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Old 8th January 2022, 12:36   #1
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Default The Black Ghost | My 2021 Ducati V4SP Review

2021 was a year of promise, contradiction and confusion. It started with a lot of promise. Promises of upcoming vaccines, chances to travel, end of lockdowns, etc. Instead it was twists and turns, heartbreaks, misery. Amidst all this drama, I got a call from Ducati Delhi sometime during April 2021 asking if I was interested in the upcoming Ducati V4SP.

What is special about the SP. A quick history lesson

Ducati produces a special road going version called Sport Production (SP) for all its sports bikes. It takes the best bits of the regular production bikes and the coveted R series and comes out with these limited editions very rarely. The first was the 851 SP, followed by the 916 SP, then the 996SP and last was the 1198SP. There are many theories as to why Ducati skipped several models and did not launch the SP for the 998, 999, 1098, 1199, and the 1299. Volumes were low, prices were high and there was supposedly little to no demand.

Back to the present

I saw the newly launched SP on YouTube, especially the content created by Jaret Campisi. The bike looked interesting and the color scheme was a stark contrast from the usual candy red versions. The India launch price was not announced, but Ducati Delhi assured me it won't be ludicrous like the 18-19 V4R models. It was a limited production model and not too many were assigned for India. If I did not pre-book now, I would not be able to get it later.

I was hesitant at first since I already have the 2019 V4S and also the grand daddy of all SP models, the 1198SP. So I consulted the oracle aka my older brother. He sent a one line reply on Whatsapp - "Get it". So as an act of impulse, I paid a deposit to Ducati Delhi.

There was no guarantee that my order would be honored since production is very limited. But if I did not get the bike, my money would be refunded. Delivery date was scheduled to be around 2021 Diwali.

Months followed. Ducati Delhi promised me once the bike was loaded on sea freight, they will notify me. I find Ducati Delhi to be among the most competent and professionally run showrooms in India. I know the staff and the owners and they have always done their best to help me out. Recently my Hypermotard developed a fuel line issue and they took care of it.

Around 13th Nov, I got an update from Ducati Delhi that my bike has landed at Mumbai and is headed to Delhi. I can come and unbox it myself on 17th Nov.

17th came and I was ready. Ordered an Uber and made my way to Naraina, West Delhi for the unboxing. Now, let the pics do the talking.

V4SP in the crate being inspected by Ducati technician

The Black Ghost | My 2021 Ducati V4SP Review-whatsapp-image-20211117-8.29.04-pm.jpeg

The Black Ghost | My 2021 Ducati V4SP Review-whatsapp-image-20211117-8.29.05-pm.jpeg

Uncrated V4SP

The Black Ghost | My 2021 Ducati V4SP Review-whatsapp-image-20211117-8.31.36-pm.jpeg

Yes I wore a Ferrari jacket to unveil the V4SP

The Black Ghost | My 2021 Ducati V4SP Review-whatsapp-image-20211117-8.31.37-pm.jpeg

Marchesini magnesium wheels

The Black Ghost | My 2021 Ducati V4SP Review-whatsapp-image-20211117-8.36.44-pm.jpeg

Carbon fiber wings

The Black Ghost | My 2021 Ducati V4SP Review-whatsapp-image-20211117-8.36.45-pm-1.jpeg

Side profile

The Black Ghost | My 2021 Ducati V4SP Review-whatsapp-image-20211117-8.36.45-pm.jpeg

Special triple clamp for the V4SP. The bike is numbered 546. The wire crossing under the instrument panel is for adjusting the brake lever and settings manually. The feature is borrowed from the V4 Superleggera

The Black Ghost | My 2021 Ducati V4SP Review-whatsapp-image-20211119-7.04.21-pm-1.jpeg

Brushed Aluminum tank

The Black Ghost | My 2021 Ducati V4SP Review-whatsapp-image-20211119-7.04.21-pm.jpeg

Rizoma pegs and rear sets

The Black Ghost | My 2021 Ducati V4SP Review-whatsapp-image-20211117-8.38.52-pm.jpeg

Now, when the bike was launched worldwide, the bike came with BST manufactured carbon fiber wheels. However the bikes headed for India, Malaysia, Thailand and China got Magnesium wheels. There was a bit of hoo-haa and ruckus on why we got the Mag wheels. The Mag wheels have appeared only twice before - on the 1199 Superleggera and the V4S Carl Fogarty 916 25 year Anniversario edition. The wheels are exorbitantly priced and a pair retails for about 6.5 lacs. The BST carbon fiber wheels retail for 5.4 lacs. So we got lucky and got the higher spec and priced wheels. But why did we get the Mag wheels? It was a mix of supply chain issues, and road conditions in India. The CF wheels will easily crack due to the poorer road surface quality and Ducati Italy did not want that to happen. But the CF wheels were already spoken for, so they got a special batch of this ultra rare Mag wheels and stuck them on the V4SP.

After the PDI was done, I kept the bike at Ducati Delhi and asked them to install a few more accessories and I would come back over the weekend to do a proper handover of the bike and pay the remaining balance. I got a Ducati performance lower radiator guard, Evotech upper radiator guard and Rizoma front wheel bobbins and Motografix tank guard added on the bike.

A few pictures of the bike at Ducati Delhi showroom and handover

The Black Ghost | My 2021 Ducati V4SP Review-whatsapp-image-20211119-7.04.28-pm-2.jpeg

The Black Ghost | My 2021 Ducati V4SP Review-whatsapp-image-20211119-7.04.27-pm.jpeg

Another view of the CF wings

The Black Ghost | My 2021 Ducati V4SP Review-whatsapp-image-20211119-7.04.30-pm-1.jpeg

The Black Ghost | My 2021 Ducati V4SP Review-whatsapp-image-20211119-7.04.25-pm-1.jpeg

STM EVO dry slipper clutch with Rizoma CF cover. The STM clutch is used on the Superleggera and the V4R

The Black Ghost | My 2021 Ducati V4SP Review-whatsapp-image-20211118-4.23.44-pm.jpeg

Rear view

The Black Ghost | My 2021 Ducati V4SP Review-whatsapp-image-20211119-7.04.27-pm-1.jpeg

Handover of the bike by Ducati dealership owner

The Black Ghost | My 2021 Ducati V4SP Review-whatsapp-image-20211120-12.14.05-am.jpeg

New addition to the garage. Now dressed in the correct team color

The Black Ghost | My 2021 Ducati V4SP Review-whatsapp-image-20211120-12.14.06-am.jpeg

The Batman cowl

The Black Ghost | My 2021 Ducati V4SP Review-whatsapp-image-20211119-7.04.30-pm.jpeg

Ready to go home

The Black Ghost | My 2021 Ducati V4SP Review-whatsapp-image-20211119-10.13.47-pm.jpeg

The V4SP hits the roads

The Black Ghost | My 2021 Ducati V4SP Review-whatsapp-image-20211119-11.21.12-pm.jpeg

Motografix tank pad for that added peace of mind

The Black Ghost | My 2021 Ducati V4SP Review-motografix.jpg

I had a quick ride home on the new bike. First impressions were quite varied.

1. The bike gets hot tremendously fast. Even in the Delhi winter, it felt uncomfortable. Engine ice, CF heat shield and maybe further engine break in will help me, but I doubt I can ride this bike much in the Delhi summers.

2. The electronics are overwhelming. My Ducati V4S is BS4 while the SP is BS6. The SP has more advanced electronics and techno wizardry and it shows. The bike feels very controlled and won't let you kill yourself. The V4S is ready to take you on a death race, and then come to your funeral with a bottle of whiskey and a 90s hits remix tape.

3. The dry slipper clutch and gear shifts are sublime. I always love the clangy bangy rickety dry clutch sound of Ducati. That is what makes a Ducati a Ducati. The V4SP has it but its not too loud. My 1198SP dry clutch will wake up the whole neighborhood. Along with the quickshifter and autoblipper, the clutch mechanism is an absolute delight

4. The bike feels bulkier. It has a lot of CF on it and weight savings, but the body panels and side fairings and the wings make it feel a bit bloated. I love the color combination and matte black finish gives the bike a very dark, ghostly, menacing, silent, ethereal look. Hence the term black ghost.

5. The power delivery is smooth and oodles of torque are available. I have to keep it under the 6k rpm until the 1000 km break in period so I have not had a chance to fully open the throttle and enjoy 214 HP of craziness.

The past vs the present

I cannot "not" compare my 1198SP against the new kid on my block. The Ducati 1198SP is a bonkers no holds 170 HP bad boy that Ducati made in 2011. Globally about 1200 were produced, but now only 600 are left standing. The remaining were lost to the usual track day mishaps and crashes. My 1198SP is the only one in India. It did not have a good start. When Ducati shipped it to India in 2011 under Precision Motors, the bike was a showroom decoration item and spent the next three years shuttling around different showrooms in Pune and the South. BHPian neil.jericho saw the bike in Bangalore. Sometime in 2014 the bike was sold through a used dealer and came to Delhi. It spent the next 6 years in Delhi with an owner who then sold it off to NS One. I came upon the bike during a random visit to NS One and picked it up in a heart beat. I call it my wild child. It is loud, noisy and difficult to ride in city traffic. The dry clutch wakes up every dog and cow, and the Zard exhausts announce my presence to the whole block. Some BHPians and XBHPians rode this bike and opinion has been varied and mostly negative. But I adore this bike. Ducati was at its engineering peak when it made the 1198. My brother is so impressed with the 1198 that he bought a 1098S. Yes, its that good. We are die hard Ducati fans and prejudiced, but once you ride the 1198SP on empty streets and twiddle through the gears and the dry clutch, a whole different portal opens up. The bike turns heads and growls and menaces forward. It takes no prisoners. It has no electronic wizardry. You need to know how to ride this bike. There is no safety net. And this makes it exhilarating. I wish bikes were like this. Anyways, enough of my rant and obsession. A few pics of 2011 vs 2021

The past vs the present

The Black Ghost | My 2021 Ducati V4SP Review-v4sp-vs-1198sp.jpg

Another angle

The Black Ghost | My 2021 Ducati V4SP Review-v4sp-vs-1198sp-2.jpg

Red or black

The Black Ghost | My 2021 Ducati V4SP Review-v4sp-vs-1198sp-3.jpg

My brother had come to visit me and we took both bikes out for a spin. We both agreed that the 1198SP is the better bike.

Funny how a bike that is 10 years older, with less stuff, managed to shock and awe us both. Sometimes old is truly gold. There are not many 1098 or 1198 in India but if you get your hands on one, don't let go of it. You will be rewarded with what many Ducatistis consider to be the best Ducati ever made (yes, better than the epic 916) And no sorry, you can't ask me for a ride. It's my precious (cue Gollam dialogue).

Just for kicks and giggles, we also compared the V4SP against a 2020 Kawasaki ZX 10R that I have put up for sale through my company. It's like comparing chalk and cheese. The ZX 10R has a lot of power, but its unrefined, gawky and too skittish. The handling and suspension needs a lot of work. The bike needs to be tuned thoroughly before you turn it into the track killer. I love the ZX 10R, especially the older ones. It's like riding a tornado on steroids. But it has no grace. The ZX 10R is a bull in a china shop. The V4SP is a ballerina. It is moving beauty. But the two are ying and yang. Sometimes you need grace and sometimes you need brute force.

The Black Ghost | My 2021 Ducati V4SP Review-smaller-size.jpg

I planned to take the V4SP for longer rides. But my brother came over to spend some time with me and we took a trip to Rajasthan that I documented in my V4S thread. After his return, I finished some pending office work and as soon as I was free for my ride, Omicron made its presence, and with the lockdowns coming into force, 2021 ended with a twist.

Here's to hoping 2022 delivers on 2021's failed promises.

ps. A total of 5 V4SP were delivered to India. 3 are in Delhi, and the remaining 2 are in Pune and Kochi. I believe there is 1 still on sale at the Delhi showroom so if you want to grab the last of this epic model, you still have chance. I have made this review more of a pictorial than the usual plethora of technical specs, pricing and kitna deti hain. For the latter, Google is your best friend, pricing remains obscene and kitna deti hain is irrelevant. It's a Ducati, it will bankrupt you one way or the other. Just enjoy the ride.

Last edited by no_fear : 8th January 2022 at 13:03.
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Old 8th January 2022, 13:59   #2
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Default re: The Black Ghost | My 2021 Ducati V4SP Review

Congrats on the acquisition, no_fear!

What a lovely write-up, especially the comparison with the '11 1198SP. Your love for your garage and your passion for Ducati shine through. I hope you're able to break it in this month and get the first service in before the summer.
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Old 8th January 2022, 14:03   #3
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Default re: The Black Ghost | My 2021 Ducati V4SP Review

So sweet, so elegant and SO expensive, don’t think I can own one in this lifetime, thanks for sharing the pics, we live this dream through you and your older brother.

How about a post comparing V4SP and V4S, how much difference do you feel, discounting the exclusiveness part, does it justify that humongous price gap.

Also that Ferrari jacket

Congratulations again brother may the garage keep going strength to strength, next up is BMW S1000RR M edition, I am working on it with the right powers to be.
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Old 8th January 2022, 14:33   #4
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Default re: The Black Ghost | My 2021 Ducati V4SP Review

Congrats again no_fear!
Above everything else that Ducati has to offer it's the dry clutch sound that gets me and to think that a few years back I did not even particularly take much interest in the exhaust note of a Ducati too.

But I hope you know what you got yourself into, now every SP model that comes by you will have to get, it's the law , Ask Ducati Italy!

Jokes aside, What a bike mate! Looks mega, sounds even more awesome. I hope a Termi 4USCITE system is in the shopping cart. That will be icing on the cake! I hope I'll be able to see all of your bikes together, whenever I am in Delhi(whenever that happens ),

Cheers
Krishna
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Old 8th January 2022, 20:50   #5
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Default re: The Black Ghost | My 2021 Ducati V4SP Review

Congratulations no_fear. One more rare gem in your garage. It’s good that you bought this straight from showroom. Otherwise, if gone in some wrong hands, we all know how much pain you took to restore a niche Ducati.
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Old 8th January 2022, 23:32   #6
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Default re: The Black Ghost | My 2021 Ducati V4SP Review

Wow, heartfelt congratulations no_fear !! This is such a rare beauty and a treat for motorcycle lovers. Yet another lovely addition to your wonderful collection. Would love to see the bike in person someday. Wishing you many many happy miles of riding.
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Old 9th January 2022, 15:56   #7
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Default Re: The Black Ghost | My 2021 Ducati V4SP Review

Quote:
Originally Posted by AtheK View Post
So sweet, so elegant and SO expensive, donít think I can own one in this lifetime, thanks for sharing the pics, we live this dream through you and your older brother.

How about a post comparing V4SP and V4S, how much difference do you feel, discounting the exclusiveness part, does it justify that humongous price gap..
My V4S is actually much more expensive than the V4SP. Original bill of sale including the full Akrapovic exhaust + Rizoma accessories totaled about Rs 38 lacs ex showroom.

The current 2021 V4S retails for Rs 28 lacs ex showroom price.

The V4SP retails for Rs 36 lacs. I find the V4SP to be more value for money. My reasons are as following

1. Ultra rare Marchesini Magnesium wheels. Initially I was a bit disappointed when Ducati Italy switched from the CF to the Mag wheels. But reading all the reviews of the Mag wheels and seeing their massive demand from collectors, it turned out to be a blessing in disguise.

2. Dry vs wet clutch. The SP has the top of the line STM Evo dry clutch vs the regular STM wet clutch for the S. For street riding the wet clutch is less grabby and much easier to use, but I find the dry clutch to have more "mystique". Call me old school but I much prefer the dry clutch any day. Dry clutch conversion costs about USD 3 - 4k

3. CF bits and bobs, Rizoma accessories and other trinkets. The SP has a ton of top quality carbon fiber. The front guard, rear set guard, clutch cover and exhaust heat guard are all CF. The rear sets are Rizoma, and there are a few more stuff that I am forgetting. There is a Youtube video where someone took a V4S and converted it into SP. It cost him USD 25,000 more for the conversion.

4. Different engine settings and tune up. Ducati does not mention anything explicitly but it has configured and tweaked the engine differently from the S. My SP is not broken in so I cannot comment on the peak power and top power band, but when I ride the bike, it feels much more planted. The power delivery feels smoother and the bike is very nimble.

But the 2019S is a BS4 model so the engine feels less restricted and more free flowing. That means louder sounds

Changing the topic slightly, the older a bike becomes, the more appealing it becomes.

Back in 2019, I rode my brother's Ducati 1299S in Singapore. I found the bike to be really really wild. It is loud, fast and frightening. It makes 205 HP and I wondered who on earth needs 200+ HP. I was not too enamored with it. But after riding the V4S and now the V4SP, I feel that the 1299S is tame .

My brother's 1098S is loaded to the gills with carbon fiber and has the STM EVO dry clutch. He adores it and prefers to ride the older models than any newer V4.

In the end, it's all about perspectives and love. A few pics to elaborate my thought process

My brother's Ducati 2016 1299S

The Black Ghost | My 2021 Ducati V4SP Review-20211231_180420-2.jpg

The Black Ghost | My 2021 Ducati V4SP Review-20211127_141905-2.jpg

And his "new" 2007 1098S

The Black Ghost | My 2021 Ducati V4SP Review-20211127_135557-2.jpg


@abhi_tjet - yes brother, I bought it, because after my 1199R rebuild marathon, I would rather buy a new, exclusive model and keep it, than go through the whole rigmarole. That does not mean I won't buy used bikes, I will just be a bit more careful.

@vignesh, spadix - thank you for the well wishes. Appreciate your kind words.

@krishna - I might go the Campisi way and get the Termignoni D184 slip ons. I do not like the Uscite exhausts as I find them a bit OTT. There is always the option to install a full system Akra, but for now I am inching towards Termignoni.
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Old 9th January 2022, 19:57   #8
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Default Re: The Black Ghost | My 2021 Ducati V4SP Review

Congratulations no_fear. This is growing into one beautiful and highly desirable collection.

I have not warmed up to the sound of the dry clutch yet but I must say that the winter test livery on the SP stands out and those Marchesini wheels look so delicious. Dare I would say, aesthetically the magnesium wheels look a whole lot better than the CF ones !

Any idea how many of these Ducati is planning to make? I thought the limited numbers would be below 500 but since you mentioned yours is numbered 546, I was wondering if 851 units would be a good number. That way they can pay homage to the original grand daddy too.

Hope to see your collection in flesh someday !

And in the meanwhile, can we have a picture of your entire collection in one frame please.
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Old 9th January 2022, 20:32   #9
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Default Re: The Black Ghost | My 2021 Ducati V4SP Review

no_fear, it is only your motorcycle threads that can make a verbose forum contributor like me, struggle to say anything meaningful. Each time I read your threads, I run out of superlatives. Just a few days ago, I made a mental note to go back and re-re-read your rebuild thread and then this V4SP thread popped up over the weekend. Congratulations once again!

To be honest, Im not a big fan of the design language of these Panigales but the paint scheme of the V4SP is among the best of what Ducati had offered to date. If you gave me one bike of yours to park in my living room, I would take the 1198SP. Im still a sucker for those old school Italians.

The passion that you and your oracle / brother / partner in crime, possess for all things Ducati is just amazing. You should charge an entry fee for us TBHPians who want to come to Delhi and stare at your enviable garage. Please provide a complimentary box of tissues to wipe all the drool off our faces.

I hope that your Hypermotard 950 gets its dedicated thread, I have a soft corner for it though I cant imagine owning one myself. It probably is a riot and a half compared to some of its tamer competition.
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Old 10th January 2022, 09:44   #10
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Default Re: The Black Ghost | My 2021 Ducati V4SP Review

You look at these bikes and say how and what are they going to improve for the next iteration?
I thought the red one looked great. How are they going to make it better? And boom there's the new one somehow looking nicer.
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Old 10th January 2022, 10:34   #11
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Default Re: The Black Ghost | My 2021 Ducati V4SP Review

Exceptional, unbiased & detailed reviews of motorbikes that don't have an official review have started going to our homepage reviews box. It's the ultimate stamp of trust from Team-BHP (as a platform) because lakhs of visitors every month check out reviews from there & make purchase decisions.

Your review has also gone here. Thank you so much for sharing .

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Old 10th January 2022, 10:46   #12
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Default Re: The Black Ghost | My 2021 Ducati V4SP Review

Quote:
Originally Posted by //M View Post
Dare I would say, aesthetically the magnesium wheels look a whole lot better than the CF ones ! Any idea how many of these Ducati is planning to make? I thought the limited numbers would be below 500 but since you mentioned yours is numbered 546, I was wondering if 851 units would be a good number. And in the meanwhile, can we have a picture of your entire collection in one frame please.
@M- The CF wheels are 0.5 kg lighter than the Mag wheels and they are supposed to make the bike more agile. And CF wheels are really sexy. But one road bump and they will crack like gol gappas. Initially I thought that the CF wheels matched the dark color, but now I like the Mag wheels more. So yes, I concur with you.

For the no. of bikes, I was told global production was 550. But then again I saw pics on Insta for bikes numbered in 800 and 1000s. So I have no clue. Ducati doesn't reveal a lot of things. Hopefully the information will come out sooner.

Unfortunately, I don't have the space or personnel to help me line up all my bikes and take pics. My garage is dimly lit, and looks like a dump. But maybe, once I am bit free in the next few months, I will try to arrange something.

Quote:
Originally Posted by neil.jericho View Post
no_fear, it is only your motorcycle threads that can make a verbose forum contributor like me, struggle to say anything meaningful. Each time I read your threads, I run out of superlatives. .......... You should charge an entry fee for us TBHPians who want to come to Delhi and stare at your enviable garage. Please provide a complimentary box of tissues to wipe all the drool off our faces.

I hope that your Hypermotard 950 gets its dedicated thread, I have a soft corner for it though I cant imagine owning one myself. It probably is a riot and a half compared to some of its tamer competition.
@Neil - I look forward to you visiting Delhi. It will be my pleasure to show you my collection, and if we are lucky, to go out for a ride. I will pen my thoughts on the Hyper some day. I have updated the Hyper by adding new decals. It was a joke between my brother and I after getting rear ended last year. I told him that the driver didn't see me. He suggested that my Hyper is not visible enough. It needs to stand out more.

So he got for me a bunch of decals and now it looks like a Ducati billboard.

The Black Ghost | My 2021 Ducati V4SP Review-img20220102wa0012.jpg

Last edited by no_fear : 10th January 2022 at 10:55.
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Old 10th January 2022, 11:56   #13
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Default Re: The Black Ghost | My 2021 Ducati V4SP Review

Sir I am in awe of your collection. I have been reading almost all of your posts in teambhp and really admire the passion and hard work you put into maintaining these beauties. Congratulations on getting one of the best iterations of the V4 in this beautiful color scheme. I hope I get the opportunity to meet you and check out your collection in person someday.
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Old 10th January 2022, 12:15   #14
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Default Re: The Black Ghost | My 2021 Ducati V4SP Review

Your passion for the brand is unmistakable and frankly a joy to witness. Love your style of writing and goes without saying, the motorcycle is the kind of machine that dreams are made of. I am somebody that has always been scared of motorcycles, especially the likes of your 1198SP, but the paradox is, if I ever see myself riding one, it would be something red and Italian, maybe an MV Agusta and if I can get my hands on one, maybe a Ducati 999r, these motorcycles have a visceral appeal unmatched by the more accepted brands, the quality to evoke emotions that turn you into a motorhead right from the moment you first hear them like the exhaust note from the cross-plane engine of the Yamaha R1. It's that intangible, sentimental and impractical heart-over-head appeal that is clear in your writing about the motorcycle that makes me want to have something like this, maybe later in life. Congratulations on your purchase and many kilometres of blissful riding on this emphatically soulful machine

Cheers
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Old 10th January 2022, 12:49   #15
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Default Re: The Black Ghost | My 2021 Ducati V4SP Review

Wow! No words haha. The v4sp is, surprisingly as you mentioned, fantastic VFM, considering what the principal parts + upgrades will cost you. That rearset, alone, will set you back by a lakh I believe.

Dave moss had some interesting observations about your generation v4s and the way the front is setup from factory. You may want to give it a watch. The V4SP benifits from a big fix on that plus all the bs6/eu5 electronics upgrades you mentioned.

Enjoy! Love reading your reviews
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