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My new Panigale V4, Part 1

Posted on April 10, 2018 by acruhl

I bought a new Ducati Panigale V4 base model recently. In the spirit of my blog posts from 2012 when I bought a base model 1199 Panigale, I’m going to try to put up a few posts about what it’s like to own this V4 in the real world.

For history, my old 1199 blog posts:

Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8, 1199 trackday, 1199 trackday followup

(This 1199 story is incomplete, I didn’t blog about a downturn in lifestyle which required me to sell the bike in 2014. I didn’t want to write about it.)

So here we go.

When this bike was announced, I was disappointed. Why 1100cc? It can’t be raced. It can’t be compared to 1000cc bikes. It seems like a cop out. Then a club member pointed out that Ducati might be trying to ensure that their 1299 customers get something that feels like an upgrade, and it started to make sense. I ordered one despite my reservations.

I first rode the Panigale V4S demo bike a few weeks ago. I was lucky enough to spend a little extra time with it, and the first thing that struck me was how similar it felt to my 2012 Panigale. For sure, the riding position is similar, although more refined. And less legroom. It feels like a hardcore sport bike without the discomforts of the 1199. It’s not exactly comfortable, but it works for it’s intended purpose.

The next thing I noticed was what lengths Ducati went to with this engine to make it feel like a twin. It sounds like a twin, it vibrates like a twin, and it feels like a twin while riding in many respects. It’s pretty amazing that you feel like you’re riding a twin, and a Panigale twin in particular, even though it’s a 14,500 RPM 4 cylinder. At higher RPM it sounds like a mix between a MotoGP bike and 2 Ducati twins tied together in the middle, which is pretty much what it is.

I thought it was strange that Ducati called it a “Panigale” with so many differences and the new engine. I’ve heard Ducati refer to this as “the closest thing to a MotoGP bike”. But I have to disagree with Ducati on this point. This is all Panigale Superbike, all the way, no apologies. It can’t be called anything else. If you want a MotoGP bike, get a 2006 Desmosedici (which I was lucky enough to ride). The D16RR is a MotoGP bike. This Panigale V4 is a Superbike. A Panigale.

And now, some of my famous practical but boring information:

o The low fuel light comes on at about 108 miles (108.3 to be exact). This is after some spirited riding, riding across town, and riding 17 miles each way to work mostly on the freeway. Probably a pretty normal mix. I think there’s about a gallon left once the light comes on.

o After 2 fill ups right to the bottom of the filler neck, my mileage has been 38.1 mpg and 37.3 mpg. Wow, not even 40 mpg. Still, not bad for a 200 hp motor! I’m pretty sure I could get close to 50 mpg with a steady hand and constant speed but who wants to do that on this bike?

o The seat is actually not too bad for comfort. Nothing like as bad as the 1199. However, it has sort of a suede like cover, which sticks to jeans. Not so good for movement. I need to try it in my leathers to see if it sticks to those as well.

o The tires are shedding rubber at a pretty alarming rate. The rear one is, anyway. I’ve had it pretty far over on it’s side, accelerating hard, and this seems to be taking a toll. I’m using recommended pressures of 33 front and 30 rear.

o Other than the steering damper which is a bit tight for my tastes, and apparently non-adjustable, my base model feels just as good as the S model to me. It turns just a bit slower, probably due to the heavier wheels. But not much. It’s still way lighter to steer than any other 1000cc superbike I’ve ridden.

o Holy cow this thing puts out some heat. While riding it’s not a big deal. But sitting at a traffic light is getting near unbearable with jeans. I was considering putting it on the kickstand and standing next to it until the light changed. The heat coming up from either side of the seat is really hard to stand. It was about 96 degrees F today when I made this observation. It was still pretty hot when I rode the demo a few weeks ago but not unbearable. The temp was 72 F then.

o The Akrapovic slip on is $4100 from Ducati, plus 5 hours of labor to install. The full system is $5300 from Ducati plus about 10 hours to install. No thanks to either one. That’s just too much. Termignoni is making a full exhaust that looks interesting but I shudder to think about how much it will be. $6k anyone? This thing has enough power for me so it would only be about weight and rideability for me.

o Speaking of rideability, when the engine was good and hot in the 96 F heat today, I was getting some stumbles at idle and small throttle openings. This made it hard to ride smoothly in traffic. Hopefully there will be a map fix soon.

o This may be the fastest motorcycle I’ve ever ridden. I say “may” because I haven’t got very far into the RPM range yet due to break in. Up to about 10,000 RPM on the demo, it’s as fast as anything I remember.

o About break in: The manual says keep it below 6000 RPM, but there’s no tachometer markings or limiters to remind you. I’m trying to keep it below 6000, honest. I guess I’ve hit 9000 or so on mine. 6000 RPM is 84 MPH by the way. 6000 RPM on the 1199 was 107 MPH. Ugh.

More later.

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  1. 14 04 18 07:01

    DesmoSouthwest | My new Panigale V4, Part 2

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