Preview excerpt from Ultimate Motorcycling (November, 2011) -
The highly coveted "Most Beautiful Bike of Show" [1199 Panigale] title is just reward for Ducati's constant and innovative product development and coincides with the iconic Italian manufacturer's announcement that 2011 will close with the best financial results in the company's history.
Designed and built in Borgo Panigale, Bologna, theaward-winning motorcycle combines the most high-tech, most powerful twin-cylinder production engine on the planet with an innovative monocoque chassis concept to deliver an astonishing 195hp from 164kg (361.5lb) of futuristic Italian thoroughbred. The highest production motorcycle power-to-weight and torque-to-weight ratios in the world are fitting trophies for the incredible results that Ducati have achieved and now set an extreme benchmark for the category."
The Ducati 1199 Panigale is loaded with electronics, including ABS system, DucatiTraction Control (DTC), Ducati Electronic Suspension (DES), Ducati Quick-Shift (DQS), Ducati's new race-derived Engine Brake Control (EBC) and Ride-by-Wire (RbW). Ducati says these electronics are all programmed into seamless, electronic rider assistance. Even the full color Thin Film Transistor (TFT) display changes to suit the rider's environment.
Excerpt from Ultimate Motorcycling (December, 2009) -
The new Ducati 1198 is the most evident example of the philosophy Ducati adheres to in distributing racing technology to us.
The Ducati 1198 barks to life like a vicious animal. It's narrow and agile like a cheetah, but with the roar of a lion. This contrast makes it into an event in itself just pushing the starter button. So the massive 1198cc L-twin roars to life in a way that would intimidate even those riding liter inline fours. The Ducati 1198 is, put simply, exciting from beginning to end.
Ducati World Superbike Champion Troy Bayliss guides us around the circuit on our first session. No one knows more about going fast on a Ducati twin Superbike than Bayliss. It was a privilege following the man for the first few laps, despite the fact that I didn't actually follow as I was more getting to terms with the power and how not to crash as soon as the pace was upped.
To help me I had the Ducati Traction Control (DTC) set to level 4--a brilliant way to both learn a new circuit and a new powerful motorcycle. While ABS is a safety feature for ordinary people, traction control is a safety measure for hard-boiled racers. Up until now that is, and Ducati is toying with various ideas on how to perhaps implement race style traction control systems on all bikes. The DTC would actually work well when you hit that wet patch accelerating out of a roundabout, so it's a real world safety measure too.
What I really like about the Ducati system is the adjustability and flexibility. The DTC has 8 level settings, with level 8 being is the most intrusive. DTC can also be turned off. Fast guys such as Bayliss will choose from level 2 down to no traction control. I would have liked to be able to adjust it whilst on the move. Let's say you are riding your 1198 all day, and suddenly it starts raining. Rather than having to stop to change to a more strict DTC level preventing wheel spin, I would have liked to be able to adjust whilst on the move.
The Ducati 1198/1198 S traction control differs from the 1098 R in the fact that Ducati have enabled DTC by cutting power at the fuel injection level rather than at the spark plug level. This prevents unburned fuel to enter the exhaust torching the catalyzer. The result is true traction control on a road legal bike.
Excerpt from CycleWorld (August, 2010) -
Torque builds quickly off idle before easing into a soft spot around 5000 rpm. While the mid-rpm lull is perceptible even at slight throttle settings, fueling remains good, allowing the bike to cruise dead-steady in the lull zone at freeway speeds. The sweet spot for smooth running spans from 4000 to 5000 rpm, yielding an indicated 70 to 87 mph in top gear with only modest engine vibration seeping through the handgrips. Strong power pulses quake the footpegs and frame while chugging along at basement revs or spinning the engine in its upper rpm range. There is little driveline lash, even when casually lugging along at 3500 rpm in a tall gear.
Leaving stops fluidly requires a bit of extra throttle and clutch slip to avoid a lean stumble around 2500 rpm. We have experienced similar issues with other recent Ducati models running EPA-certified fuel mapping. The stock 848 fueling is decent down low but could use some massaging.The meat of the engine’s power comes online just beyond 7000 rpm with a surge of grunt capable of inducing an effortless low-gear power wheelie when the throttle is held fully open. Keeping revs above 7K sees the 848 leaping out of corners with liter-bike tenacity, all while serving up uncanny tractability. The 848 chassis is essentially the same as that of the 1198 Superbike with minor differences in suspension calibration, front-brake rotor diameter and a narrower (5.5-inch) rear rim that’s better suited to the 180/55ZR17 Pirelli radial. Grip and stability at a swift street pace are exceptional, making for one of the more confidence-inspiring bikes you’ll find for backroad burning. Steering is precise and intuitive yet becomes somewhat heavy when working through side-to-side transitions at speeds greater than 75 mph.The street is no place to try to find the limits of a race-bred chassis such as this, so we headed to a track day at Buttonwillow Raceway hosted by Trackdaz.com. There, we could achieve much higher cornering loads and press the bike hard into and out of corners to put the EVO chassis to the test. As previously stated, changes were few, with the addition of Brembo Monobloc front calipers and a non-adjustable steering stabilizer, both of which were lifted from the 1198 parts bin.
Read the full review at CycleWorld >>