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How does Ducati's sexy new bike measure up?

Last updated on: April 5, 2013 14:19 IST

How does Ducati's sexy new bike measure up?

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Shubhananda Bera

The good and not so good observations about the highest performing motorcycle in the world...

Characterised by objectivity, reviewers are hardly found to be overwhelmed, as reflected in the reviews they publish. There are only a few very rare occasions when even the critical minds tend to be charmed and fascinated. The launch of Ducati Panigale 1199 R is one such rare occasion. This superbike has not merely impressed the bike reviewers, but has also thrilled the bike-testers, better known as road testers.

Let's first have a quick look at what the reviewers and the senior road testers say about this racing bike. Then, we can delve into the specifications to check out how justified the road testers are when they speak highly of this bike.

Blake Conner happens to be one of the most revered bike critics in the world. In his review of this bike in Cycle World he concludes, "Without doubt, this is the best stock, production motorcycle I've ever ridden in a circuit."

While sharing his experience of testing Ducati Panigale 1199 R, Michael Neeves, a senior road tester, has described this bike as 'beautiful', 'exciting and involving' and 'worth every penny'.

Claudio Domenicali, the General Manager of Ducati thought, "This is the ultimate representation of the performance motorcycle."

To sum up the views and feedbacks from the reviewers, road testers and the million bike-enthusiasts who shared their onions via a million online means, Ducati Panigale 1199 R is the highest performing motorcycle in the world as of now. Let's now focus on its technical specifications and find what's changed or upgraded or completely new, what's good and what's bad, if any.

Courtesy


Image: Ducati Panigale 1199 R
Photographs: ducati.co.in

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According to Claudio, most of the changes made (the earlier model is Ducati 1199 Panigale, introduced in 2011) are inside the motor. The Ohlins TTX suspension (electronically adjustable), the brake callipers (top-shelf Brembo M50) and the forged Marchesini that featured in the original Ducati 1199 Panigale model have all remained the same.

The changes have been made with the intention to add to the level of adjustability and heighten the bike's performance, so that both the amateur racers as well as the serious and veteran track riders find it an absolutely perfect bike for themselves.


Photographs: ducati.co.in

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The weight of the Titanium connecting rods has been reduced by 630 grams. The flywheel has been made lighter by 700 grams. The rock arms have now been given a low-friction DLC coating. All these improvisations have resulted in a much more efficient engine with the ability to pick up revs faster. The redline for the Ducati Panigale 1199 R model is now 12000rpm – a spike of 500rpm.

What is even more important is that the gearing has dropped to 15/41. Superstock racer Eddi la Merra's reaction opines the new gearing has improved the ride quality. "Now I can use more revs and I can use the same gear for longer." Ducati has not mentioned anything about its power figure.

It has remained same (195bhp) as it was in the earlier model. However, the change in gearing automatically puts in more horsepower in there.


Photographs: ducati.co.in

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To speak of other changes, the bike has been improvised with a unique Ducati Corse graphics. The widescreen has been made taller. The front fairing ahead of the riders' hands has been extended. It now has a suede seat, and features a full Termignoni exhaust system along with a GPS-enabled data collection system.

When it comes to ride quality, let's hear it from Blake Conner, a professional bike reviewer and road tester.

He shares that he never got a 'good-enough drive' to hit the rev limiter in sixth gear. However, he refers to special guest and factory Ducati MotoGP racer Nicky Hayden, who "was seeing the shift lights just start to flicker before he braked for Turn 12."

To quote Conner, "Hayden said the R was still pulling well after the speedo went blank. I can't wait until we point a radar gun at the Panigale R and get an accurate top-speed reading. This may well be the fastest stock, production model currently made."


Photographs: ducati.co.in

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The low-down torque has been dropped to some extent, and it contributes to delivery of maximum horsepower. While riding, the rider is constantly informed about what is going on in each and every component. Its handling is not merely impressive; it is the best, as road testers have reported. The handle is the quickest and the most flexible.

Though Claudio claims that the R model is meant for amateur racers as well, the fact remains that it is not that friendly.

Amateurs will most probably find it a little tough to tame. They will end up driving slower rather than riding faster. Only the expert track riders will be able to feel the thrill of riding this immensely powerful and rich two-wheeler.

It is challenging and unforgiving and will punch the rider in the face every time the rider steps on the gas. However, for the expert track riders it is a delight to ride with it.


Photographs: ducati.co.in
Tags: Claudio , Ducati

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