Covid-19, a pandemic that shut the world, almost wiped out a generation, bankrupted industries, and left millions jobless. Amidst all of this, there was one industry that took a major hit. The automotive industry. While a lot of manufacturers geared up for launches/reveals around the start of the new financial year, the pandemic put a full stop to them all. But, as they say, every dark cloud has a silver lining, the month of August has been that month to this industry. A dozen launches and quite a lot of big bikes coming to our shores!
The latest one from a small district of Borgo-Panigale, Italy, Ducati. The Panigale V2 has been a much-awaited machine for a lot of us. But first, let have a short history lesson, shall we?
The first middle-weight Ducati ever made was the gorgeous looking 748. A poster bike to many of us enthusiasts. It came equipped with a 748cc L-Twin motor pumping 87Hp. It turned heads for sure and rode unlike anything else back then. The bike came equipped with top-drawer Ohlins and Brembo’s of the era. The 748 opened up an all-new segment for Ducati, after the 748 came 749, 848 Evo, 899, and then the 959.
For 2020, Ducati’s contender in the middle-weight segment is the V2 and it comes equipped with a lot more than you’d imagine for sure! Let’s start with the price, Rs. 16.99 lakh (ex-showroom). That’s a steep Rs. 1.63 lakh premium over the 959 Panigale. In fact, adding Rs. 1.70 lakh could get you a 2020 BMW S 1000 RR. But what makes this baby Panigale so special?
Powering this motorcycle is the same 955cc Superquadro L-Twin with Desmodromic valves technology from the 959 that now pumps out 155Hp @ 10,750rpm and 104Nm @ 9,000rpm. Thanks to a new air intake system. Oh yes, it is Euro-5 compliant too! This comes mated to a 6-speed slick gearbox with a bi-directional Ducati Quick Shift EVO 2. That mil is a blast to ride with and gives you power throughout the powerband, leaving you satisfied for sure, and in this new guise, we’re sure it’s going to be even better to ride.
Talking about the suspension, the rear mono-shock that comes from Sachs (fully adjustable) is lengthened by 2mm, forks are the same 43mm Showa BPF that is completely adjustable. It is said that the suspension has been retuned to be a lot more pliant on the road rather than being focused on munch lap times. But we’re sure if such a situation arises, a pair of screw-drivers would be enough to set the suspension up for you to decimate the racetrack!
When it comes to brakes, Ducati went by a very famous proverb, “If it ain’t broke, why fix it?”
It is the same twin 320mm discs mated to 4-pot Brembo M4.32 calipers in the front and a 245mm single disc mated to a 2-pot Brembo caliper, the bike gets cornering ABS EVO as standard. I have ridden the 959 and the brakes are one segment the motorcycle aced like a pro! As they are the same used on Ducati’s previous-gen flagship, the 1299 Panigale.
Coming to the chassis, it is still an aluminum monocoque, like the 959, but reinforced and tweaked to make way for the new fairing. Gone are the conventional dual-sided swingarm and inn is a clean new single-sided unit. It does look a million bucks and adds a tonne of convenience during tire changes and chain adjustments! Fuel tank capacity is the same as before, 17-liters.
The wheelbase is up by 5mm to 1,436mm and seat height is up by a good 10mm to 840mm. The curb weight of the V2 stands at 200Kg’s. This is not a lot considering the kind of equipment you’re getting
The fairing is inspired by its big daddy, the Panigale V4 and it does indeed make us all drool. But that’s not all the V2 takes from the V4, the 4.3” full-color TFT is also the same as the flagship and does provide a pot-load of information and is simple to read and spot the various thing like trip meter, fuel gauge, speedo, etc.
The electronics suite is very similar to the V4. Riding modes that adjust throttle response and suspension settings according to the mode you choose. Power modes work in conjunction with riding modes to give you the best possible rideability. Ducati Traction Control EVO, Ducati Wheelie Control EVO, Engine Braking Control EVO, and Auto Tyre calibration along with a Bi-Directional Ducati Quickshifter EVO and Ducati Cornering ABS EVO, phew, I burnt a couple of calories saying all of that!
The motorcycle the Panigale V2 replaces had made a promise to be the most fun machine, wherever you ride it, but sadly, it did require a lot of effort from the rider to fulfill that promise. As this is an L-twin setup, the upper cylinder is extremely close to your thigh, resulting in a toasted inseam that I’m sure nobody enjoyed. But the V2 does look a lot more promising than that, along with fixing all such problems that the outgoing 959 had. Personally, I feel Ducati’s are more of an emotion than a motorcycle and you would only understand that statement if you ever rode one. That raspy engine, the rattling mirrors, and a tad bit of discomfort. It is all a lot of fun to experience!