Ducati’s MotoGP-derived supersport just got better

LISTEN 10:31

Another model-year is upon us, and constant as the North Star, the bikebuilder in Bologna has a fresh update package for its Panigale family with the new-for-2021 Panigale V4. Aesthetically, the body is unchanged, but there are enough tweaks under the hood to qualify the Panigale V4 as a “new” model, at least according to the bikebuilders in Bologna. The V4 powerplant is cleaner this year, so it comports to the EU-5 emissions requirements and rolls with more race-tuned electronic wizardry than ever before.

  • 2021 Ducati Panigale V4
  • Year:
    2021
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    V4
  • Displacement:
    1103 cc
  • Top Speed:
    203 mph (Est.)
  • Price:
    22295
  • Price:

2021 Ducati Panigale V4 Design

  • Aesthetically unchanged
  • Five-inch color TFT display
  • LED lighting
  • Aerofoils
2021 Ducati Panigale V4
- image 978449
2021 Ducati Panigale V4
- image 978441

At a glance the outward appearance of the new Panigale V4 looks similar to that of the previous version, but with a closer look, it’s clear that the MY21 looks exactly like the 2020 model. It leads the way with a fork foot-mount front fender with foil-shaped uprights that double as spoilers for the bottom third of the inverted forks to minimize drag and maximize penetration.

A spoiler of another sort in the pair of stubby winglets mounts immediately above the fender on both sides of the front fairing, tech that was borrowed directly from the Ducati Corse (racing) division. They carry an inverted foil-shaped profile that exerts downward force on the front end to improve traction through an enlarged contact patch with some added anti-lift protection under acceleration as well. If that isn’t enough to keep the nose down, the engine uses the gyroscopic mass of the crankshaft to contribute to the downward force via its counter-rotating configuration to pull the front end down.

The windtunnel-tested treatment extends throughout the build. Vertical fins on the winglets help mitigate the drag-inducing wing-tip vortices that can form at the end of a foil, and the vents on either side take advantage of the vacuum generated by the slipstream for low-turbulence reintegration of the cooling air.

Up top, a bubble screen forms a compact rider’s wind pocket, though you’ll have to tuck in all the way – racer-style – to find it. The integrated front mirrors and turn signals are easily removed as a unit ahead of race days with all the mounting holes plugged and faired off as part of the accessory Racing Fairing Kit. That’s right sports fans, the Panigale V4 may roll as a street-legal machine, but it’s definitely a good candidate if you want to do a little proper closed-circuit racing in addition to being a bully on the streets.

LED lighting contributes to its public-road chops with angry-bird DRL brows to improve your safety by making you more visible to the world, at least from the front. A five-inch, color TFT display bundles all of the instrumentation and higher electronics together in one convenient place, so your eyes never have to stray far when you need to check metrics while under way.

Shorter riders may need an upping-block to deal with the 32.9-inch seat height, though the narrow waist will eliminate bulk between the thighs (no giggity) and help riders of all builds reach terra firma with their Lamborfeeties.

2021 Ducati Panigale V4 Chassis

  • Lighter weight V4 R frame
  • Improved ’feel’ at maximum lean angles
  • Improved stability during acceleration
  • As agile and nimble as they come
2021 Ducati Panigale V4
- image 978470
2021 Ducati Panigale V4
- image 978462
2021 Ducati Panigale V4
- image 978442

To minimize unnecessary weight, the factory uses the engine on the Panigale V4 as a stressed unit that displaces a few fairly major sections of framework. An aluminum “front frame” bolts to the engine to mount the steering head with a 24.5 degree angle of rake that is almost as short, and as agile, as they come. Plus, the cast-alloy, 17-inch rims round out the rolling chassis for an equally-short, and equally nimble, 3.94 inches of trail over a 57.8-inch wheelbase. The forward subframe is comprised of lightweight magnesium, while out back, a shell-cast aluminum subframe and single-side aluminum swingarm to finish out the core structure.

Lightweight cast-alloy rims round out the rolling chassis in a 17-inch diameter with Pirelli Diablo Supercorsa SP hoops. The rubber comes with a race-rated “Z” designator in a 120/70 hoop ahead of a 200/60. The front end floats on Showa 43 mm Big Piston Forks with the full trinity of adjustments, but out back, Sachs was tapped for its fully-adjustable shock to complete the suspension. Suspension travel is reported at 4.7 inches and 5.1 inches on the front and rear respectively.

Brembo supplies the anchors with dual, four-pot Monobloc Stylema calipers that bite 330 mm front discs and a twin-piston caliper for the 245 mm rear disc. Bosch Cornering ABS reads the forces acting on the bike as reported by the inertial measurement unit and moderates its interventions to match the calculated available traction in the sweeps. Self-bleeding brake and clutch master cylinders are new for 2021 and are sure to reduce the headache of bleeding the brakes down.

Frame: Aluminum alloy "front frame" with optimized stiffnesses
Front Suspension/ Travel: Fully adjustable Showa BPF fork. 43 mm chromed inner tubes/4.7 in (120 mm)
Rear Suspension/ Travel: Fully adjustable Sachs unit. Aluminum single-sided swingarm/5.1 in (130 mm)
Rake: 24.5°
Trail: 3,94 in (100 mm)
Front Wheel: 5-spokes light alloy 3.50" x 17"
Rear Wheel: 5-spokes light alloy 6.00” x 17”
Front Tire: Pirelli Diablo Supercorsa SP 120/70 ZR17
Rear Tire: Pirelli Diablo Supercorsa SP 200/60 ZR17
Front Brake: Dual 330 mm semi-floating discs, radially mounted Brembo Monobloc Stylema® (M4.30) 4-piston calipers with Bosch Cornering ABS EVO. Self bleeding master cylinder.
Rear Brake: 245 mm disc, 2-piston caliper with Cornering ABS EVO

2021 Ducati Panigale V4 Drivetrain

  • Liquid-cooled 1,103 cc Desmosedici Stradale V-4 engine
  • 214 horsepower and 91.5 pound-feet of torque
  • Ducati Traction Control
  • New Ducati Ride Mode strategy
2021 Ducati Panigale V4
- image 978466
2021 Ducati Panigale V4
- image 978457
2021 Ducati Panigale V4
- image 978458

Ducati managed to improve its Vee-shaped fourbanger on the Panigale V4 for MY21 by reducing emissions enough to qualify for the EU-5 emissions rating while maintaining the same output as the dirtier previous engine version. The power figures report a magnificent 214 ponies at a lofty 13,000 rpm with 91.5 pound-feet of torque that tops out at an even 10 grand, so clearly this V-twin engine likes to operate close to the redline, all the time. As for the top speed, the previous version had an official speed of 180 mph with an unofficial top speed of 203.8 mph, and I expect when the third-party testing results start to roll in on this newest version we are going to see similar numbers, if not identical.

Bigly oversquare, the Desmosedici Stradale’s bore and stroke mic out at 81 mm and 53.5 mm respectively for a 1,103 cc displacement with a spicy 14-to-1 compression ratio that is bound to demand some special considerations when it’s time to fill up. As a Desmodromic engine, it replaces the traditional valve springs with a pull-closed cam. This eliminates the harmonic valve float associated with high-rpm operation, which is how the engine can operate at such a frenetic pace, and is a fairly compact mechanism as there’s room for both cams, their followers and a quartet of poppets over each of the four cylinders.

Ride-by-wire throttle control actuate elliptical throttle bodies that house a pair of injectors per cylinder to go with the dual-spark ignition, all in the name of maximum combustion potential. To top off the induction, the intake trumpets come with a dynamically-adjusted funnel that changes its length on demand for a broad powerband. A slipper clutch couples engine power to the six-speed transmission that comes with a quick-shift feature that lets you work unerringly both up and down the range without ever touching the clutch lever.

Ducati’s Traction Control feature evolves into the EVO 3 versionfor 2021 — up from EVO 2 — to bring even more track-tastic capability to the table. Specifically, the system is better at anticipating and dealing with the surge of power during the post-apex roll-on. A new Ducati Riding Mode strategy lets you quickly choose between Race A, Race B, Sport Riding Mode, or Street Riding Mode that changes every aspect of control, power output, and ride quality. This lets you set up for changing conditions and/or riders, especially if there is a change between skill level of the latter. A good number of systems fall under the Riding Mode’s control: cornering ABS, traction/wheelie/slide/engine brake-control, plus Power Launch to help you stick the holeshots.

Engine: Liquid-cooled Desmosedici Stradale 90° V4, counter-rotating crankshaft, 4 Desmodromic timing, 4 valves per cylinder
Displacement: 1,103 cc
Bore x Stroke: 81 mm x 53.5 mm
Compression Ratio: 14.0:1
Power: 157.5 kw (214 hp) @ 13,000 rpm
Torque: 91.5 lb-ft (124.0 Nm) @ 10,000 rpm
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 multi-plate clutch. Self bleeding master cylinder.

2021 Ducati Panigale V4 Price

2021 Ducati Panigale V4
- image 978468
2021 Ducati Panigale V4
- image 978440
2021 Ducati Panigale V4
- image 978456

The base-model Panigale V4 rolls for $22,295 with all of the above as stock equipment. Hope you like red, ’cause Ducati Red with blackout rims and Dark Gray frame is the only color the Panigale V4 can be had in circa 2021.

Instrumentation: Last generation digital unit with 5" TFT color display
Safety Equipment: Riding Modes, Power Modes, Cornering ABS EVO, Ducati Traction Control (DTC) EVO 3, 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, Chain guard
Additional Equipment: Passenger seat and footpegs kit
Ready For: Ducati Data Analyser+ (DDA+) with GPS module, Ducati Multimedia System (DMS), Anti-theft, Heated grips
Warranty: 24 months unlimited mileage
Color: Ducati Red
Price: $22,295

2021 Ducati Panigale V4 Competitors

2021 Ducati Panigale V4
- image 978464
2020 BMW S 1000 RR
- image 837650

Ducati is a tough act to follow, that’s true, but BMW may be Duc’s Huckleberry with its own street-track machine, the S 1000 RR.

BMW S 1000 RR

2020 BMW S 1000 RR
- image 837641

Form follows function across the board, and you can rest assured that both machines spent their fair share of time in the old windtunnel. That said, I’ll spare them any aesthetic commentary ’cause that really is a back-burner issue on such a race-centric build, if that.

Adjustable suspension is another constant, and here Beemer gains a razor-thin edge with its fully-adjustable suspension against Ducati’s mostly adjustable stems. BMW Motorrad Race ABS provides the anti-lock insurance with a handful of premade profiles and an “Off” setting for full power to the rear wheel and no spin-out protection.

An in-line fourbanger powers the Beemer with 205 horsepower and 83 pounds o’ grunt versus 214/91.5 to fall a tad short in brute output, and the pain continues for the Bayerische as the S 1000 RR falls behind in the technology department. Don’t get me wrong, the ShiftCam feature that deepens the torque well on the German engine is pure brilliance, but in the electronic gadgetry, it generally just can’t compete with that which the Panigale is working.

If the Beemer scores anywhere, it’s at the checkout. The $16,995 base MSRP is the trade-off for the lack of refined electronic safety and ride-control devices.

Read our full review of the BMW S 1000 RR.

He Said

“Yep, just another stupidfast bike to put on the list of machines that I would like to own but realistically never will, if for no other reason than I could score a serious EV bike in the $20k-plus price range. That said, Ducati doesn’t disappoint, even though this is the lesser of the new Panigale V4 models, if you can imagine that. The “S” model takes things up a notch or three, but that’s a story for another day.”

She Said

My wife and fellow motorcycle writer, Allyn Hinton, says, “The Panigale V4 is a very MotoGP-derived bike. Aesthetics are unchanged, but improvements for 2021 include things that give it a better feel, better performance, and better handling in what is already Ducati’s par excellence street bike.”

2021 Ducati Panigale V4 Specifications

Engine & Drivetrain:
Engine: Liquid-cooled Desmosedici Stradale 90° V4, counter-rotating crankshaft, 4 Desmodromic timing, 4 valves per cylinder
Displacement: 1,103 cc
Bore x Stroke: 81 mm x 53.5 mm
Compression Ratio: 14.0:1
Power: 157.5 kw (214 hp) @ 13,000 rpm
Torque: 91.5 lb-ft (124.0 Nm) @ 10,000 rpm
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. Self bleeding master cylinder.
Chassis:
Frame: Aluminum alloy "front frame" with optimized stiffnesses
Front Suspension/ Travel: Fully adjustable Showa BPF fork. 43 mm chromed inner tubes/4.7 in (120 mm)
Rear Suspension/ Travel: Fully adjustable Sachs unit. Aluminum single-sided swingarm/5.1 in (130 mm)
Rake: 24.5°
Trail: 3,94 in (100 mm)
Front Wheel: 5-spokes light alloy 3.50" x 17"
Rear Wheel: 5-spokes light alloy 6.00” x 17”
Front Tire: Pirelli Diablo Supercorsa SP 120/70 ZR17
Rear Tire: Pirelli Diablo Supercorsa SP 200/60 ZR17
Front Brake: Dual 330 mm semi-floating discs, radially mounted Brembo Monobloc Stylema® (M4.30) 4-piston calipers with Bosch Cornering ABS EVO. Self bleeding master cylinder.
Rear Brake: 245 mm disc, 2-piston caliper with Cornering ABS EVO
Dimensions & Capacities:
Dry Weight: 386 lb (175 kg)
Curb Weight: 436 lb (198 kg)
Seat Height: 32.9 in (835 mm)
Wheelbase: 57.8 in (1,469 mm)
Fuel Tank Capacity: 4.23 gallon (16 l)
Number Of Seats: Dual seats
Equipment:
Instrumentation: Last generation digital unit with 5" TFT color display
Safety Equipment: Riding Modes, Power Modes, Cornering ABS EVO, Ducati Traction Control (DTC) EVO 3, 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, Chain guard
Additional Equipment: Passenger seat and footpegs kit
Ready For: Ducati Data Analyser+ (DDA+) with GPS module, Ducati Multimedia System (DMS), Anti-theft, Heated grips
Details:
Warranty: 24 months unlimited mileage
Color: Ducati Red
Price: $22,295

Further Reading

Ducati

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TJ Hinton
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 full bio
About the author

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

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