Panigale 899, 1299 Panigale, 1299 Panigale S, Panigale R. There is much to remember if you find yourself shipwrecked on Ducati Island. What book would you take? The owner’s manual? What piece of music? Something with a loud bass note? Are you going to find Wilson? What if there are other people on this enthusiastic island and not simply you and Wilson debating whether the Diavel is a cruiser or sportbike. Odds are these other castaways are going to want to talk about their Panigales. You need to get your answers correct or you might be voted off this island and onto another island where the atmosphere is a little more rugged, substantially cooler and not as uniformly stylish.
Here is a brief Ducati Panigale primer. The bikes are almost always red so don’t suggest that your bike sports a great green metallic. There are four Panigales (Panigali, Panigalus?). The 899 is pretty obvious. It is the junior member – although “junior” with 148hp. But things get interesting from there amid this most complicated branch of the Ducati sporting family. The 1299 Panigale comes with a 1285 cc Superquadro l-twin four valve per cylinder liquid cooled motor producing 205 hp and 106.7lb-ft of torque. Compression is 12.6:1 (illustrate you really know your stuff!). The transmission is a six speed with Ducati Quick Shift and the dry weight is very svelte 367lbs. To get the most stopping for your dollar the bike comes with 2 x 330mm semi-floating discs with Brembo 4 piston calipers up front and, to ice the cake, cornering ABS. The 1299 S gets the same treatment. Why not? It is a good package. The S will however get you a little front suspension upgrade from a Marzocchi 50mm USD to an Ohlins 43mm with electronic compression and rebounding adjustment with semi-active mode. At the back you will move from a fully adjustable Sachs unit to a fully adjustable Ohlins with that same electronic compression and rebound damping. Both bikes do get wheelie control, traction control, power modes, riding modes and far more ecu power than it takes to play a game of Pong. The only additional equipment offered is (ha,ha) passenger pegs and a passenger seat (we wonder how often that option is selected).
The Panigale R is the trick question. The voted off the island question. 205 hp? Check, Cornering ABS, riding modes, power modes, wheelie control etc. Check, check and check. Red? Check. Hmmmm. What else? The motor. It’s different. It’s smaller. Rather than 1299 cc it is 1198 to conform to superbike requirements. It loses a little torque along the way but it also loses 10lbs due to things like a magnesium cast clutch cover, head covers and oil pan plus titanium valves and exhaust and a variety of carbon fiber bits and pieces.
But what it loses in weight it gains in dollars. In Canadian dollars the “regular” Panigale is $20,995, the S is $26,695 while the R starts at $36,495. That in itself could be considered a substantial difference but not a difficult one to discover. If you find yourself stuck between the tiki bar and a hard place and are truly in a bind start throwing out acronyms as there are a lot of them associated with these bike – EBC, RbW, DTC, DDA, DQS, DWC, IMU (and URME? – no that is one of ours). That is bound to blind them with brilliance.