Ducati continues to push the envelope in the superbike category with the release of the 2015 1299 Panigale. This machine was built to succeed the 1199, and it boasts several improvements over its predecessor, not the least of which is the 10-percent increase in power up to a whopping total of 205 horsepower! It almost beggars belief that one could squeeze that many horses out of a two-cylinder engine, and it really speaks to the innovative engineering hidden behind the fairings. Sophisticated electronics tame the engine, brakes and suspension, and transform the bike from new-user friendly to race-ready at the touch of a button.

  • 2015 Ducati Superbike 1299 Panigale
  • Year:
    2015
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    Superquadro L-Twin, 4 Desmodromically actuated valves per cylinder, liquid cooled
  • Displacement:
    1285 cc
  • Price:
    19295
  • Price:

Design

2015 Ducati Superbike 1299 Panigale High Resolution Exterior
- image 623997

True to its roots, the overall appearance shows its DNA, but with subtle differences. The front fairing is a bit wider than on the 1199 and the windshield offers better protection. While these changes make the bike a bit bigger, the Panigale actually enjoys an increase in air penetration.

The graceful curves of the front fairings give way to a minimalist rear end that leaves one with an unimpeded view of the running gear and radical-looking, single-side swingarm.

In typical superbike fashion, the weight and features on the bike are kind of like a bulldog – all up front. The graceful curves of the front fairings give way to a minimalist rear end that leaves one with an unimpeded view of the running gear and radical-looking, single-side swingarm.

Although this ride could be considered race ready on the showroom floor, Ducati made sure that she was road ready as well. The headlights, taillight and turn signals are all of LED construction, which I personally love. They don’t generate much heat or burn much juice, and running LED lights is one of the best ways to maximize your visibility to the driving community. The factory didn’t stop with a few fancy lights when they planned the electrical systems – far from it.

A full TFT screen displays the instrumentation in full color, and it controls the various systems and settings “for the Riding Mode” function, which for me is the pièce de résistance for the whole bike.

This feature allows you to fine tune the performance of the engine, suspension and brakes through a number of factory and custom presets to quickly configure the bike for the conditions that you are expecting, be it a wet ride to town or hitting a closed-circuit racetrack.

Chassis

2015 Ducati Superbike 1299 Panigale Exterior
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Ducati uses what they call the “Monoscocca“ chassis to hold everything together. This is basically a stressed-engine frame that uses lightweight aluminum members bolted to the engine to reduce the weight and bulk of the overall bike. Interestingly, the frame also forms the airbox, which further lightens the bike and makes efficient use of the available space. Seat height is getting up toward the big-and-tall size range at 32.68 inches, or at least the comfortable-on-their-tiptoes crowd, but if you are riding this bike right you probably ain’t putting your feet down very much!

An aluminum, single-sided swingarm keeps the unsprung weight low in the back, and a fully-adjustable Sachs shock manages the rear end.

The factory was all about maintaining the primary control element for any bike – the contact patch. Toward that end, it started with the Pirelli Diablo Supercorsa SP tires made with a special polymer blend that causes the tires to heat up rapidly, increasing their grip. An aluminum, single-sided swingarm keeps the unsprung weight low in the back, and a fully-adjustable Sachs shock manages the rear-end bumps. The 50 mm Marzocchi front forks buffer the front end, and on the Panigale S, both ends benefit from the suspension behavior function on the TFT display.

Everything that has a lot of go has to have a lot of stop as well, and Ducati made sure that the Panigale had plenty of stopping power while maintaining the rubber-to-road connection. The dual 330 mm front discs and 245 mm rear disc work with Brembo Monobloc calipers to control the potentially overwhelming energy of the bike during maneuvers, under the oversight of the Bosch Inertial Platform and cornering ABS. The "Riding Mode" settings provide quick adjustment to the responsiveness of the ABS through a number of presets, and can be changed on-the-fly under certain conditions.

Drivetrain

2015 Ducati Superbike 1299 Panigale High Resolution Exterior
- image 623998

A 1285 cc Superquadro L-Twin serves as the mill on this beast, churning out an astonishing 205 horsepower and over 106 pound-feet of torque. Liquid cooling manages the heat, and the desmodromic valvetrain ensures that you won’t suffer from valve float as you wind the rpm out to 10,000 plus. A clever decompression system bleeds off a bit of pressure when you first turn the engine, but once started, the system disables itself to develop full compression. The net benefits here are easier starts with a smaller (read: lighter) starter and battery.

Ordinarily, most riders would be intimidated by a bike this powerful, and they should be, but the “Total Rider Control” system makes this bike as fierce or tame as you like (within reason). The ride-by-wire control system works with the Ducati Traction Control (DTC), Ducati Quick Shift (DQS), Engine Braking Control (EBC) and Ducati Wheelie Control (DWC) to give the rider complete and incremental control over the engine performance and level of intervention by the subsystems.

The coolest of these features for me would have to be the DQS. A blip-switch automatically kills the engine for just a fraction of a second to synchronize the gears during clutchless shifting. This feature allows you to hold the hammer down without wasting time and valuable concentration on the clutch lever, kind of like an old air-shifter but much better.

Price

A Panigale can be had in the U.S. for a starting price of $19,295, and is available in any color you want – as long as you want red! The “R” and “S” versions are available, and the price will vary with the optional accessories and level of electronic control on the bike at delivery.

He Said:

“I won’t lie, bikes like this scare the crap out of me! Sometimes I like to get a little bit twisty with it (another non-lie) and even with the mitigation afforded by the electronics, I’m not confident I could manage it. Though it could be fun, I think my insurance got more expensive just by me thinking about it.....”

She Said

My wife and fellow writer, Allyn Hinton, says, "Keep in mind that I’m a touring gal. These go-fast bikes just scare the heck out of me, though I really like the DQS system and the "Total Rider Control." The seat is way too high for me being a height-challenged person; but if I were to ride it, I think I’d have it set to "Grandma Mode" so I didn’t go whizzing down the road, screaming like a schoolgirl. You gotta love what the Italians do when it comes to motorcycles, though. The 1299 Panigale S is technically superb."

Specs

Engine Type: Superquadro L-Twin, Four Desmodromically Actuated Valves Per Cylinder, Liquid Cooled
Displacement: 1285 cc
Bore X Stroke: 116x60.8 mm
Compression Ratio: 12.6 to 1
Power: 205 Horsepower at 10,500 rpm
Torque: 106.7 Pound-Feet at 8,750 rpm
Fuel Injection: Electronic Fuel Injection System. Twin Injectors Per Cylinder. Full Ride-By-Wire Elliptical Throttle Bodies.
Exhaust: 2-1-2 System With Catalytic Converter And Two Lambda Probes. Twin Stainless Steel Mufflers With Aluminum End Caps
Gearbox: 6 Speed With DQS Ducati Quick Shift Up/Down
Primary Drive: Straight Cut Gears, Ratio 1.77 to 1
Ratio: 1=37/15 2=30/16 3=27/18 4=25/20 5=24/22 6=23/24
Final Drive: Chain; Front Sprocket 15; Rear Sprocket 39
Clutch: Slipper And Self-Servo Wet Multiplate Clutch With Hydraulic Control
Frame: Monocoque Aluminum
Front Suspension: Marzocchi 50 mm Pressurized And Fully Adjustable USD Fork With Hard Anodized Aluminum Lightweight Slider
Front Wheel: 3-Spoke Light Alloy 3.50 Inch X 17 Inch
Front Tire: 120/70 ZR17 Pirelli Diablo Supercorsa SP
Rear Suspension: Fully Adjustable Sachs Unit. Adjustable Linkage: Progressive/Flat. Aluminium Single-Sided Swingarm
Rear Wheel: 3 Spoke Light Alloy 6.00 Inch X 17 Inch
Rear Tire: 200/55 ZR17 Pirelli Diablo Supercorsa SP
Front Wheel Travel: 4.72 Inches
Rear Wheel Travel: 5.12 Inches
Front Brake: Two 330 mm Semi-Floating Discs, Radially Mounted Brembo Monobloc M50 Four-Piston Calipers With Cornering ABS As Standard Equipment
Rear Brake: 245mm Disc, Dual-Piston Caliper With Cornering ABS As Standard Equipment
Instrumentation: Digital Unit With TFT Color Display
Dry Weight: 367 Pounds
Wet Weight : 420 Pounds
Seat Height: 32.68 Inches
Wheelbase: 56.6 Inches
Rake: 24 Degrees
Trail: 3.78 Inches
Fuel Tank Capacity: 4.5 Gallons
Number Of Seats: Dual Seat
Standard Equipment: Riding Modes, Power Modes, Cornering ABS, DTC, DQS Up/Down, DWC, EBC, Fully RbW, Auto Tyre Calibration, Auxiliary Adjustment Buttons-Ready, DDA+ With GPS-Ready
Additional Equipments: Passenger Seat And Footpegs Kit
Warranty: 24 Months Unlimited Mileage
Maintenance Service Intervals: 7,500 Miles
Valve Clearance Check: 15,000 Miles
What do you think?
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