I just returned from the International Motorcycle Show in Long Beach, California, where I had the pleasure of seeing the Ducati 1098 in the flesh for the first time. Pictures do not do this bike justice (the photo above was taken by yours truly today). The new 1098 is absolutely gorgeous. Its lines and proportions are elegant, and a dramatic improvement on the lackluster 999 it replaces.
The most interesting thing to me is the pricing strategy of Ducati. The base 1098, with a full 160 horsepower/90.4 foot pounds from its 1099cc engine, and weighing a mere 381 pounds, will be sold in the United States beginning in February of next year at a price of $14,995. Truly an exotic, Italian superbike at a price not too far north of the most expensive Japanese superbikes. It appears Ducati may be trying to ramp up volume here in the U.S., and the 1098 will almost certainly create a massive increase in superbike sales for Ducati in 2007.
Two other models, including the $19,995 1098S (with forged Marchesini wheels, Ohlins suspension and built-in data acquisition software) and the $24,995 Tricolore (pictured above) with the special paint job and a full race exhaust system, as well as the 1098S upgrades, will join the base model here in the states early next year.
It looks like Ducati just found its mojo!