Ducati 1199 Panigale S | First Ride

Not Evolution—Revolution

By Aaron Frank, Photography by Milagro

DUCATI 1199 PANIGALE S DUCATI 1199 PANIGALE S | Hard Parts Undressing the World's Most Sophisticated Superbike

CHASSIS Like two other iconic V-twin superbikes—the Britten and the Vincent Black Shadow—the Panigale has no frame. The steel trellis, a Ducati signature since the ‘70s, has been replaced by a diecast-aluminum monocoque/ airbox that bolts directly to the cylinder heads, saving a substantial 11 lbs. The diecast aluminum subframe attaches to the rear cylinder head and the single-sided aluminum swingarm, now 39mm longer than before, hangs from the transmission. The 90-degree V-twin has been rotated rearward slightly, allowing it to move 32mm closer to the front wheel. This change, along with switching from underseat to under-engine exhaust and moving the saddle 30mm forward, improves fore/aft weight distribution to 52/48 for more responsive steering. A super-light, 1.3-lb. magnesium fairing bracket further centralizes mass.

ENGINE The name says it all. “Superquadro” refers to radically oversquare, 112 x 60.8mm engine geometry that makes this the most powerful, highest-revving production V-twin ever made. The massive bore means massive valve area—titanium intake valves now measure 46.8mm across, and exhaust valves are 38.2mm—for huge gains in volumetric efficiency. Precise desmodromic valve actuation remains, but this is the first modern-era Ducati without belt-driven cams. Higher revs and bigger valves demand a shift from belts to a stronger chain drive, with the added benefit of increased service intervals and reduced maintenance costs. New pistons are WSBK-spec, made from the same super-light RR58 alloy as race-kit pieces. Innovation abounds: a dual oil pump design developed for MotoGP lubricates the engine and keeps the crankcase under vacuum to reduce pumping losses, and a clever centrifugal decompressor on each exhaust cam dramatically reduces compression resistance during start-up, allowing a miniscule starter and tiny battery that together save seven pounds. High-tech polymer plastic oil- and water-pump drive gears save even more weight, as do magnesium clutch covers, cylinder head covers and oil pan. New oval-section, dual-injector throttle bodies measure a gaping 67.5mm, up from an already-huge 63.9mm. The new under-engine exhaust system is a work of industrial art. Tapered stainless headers enter a three-chamber silencer from the rear, and an architecturally complex muffler provides clearance for the deep-sump engine, lean angle and adequate exhaust volume in minimal space. The six-speed gearbox is all new with larger-diameter cogs for increased durability, and dry clutch is gone—no more tell-tale rattle— replaced with a wet unit that incorporates a progressive torque-assist to reduce lever effort.

SUSPENSION The 1199 Panigale S is the first production sportbike equipped with electronically adjustable suspension. The Öhlins NIX30 inverted fork and side-mounted Öhlins TTX36 mono-shock are fit with Ducati Electronic Suspension (DES) that uses stepper motors to instantly alter compression and rebound damping at the push of a button. No more searching for extra-long screwdrivers or lying on the ground and fiddling with tiny hex keys—you don’t even have to leave the saddle to toggle between 28 levels of damping, all displayed on the Panigale’s cutting-edge, full-color Thin Film Transistor (TFT) dash. Manually adjustable rear suspension linkage offers two configurations: progressive action for street riding and flat-rate action for track use.

BRAKES Brembo M50 Monobloc calipers—developed exclusively for the 1199 Panigale—are extremely compact and more rigid, too. Optional race-grade ABS, developed by Bosch, operates on two channels and uses four sensors (one for each caliper and master cylinder) for exceptional sensitivity and response. ABS functionality varies depending on ride mode. Braking is combined (the front lever also activates the rear brake) in Wet and Sport modes, while Race mode separates the front and rear brakes and deactivates the rear ABS circuit. ABS can be switched off completely as well.

ELECTRONICS Ride-by-wire throttle control lets the rider alter power delivery according the three power modes: Race (195 bhp with aggressive delivery); Sport (195 bhp with smooth delivery); or Wet (120 bhp with soft delivery). Changing power mode also changes the parameters of Ducati Traction Control (DTC), Engine Brake Control (EBC), Ducati Electronic Suspension (DES) and ABS activation, engaging either default presets or your own customized settings depending on how you’ve programmed the system. DTC offers eight levels of sensitivity. EBC, which cracks the throttle butterflies to increase engine rpm during deceleration, offers three levels of assistance or can be deactivated entirely. Altering DTC, DES and EBC settings is quick and easy via the left switchgear, with options clearly displayed on the intuitively arranged TFT instrument panel.

tech Spec

The first “all-new” Ducati superbike in 25 years, with a monocoque chassis, radical V-twin engine and sophisticated electronics that push the performance envelope in every way.
Aprilia RSV4R, BMW S1000RR, Honda CBR1000RR, Kawasaki ZX-10R, KTM RC8R, Suzuki GSX-R1000, Yamaha YZF-R1

Price $22,995 ($23,995 w/ABS)
Engine type l-c 90-deg. V-twin
Valve train DOHC, 8v
Displacement 1199cc
Bore x stroke 112.0 x 60.8mm
Compression 12.5:1
Fuel system EFI
Clutch Wet, multi-plate slipper
Transmission 6-speed
Claimed horsepower 195 bhp @ 10,750 rpm
Claimed torque 98.1 lb.-ft. @ 9000 rpm
Frame Aluminum monocoque
Front suspension Öhlins NIX30 43mm inverted fork with adjustable spring preload, compression and rebound damping
Rear suspension Öhlins TTX36 shock with adjustable spring preload, compression and rebound damping
Front brake Dual Brembo Monobloc four-piston radial calipers, 330mm discs
Rear brake Brembo two-piston caliper, 245mm disc
Front tire 120/70ZR-17 Pirelli Diablo Supercorsa SP
Rear tire 200/55ZR-17 Pirelli Diablo Supercorsa SP
Rake/trail 24.5°/3.94 in.
Seat height 32.5 in.
Wheelbase 56.6 in.
Fuel capacity 4.5 gal.
Claimed curb weight 415 lbs.
Color Red
Available Now
Warranty 24 mo., unlimited mi.
Contact Ducati North America
10443 Bandley Dr.
Cupertino, CA 95014
VERDICT 5 out of 5 stars.

Sexy, soulful, wicked fast and easy to ride? The outstanding 1199 Panigale over-delivers in every way.

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