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Ducati Desmo Paradox – Fast Bikes decodes Bologna’s finest V-twin family

Fast Bikes tracks every incarnation of Ducati’s last V-twin superbike.


Fast Bikes tracks every incarnation of Ducati’s last V-twin superbike

Since the inaugural Panigale 1199 was launched globally back in 2012, no fewer than 13 other models have followed its path in just six years. We’ve retraced Bologna’s finest V-twin family and highlighted what each has to offer…

Ducati 1199 Panigale S Tricolore (2012 – 2013)

Building on the Panigale S’s rather impressive base, the Tricolore added ABS as standard to its already brimming arsenal of tech. And then to spice things up a bit more, it gained an additional GPS sensor that linked an abundance of information to an integrated datalogger. For added noise and power, it also came with a Termignoni titanium race exhaust by Ducati Performance, which weighs 2kg less than the standard system. The paint was also unique and gave the bike its name. A true weapon in every sense of the word.

Engine: 1198cc, l/c, 8v desmo V-twin

Power: 192bhp @ 10,750rpm

Torque: 132Nm @ 9,000rpm

Weight: 190.5kg (wet)
Price (UK): 12.69 lakh (excluding Indian taxes and duties)

 

Ducati 1199 Panigale R (2013 – 2014)

The homologation special R version arrived in 2013. It featured the same 1198cc capacity as the other Panigale models, as well as the same power and torque, the R features titanium conrods, a 0.7kg lighter flywheel and DLC-coated rocker-arms in its motor that allow its rev limit to be raised by 500rpm to 12,000rpm. While the basic chassis and swingarm are the same as the Panigale S Tricolore model, the R gained non-electronic Öhlins suspension with a host of carbon panels, further reducing its weight, as well as a Termignoni full race system for track use only. It came with a ‘race kit’ consisting of a taller screen, mirror caps and a dedicated ECU map.

Engine: 1198cc, l/c, 8v desmo V-twin

Power: 192bhp @ 10,750rpm

Torque: 132Nm @ 9,000rpm

Weight: 189kg (wet)
Price (UK): 13.60 lakh (excluding Indian duties and taxes)

 

Ducati 1199 Panigale (2012 – 2014)

In 2012, Ducati turned its back on tradition and introduced a motor with chain-driven cams. Its all-new Superquadro V-twin engine boasted the highest power-to-weight and torque-to-weight figures of any production bike, as well as a simply gargantuan 112mm bore. Housed in a monocoque chassis with an integrated airbox instead of Ducati’s traditional trellis type, the Superquadro was linked to the kind of computing capabilities NASA could only dream of when they stuck Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin on the moon. Traction control, wheelie control, ABS, datalogging, rider modes, a quickshifter and engine braking control all appeared on the Panigale model, alongside a TFT dash.

Engine: 1198cc, l/c, 8v desmo V-twin

Power: 192bhp @ 10,750rpm

Torque: 132Nm @ 9,000rpm

Weight: 188kg (wet)
Price (UK): 8.97 lakh (excluding Indian duties and taxes)

 

Ducati 1199 Panigale S (2012 – 2014)

The higher S specification Panigale featured the same motor and chassis as the standard model, but its stock suspension was replaced by Öhlins units with electronically-controlled compression and rebound damping. Called DES (Ducati Electronic Suspension), the system is linked to the various riding modes and alters its damping characteristics according to the selected mode and can even be personalised. The S model also gained three-spoke forged Marchesini wheels and came with the
two-wheeled world’s first LED lighting system and an ‘aero kit’ for enhanced aerodynamics.

Engine: 1198cc, l/c, 8v desmo V-twin

Power: 192bhp @ 10,750rpm

Torque: 132Nm @ 9,000rpm

Weight: 188kg (wet)
Price (UK): 9.06 lakh (excluding Indian taxes and duties)

 

Ducati 899 Panigale (2014 – 2015)

Called a ‘Supermid’ by Ducati, the 899 Panigale was designed to provide an easy, cheaper and less aggressive access point into the world of Ducati superbikes. Featuring the same style of monocoque chassis as its bigger brother, as well as a smaller capacity version of the Superquadro motor with its associated electronic assists, the only real way to visually split the bikes is to note the 899’s double-sided swingarm, while the 1199 has a single-sided unit. It is a real beauty without too much of the beast, which is why we rate it so highly on the roads. It’s not quite so rammed with tech, but it’s still got plenty of sophisticated features to get your teeth into.

Engine: 898cc, l/c, 8v desmo V-twin

Power: 147bhp @ 10,750rpm

Torque: 99Nm @ 9,000rpm

Weight: 193kg (wet)

Price (UK): 7.25 lakh (excluding Indian duties and taxes)

 

Ducati 1199 Superleggera (2014)

The1199 Superleggera featured cutting edge technology and exotic materials, such as magnesium, titanium and carbon fibre to justify its ‘super light’ name. Boasting the highest power-to-weight ratio of any production bike, the Superleggera built on the Panigale R’s base with a magnesium monocoque frame, forged magnesium Marchesini wheels and a carbon subframe. Add in lightweight Öhlins suspension, carbon bodywork and updated electronics and the Superleggera starts to justify its hefty price tag. Titanium conrods, short skirt pistons, titanium exhaust valves, a modified combustion area, plus a lightened and balanced crank helped achieve a claimed 200bhp+. Its race kit increases power by 5bhp and reduces weight to 155kg dry.

Engine: 1198cc, l/c, 8v desmo V-twin

Power: Over 200bhp @ 11,500rpm

Torque: 134Nm @ 10,200rpm

Weight: 177kg (wet)
Price (UK): 40.81 lakh (excluding Indian taxes and duties)

 

Ducati 1299 Panigale (2015 – 2017)

In its first update, the 1299 Panigale broke perceived boundaries as Ducati boosted its capacity to a WSB rule-breaking 1285cc. Not only did this increase its peak power to over 200bhp, it also upped its torque to a tyre-shredding 144.5Nm, setting a new standard for road bikes. This boost was bolstered further by a heavily updated electronics package that included an Inertial Measurement Unit, cornering ABS and an up and down quickshifter as standard. There was even a lean angle indicator on the dash, which we’d argue was just asking for trouble… in the best of ways. A proper arm wrencher, it’s hard not to love the model’s hooligan instincts.

Engine: 1285cc, l/c, 8v desmo V-twin

Power: 202bhp @ 10,500rpm

Torque: 144.6Nm @ 8750rpm

Weight: 190.5kg (wet)

Price: 34.53 lakh (ex-showroom)

 

Ducati 1299 Panigale S (2015 – 2017)

Following the pattern set by the 1199, the higher specification S version was essentially a pimped-up Panigale. The 1299 S featured an updated semi-active DES system with an Öhlins Smart EC – an event-based control system that alters the set-up of the bike according to data received from the bike’s various sensors. It also came with auxiliary buttons to adjust the traction control, wheelie control and engine braking control systems. To save weight and add even more glamour to this eye-catching masterpiece, forged Marchesini wheels joined the mix, while LED lights and a carbon mudguard finished the package off in unadulterated style.

Engine: 1285cc, l/c, 8v desmo V-twin

Power: 202bhp @ 10,500rpm

Torque: 144.6Nm @ 8750rpm

Weight: 190.5kg (wet)

Price: 42.52 lakh (ex-showroom)

 

Ducati 959 Panigale (2016 – current)

With the requirement to make the 899 Panigale pass Euro4 emissions laws, and knowing there wasn’t an updated mini-V4 on the horizon, Ducati increased their small capacity superbike’s displacement to 955cc. Why do this? Passing Euro4 required a nasty twin stacked exhaust system that robbed the bike of power and you can’t have an updated superbike that makes less power than the outgoing one – hence the need for more cubes. Through a longer 60.8mm stroke (the 899’s is 57.2mm) with the same 100mm bore, Ducati upped the 898cc to 955cc and also refined its electronics and added a slip and assist clutch.

Engine: 955cc, l/c, 8v desmo V-twin

Power: 155bhp @ 10,500rpm

Torque: 107.4Nm @ 9,000rpm

Weight: 200kg (wet)

Price: 14.53 lakh (ex-showroom)

 

Ducati 1299 Superleggera (2017)

This was the first production bike to feature a carbon monocoque frame, single-sided swingarm, subframe and wheels. The result is a superbike that has a claimed dry weight of 156kg and only 167kg ready to rock. And what better thing to do with a bike as light as this than stick in a bonkers version of the Superquadro motor (1285cc)? Featuring a 116mm bore, it has two-segment pistons, a lightened crank, titanium conrods, sand-cast cases, bigger titanium valves, aggressive cams and a new head, plus high-level Akrapovic silencers. Oh, and a claimed 212bhp with 146.5Nm of torque. A six-axis IMU is paired with the best Öhlins suspension available, top rate Brembo brakes and a price tag of `1.08 crore.

Engine: 1285cc, l/c, 8v desmo V-twin

Power: 212bhp @ 11,000rpm

Torque: 146.5Nm @ 9000rpm

Weight: 167kg (wet)
Price: 1.08 crore (ex-showroom)

 

Ducati 1199 Panigale R (2015 – 2017)

With the 1299 exceeding the WSB capacity limit, Ducati were forced to keep the homologation Panigale R version at the previous 1198cc. But that didn’t mean the Panigale R was set to be overlooked in terms of a worthy update. It’s motor gained the Superleggera’s titanium exhaust valves and two-ring pistons, plus a lightened crank, upgraded clutch and the same electronics package as the 1299 – including the Internal Measurement Unit (IMU). It might have lacked in capacity compared to the 1299, but it lacked nothing in performance or character. If anything, it’s added focus made it better than its larger sibling.

Engine: 1198cc, l/c, 8v desmo V-twin

Power: 203bhp @ 11,500rpm

Torque: 132Nm @ 10,250rpm

Weight: 184kg (wet)
Price (UK): 16.32 lakh (excluding Indian taxes and duties)

 

Ducati 1299 Panigale S Anniversario (2016)

Released in late 2016 at the World Ducati Week, the Anniversario was a tweaked 1299 Panigale S created to help celebrate the firm’s 90th anniversary – most people just settle for cake! Tipping the scales at 188kg wet, the Anniversario featured a unique paint scheme based on the WSB team’s colours with gold coloured wheels as well as billet aluminium alloy machined triple clamps and yokes, a lithium battery, carbon heel guards and upgraded electronics called DTC EVO. Only 500 were built, making it a must-have for ever hardcore collectors out there.

Engine: 1285cc, l/c, 8v desmo V-twin

Power: 202bhp @ 10,500rpm

Torque: 144.6Nm @ 8750rpm

Weight: 188kg (wet)
Price (UK): 16.32 lakh (excluding Indian duties and taxes)

 

Ducati 1299 Panigale R Final Edition (2017 – current)

In late 2017 Ducati released the Ducati 1299 Panigale R Final Edition. We all knew the V4 was on the way, and this was the V-twin’s swansong. It featured the same geometry as the Panigale R with non-semi-active suspension and a Superquadro motor that claimed 206bhp. Two-segment pistons, a lightened crank, larger titanium valves and unique cylinder head, plus high-level Akrapovic silencers, aided its performance, but it was still 6bhp shy of the Superleggera’s power output. The FE has the top spec EVO electronics package, a paint scheme that is a nod to the Italian flag and the distinction of pulling the curtain down on over three decades of V-twin dominance and devotion.

Engine: 1285cc, l/c, 8v desmo V-twin

Power: 206bhp @ 11,000rpm

Torque: 142Nm @ 9000rpm

Weight: 190kg (wet)

Price: 60.39 lakh (ex-showroom)

 

959 Panigale Corse (2018)

Okay, so technically 2018 and the arrival of the Panigale V4 isn’t the end of the road for Ducati’s V-twin superbikes, as the 959 Panigale lives on and has even seen its range grow for this year with the arrival of the Corse model, but the 959 is more a sportsbike than a full-on superbike…or is it?

Boasting 147.9bhp, the Corse isn’t exactly lacking in power and has Öhlins suspension, while the base 959 has Showa forks and a Sachs shock and a set of Akrapovic silencers, as well as a MotoGP-inspired paint scheme. It’s not the top dog in Ducati’s sportsbike range, and that will always hang over its head, but at least it is still a V-twin.

Engine: 955cc, l/c, 8v desmo V-twin

Power: 147.9bhp @ 10,500rpm

Torque: 102Nm @ 9000rpm

Weight: 197.5kg (wet)
Price (UK): 12.68 lakh (excluding Indian duties and taxes)

 

Words by Jon Urry

 

 


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