The Ducati Panigale V4 has been voted SA’s motorcycle of the year by a panel of biking journalists.
The Italian machine beat 11 other finalists to scoop the prize in the Pirelli-sponsored competition, which is in its sixth year. In an awards ceremony held in Johannesburg last Thursday night, the Pirelli floating trophy was handed to Ducati SA’s general manager Johnny Araujo.
The other finalists, in alphabetical order, were the BMW G310GS, BMW K1600 Bagger, Ducati Multistrada 1260, Honda Goldwing, Husqvarna Vitpilen 701, Kawasaki Ninja 400, Kawasaki H2 SX, Kawasaki Z900RS, KTM 790 Duke, Triumph 765 Street Triple, and Triumph Tiger 1200.
The new Panigale V4 was praised by judges for raising the bar in the superbike category. Priced at R288,900, the bike was introduced as the successor to Ducati’s flagship, the V-twin 1299. The V4 is powered by an 1,103cc engine that deviates from Ducati tradition by having four cylinders rather than two, although these are still arranged in a vee formation to provide an emotive roar.
Derived from Ducati’s MotoGP racing bike, the V4 has outputs of 157.5kW and 124Nm of torque, giving the lightweight 175kg machine outrageously fast performance and nimble handling. The beast is kept in check with a suite of electronics including traction control, wheelie control, slide control, and cornering ABS.
Other electrickery includes an up/down quickshifter (allowing changing gears without a clutch), and adjustable engine-braking.
The bike is also sold as the more performance-oriented Panigale V4S (R359,900), the V4S Speciale with race kit (R669,900) and the V4S Speciale with race kit and lightweight magnesium wheels (R731,900).