Home of the Ducati club of Tucson and Southern Arizona


My new Panigale V4, Part 1 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.

Sorry about the lack of posts 0

Posted on November 06, 2017 by acruhl

It’s been a while since I’ve written posts. I’m hoping to change that.

The Panigale V4 just came out. I’m sure there will be some stuff to talk about.

Marc Marquez taints the 2015 MotoGP world championship 0

Posted on October 28, 2015 by acruhl

(I haven’t used the black bar since Simoncelli died.)

I’ve been watching Grand Prix motorcycle racing for a very long time (since the late 80s), and I feel like I have some ability to make sense of what happened.

Hopefully you’ve seen the Rossi vs. Marquez incident at Sepang 2015. I won’t explain it, you can watch it on You Tube or various other places.

Full disclosure: I’m a Rossi fan most of the time. I’m also a fan of the rule of law.

When all riders are racing to win, everything falls into place. The rules are easier to enforce. When a rider is racing for a goal other than to win, the result is something that is not for the benefit of racing. This is what I saw at Sepang. I think it should be regulated.

I’ll refer to this article detailing race director Mike Webb’s ruling on the incident:



“Marquez told us that he was just riding his normal race and minding his own business, making passes on Valentino without contact. … And that he had no intention of disturbing Valentino.”

And then he goes on to say:

Despite what Marquez said we think he was deliberately trying to affect the pace of Valentino. However he didn’t actually break any rules. Whatever we think about the spirit of the championship, according to the rule book he didn’t make contact.” (Very interesting comment, more on this later.)

By all accounts, Mike Webb is an honorable man, and his opinions should be considered fair.

So we have a situation where Marquez is being exposed as lying to race direction. And he was doing something morally wrong (albeit legal) to alter the results of a hard fought championship that would have gone to a deserving rider. It doesn’t take an experienced viewer to see that Marquez was parking his bike in front of Rossi on corner exits. The big question is, why did he do it? Certainly not “just because it’s legal”.

Rossi should not have done what he did. He probably could have made a hard pass that knocked Marquez off and there would have been little involvement from race direction given their position that Marquez was deliberately trying to wreck his race. These things happen when the racing is hard fought. It happens in nearly every Moto3 race.

Opinion time:

As stated by Mike Webb above “he (Marquez) didn’t actually break any rules”. Why say that? He said it many times after the race apparently. Is Mike Webb trying to make a point? I think he is.

MotoGP has strict rules regarding interfering with another rider’s pace during qualifying. They’ve probably even enforced it a little too harshly at times. I’m not a fan of more rules, but why isn’t there a rule to sanction a rider who deliberately tries to have a disproportionate affect on the championship? Especially when he or she is not involved in the championship? What if Marquez was bought off by book makers to do what he did? He’s the only rider capable of doing what he did, so it’s a plausible theory. And it should be prevented. Is this the point Mike Webb was trying make by saying Marquez didn’t actually break the rules? I really hope it was.

Honda should have immediately sanctioned Marquez after the race, especially once the opinion of Mike Webb was known. They should have warned him strongly before the race to not do what he did so they wouldn’t have to defend it after the race. They let Marquez get out of control and disrespect them and the championship. Rossi only did what any other rider would do (even if it wasn’t good behavior) to win a championship. It’s happened many times before.

As for the clash, what I saw was Rossi taking both of them wide, Marquez getting irate about it and then attempting to cause Rossi to crash. Which would have fulfilled his mission. But he fulfilled his mission anyway. Unless the book makers disagree of course.

I think the legacy of this will be a much bigger black mark on Marquez’s career than Rossi’s. The real champion of the 2015 MotoGP season will be unknown for eternity. And it’s Marquez’s fault. The championship and all of us lose because of it.

(Go Dani Pedrosa.)

Art of Ducati – new Ian Falloon book 0

Posted on July 25, 2014 by acruhl

There’s a new book available from one of the best authors of Ducati related material – Ian Falloon.

The book is called “Art of Ducati”, and here are a few photos (Click them for larger versions, sorry they aren’t great quality):


And there are many more bikes in the book, some of which are: MH900E, 998R, 999R, 1098R Bayliss, MHR900, Supermono, many vintage bikes, and more.

This book can be purchased here:

If you are a club memeber, read your email from July 25, 2014 before making the purchase.

Gilmour bicycles – handmade in Tucson! 0

Posted on July 02, 2014 by acruhl

(Click on pictures for a larger version)
Andy Gilmour, proprietor of Gilmour bicycles, makes custom hand made bicycle frames right here in Tucson. Andy is also a long time Ducati enthusiast, and a member of DesmoSouthwest. He meets with us on his silver ST3 once in a while, and regularly watches the MotoGP and WSBK races with us.

Motorcyclists tend to be bicycle riders/fans. Most big name MotoGP and WSBK riders train on bicycles. Many of our members ride bicycles, sometimes on the same roads and the same time as our DesmoSouthwest street rides!

Gilmour has some “stock” frames (and complete bikes) he would like to sell, so I went over and took a few photos of them to try to help out. Workmanship is superb:

Gilmour frames are made for racing, and have participated in the Tour de France, among other races.


If you ride road bikes and you’re in the market for a new one, it would be worth contacting Gilmour to see if a deal can be done. He has carbon fiber, aluminum, and steel frames in stock, although he specializes in steel and aluminum. He can build you a custom frame if you prefer of course.

Frames and bikes might start showing up on Craig’s list soon, so it would be worth looking there as well as contacting Gilmour directly.

Contact info for Gilmour is here:


DesmoSouthwest gains not one, but two 1199 Superleggeras! 0

Posted on June 08, 2014 by acruhl

2014-06-08 07.53.00_1199SL_crop_500
As you can see above, DesmoSouthwest now has two 1199 Superleggeras in the club.

They are quite a sight. At first they looked like normal but orange colored 1199s. But as you get closer you can see the special parts pop out quite quickly. An Ohlins shock with titanium spring, when have you ever seen that on another bike? I think never (from the factory that is). Black Ohlins forks which were reserved for bikes like the 999R Xerox and Desmosedici. Magnesium wheels, which are not common at all on street bikes, come standard.

Something that is really surprising is that this bike comes from the factory with an Akrapovic exhaust. I’m not someone who trolls the internet reading every opinion about why this is the case, but I have my own. Termignoni is just not high quality stuff. Not the stuff they sell to street riders, anyway. It would be ridiculous to let this bike down with something of inferior quality, so Ducati went right to one of the top exhaust manufacturers, Akrapovic. Everything they make looks top quality. And they usually put out pretty good dyno numbers as well. The only exhaust company that makes stuff that looks better (in my opinion) is Moto Corse from Japan, but they don’t really have the racing pedigree of Akrapovic.

The owner says that the bikes work very well, possibly surpassing the Desmosedici. I find this hard to process, because I was lucky enough to ride a well set up Desmosedici and I thought that bike would not be surpassed in my lifetime as far as the sensation that you’re riding a racing motorcycle from the factory on the street. He has a few special bikes, and from what I can tell, the 1199 Superleggera is at the top of the list so far.

What a treat to be able to see such special bikes show up on our weekly rides!

DesmoSouthwest Concorso 2014 – April 6th 0

Posted on March 15, 2014 by acruhl

Our Annual Concoroso event is April 6th, 2014 at Brandi Fenton Park, Ramada A. See the Club Activities page for a map.

This is an opportunity to bring out your bikes and show them off while looking at other great bikes. Bring your Italian bikes, or if you don’t have one, bring whatever you have. Be sure to shine them up!

Lunch and drinks will be served around Noon.

Here’s a few photos of bikes that have been in the Concorso before, or are part of the club (click photos for a larger version):


Bevel drive classics from ItalianIron.com 0

Posted on November 29, 2013 by acruhl

Above we have Scot Wilson’s 2 Bevel drive 750 Sport street bikes, one as a Bruno Spaggari replica.

Below is his Spaggiari replica racer with blueprinted engine.

[Updated]New 1199 models: Senna and Superleggera 0

Posted on October 10, 2013 by acruhl

(Images from Roadracing World and MCN respectively.)
[See update near the bottom]
Ducati has announced 2 new 1199 models recently: The 1199 Senna for Brazil only, and the (alleged) 1199 Superleggera. The Superleggera is being sold by invite only, potential customers are being vetted through dealers.

Ducati originally made a 916 Senna (behind the 1199 in the top photo) by agreement between Claudio Castiglioni and Ayrton Senna, who were friends. Castiglioni was then the president of Cagiva who had purchased Ducati years before. Ducati was Cagiva’s top brand at the time, so the decision was for the “Senna” model to be a Ducati. This agreement was done before the death of Ayrton Senna in 1994 at Imola near the start of the F1 race.

The 916 Senna model was released in 1995, and then Cagiva sold Ducati to an American investment firm soon after. Castiglioni believed that the agreement between him and Senna was personal, so he later created an MV Agusta F4S 750 “Senna” model in 2002 and then again in 2006 with a 1000cc version (which wasn’t as nice looking).

Ducati made sort of a copy of the Senna in 2002 with the 748S, which might be the best looking of all of the 916 variants.

So now Ducati is back to making a Senna model again, this time with the 1199. Will MV Agusta be next?

The bottom picture (from MCN) is of the alleged “parts” of the 1199 “Superleggera” (“Superlight” in Italian). I say “parts”, because if you look hard enough, you’ll see nearly enough to build an entire motorcycle. There are many rumors flying around about specs, but it might be 40 pounds lighter than the 1199R (!) with about 10 more horsepower. If this is true, it should be by far the best power to weight ratio in motorcycling, and possibly the most powerful sportbike in terms of rear wheel horsepower. There are also rumors of more advanced electronics, although it looks possible that there is no electronically adjustable suspension.

In order to lose that much weight, it’s likely that all parts shown above will be made from carbon fiber, titanium, magnesium, and possibly forged (instead of cast) aluminum. It would be interesting to see if they make the engine cases out of something other than aluminum. Air cooled VWs had magnesium cases, but they were better known for burning than being light (but they were pretty light).

Some potential customers have already been contacted about this bike, but as far as I know, not very many details were released. 100 are coming to the US, and there will be 400 more for the rest of the world. The price is likely to be double or more than the current 1199R.

I’m wondering if this bike is an indication of changes in Ducati’s World Superbike program. This might be a homologation attempt for some parts that they can’t currently use, such as possibly a magnesium monocoque frame and revised bore and stroke, among other things. I haven’t read the recent WSBK rules so I don’t know if 500 “bikes” (or parts kits, as the case may be) qualifies. It could also be a way to stay competitive in a new rules structure that requires bikes to be less modified from their street bike versions.

UPDATE: The “Superleggera” is officially being called “Project 1201” and not many more details have been confirmed. The frame will be sand cast Magnesium, the wheels will be forged Magnesium (not common on street bikes), the subframe is carbon fiber, the crank is lightened, the rear shock has a titanium spring, and so on.

I got an email from Ducati about it this morning (October 11th). It says it will be nothing less “..than the most exclusive and desirable Ducati ever made.” I think that’s a bold statement in the context of bikes like the Desmosedici, Supermono, 851 Tricolore, 998R, and the fabled 955 homologation racer, among others. I’m pretty sure the Desmosedici will remain the pinnacle no matter what they do to the 1199, but we’ll see.

More later.

DesmoSouthwest club member wins Best of Show in 1st annual Go AZ Vintage Motorcycle show 1

Posted on October 03, 2013 by acruhl

Chris_Laverda_best_of_show_goaz_2013_500Best  of Show Trophy_500Click images for larger versions
DesmoSouthwest member Chris Brown won the 1st annual Go AZ Vintage motorcycle show this past weekend (September 29th) with his 1974 Laverda 3c!

This motorcycle is exceptionally beautiful, and even better, you’ll see it on our club rides once in a while! It’s been shown in the TVMR (Tucson Vintage Motorcycle Riders) annual show a few times as well.

As promised, I owe Chris a T-shirt from one of the few that I have left.

↑ Top