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2014 Ducati 899 Panigale Preview


by Pascal Bastien ,

The new 2014 Ducati 899 Panigale replaces the outgoing 848 EVO. With increased displacement and a higher compression ratio, revised electronics, and a slew of hi-tech goodies borrowed from the 1199 Panigale, expect this machine to be both friendlier on the road and a lot easier to exploit on the track.

Just like the new MV Agusta F800, the 2014 Ducati 899 Panigale stands halfway between 600cc supersport which usully lack some mid-range grunt and larger superbikes, which are more physically challenging. At 193 kg (all tanks full), it belongs in the same weight class as most Japanese, Italian, and British supersport competitors.

2014 Ducati 899 Panigle: All-new engine
Ducati promises more power (148 hp) and 25% more torque than with the 848 EVO. Contrary to a few rumours, the engine of the 2014 Ducati 899 Panigale is all new, and not a toned-down variant of the 1199 Panigale's. The Superquadro name refers to the extremely oversquare bore/stroke (100 mm bore/57.2 mm stroke). The more compact cylinder heads and aluminum crankcases that house a good portion of the cooling circuit helped reduce the size of the engine and lower the centre of gravity. Additionally, a centrifugal decompressor makes starting easier without the use of a more powerful battery or a large starting motor, which saves a total of 3.3 kg.

The Desmodromic engine benefits from Nikasil-coated cylinder walls, and a higher-capacity oil pump derived from Ducati's MotoGP bikes. Note that major service intervals increased to 24,000 km.

2014 Ducati Panigale: Revised electronics
The 2014 Ducati 899 Panigale uses a number of electronic aids from the 1199 Panigale, including Ducati Traction Control, anti-wheeling, adjustable ABS, Engine Brake Control, Ducati Quick Shift (gear shift assistant), and three different pre-set modes (Race, Sport, and Wet). For track days, you can add the Ducati Data Analyzer (DDA+).

Similar design
Moreover, the 2014 Ducati 899 Panigale is built on the same compact and lightweight monocoque aluminum frame as the 1199 Panigale. The wheelbase is shorter due to a brand new aluminum swingarm (like the ones found on Japanese rivals), and lateral stiffness has been increased, particularly from the steering head to the swingarm pivot point. This makes sense after the disappointing results of the 1199 Panigale in the World Superbike Championship and the negative comments from experts about the stiffness.

The chassis of the 2014 Ducati 899 Panigale also includes a 43mm Showa Big Piston Fork and a Sachs monoshock (the latter with preload, compression, and rebound adjustment). Alas, the fork is not fully adjustable like the one on the 1199 Panigale, and the premium Evo M50 monoblock callipers are gone in favour of less expensive M4.32 units. Dual 320mm semi-floating front discs and a single 245mm rear disc complete the package.

Bottom line
Despite offering world-class technology, superior performance, and ultra-aggressive styling, the new 2014 Ducati 899 Panigale is said to be equally fun to ride on the road and the track, a best-of-both-worlds proposition. We'll find out for sure next summer when we get our hands on it.