The Streetfighter V4 may not have the extra shiny bits the S model does, but it does just as well on the road in Singapore at a S$9k saving
Photos by Derryn Wong
SINGAPORE – Last year the Ducati Streetfighter V4 S (SFV4) blew us away not because of its ridiculous power output, surprisingly, but because of its inherent rideability and street-friendliness paired with genuine character and desirability.
The supernaked category is thumping now, with the Aprilia Tuono, BMW S 1000R (new model in Singapore very soon), KTM Super Duke 1290 R, and Triumph Speed Triple RS. But the Ducati’s rocketed to the forefront of the class chiefly due to its V4 gem of an engine, supportive and not intrusive electronics, ridiculous exhaust note, and racebike pedigree.
The biggest drawback for that bike is the price – at S$75,900 OTR (with COE, Road Tax, sans insurance) – not that it’s a surprise. But here’s a small compromise in the Streetfighter V4 base ‘non S’ model, which at S$65,900 OTR represents a S$9,000 saving over the top-line V4 S.
The S$9,000 difference buys lightweight forged aluminium wheels, slick Ohlins adaptive suspension, and electronic steering damper – so the question is: Does missing out on that trick kit dilute the SFV4 experience?
On visuals alone, the answer is a clear ‘no’.
The S model has the golden Ohlins forks, which is obvious in comparison, but the cast wheels are the same colour as the forged ones, so it’s only obvious if you notice there are more spokes.
Otherwise, the base Streetfighter looks 95 percent identical, and that’s a good thing. The ‘Predator-head’ cowl has shades of the first Streetfighter 1098, but prettier, more proportional, less middle aged. The winglets have real purpose, with Ducati claiming 28kg of downforce at 270km/h, and the side cowls show off that race-pedigree V4 engine.
Usually parts-bin raiding doesn’t end well, but the SFV4’s shapely tail is the same unit found on the Panigale V4, with its hollowed-out aero tunnel and inverted L-shaped tail lights.
The riding position is racy for a street bike, with that sitting “on” the bike feeling that we prefer, in comparison to the supermoto-esque KTM Superduke 1290R where you sit “in” bike.
The footpegs are positioned for good control but not knee cap breaking like you’d find on sportsbikes. Sibling to one of the most agile bikes (the Panigale V4), the wide one piece handlebar found on the SFV4 can make the bike feel a bit finicky when turning at high speeds, requiring a lighter touch and more finesse. We quickly acclimatised, and piloting the SFV4 though the usual test route of chicanes, reducing radius corners and fast(er) sweepers revealed just how capable the bike really was – it’s probably the best naked bike we’ve ever tested.
Throwing the SFV4 over all sorts of crap road conditions so common these days, from road repair plates to dips and ruts, wouldn’t unsettle the Showa Big Piston forks or rear Sachs shock.
The bike remained composed even when negotiating high speed chicanes, as we flicked the bike from ear to ear. The Sachs shock, known to have a penchant of losing damping control as the going gets harder, stayed composed throughout. For track duties, we’d probably just change the Sachs shock to an aftermarket unit, with a matching spring (rate) for our weight, but as it is, you feel like you can do almost anything with the SFV4 in confidence.
208hp is plenty even for a car, what more for a motorcycle. As noted in our SFV4 S review, the bike has a power-to-weight ratio superior to a Bugatti Chiron – and also note that the non-S is two kilos heavier.