Ducati, the Italian motorcycle manufacturer, updated its 1098 supersport bike in 2009, replacing it with the 1198 base model and the 1198S.
Street-legal versions of Ducati’s successful racing liter bike, the 1198 and 1198S are powered by an 1198cc liquid-cooled longitudinal V-twin four-stroke Testastretta Evoluzione engine with a dual overhead cam and Marelli fuel injectors—with one injector per cylinder. These machines are noted for their exceptional low-end torque and acceleration. The six-speed transmission in both models has close-ratio gears, and the throttle is extremely responsive. The base model has a Showa inverted fork with adjustable preload and rebound damping and a steering damper—plus five inches of travel—and a single-sided swing arm with an adjustable spring preload shock and rebound damping make up an extremely firm suspension that will take hard use. The 1198S has a higher-end Ohlins suspension.
Brembo four-piston dual hydraulic discs in front and a substantial single disc in back furnish plenty of stopping power; one of the changes Ducati made with this model was toning down the braking, because less experienced riders had trouble with the racing-tuned brakes on the previous model. The 1198S comes with Ducati Traction Control, an adjustable system that retards the fuel supply to keep the bike from sliding out on turns. The Ducati superbikes are noted for being extremely stable, which may make them slower on turns.
The digital instrument display offers an array of information: it has the standard fuel gauge, temperature light, odometer, tachometer, and speedometer, plus a lap timer, a shift light, and a trip computer. The 1198S comes with the Ducati Data Analyser system, which lets you download riding information to your computer, so you can improve your riding; it’s an option for the base model.
This bike is truly intended for experienced and serious riders. It may have the turn signals and mirrors it needs to be street legal and licensed for road use, but everything about it is designed for the track. Or at least for very open roads. Ducati claims that it has a top speed of 160 miles per hour, not exactly required for urban commuting, but definitely fun for those who love speed.