Ducati 's big-bore superbike has gone even bigger, with the Italian firm announcing today a new 1299 Panigale S as its flagship sportbike. Displacement goes up to 1,285cc (from 1,198cc in the 1199 Panigale) via boring the already groundbreaking 1199's cylinders out 4mm for a total of 116mm cylinders. “We did something insane with the pistons, doing something crazy. We built an engine with 116mm bore," said Ducati CEO Claudio Domenicali, "No one else makes anything like that." The result is a claimed 205 horsepower at the crankshaft, and 106 pound-feet of torque.
Although the 1299 has very much the same shape as the 1199, Ducati made a handful of changes without altering the existing profile. The fairing is larger, for example, to provide better wind protection, and the now-standard frameless Panigale design has been tweaked to steepen steering head angle by half a degree to an even 24 degrees.
Ducati's electronic suite also sees an upgrade in the 1299, with an Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU) allowing a lean-angle sensitive ABS system to refine anti-lock intervention. Also introduced on the 1299 is Ducati’s first semi-active suspension on a supersport, through Ohlins’ Smart EC “event based” suspension. Event-based meaning the system responds to acceleration, braking, and lean angle to pre-set suspension settings rather than being purely reactive. Continuing the theme of electronic sophistication, traction control with wheelie management remains, while a quickshifter for up- and downshifts including a throttle blipper is another first for Ducati. Production of the 1299 starts in early 2015.
Along with the new 1299, Ducati has updated the existing Panigale 1199R in order to remain in World Superbike, “where Ducati came from,” said Domenicali. He continued, “but next year we will need to race with the new rules, and any manufacturer without a very strong production motorcycle will not be successful. We did something special. The Panigale R.” The Panigale R now has a so-called "superbike-tuned" engine, revving to 12,500 rpm, using a two-ring piston and titanium connecting rods. An adjustable swingarm and full titanium exhaust aim to make the Panigale R race ready. The total package is around 13 pounds lighter than the previous 1199 Panigale R (Ducati says the new R is 379 pounds wet—“By far the lightest sports motorcycle ever,” said Domenicali), with a claimed 205 hp on tap.