Ducati Improves What Was Already Its Best-Selling Bike In The World

The MY19 Panigale V4 was Ducati’s best-selling bike worldwide, and the factory looks to build on that success through a host of improvements ahead of the 2020 season. Ducati’s engineers struck a balance by increasing rideability and potentially laptimes to deliver more of what made the previous generation such a hit. Top-shelf electronics and a 200-plus horsepower engine complete the package, and it all comes wrapped in low-drag, windtunnel-tested bodywork for both performance and curb appeal.

  • 2020 Ducati Panigale V4
  • Year:
    2020
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    V4
  • Displacement:
    1103 L
  • Top Speed:
    180 mph (Est.)
  • Price:
    21995
  • Price:

2020 Ducati Panigale V4 / V4 S Design

2020 Ducati Panigale V4
- image 873775
2020 Ducati Panigale V4
- image 873769
The cowlings, fairings and other bits and bobs all spent time first with a fluid-dynamics engineer and then in the windtunnel.

Ducati brings superbike racing excitement down the accessibility range a bit with the V4 and V4 S; specifically, the cowlings, fairings and other bits and bobs that all spent time first with a fluid-dynamics engineer and then in the windtunnel. The Aerodynamic Package comes stock on both models from none other than the Ducati Corse – Duc’s racing division – to put race-quality engineering in reach of the everyrider.

You can take it up another notch with the actual Racing Fairing Kit from the accessories catalog and protect many of the vulnerable parts with extra carbon-fiber armor. Even the winglets that come stock can be replaced by a carbon-fiber version if you want to go all-out with your lightening efforts/exercise in vanity/whatever. Said winglets generate downforce at speed to keep the front end planted and the contact-patch spread out for maximum engagement. They borrow from the aviation sector with tips that prevent the drag-inducing wingtip vortices from forming, just like many modern jets.

The gyroscopic effect of the engine also plays into it. Since the engine rotation runs counter to the norm, the forces push the front end down, particularly when you get on the throttle. There’s an electronic gizmo to help prevent moonshots, but we’ll get to that in a bit.

A bubble screen tops the front fairing with all-in-one mirror/turn signals mounted midway on the mullions, no doubt to make them easy to remove for the track. Same thing applies to the mudguard/plateholder/turn-signal unit out back. All around LED lights ensure two-way visibility, especially with the brow-like DRLs that ride over the recessed dual headlights. Behind the glass, a five-inch color TFT screen bundles the instrumentation and the rider interface to make it a one-stop-shop for all the ride metrics.

Dual, gill-like vents in the engine cowling use the ram-air pressure to move cooling air across the radiator, through the engine compartment and back into the slipstream to prevent heat buildup under the hood, as it were.

Short-inseam riders, I’ve got bad news for you. The stock seat height rests at 32.9 inches off the deck, so you’re apt to be in the tiptoe zone right out of the gate in spite of the fact that the saddle rests in a deep swale that pulls you down into the bike. The back end of the tank is pinched hard to help form a narrow waist that leaves room for the deepest body English and makes for a skinny barrel.

2020 Ducati Panigale V4 / V4 S Chassis

2020 Ducati Panigale V4
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2020 Ducati Panigale V4
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2020 Ducati Panigale V4
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Chassis dynamics make it extra eager to dive into the sweeps and capable of quick flicks and reversals.

Ducati breaks up the frame on the Panigale V4. It leads off with the “front frame” that mounts the front end and establishes a 24.5-degree rake angle with 3.94 inches of trail over a 57.8-inch wheelbase to make it extra eager to dive into the sweeps and capable of quick flicks and reversals. A lightweight magnesium sub-frame completes the front end, and a shell-cast aluminum rear subframe bolts up to the rear head to mount the seat and complete the structure. All told, the Panigale V4 weighs 436 pounds soaking wet, so all of the weight-saving efforts paid off.

A single-side aluminum swingarm finishes out the standing rigging. On the base model, a fully-adjustable Sachs monoshock takes care of business out back. Up front, the base model also rides on a set of newly-updated 43 mm Showa Big Piston Forks that rock the full trinity of tweaks with a Sachs steering damper to take the edge off shocks at the bars, but it’s here that we find the first significant difference between the V4 and the “S” variant.

The V4 S relies entirely on Öhlins products all around. The top-shelf “S” also uses the Öhlins Smart EC 2.0 “event-based” system to automatically manage the suspension damping and preload based on the selected profile, so you get changes on the fly completely without the benefit of tools.

Across the board, 17-inch hoops round out the rolling chassis with cast wheels on the base model and machined-aluminum wheels on the V4 S. No matter which you choose, you can expect to see Pirelli Diablo Supercorsa SP hoops in a 120/70 up front opposite a 200/60 and count on the “Z” rating to put up with everything you have the nerve to throw at it.

Model Panigale V4 Panigale V4 S
Frame: Aluminum alloy “Front Frame” with optimized stiffnesses Aluminum alloy “Front Frame” with optimized stiffnesses
Front suspension: Fully adjustable Showa BPF fork. 43 mm chromed inner tubes Öhlins NIX30 43 mm fully adjustable fork with TiN treatment. Electronic compression and rebound dampening adjustment with Smart EC 2.0 event-based mode
Rear Suspension: Fully adjustable Sachs unit. Aluminum single-sided swingarm Fully adjustable Öhlins TTX36 unit. Electronic compression and rebound damping adjustment with Öhlins Smart EC 2.0 event-mode. Aluminum single-sided swingarm
Rake: 24.5° 24.5°
Front wheel trail: 3.94 in (100 mm) 3.94 in (100 mm)
Front brake: Dual 330 mm semi-floating discs, radially mounted Brembo Monobloc Stylema® (M4.30) 4-piston calipers with Bosch Cornering ABS EVO Dual 330 mm semi-floating discs, radially mounted Brembo Monobloc Stylema® (M4.30) 4-piston calipers with Bosch Cornering ABS
Rear brake: 245 mm disc, 2-piston caliper with Cornering ABS EVO 245 mm disc, 2-piston caliper with Cornering ABS EVO
Front wheel: 5-spokes light alloy 3.50” x 17” 3-spokes forged aluminum alloy 3.50” x 17”
Rear Wheel: 5-spokes light alloy 6.00” x 17” 5-spokes forged aluminum alloy 6.00” x 17”
Front tire: Pirelli Diablo Supercorsa SP 120/70 ZR17 Pirelli Diablo Supercorsa SP 120/70 ZR17
Rear tire: Pirelli Diablo Supercorsa SP 200/60 ZR17 Pirelli Diablo Supercorsa SP 200/60 ZR17
Wheel travel (front/rear): 4.7 in (120 mm) / 5.1 in (130 mm) 4.7 in (120 mm) / 5.1 in (130 mm)

2020 Ducati Panigale V4 / V4 S Drivetrain

2020 Ducati Panigale V4
- image 873798
2020 Ducati Panigale V4
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2020 Ducati Panigale V4
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At 10,000 rpm, the torque maxes out with 91.5 pound-feet on tap, and if you wind it on up to a lofty 13,000 rpm you will unleash the full 214 horsepower the engine has to offer.

The powerplant is another constant between the Panigale V4 and V4 S. Ducati tapped its 1,103 cc V4 Desmosedici Stradale engine for the power and control it delivers. First off; the compression ratio is ridiculously high at 14-to-1, so you can expect a finicky eater, as it were, that’ll demand top octane pump champagne to prevent knock, ping and run-on. The oversquare mill runs with an 81 mm bore and 53.5 mm stroke with four valves per cylinder. Ducati’s signature Desmodromic valvetrain replaces valve springs with a pull-closed cam in order to prevent harmonic valve float at high rpm. Dual injectors feed each cylinder and the heads are of the Dual-Spark variety for a carefully-crafted combustion-chamber environment that is designed to develop as much power as possible from every drop of fuel.

What kind of power? Well, at 10,000 rpm, the torque maxes out with 91.5 pound-feet on tap, and if you wind it on up to a lofty 13,000 rpm you will unleash the full 214 horsepower the engine has to offer. Power flows through a slipper clutch for the light lever pull and drag-torque mitigation it offers with a six-speed transmission that crunches the ratios. While I believe the factory provides a vague “180 mph” top speed, un-official reports have it topped out at 203.8 mph. Suffice to say, it’s plenty fast enough for public roads.

To help you manage the great potential this bike brings to the table, it comes with a robust electronics suite that starts with an Inertial-Measurement unit and ride-by-wire throttle control. They enhance the ABS, Slide-Control and Traction-Control features with a corner-sensitive function that moderates the level of intervention based on the physics acting on the chassis and the settings of the ride-quality systems. Riding Modes bundle the above three together with Wheelie Control, Engine Brake Control, and variable delivery Power Modes to provide complete control over the bike’s attitude and personality. A Launch Control and Quick Shift feature rounds out the goodies and help you nail the holeshot along with every gear, up or down.

Engine: Desmosedici Stradale 90° V4, counter-rotating crankshaft, 4 Desmodromic timing, 4 valves per cylinder, liquid-cooled
Displacement: 1,103 cc
Bore x Stroke: 81 mm x 53.5 mm
Compression ratio: 14.0:1
Power: 214 hp (157.5 kW)
Torque: 91.5 lb-ft (124.0 Nm)
Fuel injection: Electronic fuel injection system. Twin injectors per cylinder. Full ride-by-wire elliptical throttle bodies. Variable length intake system
Exhaust: 4-2-1-2 system, with 2 catalytic converters and 2 lambda probes
Transmission: 6 speed with Ducati Quick Shift (DQS) up/down EVO 2
Primary drive: Straight cut gears; Ratio 1.80:1
Ratio: 1: 38/14, 2: 36/17, 3: 33/19, 4: 32/21, 5: 30/22, 6: 30/24
Final drive: Chain; Front sprocket 16; Rear sprocket 41
Clutch: Hydraulically controlled slipper and self-servo wet multiplate clutch

2020 Ducati Panigale V4 / V4 S Pricing

2020 Ducati Panigale V4
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2020 Ducati Panigale V4
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2020 Ducati Panigale V4
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MSRP on the Panigale V4 is $22k and $28.4k for the V4 S.

The base-model, 2020 Panigale V4 is scheduled for release with a $21,995 sticker, while the V4 S predictably hikes the price up to $28,395. Both come in Ducati Red with a Dark Gray frame and blackout wheels.

Model Panigale V4 Panigale V4 S
Instrumentation: Last generation digital unit with 5” TFT color display Last generation digital unit with 5” TFT color display
Safety equipment: Riding Modes, Power Modes, Cornering ABS EVO, Ducati Traction Control (DTC) EVO 2, Ducati Wheelie Control (DWC) EVO, Ducati Slide Control (DSC), Engine Brake Control (EBC) EVO, Auto tire calibration Riding Modes, Power Modes, Cornering ABS EVO, Ducati Traction Control (DTC) EVO 2, Ducati Wheelie Control (DWC) EVO, Ducati Slide Control (DSC), Engine Brake Control (EBC) EVO, Auto tire calibration
Standard equipment: Ducati Power Launch (DPL), Ducati Quick Shift (DQS) up/down EVO 2, Full LED lighting with Daytime Running Light (DRL), Sachs steering damper, Quick adjustment buttons, Auto-off indicators Ducati Power Launch (DPL), Ducati Quick Shift (DQS) up/down EVO 2, Full LED lighting with Daytime Running Light (DRL), Ducati Electronic Suspension (DES) EVO with Ohlins suspension and steering damper, Quick adjustment buttons, Lithium-ion battery, Auto-off indicators, Marchesini aluminium forged wheels, Racing style handle grips
Additional equipment: Passenger seat and footpegs kit Passenger seat and footpegs kit
Ready for: Ducati Data Analyser+ (DDA+) with GPS module, Ducati Multimedia System (DMS) and anti-theft Ducati Data Analyser+ (DDA+) with GPS module, Ducati Multimedia System (DMS) and anti-theft
Warranty: 24 months unlimited mileage 24 months unlimited mileage
Fuel Economy: 34 mpg (6.9 l/100km) 34 mpg (6.9 l/100km)
Color: Ducati Red Ducati Red
Price: $21,995 $28,395

2020 Ducati Panigale V4 / V4 S Competitors

2020 Ducati Panigale V4
- image 873767
2019 Kawasaki Ninja H2 / H2 Carbon
- image 814059
It's tough to beat an Italian ride on power and nigh impossible to beat one on looks.

It’s tough to beat an Italian ride on power and nigh impossible to beat one on looks so I won’t even try, but it looks like Kawasaki may have a worthy competitor with its Ninja H2 superbike. Kawi uses a mix of stylized body panels and an exposed Trellis frame to create a futuristic-looking bike that is clearly built for track-like performance on the streets.

Suspension is pretty much a wash between the Ninja and the base-model Panigale, though the Eye-Tie steps it up a notch on its V4 S with the Öhlins, event-based system that Kawasaki has no answer for. The H2’s power comes from a 998 cc, liquid-cooled engine, but the real magic is in the compressor/supercharger that pushes up to 20.5 pounds of boost for 200 horsepower. It’s impressive, and still shy of the 214 ponies the Desmosedici is packing, but Kawi claims a top speed of 209 mph that will leave the Panigale sucking hind tit.

Kawasaki runs with a robust electronics suite that hits all the same points plus it uses an electronic Öhlins steering damper for no-touch kickback protection. At the checkout the Ninja H2 breaks even with a $29,000 sticker that puts it in the same price bracket as the Panigale.

He Said

“Honestly, you’re never going to do this machine justice on public roads, and you’d better not get caught trying. Folks get all excited about that. If you’re one of those riders for whom it is enough to know that you can light it up, then this may work for you. However, I maintain that it’s more fun to ride a slow bike fast than a fast bike slowly.”

She Said

My wife and fellow motorcycle writer, Allyn Hinton, says, “Oh I agree with my husband on this. It is so much more fun to ride a slow bike balls-to-the wall and still be within (or close to) the speed limit than it is to coddle a fast bike. But different strokes, you know? The front frame is from the last update on V4 R and the center of gravity is a little higher which lets you attack the corners and get to the apex sooner. It’s a more monstrous bike, but the suspension is working for you so it’s an easier bike to ride. The addition of the wings helps you tame the power by keeping the front end down when you need it down the most. Overall, there are a lot of little changes, but they all add up to more power, better performance, and better handling.”

2020 Ducati Panigale V4 / V4 S Specifications

Model Panigale V4 Panigale V4 S
Engine & Drivetrain:
Engine: Desmosedici Stradale 90° V4, counter-rotating crankshaft, 4 Desmodromic timing, 4 valves per cylinder, liquid-cooled Desmosedici Stradale 90° V4, counter-rotating crankshaft, 4 Desmodromic timing, 4 valves per cylinder, liquid-cooled
Displacement: 1,103 cc 1,103 cc
Bore x Stroke: 81 mm x 53.5 mm 81 mm x 53.5 mm
Compression ratio: 14.0:1 14.0:1
Power: 214 hp (157.5 kW) 214 hp (157.5 kW)
Torque: 91.5 lb-ft (124.0 Nm) 91.5 lb-ft (124.0 Nm)
Fuel injection: Electronic fuel injection system. Twin injectors per cylinder. Full ride-by-wire elliptical throttle bodies. Variable length intake system Electronic fuel injection system. Twin injectors per cylinder. Full ride-by-wire elliptical throttle bodies. Variable length intake system
Exhaust: 4-2-1-2 system, with 2 catalytic converters and 2 lambda probes 4-2-1-2 system, with 2 catalytic converters and 2 lambda probes
Transmission: 6 speed with Ducati Quick Shift (DQS) up/down EVO 2 6 speed with Ducati Quick Shift (DQS) up/down EVO 2
Primary drive: Straight cut gears; Ratio 1.80:1 Straight cut gears; Ratio 1.80:1
Ratio: 1: 38/14, 2: 36/17, 3: 33/19, 4: 32/21, 5: 30/22, 6: 30/24 1: 38/14, 2: 36/17, 3: 33/19, 4: 32/21, 5: 30/22, 6: 30/24
Final drive: Chain; Front sprocket 16; Rear sprocket 41 Chain; Front sprocket 16; Rear sprocket 41
Clutch: Hydraulically controlled slipper and self-servo wet multiplate clutch Hydraulically controlled slipper and self-servo wet multiplate clutch
Chassis:
Frame: Aluminum alloy “Front Frame” with optimized stiffnesses Aluminum alloy “Front Frame” with optimized stiffnesses
Front suspension: Fully adjustable Showa BPF fork. 43 mm chromed inner tubes Öhlins NIX30 43 mm fully adjustable fork with TiN treatment. Electronic compression and rebound dampening adjustment with Smart EC 2.0 event-based mode
Rear Suspension: Fully adjustable Sachs unit. Aluminum single-sided swingarm Fully adjustable Öhlins TTX36 unit. Electronic compression and rebound damping adjustment with Öhlins Smart EC 2.0 event-mode. Aluminum single-sided swingarm
Rake: 24.5° 24.5°
Front wheel trail: 3.94 in (100 mm) 3.94 in (100 mm)
Front brake: Dual 330 mm semi-floating discs, radially mounted Brembo Monobloc Stylema® (M4.30) 4-piston calipers with Bosch Cornering ABS EVO Dual 330 mm semi-floating discs, radially mounted Brembo Monobloc Stylema® (M4.30) 4-piston calipers with Bosch Cornering ABS
Rear brake: 245 mm disc, 2-piston caliper with Cornering ABS EVO 245 mm disc, 2-piston caliper with Cornering ABS EVO
Front wheel: 5-spokes light alloy 3.50” x 17” 3-spokes forged aluminum alloy 3.50” x 17”
Rear Wheel: 5-spokes light alloy 6.00” x 17” 5-spokes forged aluminum alloy 6.00” x 17”
Front tire: Pirelli Diablo Supercorsa SP 120/70 ZR17 Pirelli Diablo Supercorsa SP 120/70 ZR17
Rear tire: Pirelli Diablo Supercorsa SP 200/60 ZR17 Pirelli Diablo Supercorsa SP 200/60 ZR17
Wheel travel (front/rear): 4.7 in (120 mm) / 5.1 in (130 mm) 4.7 in (120 mm) / 5.1 in (130 mm)
Dimensions & Capacities:
Dry weight: 386 lb (175 kg) 384 lb (174 kg)
Curb weight: 436 lb (198 kg) 430 lb (195 kg)
Seat height: 32.9 in (835 mm) 32.9 in (835 mm)
Wheelbase: 57.8 in (1,469 mm) 57.8 in (1,469 mm)
Fuel tank capacity: 4.23 gallon (16 l) 4.23 gallon (16 l)
Number of seats: Dual seats Dual seats
Top Speed: 180 mph (est) 180 mph (est)
Details:
Instrumentation: Last generation digital unit with 5” TFT color display Last generation digital unit with 5” TFT color display
Safety equipment: Riding Modes, Power Modes, Cornering ABS EVO, Ducati Traction Control (DTC) EVO 2, Ducati Wheelie Control (DWC) EVO, Ducati Slide Control (DSC), Engine Brake Control (EBC) EVO, Auto tire calibration Riding Modes, Power Modes, Cornering ABS EVO, Ducati Traction Control (DTC) EVO 2, Ducati Wheelie Control (DWC) EVO, Ducati Slide Control (DSC), Engine Brake Control (EBC) EVO, Auto tire calibration
Standard equipment: Ducati Power Launch (DPL), Ducati Quick Shift (DQS) up/down EVO 2, Full LED lighting with Daytime Running Light (DRL), Sachs steering damper, Quick adjustment buttons, Auto-off indicators Ducati Power Launch (DPL), Ducati Quick Shift (DQS) up/down EVO 2, Full LED lighting with Daytime Running Light (DRL), Ducati Electronic Suspension (DES) EVO with Ohlins suspension and steering damper, Quick adjustment buttons, Lithium-ion battery, Auto-off indicators, Marchesini aluminium forged wheels, Racing style handle grips
Additional equipment: Passenger seat and footpegs kit Passenger seat and footpegs kit
Ready for: Ducati Data Analyser+ (DDA+) with GPS module, Ducati Multimedia System (DMS) and anti-theft Ducati Data Analyser+ (DDA+) with GPS module, Ducati Multimedia System (DMS) and anti-theft
Warranty: 24 months unlimited mileage 24 months unlimited mileage
Emissions: Euro 4 Euro 4
Fuel Economy: 34 mpg (6.9 l/100km) 34 mpg (6.9 l/100km)
Color: Ducati Red Ducati Red
Price: $21,995 $28,395

Further Reading

Kawasaki Ninja H2 / H2 Carbon

2019 Kawasaki Ninja H2 / H2 Carbon
- image 814051

See our review of the Kawasaki H2 / H2 Carbon.

Ducati

ALLYN IMAGES: DO NOT DELETE
- image 792903

Read more Ducati news.

TJ Hinton
T.J got an early start from his father and other family members who owned and rode motorcycles, and by helping with various mechanical repairs throughout childhood. That planted a seed that grew into a well-rounded appreciation of all things mechanical, and eventually, into a formal education of same. Though primarily a Harley rider, he has an appreciation for all sorts of bikes and doesn't discriminate against any particular brand or region of origin. He currently holds an Associate's degree in applied mechanical science from his time at the M.M.I.  Read More
About the author

All images featured on this website are copyrighted to their respective rightful owners. No infringement is intended. Image Source: ducati.com, kawasaki.com

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