MCN Fleet: Sorry, how much? Exploring the costs of Ducati Streetfighter V4 S
'My' Ducati Streetfighter V4 S is a technological masterpiece with huge power and wings. but costing £19,975 there’s no way I could actually afford one. Or could I?
Buying it outright would be out of the question and unless I lived in a cardboard box and ate cheap baked beans for three years, I couldn’t find £463.81 a month on a Ducati TriOptions HP deal, either.
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But just £165 a month on PCP would be easier and I could sell my current bike to cover the £4986 deposit. But those figures are based on doing less than 4000 miles a year, which I’d struggle with, as would finding the £12,013 ‘balloon’ payment at the end to keep it, although I could hand it back and start again on another new bike.
£93 tax is always laughably cheap on big bikes, but we’ll keep quiet about that and insurance isn’t too expensive, either. If I were a 52-year-old chap living in West Sussex (which I’m not) I’m looking at £520.13 fully comp.
Parts costs aren’t too scary, either. If I were to drop it off its stand (which I have) and break the Brembo clutch lever (which I did), a replacement costs £81.94. If I were to break the wings (which I haven’t) the upper and lower ones would be £27.00 each, which isn’t bad and the only time you’ll be glad they’re plastic and not carbon fibre. A set of new tyres is around £300.
Spending between £15-£20 on fuel, depending on how far you’ve gone on its six-litre reserve will only get you around 85 miles until the light comes on again (even less on track), so it’s not exactly frugal, but servicing isn’t too lumpy.
Ducati superbikes have chains instead of belts now, so the first valve check service isn’t until 15,000 miles – longer than I’d have it for on that PCP deal. All I’d need to worry about is the annual oil change, check and software updates for around £160, which isn’t frightening given the MotoGP tech whizzing around inside the big V4. That same minor service is also due at 7500 miles. (Oh, by the way, that 15k service is a fruitier £508.40).
To own a slice of exotica like the Streetfitghter V4 S isn’t cheap, whichever way you slice it and it’s not supposed to be, but it’s not as outrageous, as you’d imagine, either. Could I afford one? No.
VIDEO: How does the Ducati Streetfighter V4 S compare to its rivals?
Update three: Streetfighting out of lockdown
Riding to Morrison’s for my shopping and the local farmer’s egg vending machine, was about as exciting as it got in the depths of lockdown. It’s not exactly what my Ducati Streetfighter V4 S was designed for, but for a naked superbike with 186bhp at the rear wheel and a 15,000rpm rev limiter, it was still happy to prowl the near-empty streets at 30mph.
As restrictions slowly eased, I braved the great outdoors and spooled-up more miles - enough for its 620-mile oil change service, which costs around £145. It’ll need that same service every 7500 miles or year, whichever comes first, but the big valve-checking 'Desmo' service isn’t until 15,000 miles and costs around 500 quid. That’s a long way off for any owner.
It’s also screamed its head off on the dyno and recorded the kind of insane power figure that would have kept a noughties BSB winner happy and an MSVT track evening at Brands. It’s the first time MCN has ridden the new Streetfighter on a circuit - Ducati cancelled its Ascari launch, just as the world’s wheels fell off.
The track evening was even slicker than in pre-Covid times with the signing on and briefing done online before you arrive. You still have to queue up for a wristband and to show your licence, but socially distant queues suit me. With the formalities done the fun part is the same as before and with just two groups and 20-minute sessions stretching from 5.30 and 8pm, MSVT spoil you with quality track time.
In fact, with the Ducati’s fuel light coming on after 48 miles - halfway through the third session, there was more play time than I had fuel for. To be fair, the light always seems to come on early (around 85 miles on the road) thanks to the tank’s six-litre reserve.
Its thirst is forgiven, when you discover it’s more than a match for a fully faired superbike at Brands and it’s a doddle to transform from mild-mannered naked to foaming at the mouth track weapon. Just select 'Race' mode to sharpen everything up from the power delivery to suspension and it never lacks anything in the brakes, handling or speed department.
It stays planted over front straight’s whoops at over 150mph, so the wings must be doing their bit and the standard Pirelli Rosso Corsa II rubber is impressive, too, especially with so much power on tap.
Back in 'Street' for the two hour each-way run to Brands the Streetfighter’s seat is as comfy as a tourer's and the riding position roomy, but on a long jaunt I wish it had a small screen (Ducati do one for £205.20) and cruise control.
Track pictures by MSV Photography
Update two: Your Ducati Streetfighter V4 S questions answered
After waiting for what seemed like an eternity, we finally got our hands-on Ducati’s Streetfighter V4 S in mid-March and spent a day on the road, just before lockdown.
As you’d expect from a 205bhp super-naked with wild superbike blood coursing through its veins, it didn’t disappoint.
It’s proved to be our most popular review of 2020, and it’s also thrown up a number of new questions from our readers and website users. So here goes…
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Do the wings make a difference?
Ducati’s chief test rider Alessandro Valia told MCN that when they began the Streetfighter V4 project with a naked, straight-barred Panigale V4, it was unstable, bordering on unrideable.
They lengthened the swingarm, calmed the power and refined the electronics, but it was still an animal. He finally asked the engineers to try wings, so they plucked some off a V4 R: problem solved. They came up with the bi-plane design to suit its looks, which Valia says improves stability, not just flat-out but also on the road.
How can Ducati justify the price?
In ‘S’ spec, with electronic Öhlins and Marchesini forged ali wheels, it’s not cheap, especially when you compare it to BMW’s S1000R, which starts at just £11,570 in base trim. Is the Ducati worth the extra £8k? On the road all bikes with this amount of power are basically capable of covering distance at the same speed, so no.
But on track its superbike chassis and power advantage will see it creep ahead. Build quality, paint finish, attention to detail and equipment are also a class above.
Is it really more user friendly than a superbike on the road?
Yep. That’s the beauty of super nakeds like the new Streetfighter: they offer undiluted superbike performance and technology with an easier to live with riding position. The Streetfighter V4’s obvious comparison is with its Panigale V4 sister – a thing of aching beauty, aggression, immense power and presence, but its low clip-ons and hard seat turn a long journey into a feat of endurance.
The Panigale’s aerodynamics are also so effective there’s little impression of speed, even when you’re really motoring. The Streetfighter’s upright stance is far kinder to knees, wrists, back, neck and with no fairing to hide behind you there’s a more vivid sense of speed. So yes the new bike does work out to be a more rewarding experience on the roads and that’s not to say you won’t have big fun if you take it on track, too.
How does it compare to the Aprilia Tuono V4 1100 Factory?
The £17,199, 173bhp Aprilia Tuono V4 1100 Factory has reigned supreme since its release five years ago, but the Streetfighter V4 S is up for the fight. Although pricier, the Ducati has a fresher design, is finished more luxuriously and has a clearer, more modern, easier to navigate dash.
It’s more powerful, too, so it’ll be hard to beat on track, but the Aprilia’s less spikey motor and more fluid handling should be friendlier on the road. It also has better wind protection, comes with cruise control and is blessed with one of the most evocative, wailing V4 soundtracks ever to grace a motorcycle.
Does it really not wheelie?
Unlike some rivals, the new Streetfighter V4 isn’t the natural born wheelie merchant you’d expect. It’s a deliberate ploy from Ducati to make a 205bhp naked less of a handful.
Of course, you can force it up, but even with its wheelie control disabled, you have to overcome its in-built mechanical and electronic anti-lift barriers: a long swingarm, wings, counter rotating crank and decreasing torque maps. Get it past that lot and it’s actually quite aggressive, so you’ll need to bring your wheelie A-game… and cover the back brake!
Update one: Streetfighter V4 promises marriage made in heaven
I’ve always loved the Ducati Streetfighter - crossed-up wheelies and superbike handling... What’s not to like? I also ran a Panigale V4 in 2018, which I loved but was so uncomfortable. That engine/chassis with a riding position you can live with must be a marriage made in heaven.
The rider Michael Neeves, Chief Road Tester, 50, 6ft. 34 years road riding. Racer, tester, tourer. Michael.firstname.lastname@example.org
Bike specs 1103cc | 205bhp | 199kg | 845mm seat