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Digital Subscriptions > Fast Bikes > 337 > V4 VENDETTA

V4 VENDETTA

LAUNCH

DUCATI PANIGALE V4

It’snot every dayamanufacturer comes along and systematically rewrites the rulebook, or at leastnot in the way the V4 is set to. I’m surethere arethose that arestill drying their tearsfollowing Ducati’sunexpected decision to partways with theiriconic V-twin tradition, but trust me when Isay it’snot the hardcore Ducatista that shouldbeupsetbythe Panigale V4’sarrival; it’sthe Italian brand’srivals.But, of course, this wasa moment we’d all been expecting, right? Following monthsofteased hype and morevideo plays thanapop star’s leaked sextapes, there wasonly evergoing to be one eventualityfor thislatest iteration of Panigale thatmighthave carried thesame name and colourofits forebears, but little else.Because to achieve perfection Ducati went backtothe drawing board, shut its finestdesignersinaroom and presented them withawish list as long as an MP’s expensesinabid to revolutionise its already class destroying achievements of bhp and kerb weight figures.

The new V4 needed to be lighter, more potent, but also much more usable than the 1299 twin-pot of old. And while not every desire was met (the new V4 motor weighs in at 2.2kg more than the 1299’s), the overall gains were better than expected, with a new power-to-weight ratio that puts the 1299 to shame (Increased from 1.03hp/kg to 1.1hp/ kg). That might not sound like much, but when you’re talking about a bike that’s already the lightest and most powerful weapon in class, pulling off such gains is worthy of more than a slap on the back (surely they let those designers out eventually). But the gains didn’t stop there, with an all-new ‘front’ frame (an über light 4kg jobby), lightened wheels, swingarm and the latest generation of tech joining the mix in a bid to not just make the V4 light and powerful, but also a bloody good dancer too.

FIRST THINGS FIRST

To see whether Ducati had ticked the latter of those boxes, they flew me and some other plebs out to Valencia, where we were set to wage war with the (claimed) 211bhp V4S version of the new trio of sexy offerings. If you’ve ridden Valencia, you’ll know it’s a handful, and despite possessing a start straight fast enough for a Jumbo to take off on, the rest of the circuit is tight, technical and a nightmare for anything larger than a scooter. Well, assuming your talent’s as limited as mine. In short, it was a surprise choice of track that left us journos trying to reason the venue, right up until the point of cocking a leg and noting how well balanced the bike felt – undoubtedly aided by the brand’s decision to produce design porn by mounting the crux of the fuel tank low beneath the rider’s seat – superbike stylee.

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About Fast Bikes

In this month's issue of Fast Bikes ... - Free 32 page guide 2018 Fast bikes style - Top 7 used nakeds - V4 Vendetta new Ducati Panigale set to rule - Yamaha MT-09 SP: King of bling Kitted street naked for the amsses - The virtues of V4 electric bikes on track - Michelin talks motogp - Panigale models explored - Suzuki GSX-R1000 K5 buyer's guide & much more
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