Momentum - October 2020 - 16



SUPERLEGGERA V4 is its most
powerful, fastest, and most advanced
production bike, ever. This is no mean
claim from the Bologna-based
manufacturer known for its raucous
sportbikes. The Superleggera V4 is the
first street-legal production motorcycle
from a full-line manufacturer with an
entirely carbon-composites-based
chassis. An exercise in cost-no-object
engineering free of any homologation
constraints, the machine will be limited
to a production run of 500, at a princely
$100,000 apiece.
The 2021 Superleggera V4 is a follow
up to the 2016 1299 Superleggera
("super light"), also a 500-unit
production run (at a cool $65,000), that
featured extensive lightweighting
elements. Technically part of Audi within
Volkswagen Group, Ducati has been
aligning more closely of late with Italian
stablemate Lamborghini, which along
with projects such as its Sesto Elemento
("sixth element"-i.e. carbon), has
typically been the brand to showcase
the group's composites prowess.

The new Superleggera (SL) features the
same Desmosedici Stradale R engine
available in the 2020 Panigale V4 S, but
the SL nets an even lighter version of
that liquid-cooled, 16-valve
desmodromic 998cc 90° V4. It produces
a claimed 224 hp/86 lb-ft (165 kW/116
Nm) at 15,250/11,750 rpm respectively in
stock trim; 234 hp/88 lb-ft (174 kW/119
Nm) at 15,500/11,750 rpm with the
optional titanium Akrapovic race
The SL engine weighs 6.2 pounds
(2.8 kg) less than the standard
Desmosedici Stradale R engine however,
which already features titanium
connecting rods and intake valves. For
the SL, mass reduction arrives via a
lightened flywheel, and a bolt set

16 October 2020



The 2021 Ducati Superleggera V4 is a comprehensive engineering exercise in composites and weight
composed of titanium. Both the cams
and starter gears have narrower profiles
and have been drilled out to reduce
mass. The oiling system goes from three
recovery pumps to two, with no loss in
effectiveness, according to Ducati.
At 351 lb (159 kg) in stock (dry) trim,
the SL is 35 lb (16 kg) lighter than the
standard Panigale V4. The titanium race
exhaust brings dry weight down to 336
lb (152 kg). Ducati does not quote a wet
weight, which is likely between 360-370
lb (163-168 kg). This would put it on par
with entry-level sport bikes such as the
321cc Yamaha R3 (368 lb/167 kg), but
with five times the horsepower (42 vs.
234) at 20 times the R3's $5,000 price.

The SL's all-carbon chassis encompasses
its functional aerodynamic wings, the
fairing, the main frame (with 7075-series
aluminum and titanium inserts at key
points and the engine as a stressed
member), the subframe, the wheels, and
the single-sided swingarm. According to
Ducati, all the structural carbon

elements undergo a three-process
integrity-testing protocol via nondestructive methods typical in
aerospace: Ultrasonic Phased Array for
two-dimensional analysis; Computed
Axial Tomography for three-dimensional
X-ray inspection; and Active Transient
Thermography for inspecting surface
layers for potential delamination.
The carbon frame is 2.6 lb (1.2 kg)
lighter than the aluminum structure on
the Panigale, and its subframe also
shaves 2.6 lb (1.2 kg) from the standard
machine. The swingarm (a $20,000
replacement part) is 2 lb (0.9 kg) lighter
and 11 mm longer than the standard
aluminum unit on the Panigale to
increase front weight bias and stability.
The 17-inch wheels (produced by South
Africa's BST) save 7.5 lb (3.4 kg) of
unsprung weight while significantly
reducing gyroscopic forces.
(Click here to read a more in-depth
version of this article online.) n
By Paul Seredynski, senior editor,
Automotive Engineering magazine.


Momentum - October 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Momentum - October 2020

Momentum - October 2020
Big Changes to CDS coming next year
Ditching the bells and whistles
One-on-One with Matt McCoy
Ambition and its conundrums
Sprinting to Success
2021 Ducati Superleggera V4 is a lightweighting tour-de-force
Simulation’s next generation
SAE 101: SAE Mobilus
Practicing the ”art of learning”
Dossier: Juan Vasquez of Pariveda Solutions
Momentum - October 2020 - Momentum - October 2020
Momentum - October 2020 - Cover2
Momentum - October 2020 - 1
Momentum - October 2020 - Big Changes to CDS coming next year
Momentum - October 2020 - BENEFITS U
Momentum - October 2020 - Ditching the bells and whistles
Momentum - October 2020 - 5
Momentum - October 2020 - 6
Momentum - October 2020 - 7
Momentum - October 2020 - One-on-One with Matt McCoy
Momentum - October 2020 - 9
Momentum - October 2020 - Ambition and its conundrums
Momentum - October 2020 - 11
Momentum - October 2020 - Sprinting to Success
Momentum - October 2020 - 13
Momentum - October 2020 - 14
Momentum - October 2020 - BRIEFS
Momentum - October 2020 - 2021 Ducati Superleggera V4 is a lightweighting tour-de-force
Momentum - October 2020 - Simulation’s next generation
Momentum - October 2020 - SAE 101: SAE Mobilus
Momentum - October 2020 - Practicing the ”art of learning”
Momentum - October 2020 - Dossier: Juan Vasquez of Pariveda Solutions
Momentum - October 2020 - Cover3
Momentum - October 2020 - Cover4