This could be best shown and summed up by Ducati’s 1299 Panigale S. That’s ‘S’ as in superbike.
Clutch and Chrome looks at what makes this motorcycle the animal it is on the road and beast at any track day. Everything we discuss below brings us to the simple fact this motorcycle delivers a physical ride, both in how it moves as well as the effort and attention required by the rider.
A common theme from a range of reviewers can be summed up by the simple phrase, ‘There’s no such thing as relaxing on a Panigale’.
The 1299 Panigale has more torque, it's more powerful and responsive than the bike it replaces, the 1199, while at the same time it's easier and safer to ride thanks to the use of innovative solutions devised by Ducati Corse, to allow everyday fans to experience the technology of world champions.
Delivering this rawness is the Panigale’s 1285cc liquid-cooled Superquadro L-Twin, 4 Desmodromically actuated valves per cylinder engine. Ducati calls this ‘the most advanced and powerful twin-cylinder engine produced on the planet' which is made even more extreme by pistons with a diameter of 116 mm, a value that's used for the very first time on a supersports road bike.
Ducati’s 1299 Panigale S, the 'S' actually stands for Sexy - Source Ducati Motor Holding
This new Superquadro engine is ingeniously incorporated into the Monoscocca chassis, providing the perfect platform from which to deliver its incredible 205 horsepower. This innovative chassis has a steering head angle of 24° to guarantee increased agility when cornering, while the fork pivot is 4 mm lower allowing for increased rear traction in a variety of situations.
The engine's bore/stroke ratio of 1.91:1 sets an extreme example of the power-maximizing ‘oversquare’ architecture used in the world's most advanced racing engines. A short-stroke crankshaft and enormous pistons combined with large Desmodromically-actuated valves allow the Superquadro to breathe freely at high rpm, while a 1285cc combustion chamber offers up the ample torque that's made so many enthusiasts fall in love with Ducati's signature L-twin power.
Take this powerhouse with its unprecedented 116mm bore 205 hp of pure adrenaline and 145 Nm of stunning torque, add the semi-active suspension and electronic steering damp governed by the Öhlins Smart EC system and you have one heck of a machine.
Everything about this motorcycle gives insights into the sheer focus and dedication Ducati’s design team put into creating this successor. Some industry experts have noted Ducati’s effort was in response to some ducatistas disappointed with the performance of the 1199. Whatever the reason, the world now has the 1299 S for it's performance highs.
A new electronic kit, created specifically for the 1299 Panigale and offering three different Riding Modes, which are helped by the Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU). Cornering ABS is found on the 1299 R along with Ducati Wheelie Control (DWC) as well as Öhlins Smart EC, an event-based control system for the suspension.
Tha Ohlins Smart EC semi-active suspension system consists of an NIX-30 front fork, a TTX rear shock, and a steering damper and interfaces with the Bosch Inertial Platform, dynamically responding to changing road and riding conditions as well as allowing the best possible suspension performance and total motorcycle control.
It operates in one of two modes: Fixed, which is non-active and allows the rider to set specific levels of front and rear compression and rebound, along with steering damper tension. These levels are maintained constant until the rider changes them again, exactly as a traditionally adjusted suspension system.
Alternately, there is the Event Based mode mentioned earlier, which is semi-active and allows the rider to select levels of suspension "behavior" ranging from Hard to Soft. In this mode, the system then dynamically adjusts compression, rebound, and damper tension in response to ride conditions, maintaining the overall "behavior" previously selected by the rider.
Moreover, the Ducati Quick Shift (DQS) now works during down-changing, further improving track performance and making the bike more easier to use on a daily basis. The Ducati Traction Control (DTC), Ducati Wheelie Control (DWC) and the Engine Brake Control (EBC) have been optimized by an automatic calibration system which allows for easy changes in tyre size and final drive ratio.
Attention to detail continues with the motorcycle’s full LED headlights and carbon fibre mudguard, excelling with auxiliary handlebar buttons and forged wheels.
Another example, the underside of the fuel tank, when mounted, seals the top of the frame which then becomes the airbox. Innovative engineering solutions such as these are used throughout the Panigale line, and take the dry weight of the 1299 Panigale S down to 367 lb.
All this creates an incredibly potent package that takes riders to the very apex of performance. Precision riding, at the highest level with the character and exhilaration Ducati Superbike’s are known for.
Source Ducati Motor Holding
As readers can tell by the review of this motorcycle, its really meant for the rider who spends much of this time at track days or other, similar events which allow for pushing a motorcycle to its performance limits.
To that end, Ducati have created two packages to make the 1299 even more unique and powerful.
The sports package includes carbon fibre covers for the ignition switch and rear shock absorber, an adhesive carbon tank protector, a carbon sprocket cover kit, carbon heel guards for rider footpegs, an aluminums tank plug and a carbon and aluminums alloy number plate holder.
For those with the impression this all makes the motorcycle lighter that is correct, improving on an already impressive power to weight ratio. Black handlebar weights are also included with this package.
The touring package is aimed at riders who will take their Panigale to the open road offering a water radiator protection grid kit, an anti-theft system, a rider comfort seat ideal for longer distance trips and soft tank bag.
Of course, the packages will add to the price tag which starts with a MSRP of $ 24,995. Riders can pick from any color as long as that color is red. We couldn’t even imagine the uproar if someone turned up at a track day with their 1299 Panigale S in any color other than red.