Maybe following the vagaries of international currency exchange isn’t your area of interest or expertise, but there may be some savvy watchers of those markets who will make out like bandits, sportbike-wise. That’s because Ducati announced its first new 2011 model, the 848 EVO, which offers more power and better braking—but the same price tag as the old 848. By waiting until 2011, prospective 848 buyers will get more bike for the same amount of money. International monetary debt crises can be your friend.
Like the Hypermotard 1100 EVO, I got to test earlier this year, the EVO moniker designates the bike as a development of a prior model, rather than a whole new bike. Ducati claims the upgrades were based on feedback from AMA Pro Racing, so it’s no surprise that the biggest change is more motor. Cylinder heads, throttle bodies, pistons and camshafts have been altered to raise output to 140 horsepower and 72.3 ft.-lbs. of torque, up from the 2010’s 134 hp and 70.8 ft.-lbs. Those throttle bodies are probably Seimens units, in contrast to the Weber-Marelli equipment from prior years. One-hundred-forty hp—probably around 125 at the back wheel—was eyebrow-raising for an open-class Japanese inline-Four not too long ago, but this is a middleweight Twin: a fact Ducati is leveraging to crown the 848 “the most powerful motorcycle in its category.” True enough, although having a 248cc advantage helps.
The extra power is no good without control, so the chassis gets upgrades as well. A steering damper is now standard, and the bike is delivered with Pirelli Diablo Supercorsa SP rubber—trackday ready. But the real plum in this superbike pudding is the addition of Brembo monobloc racing calipers. The rigid, one-piece units offer substantially better feel and power than the old bike’s lower-spec items. Dry weight drops by a pound, to 369.
More power, better brakes; should be more money, right? That’s where you currency fans come in. What with the uncertainties in the entire world economy, the Euro finds itself weaker against the dollar than it’s been since 2005, weak enough that monobloc calipers cost Americans what multi-part calipers did last year. The result? The matte-finish 848 Dark is $12,995, the same price as the 2010. Ducati red will run you a grand more.