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BIKE TEST

Posted On 09 May 2024
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This entry is part 6 of 25 in the series AusMotorcyclist Issue#31

Stuart is wearing a Shoei NXR Cruise helmet, BMW Streetguard jacket, Ixon Pro Contest HP2 gloves, Draggin jeans and Sidi Vertigo boots.

DUCATI 1299 PANIGALE INTO THE WEEDS… THAT’S WHERE THE OTHERS WILL END UP
WORDS STUART WOODBURY PHOTOS NICK WOOD

I remember my first ride on the 1199 Panigale when it was released a couple of years ago. I instantly loved the raw and aggressive nature of the new Superquadro powerplant. But riding it fast was another thing – it was an animal down low, but lacked some of the top end power of bikes like the S 1000 RR or ZX-10R.

Ducati has fixed this with the introduction of the 1299 Panigale.

As the name suggests, engine capacity has been increased from 1198cc to 1285cc, and as you have guessed, power and torque increased significantly along with it. But it is the way this power and torque, helped along by the sophisticated electronics, are transferred to the rear wheel which makes the new 1299 Panigale so much faster than the outgoing 1199.

While we didn’t get to test the 1299 Panigale on the racetrack, as we have most of the other new litre sportsbikes in recent days, I could still feel the increase in top end power. The massive 116mm diameter pistons give the Superquadro engine a distinct beat at idle – one that gets many lookers. I can only imagine how heart pounding this engine would be with a more free-fl owing exhaust!

THAT’S WHERE THE OTHERS WILL END UP So, it’s all good to have plenty of power and torque, but handling is a huge factor for any motorcycle. Ducati has improved the Panigale in this area also. The monocoque chassis now has a steering head angle of 24°, which gives faster turn in and overall more agility.

For improved rear traction, the fork pivot is 4 mm lower.

Electronics play a huge part in the way the 1299 gets its claimed 205hp to the ground.

You also have improved safety via Cornering ABS, which we recently tested on the new Multistrada.

Apart from Ducati Traction Control, Engine Brake Control and switchable ABS, which are carried over from the 1199, you also get Ducati Wheelie Control and Ducati Quick Shift – which works for up and down shifting.

When I rode the 1199, I found that the electronics were relatively invasive and made riding the bike a little rough at times. Ducati has obviously worked hard on smoothing out the way the electronics work on the 1299, because even with wheelie control on, the bike allows you to loft the front wheel ever so gently and hold it just off the ground. If you want to do massive wheelies, you’ll need to turn both it and the traction control off. But as we all know, this is a slower way to ride.

Cornering ABS does as it suggests. You can still switch the ABS settings to have ABS on the front only, if you like to back your bike into corners.

The up and down quick shifter fitted is one of the best I have ever used. I purposely tried to get the system to play up and give me a false neutral or go all silly with changing down, but it laughed at me the entire time, working flawlessly. If for no other reason, you need to ride the 1299 just to experience how such a good system works. It not only makes riding more relaxing, but it makes your riding faster, which is what you want on a bike like this. When will this technology be fitted to sports tourers and the like? BMW has already started, and I assume Ducati and others are in the process of fine tuning their systems – maybe even for next year’s bikes?

Traction control has also been smoothed out on the 1299. It was too interactive before, whereas now it is gentler on the lesser settings, allowing a bit of wheelspin without shutting off and trying to chuck you over the bars.

Another new feature on the 1299 Panigale – and one that is available only on this bike – is the automatic calibration system for tyre size and final drive ratio.

Say you change your tyre brand or type from the standard (and excellent) Pirelli Supercorsa SP; the new tyre might have a different rolling diameter. Or if you change gearing – all you need to do is go into the DFT dashboard and set the automatic calibration system.

It will give you instructions of how to ride for a certain amount of distance for calibration. Then, once set, the electronics are calibrated to work at their best with the size of the particular tyre or the gearing fitted. An amazing piece of technology!

Styling is pretty much unchanged for the 1299 – and what a pretty looking motorcycle it is. However you do get new, grippier footpegs and a new grippier seat. The seat blocks some of the heat, but you still feel quite a bit on the insides of your thighs while riding slowly.

Everywhere I rode the Ducati 1299 Panigale I got nods of approval and comments of how nice it looks, so why not be the envy of many and get your backside on the new 1299 Panigale?

It’s damn fast and good looking – and seeing that most men like their women like that, why not have your bike the same way? And not forgetting the girls: if you like a man who’s both powerful and stunning – here is your equivalent bike!

SPECS
DUCATI 1299 PANIGALE

PRICE: $27,990 (plus on-road charges)
WARRANTY: Two years, unlimited distance
SERVICING INTERVALS: Every 12,000km or 12 months
ENGINE: Liquid-cooled L-twin cylinder, 4-stroke, Desmodromic, 4 valves per cylinder
BORE x STROKE: 116 x 60.8mm
DISPLACEMENT: 1285cc
COMPRESSION: 12.6:1
POWER: 150.8kW @ 10,500rpm
TORQUE: 144.6Nm @ 8750rpm
TRANSMISSION: 6-speed, wet multi-plate slipper clutch,chain fi nal drive
SUSPENSION: Front, 50mm inverted fork, adjustable preload, compression and rebound, travel 120mm. Rear, monoshock, adjustable preload, compression and rebound, travel 130mm.
DIMENSIONS: Seat height 830mm,weight 190.5kg (wet), fuel capacity 17 litres, wheelbase 1437mm
TYRES: Front, 120/70/ZR17. Rear, 200/55/ZR17
FRAME: Monocoque aluminum
BRAKES: Front, twin 330mm discs with radial mount four-piston switchable ABS calipers. Rear, 245mm disc, dual-piston switchable ABS caliper.
FUEL CONSUMPTION: 8.42 litres per 100km, premium unleaded
THEORETICAL RANGE: 201km
COLOURS: Ducati Red with black wheel rims

VERDICT: STYLE, SPEED AND SEX APPEAL

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Australian Motorcyclist Magazine is Australia's leading motorcycle travel magazine.
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