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Ducati Unveils 2014 899 Panigale

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Calling it a “Supermid” in apparent acknowledgement that it fits between typical supersport and superbike racing classifications, Ducati unveiled its new 899 Panigale and its 899cc Suprequadro engine delivering a claimed 148 horsepower and 73 pound/feet of torque.

Similar in many ways to its 1199 Panigale big brother, the 899 engine in little brother is a 90 degree twin that operates as a fully stressed member of the chassis. Claimed dry weight is 372.5 pounds. All the latest electronic rider assistance is on hand, including quick shift, ride-by-wire with selectable riding mode, 3-stage ABS, and traction control.

All of the details are contained in the following press material issued  by Ducati.  U.S. availability should be in January of next year, with the Ducati Red version priced at $14,995, while the Arctic White will be $15,295.

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The 2014 Ducati Superbike 899 Panigale

The new 899 Panigale – Supermid Perfection

The introduction of the highly-anticipated Ducati 899 Panigale provides a new way to access the exclusive world of Ducati Superbikes with a “Supermid” version designed to provide the thrill of the new generation flagship model with the refined character of an everyday streetbike.

The brand new Superquadro engine features a revised bore and stroke for a broad power delivery, producing 148hp (109kW) with a torque of 73lb-ft (10.1kgm). The super-smooth power unit continues to be a fully stressed member of the innovative Panigale monocoque construction, achieving both an outstanding power-to-weight ratio and ride-enhancing agility with a dry weight of 169kg (372.5lb). An 1199 silhouette underlines the family DNA, while the Ducati Quick Shift (DQS) and the fully integrated Riding Mode technologies of Ride-by-Wire, triple stage ABS, Ducati Traction Control (DTC) and Engine Brake Control (EBC) continue the benchmark ingenuity introduced with the award-winning Panigale.

Ducati’s constant pursuit of perfection now offers all-round performance for connoisseurs with an authentic and stylish way to enter the world of high performance. The 899 Panigale is available in traditional Ducati red with black wheels or a stunning arctic white with red wheels.

The best of both worlds

Ducati is passionately committed to further development of the Panigale concept both on the track and on the street and the 899 represents a “Supermid” version, intended to be a method of entry into the world of premium performance. With carefully designed, rider-friendly features, like increased seat cushioning and shorter final drive gearing for enhanced mid-range rideability, the new model achieves a successful mix of authentic Italian performance with everyday usability, offering the very best of both worlds in absolute style.

The innovative “monocoque” frame solution and the new 899 “Superquadro” L-twin engine uses race-derived electronics to continue the “bred for the track and trained for the road” mentality. This initiative further demonstrates how innovative Ducati World Championship level technology has a direct contribution to ride improvement and safety enhancement.

With the click of a button, Ducati’s Riding Mode concept delivers performance with enhanced rider confidence by combining a number of class-leading technologies. The latest-generation sports ABS system, Ducati Traction Control (DTC), Ducati Quick-Shift (DQS), Ducati’s race-derived Engine Brake Control (EBC) and Ride-by-Wire (RbW) are now all programmed into seamless, electronic rider assistance.

Pronounced “Pan-ee-gah-lee”, the model represented a change in Ducati Superbike tradition, adding a name to its engine capacity designation and making a significant association to its historic roots in the Borgo Panigale area of Bologna. In an Italian territory known as “Motor Valley” and where high performance and racing runs through the veins of its passionate people, Ducati have underlined their pride in being world ambassadors for the “Made in Italy” title by immortalizing their birthplace in the name of the new generation Superbike.

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Unmistakably Ducati

Every detail of the Panigale pays tribute to the rich heritage of racing on which Ducati is built. Components that are not only functionally efficient, but also minimalist, essential and beautifully engineered into pieces of automotive art.

Climb aboard the Panigale and take hold of the bars and the feeling of pure racing is everywhere. The finely formed top-clamp with weight-saving hollows and recesses immediately communicates Italian engineering at its very best. Radial brake and clutch pumps, Ducati’s precise switchgear and full Ride-by-Wire twistgrip give a race-driven sense of minimalism further enhanced with the monocoque-integral steering head flowing into the front sub-frame and minimalist instrumentation.

The twin headlamps, with LED positioning lights, are integrated with the frontal intake ducts, while the twin rear lights are moulded perfectly around the recessed seat air ducts and illuminate with an attractive light-guide surround effect, enhanced with LED brake lights. Front LED indicators are integrated into the mirror bodies and rear indicators, which are also LED*, are styled with clear lenses.’

The majority of the frontal air ducts feed the main airbox, while a small splitter diverts air also into the fairing bodywork to ensure efficient cooling for the onboard electronics. The carefully executed shape at the rear of the fairing enables a highly efficient exit from the radiator area, protecting the Superquadro’s power output and further reducing aerodynamic resistance. The sleek shape of the seat and tail-piece is accentuated by the under-engine location of the exhaust system, further enhancing the aggressive stance of a true Ducati Superbike. *Country specific

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Engine

The 899 Superquadro

Ducati’s latest power-plant, the 899 Superquadro, represents another major step forward in twin-cylinder design and technology, generating superb Ducati performance with super smooth power delivery. Providing 148hp (109kW) @ 10,750rpm and 10kgm (73lb-ft) @ 9,000rpm, the new engine achieves a perfect balance of drive and fluidity using a bore and stroke of 100mm x 57.2mm (3.93in x 2.25in). The Desmodromic, 90° L-twin inherits the 1199’s structural design to enable full integration with the monocoque chassis while boasting an ownership-friendly 24,000km (15,000 miles) between major services.

Engine architecture

Mirroring the innovative 1199, the 899 engine is a fully stressed member of the chassis, with its architecture calculated to provide the best possible vehicle construction for layout, weight distribution and strength. The cylinders, which remain at 90° to each other, are rotated backwards around the crankcases, positioning the front cylinder at 21° from horizontal and enabling the engine to be positioned further forwards for optimum front / rear weight distribution and perfectly positioning the cylinder head attachment points for the Panigale’s monocoque frame.

The crankcases, which are vacuum die-cast using Vacural® technology to ensure optimal weight saving, consistent wall thickness and increased strength, also incorporate the outer water-jacket of the “cylinder”, eliminating the jointing face that used to exist at the base of the cylinders. Instead, the Superquadro has separate nikasil-coated “wet-liners” inserted into the tops of the crankcase apertures. This design enables secure fixing of the cylinder head directly to the crankcase, improved sealing and enhanced heat dissipation from the thin cylinder-liners directly into the surrounding coolant. The clutch casing, sump and cam covers are all cast in aluminium.

The 899 Superquadro crankcases use shell main bearings for the crankshaft, enabling an increase in diameter of the crank journals for enhanced rigidity and an increase in the crankcase section around the main bearing area for improved strength. The shell bearings are force-fed oil from internal drillings within the main bearing pillars to keep the new crankshaft well lubricated and the oil is quickly scavenged back into the sump with a highly efficient GP-style vacuum pump. The pump is driven by the main oil pump shaft and effectively maintains constant vacuum in the crankcase area below the pistons, reducing atmospheric resistance during the down-stroke of the piston and controlling the internal “breathing” of the engine.

Supermid precision

In calculating the optimum configuration for a “Supermid” 899 version of the Superquadro, Ducati engineers selected a bore and stroke of 100mm x 57.2mm (3.93in x 2.25in). The combination of power and ridability resulted in an impressive output of 148hp (109kW) @ 10,750rpm and 73 lb-ft (10.1kgm) @ 9,000rpm.

The bore and stroke ratio achieves an attractive balance of torque while allowing sufficient area for the highly efficient valve diameters of 41.8mm (1.64in) inlet and 34mm (1.33in) exhaust. The valves are actuated by ‘super-finished’ and diamond-like carbon (DLC) coated rocker arms for reduced friction and fatigue.

The 899’s volumetric efficiency is achieved with the help of oval throttle bodies measuring an equivalent diameter of 62mm (2.44in) that feed air across a single injector per cylinder positioned below the Ride-by-Wire controlled butterfly. The new engine also inherits the 1199’s secondary air system, maintaining performance-optimised fuel mapping for smoother cycle-to-cycle engine operation, without compromising emissions.

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Desmodromic valve control

Ducati’s Desmo system actuates valve closure mechanically with the same method and accuracy as it opens, enabling steep cam profiles, radical cam timings, large valves and high operating speeds. This system is used in every Ducati engine and constantly proven on Ducati Corse’s World Superbike and Desmosedici GP motorcycles.

The Desmodromic assembly is driven by a combined chain and gear-drive arrangement with a conventional bush-type chain running from the crankshaft to the cylinder head, where a single sprocket positioned between inlet and exhaust camshafts is attached back-to-back to a gear wheel mounted on its own short, dedicated shaft. The attached gear meshes directly with gears on the ends of both the inlet and exhaust camshafts, which are also designed with +/- position adjustment for ultra-precise cam-calibration. The cam chain provides a highly efficient point-to-point drive route and, tensioned automatically, provides continuous reliability, further reducing the cost of routine maintenance.

On the end of each exhaust cam drive gear is a centrifugal flyweight which retracts at speeds below tick-over to rotate a “protrusion” from the concentric section of the cam, thus creating sufficient valve lift to act as a de-compressor. This ingenious device enables the Superquadro engine to be started easily without using a larger battery and starter motor, which has further helped the reduction of overall vehicle weight. When the engine starts and the camshafts begin to rotate at tick-over speed, the centrifugal flyweight flicks out, retracting the “protrusion” back into the cam and allowing complete valve closure for full compression. This innovative feature further underlines the lengths to which designers and engineers have worked together in the single-minded pursuit of weight-saving.

Transmission

The 899 Superquadro engine adopts the same gearbox as the 1199, capitalising on the extensive work carried out in increasing dimensions between the centres of the six-speed gearbox shafts to enable larger diameter, stronger gears to transmit the enhanced power output.

Chassis

Monocoque technology

The 899 Panigale’s chassis continues Ducati’s innovative and courageous step forward in motorcycle design, merging multiple parts into one compact and lightweight component, while re-evaluating rider posture with a revised ergonomic triangle. The extremely compact monocoque construction integrates the airbox to become one of the key elements in reducing the overall dry weight to an impressive of 169kg (372.5lb).

Using the Superquadro engine as a stressed member of the chassis, the short and strong aluminium monocoque is die-cast in aluminium and attaches to the cylinder heads protruding forward to house the steering head bearings and forming the airbox. Continuing the concept of component minimisation, the airbox is capped-off and sealed by the underside of the 17 litre (4.5 US gallon) steel fuel tank.

While the cylinders remain true to Ducati’s signature 90° L-twin configuration, the Superquadro engine has effectively rotated the top-end backwards around the crankshaft to enable engineers to position the engine perfectly for optimum front/rear weight bias. With a front-end geometry of 24° of rake and 96mm (3.78in) of trail, a brand new, fully die-cast aluminium, double-sided swingarm provides the wheelbase of 1,426mm (56.14in) setting the weight distribution of the 899 Panigale at 52% front and 48% rear.

With the exhaust system located below the engine, the steel tubular rear sub-frame maintains a clean line and attaches directly to the Superquadro engine, while the lightweight, aluminium front sub-frame attaches directly to the monocoque frame, providing secure support for the headlamp, instrumentation and fairing. This centralisation of mass substantially contributes to overall vehicle agility.

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Suspension

The 899 Panigale is eqiuipped with 43mm Showa BPF usd forks, fully adjustable in spring pre-load and compression and rebound damping. The bodies are finished in titanium grey and the sliders in chrome and feature forged radial calliper mountings on the fork feet. The Showa Big Piston Fork (BPF) enhances damping control at low suspension speeds by flowing more oil at lower pressures and reducing the range over which the damping fluid has to flow during compression and extension. This innovative solution improves performance, while achieving a weight reduction compared to traditional forks. A steering damper completes the overall specification.

A fully adjustable Sachs rear suspension unit features a stylish and practical side-mounting, enabling increased space for the rear cylinder head. The unique positioning renders the suspension unit totally accessible for spring pre-load and compression and rebound damping and is designed with a progressive linkage operating through a double-sided swingarm.

Bosch Brembo Braking system with 3-level ABS

Included as an integral part of the Ducati Safety Pack (DSP), the 899 Panigale is equipped with the Bosch ABS 9MP controlled Brembo braking system, an impressive combination of state-of-the-art security and proven performance. Shorter stopping distances with enhanced stability is further enhanced with full Riding Mode integration taking the 899’s braking to the next level of rider feeling.

From the 3-level programmed system, level-1 enables front only ABS, intended for the track-oriented “Race“ Riding Mode, while level-2 delivers high braking performances with reduced rear lift-up prevention for sport-oriented road use in “Sport“ Riding Mode. Level-3, used in the “Wet“ Riding Mode, delivers the most braking stability with maximum lift-up prevention. An option to disable the ABS in each individual Riding Mode is available via the instrumentation, and the system allows the setting to be saved and memorised at the next ignition-on.

The front brakes use twin radially-mounted Brembo, four piston, Monobloc M4-32 callipers actuated by a high performance radial master cylinder. The fronts grip 320mm discs, while a single 245mm disc on the rear is gripped by a single Brembo calliper.

Wheels and tyres

The 899 Panigale rolls on lightweight 10-spoke wheels in 3.5in front rim width and 5.50in rear, enabling a fast change of direction and enhanced acceleration and braking performances. They are fitted with Pirelli Diablo Rosso Corsa tyres with a 120/70 ZR17, on the front and an agility-enhancing 180/60 ZR17 on the rear.

Designed as a high performance tyre for the road and excellent for track sessions, the Pirelli Diablo Rosso Corsa profile and structure make it a perfect choice for the 899 Panigale with optimum support ensured during vehicle inclination and rapid realignment on corner exit. Developed with Pirelli’s latest Enhanced Patch Technology from World Superbike, the tyre uses a multi-compound composition with three zones on the rear that optimise the area of contact, ensuring maximum grip on road and track.

Electronics

Panigale technology

The superb electronics package features Ducati Riding Modes, with fully integrated ABS, Ducati Traction Control (DTC), Ducati Quick Shift (DQS), Engine Brake Control (EBC), and full Ride-by-Wire (RbW) throttle control.

Ducati Riding Modes

Ducati’s industry-changing Riding Modes effectively offer an optimised set-up appropriate to rider and environment by selecting from a choice of three pre-set modes. Each Riding Mode is pre-programmed to instantly change engine character in addition to ABS, DTC and EBC levels – even while riding. The modes are made possible by combining a number of class-leading technologies.

An electronic Ride-by-Wire (RbW) system administers different mappings to regulate power delivery, while the Ducati Traction Control system (DTC) uses eight levels of system interaction to enhance control by reducing wheel-spin and the 9MP generation Bosch processor provides three environment-appropriate anti-lock levels. EBC monitors crankshaft de-acceleration under heavy braking and administers RbW throttle opening to maintain optimum grip.

Race Riding Mode

The Race Riding Mode provides the track rider with 148hp with direct RbW throttle response, reduced DTC system intervention, a race-oriented EBC level and front-only ABS with reduced anti-rear lift-up.

Sport Riding Mode

The Sport Riding Mode provides the road or track rider with 148hp, delivered with a “smooth” RbW throttle response, slightly increased DTC system intervention, a sport-optimised EBC and front and rear ABS with increased anti-rear lift-up.

Wet Riding Mode

The Wet Riding Mode provides the road or track rider with 110hp, delivered with a “smooth” RbW throttle response, increased DTC system intervention, environment-appropriate EBC and fully enhanced ABS for low grip conditions.

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Instrumentation

The 889 Panigale has a brand new compact instrumentation panel with a well arranged and data-rich black on white LCD display. The unit displays RPM from 0-12,000 in an easy-to-read bargraph positioned in a semi-circular shape across the top of the unit with speed indicated prominently in the centre of the screen.

The three riding modes of Race, Sport and Wet are positioned left of the vehicle speed value and are easily scrollable using the indicator cancel button on the left-hand switchgear. When each Riding Mode is selected its corresponding EBC, DTC and ABS levels are displayed to the right of the vehicle speed value with additional tags displayed above them to confirm Stopwatch, DDA or DQS functions when activated.

Further left of the three Riding Modes, the screen also displays a numeric gear indicator, a tag to confirm actuation of automatic lap-time GPS (if DDA+ accessory is fitted) and a service icon which appears to remind of scheduled maintenance.

Engine coolant temperature is displayed at the lower centre section of the screen with rectangular windows of additional data positioned either side, scroll-controlled using two buttons positioned above and below the indicator cancel button on the left-hand switchgear. The upper button scrolls the left window to present total mileage, trip A, trip B, trip reserve fuel, trip time, time and lap time, while the lower button scrolls the right window for air temperature, fuel consumption, average fuel consumption and average speed.

Illuminated icons on the top left of the instrumentation, from left to right, show warnings for left turn signal, engine electronics, ABS-off and neutral, while from top right of the instrumentation, from right to left, are turn signal right, fuel reserve, main beam and oil pressure. In the middle of these two banks of warning lights, and designed to advise via the rider’s peripheral vision, are a strip of red lights incrementally counting-up to engine over-rev, until finally illuminating also the main red over-rev warning light in the top centre of the display. Below the main top, centre over-rev bar is a second bar that illuminates orange to denote DTC interaction.

When the 899 Panigale is stationary, the instrumentation is accessible as a user-friendly control panel to personalise and save ABS, EBC, DTC, DQS, and RbW settings within each Riding Mode. Additionally, the stopwatch function, actuated manually by using the flasher button on the left-hand switchgear (or automatically with the GPS equipped DDA+ available as an accessory) can list the last 30 recorded lap times, each time also recording the associated lap number, maximum speed and maximum rpm. The brightness level of the display can also be adjusted from the same control panel area.

Ducati Traction Control (DTC)

Ducati’s highly successful DTC system has been further refined for the 899 Panigale and fully integrated into the electronics package of the Riding Modes. It uses the same software logic developed and used by Ducati Corse for their MotoGP and World Superbike motorcycles and offers a choice of eight settings highly developed for all environments.

Accessible from the left-hand switchgear and displayed on the instrumentation, the system offers a choice of eight profiles, each one programmed with a wheel-spin tolerance graded from one to eight. While level eight administers a confidence-building, high level of interaction from the system by activating upon the slightest detection of wheel-spin, level one offers a much higher tolerance and so reduced intervention for highly competent riders. The DTC system status and level is constantly displayed on the instrumentation, reminding the rider of the current interaction level if the Riding Mode is changed.

When the level that best suits the combination of road or track conditions and riding style has been selected and the DTC system activated, front and rear wheel sensors compare speed differential to sense when rear traction is being broken (wheel-spin). DTC then decides the best combination of two different types of instant electronic adjustment, calculated with data supplied from multiple sources. The first ‘soft’ stage of system interaction is executed by high speed software that makes instant electronic adjustment to the ignition timing, administering varying amounts of ignition retardation to reduce the engine’s torque. If the DTC software detects that the first ‘soft’ stage of system interaction is inadequate to control the wheel-spin, it continues to administer ignition retardation and, in addition, instructs the engine ECU to initiate a pattern of constantly increasing injection cuts until, if necessary, full injection cut.

During both stages of system interaction, an orange warning light, which is visible in the rider’s peripheral vision and situated near the top of the instrumentation, illuminates to signify that DTC is being used. As soon as the system recognises the gradual return of equal wheel speeds, it incrementally re-establishes normal power delivery. This seamless interaction is key to the super-smooth operation of the system.

Ducati Quick Shift (DQS)

The Ducati Quick Shift (DQS) system, is supplied as original equipment on the 899 Panigale, providing super-smooth clutchless upshifts, easily executed without closing the throttle. Normally used specifically for racing, the system allows the rider to keep the throttle open when changing-up through the gearbox, helping to save vital fractions of a second in the pursuit of faster lap-times, and providing ride-enhancing performance for normal road use. The system not only saves time when changing gear, but also enables the possibility of uninterrupted air flow through the throttle bodies throughout the upward gear-change process.

The system consists of a micro-switch built into the linkage of the gear change lever, which when actuated in the direction of selecting a higher gear, sends a signal to the main ECU. The ECU instantly understands which gear the motorcycle is in and the amount of throttle opening before applying a pre-programmed cut in fuel injection and ignition measured in milliseconds. This spilt-second electronic interruption in drive is programmed precisely to allow the next gear to be selected without having to actuate the clutch or close the throttle. As the system only functions for a matter of milliseconds, the 899 can still be ridden using a normal gear-changing style.

Engine Brake Control (EBC)

The “Engine Brake Control” (EBC) system was developed by Ducati Corse to help riders optimise vehicle stability under extreme corner-entry racing conditions by equalising the positive and negative forces of torque subjected to the rear tyre under severe engine-braking conditions. EBC monitors throttle position, gear selected and crankshaft de-acceleration rate under heavy braking, and then administers precise RbW throttle openings to balance the torque forces acting on the tyre. EBC has a 3-level operating system accessible from the 899 Panigale’s instrumentation and is integrated automatically into its three Riding Modes to provide an additional and highly effective rider aid.

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DDA-ready

The 899 Panigale is system-ready to accept Ducati Data Analyser+ (DDA+) which is available as an accessory from Ducati Performance. It consists of a software download and a USB-ready data retrieval card and evaluates the performances of the motorcycle and its rider by graphically presenting specific channels of information.

DDA+ is the latest generation of the system and incorporates a GPS function that automatically records lap-times every time the 899 Panigale crosses a circuit start/finish line. As the rider crosses line and presses the lights flasher button, the innovative system logs the coordinates of that position and automatically records each lap time as the motorcycle completes subsequent laps.

An essential piece of equipment for the circuit, DDA records numerous channels of data including throttle opening, vehicle speed, engine rpm, gear selected, engine temperature, distance travelled, laps and lap times. An additional channel of information is dedicated to recording the traction control index which can then be viewed as a graphic trace indicating the amount of DTC interaction during wheel-spin. At the end of a ride or track session, data can be downloaded ready to compare and analyse the performance of the rider and motorcycle.

 

57 Comments

  1. billy says:

    And that 15,000 mile service will cost you 2 grand! Go ahead, look it up. It’s parts plus like fourteen hours of labor. F’n ridiculous!

  2. Agent55 says:

    Sweet sportbike and the logical choice over an 1199 for track use I’d bet, but it’s unfortunate in a way that the displacement has reached 900cc, not likely to see these raced against middleweights in national/international competition.

    • Norm G. says:

      perhaps the domestic authorities will have a change of heart…? a lone 848 ran in DSB over the weekend, but t’was a tail-ender. certainly “looked” racy…? but nonetheless served as “caboose” to a freight train of 600’s. both aprilia’s 1000 and buell’s controversial 1100 used to run so I think they could allow this 900 without too much threat of dominance (it’d be handicapped by it’s chassis anyway). modern 6’s are that good.

  3. Auphliam says:

    That looks like a right proper weapon right there. Very nice.

  4. Neutron73 says:

    Great…now Ducati has basically returned to the 916/996/999 size superbike and calls it a “mid”? WTF? The 999/749 are better looking IMO. Why don’t they just give up on the “middleweight” category altogether, as the new 899 is basically a literbike.

    What a joke.

  5. Blackcayman says:

    I think the Panigale is the best looking SportBike by far….This new 899 version is more than most need and its most likely more fun – nimble -flickable (all good sportbike traits) than the big daddy.

    Its serious coin for the average Joe, so it will retain its exclusivity.

    The swingarm is a letdown, but 5 grand is down too.

  6. TF says:

    I wonder if that engine will eventually find its way into the Streetfighter or even the Monster and Hypermotard configurations? A Hyper SP with that engine would be awesome!

    • Dave says:

      This is a short stroke, high revving twin (see bore/stroke figures in spec). An engine with a broader torque curve and a lower peak hp number would be a whole lot more fun in the Monster/Motard format.

      • Jeremy in TX says:

        Agreed: we are unlikely to see this mill in Ducati’s purer street bikes. And that is a good thing.

        • TF says:

          I see the engine as an evolution of Ducati’s v-twin configuration with chain/gear driven cams allowing for an even further increase in maintenance intervals as opposed to belts. Power characteristics can be adjusted both mechanically and electronically to suit specific applications. Good examples are the current Hypermotard and Multistrada engines as they relate to the 848 and 1198 engine designs.

          • Jeremy in TX says:

            I think there is only so much you can do with that short of a stroke, mechanically or electrically. The engine currently powering the Hypermo or Streetfighter are the candidates most likely to show up in a Monster. Ducati may do it anyway, but I doubt it.

    • Norm G. says:

      re: “I wonder if that engine will eventually find its way into the Streetfighter or even the Monster and Hypermotard configurations?”

      a secondary or perhaps even primary question…? will the monocoque chassis work as a naked…? at the moment, the “squadro” engine and “framelessness” are joined at the hip (pun intended).

    • TF says:

      Bore and stroke are two mechanical variables that could be altered as well as cam profiles and valve overlap.

      The biggest hassles with Ducati ownership are a limited dealer network and scheduled maintenance. When I see evolution that will make the bikes more maintenance friendly, that’s exciting. As an example, the new Hyper has a 15K mile valve check but belts are still two years.

      I have been without my bike for ten days now due to a 7500 mile valve check coupled with parts availability issues and a dealer that’s an hour away. Luckily, they offered me a loaner…..

      • Dave says:

        “Bore and stroke are two mechanical variables that could be altered as well as cam profiles and valve overlap”

        They can, with a new case (cylinders), crank, pistons, and rods. Is it the same engine after that?

        Norm also makes a great point about the frame.

  7. Gary says:

    Very nice machine, but unless you live near or in a large city, or are extremely lucky, most Ducati, Aprillia, BMW, and other such dealers are usually quite some distance away. I think this limits the desirability of these bikes when a dealer is not within reasonable distance. So, none for me.

  8. brad says:

    well if diddling upright to the coffee shop with your matching leathers on public roads is all they are ever for (and practically are) they should just come out with a 650 or 250 cuz it would still have more performance than any of their owners ever take advantage of. (and then the thousands of people who do race, and would spend the money, would also at least have the option of buying one to race)

  9. Colors says:

    Couple more years and we might see 1000cc twins again.

  10. todd says:

    Shouldn’t they be calling this a V-twin now that they’ve rotated the cylinders back?

    • Trojanhorse says:

      V-twin vs. L-twin has everything to do with the angle between the cylinders, nothing to do with the rotation of the overall engine.

      • Dave says:

        Every other maker of 90* V-twins, calls them V-twins. Ducati presumably penned this term to try to differentiate themselves. It’s still a V-twin, regardless of what Ducati calls it.

        • Trojanhorse says:

          Yes, I know that L-twin refers to a subset, a 90 degree V-twin. I never said the contrary. But my point still stands, rotating the engine has nothing to do with calling it a V or an L twin.

      • Jason says:

        L-twin is a just a marketing speil.
        It’s just a 90deg V with the front bank being nearly horizontal.
        It did have merits back in the air-cooled day but, nowadays it no longer does.

        Anyway I think this thing would’ve been sweeter with a blood red trellis frame.
        I suppose Ducati gets higher mark-up with the cheaper monocoque. IMO bean counters should be kept out of technical decision making. Hopefully AUDI would make them change their ways but, I’m not counting on it.

      • Jeremy in TX says:

        The term L-twin has always been reserved for 90° v-twins that have one cylinder parallel, or almost parallel, to the ground. It has everything to do with the position of the engine.

        You’ll even notice that Ducati subtly addresses their deviation from the pure definition: “While the cylinders remain true to Ducati’s signature 90° L-twin configuration, the Superquadro engine has effectively rotated the top-end backwards around the crankshaft…”

    • Norm G. says:

      re: “Shouldn’t they be calling this a V-twin now that they’ve rotated the cylinders back?”

      no, it’s only a few degrees. little known factoid, the cylinders also got rotated back a few degrees when the testastretta was introduced in the 996R in ’01. back then was to improve oil draining/scavenging on the horizontal cylinder and this time (contrary to propaganda) is to facilitate the adoption of the monocoque. end of. the business case for reduced production costs superceded all other concerns.

  11. stinkywheels says:

    Who in their right mind would pay $300 more for a white Ducati? Finally a good shot of the left side. I know why the shock is out there, but these bikes only look great from the right side. Only good from the left. Shame about losing the singleside swingarm. Whatta bike!

  12. Tom says:

    I had a 996 that wished it had 148bhp. The real issue I see with this bike is the lack of midrange discussed on the 1199. Now take that down to the 899 and do we lose more mid range that makes twins so much fun to ride? I’ll wait to see how they test.

    I rode behind a friends 1199 while he was showing me its acceleration. The bike displayed all kinds of mayhem as it struggled with Newtons 2nd law. Maybe its passing 50 years old but I have to ask…. How much power do you need? I thought the 996 was fast.

  13. Norm G. says:

    economic reasons aside, what’s the consensus on the return of DSS aesthetics to a ducati superbike…? like or no like…? shades of 999…? as a ducatisti, do you feel a sudden urge to slit your wrists vertically…? discuss.

  14. allworld says:

    Nice bike, for sure.

  15. PatrickD says:

    At first pass, I didn’t notice the two-sided swingarm. The styling of more recent Ducatis doesn’t make an emphasis of it, certainly not like a 916 era bike, so it’s not a big loss.
    A helluva good looking bike, and with much thought that the 1199 is too brutal, this might be beautifully pitched.
    I fully agree with the racing statements, though. I assume that the door remains open for twin cylinder 750cc bikes to compete at World Supersport level, similar to the way Triumph manfully do with a 675 triple? At 148hp for 900cc, that would equate to 123hp for a 750cc version. Enough to compete?
    Unrelated to the racing platform, I dare say that 123hp would be plenty for most of us, easpecially with these looks.

  16. Krisd says:

    Damn that is nice! The perfect 2nd bike if you have a cruiser…..I wonder if my knees could still handle it….

  17. Azi says:

    The Adobe PS / Lightroom Clarity slider gets pretty maxed out in a lot of press release photos these days!

  18. Dave says:

    Funny to me that this is being pitched as their “middle weight”. If their HP figure is real then this thing is on nearly even footing with the R1 and Honda CBR1000r.

    Remember when Ducati turned the sportbike world on it’s ear with the open-class 916?

    • Norm G. says:

      re: “If their HP figure is real then this thing is on nearly even footing with the R1 and Honda CBR1000r.”

      well, at least until a fat bastard like me goes and buys one…? it is precisely this moment when all their trim characteristics get shot to hell…! LOL

    • Jeremy in TX says:

      I am sure that is crank bhp they are claiming, not rwhp. Still, the thing is 900cc’s – just 10% less than the liter bikes. No one should be surprised if the bike starts crawling within 15% of the lower end of the liter bike horsepower figures. I agree with you, though: this bike has pushed over from the middleweight to the light-heavy weight category.

  19. mickey says:

    Beautiful motorcycle. Oh to be 25 again…. Only this time with a pocket full of cash…. although I still think I’d take a red/silver MV for looks. Come to think of it, if I had had 148 horsepwer when I was 25 in all likelyhood I wouldn’t be here now. I barely survived with only 60 to 80 horsepower.

    • soi cowboy says:

      By the time you’ve made it, you’ve had it. Seriously, the only reason I am in one piece is that I couldn’t afford a bike when I was in college.

      • FastWayne says:

        My first super bike I accumulated 3 speeding tickets the first year and on high side tip over. Normally I am a slow driver but on a fast bike…
        I’m still here today and have way more injuries riding mountain bikes.

  20. iliketoeat says:

    Nice. It’s crazy how a 900cc L-twin is making as much power as inline-4s did a few years (OK, maybe like 10 years) ago. Too bad this one doesn’t get a single-sided swingarm though.

  21. brad says:

    it’ll sell… but I know a lot of people are disappointed that ducati went ahead and did this… now there is nothing you can race anywhere in anything but open class.

    ducati needs to come out with a bike you can race at club levels… AMA level, any level really.

    biggest grids at any club race are almost always lightweight twins and 600’s maybe 250s.

    two of these classes are all twins… so where is ducati? inventing 900s. bikes you cant race anywhere. in any class.

    bikes for people who don’t get their bikes out of the garage much.

    • Dave says:

      Have Ducatis ever been popular for club level racing? Ducati would never be successful trying to compete with the big 4 in established classes. Triumph realized that quickly when they tried it.

    • raivkka says:

      going to have to agree with brad. WHAT is the point of a 900cc bike? Can’t race it, cost more to insure (not that it matters if your buying a duc), heavier handling than a smaller displacement motor.

      If I was to purchase another Euro sportbike it would be the Triumph 675 and use it for track days.
      If I had this bike it would only be a Sunday cruiser and spend it’s time in the garage.
      Beautiful bike though!

      • MGNorge says:

        For those that can afford it this represents liter bike performance in a more manageable package. Good for street and track days. Don’t need to take it racing to make it legitimate.

        • raivkka says:

          You are losing the manageability every-time you increase the engine size. Not an engineer but there is not much difference (in reciprocating mass) between 1000cc and 900cc where as there is a big difference between a 1000cc to a 600cc (or 675 or 750).

          My first sportbike was a triumph T595 (955 cc), loved that bike but not hugely nimble.
          Next bike was a Honda CBR1000rr, much more nimble and faster than the triumph, love love love the bike.
          However, my next sportbike will be a 600cc. No need for more power than a modern 600cc (for track days or street riding) and I want a bike that is more nimble than a current 1000cc. At my experience level my ego no longer requires a 1000cc sportbike.

          Give me handling over power any day.

          • Trojanhorse says:

            So, you are equating manageability and nimbleness, and to illustrate your point that rotating mass somehow is related to them, you say that there is not much difference in mass from 900->1000, then tell us how much more nimble your 1000cc bike was than your 955cc bike?

            Forgive me if I’m a little lost on that one….

          • raivkka says:

            @troganhorse
            at triumph t595 (955cc) is an older bike. The CBR1000rr is a far newer bike, thus more up to date tech is a better handling bike.

            However, even a new better handling 1000cc is still a handful on a track, making me want an even better handling bike (a 600cc). My main track for track days is VIR in Virginia.

            Quicker handling is not necessarily about the overall weight of the bike but mostly about the reciprocating mass. That is why a 1000cc bike that weighs the same as a 600cc bike does not handle a quickly as a 600. Less reciprocation mass (very general principle).

            Ducati kept increasing the displacement of the 916 and now it’s up to 1200cc. They are doing the same with the original 750cc mid size bike. When does it end.

            I say engineer a 750cc panigale, it should be lighter, handle better (less reciprocating mass) and SHOULD be cheaper. $15.000.00 for a mid weigh bike is going in the wrong direction.

      • Jeremy in TX says:

        So few people race their bikes that I am sure that had almost zero bearing on Ducati’s decision. They were probably much more interested in what potential customers would want to buy.

      • soi cowboy says:

        Go racing on a $4000 GSXR you got off craigslist or on a $20,000 Duc (wonder how much the side panels are worth). Think I will take a run to the rock store.

  22. todder says:

    Just beautiful. Oh, how hard it will be to wait until the Corse Edition!!!

  23. Gronde says:

    The 5th picture makes a really nice screen saver!

  24. xlayn says:

    What a beautiful machine, looks like a young leopard…. strong and agile…
    Sexiness is down a step by not including the single side swingarm but I guess some cuts have to be done to keep the price “low”, of course you can always use the unspent lust in the monocoque frame and brembo bits…

    annnnnd now, the legion of MD readers complaining about the machine not being they dream machine by x and y reason, yet still an entertaining read…

  25. Brinskee says:

    I think this bike will sell better than the 848. 148 BHP in a 899cc engine is just fantastic. Price seems a little steep? And yes, I’m a Ducati fanboy. Proudly. Happy to see new models. Although I still think my 1198S is the pinnacle with DTC and the steel trellis frame. But innovation must march on!

    • spectral says:

      If you do the math, the power is scaled up linearly with displacement from the 848. Likewise for the 1199 vs. 899. They all have the same specific output (horsepower per litre).

      1199/195 = 899/148 = 849/140 = ~164 HP/L