Darn right it is!
Ducati is a company that values tradition, and for more than three decades, tradition has dictated the Italian manufacturer’s sportbikes have a desmodromic, 90-degree V-twin, tubular-steel trellis frame and rattling, dry clutch. The formula’s effectiveness is indisputable, as the Borgo Panigale-based firm has won no fewer than 14 World Superbike Championships. With such a successful formula, why would Ducati even think of changing it?
Rumors of the 1199 Panigale started circulating in 2011, painting pictures of a radically reconfigured superbike. Spy photos substantiated the gossip, revealing the kind of revolutionary, giant-leap-forward engineering not seen since the introduction of the original 851 in 1988. When the 1199 debuted at Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi this spring, it was nothing short of spectacular. The Panigale doesn’t just break the mold—it pulverizes it!
Ducati’s first all-new sportbike in nearly 25 years is unlike anything that came before it, and a complete departure from the previous 1198. The signature trellis frame—a constant since the late-’70s Pantahs—is gone, replaced by … nothing. Like the legendary Britten V1100 and the Vincent Black Shadow before it, the Panigale’s supporting structures bolt directly to the engine’s cylinder heads and crankcase. The new 1199cc engine still splays its cylinders at 90 degrees and operates its valves via desmodromics, but that’s it. The 112mm bore is a full 6mm wider than the 1198’s, while the stroke is more than 7mm shorter. Redline has been raised to 11,500 rpm, making this the highest-revving production V-twin ever. And with 158 bhp and 80 lb.-ft. of torque, it’s the most powerful, too. Cams are turned by roller chains and gears rather than belts, and a wet clutch replaces the old dry one. So long, trademark jingle-jangle rattle and cam-belt changes; hello, smooth engagement and longer service intervals.
(Read more on MotorcyclistOnline.com)