While a beginning track racer might not take full advantage of the Panigale V4’s electronics, there’s a reason Ducati’s super sportbike has been compared to Ferraris. The Italian marque has already expanded its platform’s appeal with the two-cylinder Panigale V2. Now, it’s removed unnecessary accouterments to create the Ducati Streetfighter V4 naked bike. And in doing so, it may have also made the Ducati Panigale even more approachable.
What makes the 2020 Ducati Streetfighter V4 S different from the Panigale V4 S?
The 2020 Ducati Streetfighter V4 S’ name comes from the nicknames given to the early naked bikes of the 80s and 90s, RideApart reports. Today, though, naked bikes are typically based on standard or mildly-sporty motorcycles, Autowise explains, while streetfighters are built on even sportier models.
Mechanically, the Ducati Streetfighter V4 S is very similar to the Panigale V4 S, Cycle World reports. It has the same 1103cc V4 engine, albeit with modified ECU tuning and a shorter final drive gear ratio. As a result, it’s rated at 208 hp and 90 lb-ft, while Ducati rates the Panigale V4 S at 214 hp and 92 lb-ft. But like the Panigale, the Streetfighter still features a 6-speed transmission with a slipper clutch and an electronic quick-shifter, Motorcyclist reports.
The Ducati Streetfighter V4 S also shares the Panigale V4 S’ electronic features. They include ABS, traction control, wheelie control, slide control, engine-braking control, and launch control, which are adjusted via the 5” TFT display and handlebar-mounted buttons. Plus, the S trim comes with Ohlins semi-active suspension, as well as lighter cast-alloy wheels.
Although the Streetfighter lacks the Panigale’s fairings, it retains the Brembo brakes and the aerodynamic front-mounted winglets. But while it rides on the same platform as the Panigale, some of its ergonomic details are different, Revzilla reports. It has a new flat handlebar, slightly lower footpegs, and a taller and plusher seat.
The 2020 Ducati Streetfighter V4 S might be easier to ride than the Panigale
Despite lacking a fairing, the Ducati Streetfighter V4 S is slightly heavier than the Panigale V4 S. Ducati claims the former weighs 392 pounds without fluids, while the latter’s dry weight is 384 pounds. With fluids, the Streetfighter weighs in at 439 pounds, Roadshow reports. However, that added weight doesn’t make an appreciable difference. The other changes, though, do.
The previous Streetfighter models took the performance of Ducati’s sportbikes and put it into a more daily-ridable package, Cycle World reports. And that’s precisely what the new V4 S model does, too, The Drive reports.
Part of that is likely due to the comfort- and stability-oriented tweaks Ducati made to the Panigale V4 chassis for 2020, Cycle World reports. But even with the noticeable benefits, it’s still a sportbike, which means the riding position can be a bit cramped for some, Motorcycle.com reports. It’s easy to ride, Roadshow reports, but it’s oriented around the track.
Meanwhile, the Ducati Streetfighter V4 S “feels like a more polished machine than the Panigale,” Motorcyclist reports. The Drive calls the ergonomics “pitch-perfect compared to the Panigale.” And if all you want is to ride around town at sane speeds, the Streetfighter remains a docile and smooth machine with a comfortable seat, Roadshow reports. The lack of bodywork also means engine heat doesn’t build up as much as on the Panigale, Cycle World reports.
But despite that, it’s still a lot of fun in the corners, Revzilla reports. The handling is excellent, with easy turn-in and good grip. The brakes are extremely effective, and the throttle response is spot-on.
Which bike should you buy?
Admittedly, the Ducati Streetfighter V4 S does give up a few things to the Panigale V4 S.
The lack of a fairing means less wind protection at high speeds. Revzilla reports the riding position does lean you into the wind a bit. But, as the owner of a naked bike myself, I suggest potential Streetfighter owners look into windscreens for extended freeway rides. And, if your goal is track riding, the Panigale’s design makes it better-suited to that than the Streetfighter.
However, if you’re looking for a good street bike with Panigale-like performance, the Ducati Streetfighter V4 S is worth a closer look. And while it’s not exactly cheap, it’s less expensive than the Panigale V4 S. The Panigale V4 S starts at $28,395. The Streetfighter is $4400 cheaper.
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