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…
Related articles on MCN
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