I like electric vehicles. I will sing their praises all day. And despite what the forum posters say, there is excitement in their lithium-ion batteries that will secure the future of the automotive scene. But recently, while riding the 2022 Zero FX electric motorcycle, a Ducati Streetfighter V4S reminded me that there are still limits to the laughing experience an electric vehicle can deliver. It was a mistake to mount them back to back.
You can read my full breakdown and review of the Zero FX here, but to talk about that day with context, I’ll give you the highlights. The Zero FX is a fully electric motorcycle, hence the company name. It tips the scales at a featherweight 289 pounds and sits in the company’s lineup as a kind of dual-sport/dirt-bike hybrid. Power comes from a 7.2 kWh battery and is good for 46 horsepower, 78 pound-feet of torque and around 80 miles on a charge. It is driven by a belt transmission and is equipped with mixed road/off-road tires. It’s a fun motorcycle.
The Ducati Streetfighter V4S is the antithesis of the Zero. A combustion superbike without a front fascia with a more upright seating position, it is powered by the company’s highly antisocial engine, Cantankerous and extremely noisy V4 engine. This engine, derived from the company’s MotoGP superbike, is good for 208 hp, 90 lb-ft of torque and over 100 miles of range. I didn’t want to give it back after my opinion.
Most wouldn’t compare them, and neither would I. But the opportunity to ride a rock-solid electric vehicle and the platonic ideal of a gas-powered motorcycle doesn’t come along every day. The ride illustrated that despite my love for EVs and the understanding that they will help us reduce our carbon footprint – even if it takes longer than expected – EVs still cannot deliver the kind of auditory cacophony and dopamine rush. internal combustion engine can.
My apologies for this error in judgment, dear environmentalists.
A mistake has been made, a realization has occurred
Almost from the start, I knew it was a mistake to invite my friend and his Ducati, because the silence of the FX made it feel like he was being stalked every time he was behind me. There is a certain resonance to the Streetfighter V4S Akrapovic exhaust that immediately induces chills. As it sounded off the canyon walls, I found myself saying “woof” into my headphones. Still, it wasn’t until he asked if I wanted to try the Streetfighter that I found myself reconsidering my EV claims.
It had been a few years since I had ridden the Ducati. I had forgotten how lightning fast his reflexes are, how the slight gap in his throttle grip creates an animal thrust, or how the Streetfighter’s noise, vibration and harshness – things usually associated with a poor ride quality – are actually part of its show. I had forgotten how good this bike is.
When you drive this Ducati, you feel like the engine, a masterpiece of engineering and a testament to ICE greatness, wants to free itself from its trellis frame. He doesn’t want to be contained or saddled with a 200 pound sack of meat that has spent most of its life lounging on the couch instead of rearing up and causing hell. The Streetfighter V4S barks, rages and cooks your legs. He’s raw and ragged, unlike his more serious sibling Panigale. Still, you’ll jump out with a smile so tightly stitched to your face it hurts.
There are few things that feel better than this motorbike zipping through the mountains. As you climb and drop through the rev range, you’ll twist the throttle to hear the overshoot and feel the engine braking under you, then rev it again, cut the redline, upshift and go forward, losing your damn of wit and your ability to conjure up words to express your emotions. Instead, you become as animal as he is, howling and hooting into your helmet. There is no such thing.
That’s not to say that I still don’t like the Zero FX very much; again, I sing his praises in his review. But riding both on the same day and on the same road, there’s a much wider chasm between what’s on offer in terms of driving experience. The Zero FX is serene and quiet, and single-track riding with the trees whipping your face makes for a great day out. But this Ducati, my God, there’s just no competition.
And yes, a comparison between the Zero and Ducati is like comparing apples to hand grenades. A much better one would be between the Ducati and Damon’s upcoming Hyperfighter EV. Either way, though, the Zero and Damon lack what Ducati offers: experience. You won’t get the vibration or sonic howl of the V4. You won’t get the engine heat, or the slight acceleration lag when the internal combustion engine revs up. You won’t get the experience, despite EV prowess or calibration.
There’s always love in my heart for all things electric, but I made a mistake on this Ducati. Be on the lookout for my next OnlyFans account to fund the purchase.
Do you have any advice? Email [email protected]