and your senses won’t know what’s hit them. I’ll demonstrate further; in 3rd gear at 60mph the Streetfighter has 14% more torque than its Superbike sibling, the Panigale V4.

And if 205bhp / 123Nm isn’t enough then stump up an extra £4,300 and with a full racing exhaust not only will you even less popular with the neighbours but you’ll be able to escape from them faster with your extra 12bhp (up to 217bhp) and your weight saving of 5.5kg. Even the £3k ‘Racing Silencers’ will earn you 8 more bhp while shedding 4kg.

The throttle connection is so sweet, and only needs the gentlest caress to catapult you toward the speed limit as the revs bellow below and swallow the numbers on the TFT display quicker than you can read them. Throw another gear at it and hold on – it’s far more entertaining than the gym.

 

205bhp, bi-plane wings and a high spec electronics package – does the naked V4 live up to its headline-grabbing billing?

 

Engine, gearbox and exhaust

The very same 1103cc Desmosedici Stradale 90-degree V4 engine that powers the Panigale is practically unchanged with the exception of dedicated mapping and a shorter final ratio offering the get-up-and-go a mighty naked should have. Torque-laden and rich in swathes of luscious horses just galloping along letting you enjoy that neat throttle reaction. Other road users are bound to applaud your greatness and quality choice of motorcycle as you woosh by, while pedestrians in lower speed zones will just be deafened. The neighbours will be striking you off their Christmas card list too.

That final drive targets acceleration rather than top speed and the ways in which it takes off can be thoroughly mental or as calm as your right hand allows but what’s the point in having a cupboard full of biscuits if you’re not going to eat any? According to the Project Manager, the top speed is limited because of the lack of wind protection for the rider but also because of the final gear ratio, so it should max out at 180mph (290kph) – and you’d have a very strong neck to manage that.

I always imagine a Ducati engine to be clean, pristine and almost magical if dissected. The premium nature of the brand is, I’m sure, reflected in the purity of its cogs, wheels, valves and other spinny or pumpy things. And that feeling translates through to the quality of the ride from an engineering perspective with those four cylinders going about their business while I’m on top of them wide-eyed and grinning like a madman, momentarily grateful for their work while focusing on the next road-based conquest. The 0-90-290-380 degree firing order is distinctive in terms of sound but also the way in which is thrums beneath. Credit to those Ducati engineers, the engine, gearbox and throttle combination feels so much glossier than the commotion would have you believe. Yet it remains part of the character of this performance-laden street bike – so much more than an inline four or even an electric bike that could match the Ducati for instant pace.

What is interesting, just like the Panigale, to reduce the heat billowing into your inner thighs, the rear cylinder bank deactivates when at standstill, in neutral and the engine temperature is greater than 75C/167F.

A 6-speed quick-shifter enabled gearbox, that’s for both up and down shifts, is considered the norm these days, especially on a £19k model (ahem, CBR1000RR-R) and Ducati’s version has been updated for 2020 with this, their EVO2 which can also be found on the Panigale V4. It’s a smooth yet firm click and short-throw between gears although be positive or when you’re accelerating during an overtake and hit neutral instead of 5th, you’ll be glowing as red as the fuel tank.

Not only is the motor almost identical to the 2020 Panigale V4 model, it therefore ‘only’ meets Euro 4 emissions regulations. My guess is that they’ll be able to get that engine past Euro 5 fairly easily, so it could simply be a case that they haven’t tested it to Euro 5 levels and had it certified yet.

 

 

2020 Ducati Streetfighter V4 Economy

Blood thirsty street fighting animals aren’t designed for big distances on one tank. A brimmed 16 litres worth adds plenty of weight to a supple beast but ride it like its meant to be ridden and you’ll struggle to see more than 40mpg which is what the dashboard indicated after my 100 miles of mixed roads… and behaviour.

A lack of fuel gauge will have you frustrated and cut short any enjoyment when the orange light of doom shines. Reset the trip when you fill up and after the first few tank fulls, you’ll know when to pay a visit.

 

Handling, suspension, chassis and weight

With all that power, you need control. A cast aluminium front frame weighing just 4.2kg is bolted directly onto the engine which in turn is used as a structural element of the chassis. The underseat trellis-style subframe is then bolted directly onto both the front frame and to the head of the rear cylinder bank. Both formats have structural and weight-saving benefits and give the bike a more compact design. This design is supplemented further with a racing style fuel tank with capacity under the seat plus the silencer directly underneath the engine. All of which adds to the first-class handling of the Ducati.

The bi-place wings of the Streetfighter are narrower than the single wing of the Panigale and, if you believe the maths, they produce 28kg - just 2kg less than the Panigale - of downforce at 168mph. But they aren’t just there to carry loo rolls or as smart design appendages, they help the stability of the bike because a 205bhp naked bike needs a little assistance. Without the wings, the single-sided swingarm would have to be a lot longer which in turn would negatively affect the handling.

You can certainly feel how well behaved the bike is under braking, hard acceleration and during its fast tipping-in ability but I can’t necessarily put that down to just the wings. It’d be unfair on the suspension, chassis dynamics and electronics – after all it’s a team game to make a motorbike handle this well. I’m seriously impressed. Kerb weight-wise the claim is 199kg which feels about right – it has the solidity and predictability over bumps in corners for example, while manoeuvring it about requires little effort. At walking pace, the lock-to-lock steering angle isn’t great but on the flip side, at speed that aids stability. The Ohlins steering damper is a worthwhile addition here.

Onto suspension and the V4 S that I tested comes with those high spec electronically adjustable Ohlins front and rear. Easily manageable through the Ducati’s electronic brain of course. They soaked up everything I threw at them from the speed humps through Uppingham to the country lanes of Leicestershire and Rutland, offering a very comfortable ride throughout. They also manage to iron out any clumsy throttle and brake use courtesy of the Ohlins Smart EC2.0 cleverness which offers support under braking, maximises grip and weight transfer through the turn and accelerating away. Add all these individual components together and you begin to realise how much it costs to put a bike like this together.

Pegs are set lower and further forward than the Panigale and the riding position - incorporating the high, wide and adjustable (+/- 3 degrees) bars indicative of a powerful naked machine - is sporty enough to warrant its 205bhp while comfortable enough for a tank full of miles… with the occasional leg stretch. A special mention goes to the swanky saddle for its comfort - it looks neat, is narrow where it needs to be but supportive too. Two seat options are available that would take the 845mm seat height to either 825mm or 865mm.

The stylish tail section is also reminiscent of the Panigale but a word of warning; while men tend to like sticking things in holes, I went to poke my hand through the tail unit and cut my finger on the sharp plastic.

 

 

2020 Ducati Streetfighter V4 Brakes

Strong and reliable engine braking mixed with the latest Brembo Stylema monobloc calipers (M4.30) chomping down on a pair of massive 330mm discs on the front and the Streetfighter will almost stop on a sixpence. A host of electronics including Engine Brake Control, Slide Control and the latest gen ABS system (with a Cornering system for emergency braking at lean) combine to produce some excellent stopping skill. It’s all variable via the on-screen menu of course but under normal riding conditions then rolling off the throttle and some light two-digit use is all you’ll need. ABS kept a low-profile and it’ll be interesting to see how it copes with the rigours of the track. One for the to-do list later this year.

Pirelli’s Diablo Rosso Corsa II are the excellent choice of OE tyre. Reliable, versatile, quick to warm up and effective on the less grippy surfaces too, they held the road admirably during my test ride and proved to be an accomplished accompaniment to the Streetfighter’s divine handling.

 

Rider aids and extra equipment / accessories

Immediately after riding this 2020 Ducati, I hopped on a 2000 Honda VTR1000 SP1 (the Bennetts competition prize for this year) and the difference of a generation between bikes was on astonishing – not only with brakes, weight, power, comfort and throttle connection but the Honda was technologically speaking so far behind the Ducati it felt like 40 years not 20. Some prefer the old-fashioned feel of a bike and the more mechanical nature but if there are riders reading this who’ve never experienced Traction Control, ABS or ride-by-wire anything, then I urge you to get to your local dealer for a test ride on anything modern as soon as possible!

Back to the Streetfighter and a 6-axis IMU is busy detecting the bike’s movements across the three plains of roll, yaw and pitch which in turn offers control, depending on your personalised rider settings, over start, acceleration, braking, traction and cornering.

The 5” colour TFT display is the same as seen on the Panigale and is your window to the settings for Cornering ABS, the latest generation of Traction Control, Slide Control, Wheelie Control, Power Launch, Quickshift up/down and Engine Brake Control as well as the three pre-set rider modes – Street, Sport and Race, which can also be amended to your liking. It’s well worth playing around to find your preference and optimise the ride quality too. It’s all there to enhance safety, comfort and performance.

Plenty of official styling and performance accessories are on offer ranging from the aforementioned exhaust and seat options to light-weight magnesium rims and a dry clutch kit.

 

 

Rivals

Naked bikes are the fastest growing category and covers capacities from 125cc to this collection of shoulder shudderers below. MV Agusta’s new Brutale 1000 RR is the only other to top the double century in terms of power while others can beat the Ducati for torque but it’s the Streetfighter than comes out on top in the power:weight ratio. But as I always say, get yourself a test ride on as many as possible if this is your short-list: 

Bike

Peak Power

Peak Torque

Kerb weight

Price

Ducati Streetfighter V4

205bhp @12,750rpm

90 ft lbs @ 11,500rpm

201kg

£17,595

Kawasaki Z H2

197bhp @ 11,000rpm

101 ft lbs@8500rpm

231kg

£15,149

MV Agusta Brutale 1000RR

205bhp @ 13,000rpm

86 ft lbs @ 11,000rpm

204kg (est.)

£26,380

KTM 1290 Super Duke R

177bhp @ 9500rpm

103 ft lbs @ 8000rpm

207kg (est)

£15,699

Aprilia Tuono 1100 RR

173bhp @ 11,000rpm

89 ft lbs @ 9000rpm

209kg

£17,199

Yamaha MT-10 SP

158bhp @ 11,500rpm

82 ft lbs @ 9000rpm

210kg

£14,745

BMW S1000R Sport

162bhp @ 11,000rpm

84 ft lbs @ 9250rpm

205kg

£13,380

Triumph Speed Triple RS

148bhp @ 10,500 rpm

86 ft lbs @ 7150 rpm

205kg (est)

£13,600

 

2020 Ducati Streetfighter V4 verdict

It was the one I was looking forward to; it promised plenty and still managed to over-deliver. Treat it mean and the naked V4 Ducati will keep you keen with an abundance of energy and character that’ll have you deliberately looking for the long way home every time.

The impressive compilation of high specification goodies impress as the tyres, brakes, suspension and electronic brain unite as harmoniously as The Three Tenors. The Ducati soundtrack is just as deep and moving too as the Streetfighter swallows up the miles with such assurance and composure. Turn-in is quick, predictive and feels safe while acceleration verges on being addictively sadistic. 48 hours after riding and my arms still ache – this is not for the feint-hearted.

It’s not without its niggles – I’d like to see a smarter design when incorporating the TFT display into the headlight surround, I think the radiator panels would look better in red, cruise control would be a very handy addition plus a better way to hide those cables and wires wouldn’t go amiss. I’d imagine another colour option would be well received too.

There’s no point me analysing the type of customer for whom the Streetfighter V4 is designed because it makes no sense when written down, it’s like saying 2+2 = 73. It’s not particularly practical, economical, cheap, yet you’ll have ridden nothing like it. The entertainment value is as immense as the riding pleasure. It’s aggressive, it’s fast, it handles and I want one.

Thankfully, Ducati UK are loaning me one for the remainder of the year so look out for updates. Will the novelty wear off? How will the chain and clutch cope with the torque? Can I get the mpg up? Let me know if you have any questions too.

 

 

2020 Ducati Streetfighter V4 spec

New price

From £17,595 (£19,795 as tested, ‘S’ model)

Capacity

1103cc

Bore x Stroke

81 x 53.5mm

Engine layout

Desmosedici Stradale 90-degree V4, reward-rotating crankshaft

Engine details

4 valves per cylinder, liquid-cooled

Power

205bhp (153kW) @ 12,750rpm

Torque

90.4lb-ft (123Nm) @ 11,500rpm

Top speed

165mph+

Transmission

6 speed with Ducati QuickShift up/down EVO2

Average fuel consumption

40mpg claimed

Tank size

16 litres

Max range to empty (theoretical)

140 miles

Rider aids

Three riding modes, Cornering ABS EVO, Traction Control EVO 2, Wheelie Control EVO, Slide Control EVO, Brake Control EVO, Auto tyre calibration.

 

Power Launch, Quick shift EVO 2, Electronic Suspension.

Frame

Aluminium alloy front frame

Front suspension

Ohlins NIX30 43mm forks with TiN treatment

Front suspension adjustment

Electronic compression and rebound damping adjustment with Ohlins Smart EC2.0 event-based mode

Rear suspension

Ohlins TTX36 unit.

Rear suspension adjustment

Electronic compression and rebound damping with Ohlins Smart EC2.0 event-based mode

Front brake

2 x 330mm semi-floating discs, radially mounted Brembo Monobloc Stylema (M4.30) 4-piston callipers with Cornering ABS EVO

Rear brake

245mm single disc, 2-piston calliper with Cornering ABS EVO

Front tyre

120/70 ZR17 Pirelli Diablo Rosso Corsa II

Rear tyre

200/60 ZR17 Pirelli Diablo Rosso Corsa II

Rake/Trail

24.5°/100mm

Wheelbase

1488mm

Seat height

845mm

Kerb weight

199kg

Warranty

Unlimited miles / 2 years

Maintenance

7500miles / 12 months

Website

www.ducati.com/gb

 

Looking for bike insurance? Get a quote for this motorcycle with Bennetts motorbike insurance

 

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