Best of the Best 2012: Motorcycles: Sportbikes: Ducati 1199 Panigale
As sportbikes continue to shed weight and gain power, such improvements might reach a point of diminishing returns. The ruthless pursuit of acceleration and razor’s-edge handling could lead to such radical transformations that a bike becomes a soulless beast built only for statistical domination.
Ducati was at a crossroads when updating its venerable 1198 superbike: Should the company embrace new technology and risk sacrificing the soul of the 1198, or should it stay with the tried-and-true foundation and keep its fan base happy? Ducati settled on a combination of the two choices. The 1199 Panigale, which is priced from $18,000 to $28,000, retains the 1198’s signature desmodromic valve setup, but the rest of the bike is new.