Buying a used Ducati Panigale V4S superbike in India

To take the step from a dream to reality, I analyzed the market and realized that a lot of superbike owners like to buy big flashy bikes, ride them for a bit, pose on Instagram, and then sell them to move on to the next flavor. The bikes keep changing hands, and then ultimately rot away in someone's garage from neglect. I decided to hunt for bikes that are on sale in the market, have not been abused, and with a bit of TLC, will regain their past glory.

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Ducati is a brand that needs no introduction. It's best known for launching the iconic 916, designed by the Michelangelo of motorbiking, Massimo Tamburini. I had a big poster of the red 916, and that was the beginning and end of my association with Ducati as a teenager and youth.

My reacquaintance with Ducati happened after I moved back to India in 2015. I had studied and worked abroad for a long time and I wanted to set up my own company and try my hand at entrepreneurship. Fortunately, my line of work was associated with the motorcycle industry and I got the chance to work with all the big brands that were entering India. Unfortunately, my line of work needs a lot of facetime and travel to client sites. I tried using the Delhi metro and Uber for my transport needs, but due to the geographic diversity of my meetings, I realized I needed a fuss free commuting method. A motorcycle was the most natural choice, so I bought a Kawasaki Ninja 1000. It was a reliable and trouble free bike and it let me explore more of the biking community in Delhi. While the bike is an all rounder, I felt there was nothing extraordinary about it, so I sold it and got a KTM Duke 390. That was a fun peppy monster whose life was cut short, after a drunk driver rear ended the bike at a gas station.

The next time, I sat down and explored my options. I was always enamored with Ducati, but didn't want to commit to a sports bike immediately, so I bought a Hypermotard 950. That bike has been a hoot and a blast and occupies a very big spot in my heart.

The evolution of a collection

I am a pretty hands on guy and like to tinker with motorbikes and work on them. They are my form of meditation and stress relief. I always toyed with the idea of having my own unique motorbike collection as I got more involved with the motorcycling industry. A few superbikes, cans of WD-40, Megular's wax and I am set for the weekend polishing my beauties. That has always been my dream.

To take the step from a dream to reality, I analyzed the market and realized that a lot of superbike owners like to buy big flashy bikes, ride them for a bit, pose on Instagram, and then sell them to move on to the next flavor. The bikes keep changing hands, and then ultimately rot away in someone's garage from neglect. I decided to hunt for bikes that are on sale in the market, have not been abused, and with a bit of TLC, will regain their past glory.

Long story short, I slowly built up my collection and ended up with the MV F4RR, the 1198SP, the Brutale 1090RR and finally the 1199R. The 1199R had a pretty rough past but I hope that it will have a better future (more of that in a separate installment).

A few pictures of my current collection and the monikers I gave them.

My pride and joy - 2017 MV Agusta F4 RR

The unfettered cat - 2017 MV Agusta Brutale 1090RR

The wild thing - 2011 Ducati 1198SP

The unhinged - 2014 Ducati 1199R

and finally, the wheelie popper - 2019 Ducati Hypermotard, with her sister MV F4 from the same mother (Cagiva)

Fun fact - both MV Agusta and Ducati belonged to Cagiva (acronym for Castiglioni Giovanni Varese. The first batch of Ducati 916 were built at the Cagiva factory at Varese. Cagiva sold Ducati to Texas Pacific Group (TPG) when they were cash strapped but kept MV. Cagiva went bankrupt and got absorbed into MV. Italian motorbiking history is a fascinating melting pot of startups and failures.

Enter the V4S

Before the latest April 2021 lockdown, one of my sources told me about a Ducati 1299S. Unfortunately there was a mix-up, and he ended up sending me pics of a 2019 V4S. Now, the V4 model is available pan India as the upcoming BS6 2021 model, BS6 2020 and BS4 2018-19. Initially, I didn't put much thought into the V4 model thinking there is enough supply and I can wait it out. I casually researched online and checked with the dealers and my sources. But once I started digging, I realized that the supply of immaculate condition V4s is very limited. Buying a good used motorbike is ultimately very tiring. For every 10 leads that you get, 9 are useless. In most cases, bikes have been heavily customized which doesn't suit the buyer's taste, asking price is too high, bike has engine issues or worse, no service records. I looked at the 2021 model as a potential alternative and was told the new prices will be much higher than the 19 model.

So I bit the bullet and looked up this particular V4S. The bike had been put up for sale on FB classifieds and pictures were circulating on Whatsapp. I spoke to the owner about the bike, received several pictures and videos and did my own background check. The owner himself is a biking enthusiast and wants to get a V4SP so he had decided to let go of the S. The bike had only done 4000 km, looked relatively clean and not misused on the track or road. The customization was also rather tasteful and was done by the Ducati dealer.

Due to the lockdown, I arranged for a tow truck to pick up the bike from the seller and ship over to my FNG, where it would undergo a full inspection and service before it would come over to my place. A few pics to show how the bike was shipped. The sheer number of ropes tied to the bike panicked me a lot.

A technical check and a dress rehearsal

Delhi remained under strict lockdown, so my bike sat at the FNG for weeks and accumulated dust. Once lockdown was partially lifted, I made my way over and under my supervision, worked with the head technician for a thorough check of the bike.

The bike was first stripped of its fairings, and the engine case checked to make sure it wasn't opened, or there are no cracks. Then, I carried out the following:

  • Drained out engine oil, replaced filter and put in new engine oil Liqui Moly 10w 50
  • Changed the front brake pads
  • Checked to see that rims are not bent, chain sprocket is not loose and chain is in good condition
  • Pumped out brake and clutch fluid lines, added in new fluid
  • Installed Evotech oil cooler and radiator guards - better safe than sorry
  • Applied Putoline chain lube
  • Tires were inflated and tire life checked - they need to be replaced after another 3000 km
  • Rear brake pads have over 70% life - will change them in the next annual servicing

A few pics of the bike undergoing servicing and cleaning:

Total bill for the servicing including parts was Rs 50k. The Evotech guards cost Rs 17k. The radiator and oil guard is much needed on our roads, where stone chips being thrown around is a regular feature of everyday riding.

The bike was then thoroughly cleaned, waxed, lubed and ready to take home.

Accessories by Rizoma and Akra power

I like custom parts, but only if I put them on. Bike customization is an individually acquired taste, and one man's treasure can quickly become another's trash if the customization is not done right. However, for the V4S, I broke my own rule. I liked the customization the previous owner has done. The list was short but sweet.

1. Rizoma gas tank cover

2. Rizoma handle bar ends - they get scuffed easily from the gloves.

3. Rizoma clutch and brake levers - they fold if the bike falls, and should not break. I have no inclination to find out if this is the case. I liked the Ducati branding on the lever protector and the levers themselves. It stands out.

4. Rizoma brake lever protector

The total cost of "Ducati by Rizoma" accessories + fitting was Rs 1.1 lakhs. Its quite steep, but then again Rizoma charges outrageous prices and gets away with it. I like Rizoma's quality, but with Ducati as their new branding partner, they have hiked prices a lot.

The part that gives the bike its unique flavor is the full system Akrapovic race exhaust. The Akra exhaust bumps up the bike to 229 HP (debatable as some owners said crank HP only goes up to 226). It is usually installed as an after market accessory on the V4R. The sound is gorgeous and changes the personality of the bike. The exhaust snarls and growls and you know a Ducati is coming a mile away. I cannot hear anything when the bike turns on. I am sure Delhi cops will be salivating over the number of challans they can issue.

I believe this is one of the very few Ducati V4S in India equipped with the Akra full system. The only other one I have seen is the test bike loaned out to the media.

The Akra exhaust price tag + installation costs were a princely Rs 6 lacs. The full system exhaust retails for USD 6,000 overseas, so along with GST and fitting charges, the original quote holds up to what the Ducati dealer charged to the previous owner.

Continue reading no_fear's review of his Panigale V4S and BHPian comments for more insights and information.

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