During this year’s Ducati product presentation, eloquently dubbed “Italian Symphony,” the firm excitingly revealed four new products. Some of which stray far from tradition, opening a truly new chapter in the luxury motorcycle brand’s progression. The elaborate event, which was held in advance of the opening of EICMA, was also aired live on Sky in Italy and around the world via YouTube. In addition to the machinery which graced the stage, ‘stars’ like Chaz Davies, Casey Stoner and Dovi were present, among others, to further convey the excitement which exemplifies the Ducati image.
Scrambler by Ducati, Scrambler 1100
The Scrambler brand, a sub-brand of Ducati, can be best described, simply, as genius. The creation of the brand, its product and its distinctive marketing image, assisted the firm in significantly increasing its production whilst simultaneously preserving the exclusivity and prestige of its core Ducati brand. Appealing to an entirely new demographic, the Scrambler brand has also steadily grown to include an array of variants.
Previously ranging from the 400cc class to the 800cc class, today Scrambler by Ducati’s family has grown to include the new Scrambler 1100. Additionally, two editions of the Scrambler 1100 made their debut, the “Special” and “Sport.” Design remains consistent with the Scrambler brand’s existing product portfolio, but sadly so does the Desmo Service schedule. That means that the new Scrambler 1100 will also require expensive valve services every 7,500 miles. Being that the Scrambler brand is positioned beneath the Ducati brand, getting away from the frequent Desmo Service intervals is something that seems appropriate.
Ducati Multistrada 1260
Breathing new life into the Multistrada, the brand’s Adventure Touring model, the new 1260 serves to refresh and elevate the biggest Multistrada to new heights.
Of course, upgrades include more than merely greater displacement. The 1262cc motor does create a flatter torque curve, with an excess of 85% being at the rider’s disposal beneath 3,500rpms, giving the 1260 the most torque in its class within the most frequently used rev range. All very impressive, yet, there is more.
Sure, there are some aesthetic tweaks, but there is also a new, longer chassis, lighter wheels, a new RBW throttle, and numerous new systems which have been added to the bike’s electronics suite.
Ducati 959 Panigale Corse
A last hoorah for the 959 Panigale? The Corse is still powered by the brand’s traditional twin configuration, but brings some top-tier track oriented equipment into the middleweight segment.
Adorning an outstanding livery, inspired by Ducati’s MotoGP bikes, the 959 Panigale Corse is said to be “ready to race.” It undoubtedly looks the part. Further distancing the Corse model from the standard 959 Panigale, it is equipped with dual titanium exhaust canisters sourced from Akrapovi?, a full Öhlins suspension and a lithium-ion battery. As expected, an array of electronic aides are present.
Now, drumroll please…
Ducati Panigale V4
Shattering tradition, and reaching to new heights, the previously unveiled Desmosedici Stradale engine has found a fitting host in the all new Panigale V4. This new model represents the firm’s first mass-produced V4, or four cylinder of any configuration, motorcycle.
Developed in close collaboration with Ducati’s in house racing arm, Ducati Corse, the new Panigale V4 sits atop the supersport bike family in the position previously held by the 1299 Panigale. The company refers to the new V4 as being “the closest thing possible to its MotoGP counterpart,” in fact.
As far as its design is concerned, I feel it is fair to say that it is a conservative evolution of the 1299’s overall aesthetic. If I’m being entirely honest, it reminds me a bit of the Honda CBR 1000 RR Fireblade, at least from the front.
Power output is, however, significantly improved compared with its predecessor. Now making 214 horsepower, up from an already staggering 197 horsepower. This new motor does add some weight, but the Panigale V4 has a power to weight ratio of over one horsepower to every single kilogram. Maximum revolutions have been decreased in order to boost low and mid range power. Additionally, an S and ultra-exclusive Speciale variant will be available, the latter of which creates even more power. A whopping 226 horsepower to be specific.
The S model makes use of upgraded equipment compared to the base Panigale V4, like a lithium-ion battery, Öhlins suspension and forged aluminum wheels. The Speciale, of course, goes even farther in terms of its uniqueness. Possibly most importantly to those most likely to acquire it, it is immediately distinguishable from the base V4 and the S model thanks to its exotic livery, and it will be produced in very limited quantities, with each example adorning its production number.
Rider aides are very numerous. This is not a simple machine, and that’s something that Ducati is proud of, as sophistication is a core value of the brand. New systems include a Bosch sourced, front wheel only, cornering ABS, another Bosch system which enables rear wheel drifting within controlled parameters and a new quicksifter which factors in the bike’s lean angle. Ducati’s press material says that it provides, “performance and ridability…that riders of all skill levels can enjoy.” A rather hyperbolic claim, I assume, as I know I myself would never encourage a novice nor even a moderately experienced rider to ride a 1000cc+, 214hp motorcycle, under any circumstance. Yet, we all know what ‘they’ say about assumptions.
One thing that I am quite hopeful has been improved over the outgoing 1299 and even the 959 is the way in which the rider is exposed to heat. Fingers crossed.
In all, each new product appears to individually re-affirm Ducati’s innovative and premium approach to creating motorcycles that are often compared to Ferraris. Long establishing benchmarks, it seems that Ducati doesn’t at all plan to surrender its place at the pinnacle of the industry, nor to slow down.