A name can pack some power, and in motorcycle circles, Ducati has its fair share of impressive monikers. Monster, Panigale, Superleggera—they each represent a facet of Bologna’s best machines. But for 2020, the bike builder is reviving its most brutish, intimidating model. The Streetfighter is back, and prior to press time, Ducati gave Robb Report a preview ahead of the big reveal.
Missing from the Ducati family tree for the last eight years, the Streetfighter V4 and up-spec Streetfighter V4 S are essentially a Panigale V4 S superbike that has been partially stripped of its bodywork, with a one-piece handlebar replacing the fork-mounted clip-on bars. The new edition will get some 208 hp from its 1,103 cc Desmosedici Stradale V4 engine, a monstrous number for any street-going motorcycle, let alone a naked bike.
The base Streetfighter V4 will come with conventionally adjustable suspension from Showa and Sachs, while the Streetfighter V4 S will have the latest-generation, electronically adjustable Öhlins suspension, which operates with the Ducati Electronic Suspension EVO algorithm, an Öhlins electronic steering damper and Marchesini forged aluminum wheels.
Ducati is also debuting a new “biplane” aerodynamic package on the 397-pound (Streetfighter V4’s dry weight) two-wheeler, with two wings mounted on either side of the radiator. This fresh design should add 62 pounds of downforce at 168 mph, with the bonus of greater stability during braking and cornering.
Both models come with three ride modes—Race, Sport and Street—and the now ubiquitous Bosch Inertial Measurement Unit, which will oversee rider aids such as traction, slide, wheelie and launch controls; the up-and-down quick shift for the six-speed gearbox; and ABS and Engine Brake control. This full suite of assists allows the ride to be tailored to the extent it would on the full-blown superbike. And all of this for a motorcycle that is not designed to eat up the track.
The Streetfighter V4 and V4 S debut the latest riding technology—such as aerodynamic winglets derived straight from MotoGP and the Slide Control algorithm—and pack greater horsepower than has been previously released in the naked category. By comparison, the Aprilia Tuono 1100 Factory brings 175 hp to the table, but with an aerodynamic package devoid of winglets. The KTM 1290 Super Duke R delivers 180 hp and runs a conventionally operated suspension, as opposed to the electronic one on the Streetfighter V4 S. Clearly, Ducati is closing the gap between street bike and racer more than ever before.
Fittingly, its designers took inspiration for the front of the motorcycle and the LED headlight from another famous street fighter, Batman’s nemesis the Joker and his wide, sinister grin—one playful accent on a bike so serious.