A second video has been released on YouTube by American carbon specialists, V4Evo, appearing to show the upcoming Ducati V4 Superleggera model.
The new video shows a Ducati Panigale with the fairings removed to reveal a full carbon frame and single sided swingarm. The bike can be seen from several angles, including close-up shots of where the twin-spar frame and subframe meet and are bolted to the engine.
The video is labelled as part two of eight, so we expect to see plenty more updates in the coming weeks. What's not entirely obvious yet is how V4Evo fit into the process of producing the bike.
High fibre diet: Ducati Superleggera V4 sheds kilos with lightweight carbon frame
First published: 16 January 2020 by Mike Armitage
Ducati are set to launch the world’s first production bike with a carbon-fibre frame. The new Superleggera version of the Panigale V4 R uses the high strength, lightweight material to slash weight from its chassis, and with a tuned engine will have the highest power-to-weight ratio of any road-legal bike ever.
It was expected that BMW might be first to use a carbon frame on a fully-homologated road bike, following their track-only HP4 Race, but Ducati will steal the spotlight.
Leaked details about the Superleggera confirm that carbon be will be used for the main structural frame section plus the subframe, swingarm and wheels, saving 7.7kg from the chassis alone over the V4 R – that’s almost eight bags of Tate & Lyle.
Of course, the previous 1299 Superleggera also used lashings of carbon, but didn’t have a frame as such – called a monocoque by Ducati, the 1299’s airbox effectively attached the steering head to the front of the engine. On the V4 there’s a short twin-spar design that also has legs extending down the front of the engine, which Ducati refer to as a frame. Good enough for us.
Weight saving doesn’t stop there: an aluminium sprocket, lightweight chain and carbon fibre fairings save another two kilos, while tweaks to the suspension, controls and yokes scrape off a further 1.32kg.
Weight has been removed from the 998cc V4 engine, too. Almost three kilos are saved through lighter fasteners and a dry clutch, plus the use of titanium camshafts.
Ducati’s desmodromic valve system mechanically opens and closes the valves, rather than using a spring for return, giving them precise control – it’s part of the reason the short-stroke V4 can rev to a stratospheric 16,500rpm.
By taking another step forward with lightweight titanium cams, inertia will be reduced (more so than by using hollow cams, as weight is saved right to the lobe rather than just from the centre) and give Ducati another unique advantage in their cylinder heads.
Changes and tuning take output to 220.9bhp at 15,250rpm, making it the most powerful V4 Stradale engine yet produced. With the full Akrapovic race exhaust supplied with each bike this figure climbs to an absurd 230bhp.
With a claimed dry weight of just 152kg – a saving of almost 20kg over the V4 R – and so an expected wet weight of around 173kg, this means the Superleggera will have a 27% higher power-to-weight ratio than BMW’s ballistic S1000RR.
No wonder it has a brand new set of wings that produce over 50kg of downforce at 167.7mph; not only 67% more than the current V4 R, this is even more force than on Ducati’s latest MotoGP machine.
That Ducati can make something so light and powerful yet still fully homologate it as a road bike – lights, mirrors, properly silenced, meet emission regs, numberplate in the right place – is staggering.
Production of the new Superleggera begins in April, with plans to produce five bikes per day for delivery from May. Ducati CEO, Claudio Domenicali confirmed in November that 500 units would be produced in total. The last bike cost around £75,000 and we're expecting this one to be considerably more than that. Keep an eye out for the full Ducati Panigale V4 Superleggera review coming soon on MCN...
Ducati CEO confirms lightweight Panigale V4 special edition
First published: 27 November 2019 by Ben Clarke
Ducati CEO, Claudio Domenicali, has told MCN that we won't have to wait long for a special new version of their V4 superbike.
"There will be a special edition of the V4 with the same name as previous special editions (Superleggera)," he said.
"It will be seen in the new year and it will be very dramatic. It will be a 500 limited edition, it will be quite expensive but it will be very dramatic in terms of what is on the bike. I think it will be surprising."
Ducati Panigale V4 Superleggera spy shots
First published: 2 October 2019 by Dan Sutherland
Spy shots have emerged showing what appears to be a new special-edition Ducati Panigale V4 Superleggera that could redefine the horsepower race.
Meaning 'superlight' in Italian, the Superleggera follows a Ducati tradition of producing a slimmed-down version of their top-spec superbike, with the both the 1199 and 1299 V-twin Panigales previously receiving the same treatment.
Just like the previous versions, virtually everything that can conceivably be made from carbon fibre appears to be.
There’s a brand new subframe, which has a lack of pillon mounts and gentle curves that suggest the smooth mouldings of a lightweight carbon number. The outer tail pieces too have been modified, surrounding the rear lights with carbon.
The new machine also appears to be using a set of 10-spoke BST Rapid Tek carbon wheels, as seen on the 1299 Superleggera, as well as new carbon-fibre bodywork based on the V4R.
Unlike the 1299 Superleggera before it, this new bike doesn’t appear to use a carbon frame, with the bike pictured here seemingly equipped with the aluminium design already found on the existing 217bhp Panigale V4R.
However it’s likely that it's a lighter weight version that could not be fitted to the V4R due to the expense.
Despite this, it is plausible that the swingarm is in fact carbon fibre, shrouded by a blacked-out paint finish. This is because the aforementioned 1299 special edition made use of such a swinging arm, with only part of the carbon weave exposed.
There's also a revised titanium exhaust system, which adopts end cans similar to the Akrapovic unit fitted to the Ducati Panigale V4 25° Anniversario 916.
Unlike the limited edition, the header pipes on the bike pictured differ from the layout found on any other V4 Panigale, with the blueing finish potentially suggesting a full titanium system as well as shorter exhaust run to save weight.
This top-spec machine also features a different clutch - a sealed unit, rather than the exposed dry design found on models including the V4 25° Anniversario 916.
Away from this, the bike also looks to make use of the same manually-adjusted Öhlins NPX 25-30 forks as the WSB-focussed Panigale V4R, which saves around 600g over the electronic semi-active unit found on the 1103cc V4S. There also appears to be an Öhlins fully-adjustable TTX36 rear shock.
Unlike the forks on the R model, this bike features a small blue spot at the base, which could well be an internal way of easily seeing what’s been worked on. Given it’s likely 10kg lighter than the standard model, the suspension has likely been resprung and revalved.
We've no clear steer from Ducati on pricing or launch date for this new bike, however if they do unveil the machine this year it will likely be on Wednesday, October 23, with the rest of their 2020 range.
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