Just how different has the baby Panigale become?
If you take a look at the past 30-odd years, Ducati has always had a flagship sportbike, which currently is the Panigale V4, and then a similarly-styled but slightly more accessible sports machine that helps you get your skills on point to ride the big one. It started with the 748 in 1994 and from 2016 to 2019, it has been the 959 Panigale. The baby Panigale, updated last year to match the styling of the Panigale V4, bears a new name: the Panigale V2. And while it might not have gained any cubes, it has become a more delectable product. Here’s what Ducati did:
Just like the 899 and the 959 Panigale, the Panigale V2 also apes its larger displacement family member: the Panigale V4. The 959 looks a lot cleaner and simpler in comparison to the new V2. While it is a given that these Ducatis look exotic and premium, it is the V2 that evokes the feeling of a bigger bike, when actually it isn’t.
Yeah, look at the side profiles of both of these baby Panigales and you will notice that the 959 does seem to be a bit stretched out. The Panigale V2 in comparison looks shorter and stockier.
The twin triangular duct face of the Panigale V2 is oh so lovely. The sleekness of the 959 might appeal to some who prefer a slightly classic look.
Behind the newly designed windscreen, you get a full colour TFT dash, which has become sort of a standard fitment on large capacity bikes now. It is a much needed upgrade over the uninspiring LCD dash of the 959. It is the command centre for controlling all electronic aids and with the Ducati Multimedia System module in place, you can also control your calls and music on the go.
When you do remove the clothing of the Panigale V2, you will find nearly all the same elements that you would on the 959. The same monocoque chassis, the same 955cc engine, the same suspension units and the same braking hardware. So, what have the Italians changed?
The main element of both of these motorcycles remains the 955cc Superquadro L-twin engine. Of course it has received its emissions update but there is more to it than just that. Ducati has revised a lot of engine internals, using lighter materials to reduce the weight of the motor.
What this results in is the new BS6 mill that produces 155PS and 104Nm, 5PS and 2Nm more than the older bike.
The rear Sachs monoshock is 2mm longer. The monoshock, still mounted offset, now sits on a beautiful single-sided swingarm. It has been customary for flagship Ducati sportbikes to receive this feature but among the middleweight sportsbikes, only the 748 received it; the rest had to make do with a more conventional dual-sided swingarm.
Also, Ducati has raised the chassis a bit, attaching the triple clamps to the fully-adjustable Showa USD at a slightly higher level than it was on the 959. The resultant changes in suspension mounting has allowed Ducati to decrease the trail, thereby reducing the steering effort and creating a lighter, more agile package while maintaining the aggressive rider triangle.
Ducati has never been one to skimp on hardware to save costs but it chose to soldier on with the same Brembo M4.32 monobloc calipers as the 959, and that is disheartening. We aren’t asking for the Stylemas from the V4 but it could have done with the M50 monoblocs, which are far more superior than the M4.32s.
There is a sexy White Rosso colour for the Panigale V2 that would leave you drooling for days. It might be a sin to buy a Ducati sportsbike in any colour other than red but we would happily commit the sin for this particular edition. But we will have to wait until 2021 for the White Rosso edition to come to India as initially, the Panigale V2 will only be offered in Ducati Red.
The new bike goes on sale next month. We expect Ducati to price the Panigale V2 at around Rs 16 lakh (ex-showroom), which is roughly Rs 70,000 more than the outgoing 959 Panigale. For the upgrades that you are getting, the extra moolah seems reasonable enough.