Were you asking for a smaller, less expensive Ducati 1199 Panigale? If so, the designers at Bologna have heard your pleas, and delivered. On the eve of the Frankfurt Motor Show, Ducati has unveiled the 899 Panigale.
Don’t take this bike as a sign that Ducati is abandoning their long tradition of high-performance bikes; the Italian company is calling the machine a “super-mid,” with emphasis on the “super.” Sure, they’re billing it as an entry-level machine in their superbike range, but it’s still a superbike.
The bike is built around a water-cooled 898 cc L-twin motor. According to Ducati, the engine puts out 149 hp at 10,750 rpm, and 73 lb-ft of torque at 9,000 rpm. The motor is a stressed member of the frame. Like the 1199’s motor, the 898 is oversquare, with 100mm bore and 57.2mm stroke.
To save money, Ducati used a Mitsubishi fuel injection system for the 899, with one injector per cylinder. There’s also a ride-by-wire throttle, and three-mode traction control (Race mode gives you full power, Sport gives you full power but gives it more smoothly, with help from the traction control system. Wet mode drops power to 110 hp and also allows more interference from the traction control system.
Other electronic aids include Electronic Brake Control and triple-stage ABS (Race, Sport and Wet modes), as well as a Ducati Quick Shift gearbox. You can even add on an optional Ducati Data Analyzer, which keeps track of your on-track stats, letting you keep track of your performance.
The gearbox is the same as the 1199’s, with hydraulic wet clutch, and braking comes from 320 mm discs up front with four-piston monobloc calipers. The rear disc is 245 mm.
One of the biggest differences between the 1199 and the new 899 is the new bike’s twin-sided swingarm, although most of the rest of the bike has a similar profile to Ducati’s top-of-the-line superbike.
Dry weight for the Ducati 899 is claimed to be 168 kg; wet weight is supposed to be 193 kg.
There’s a three-way adjustable Showa Big Piston fork up front, and a rear shock from Sachs, adjustable for pre-load, compression and rebound. Front and rear wheels are both 17-inch 10-spoke aluminum units, and tank size is supposed to be 17 litres. The wheelbase is 56.14 inches, and the rake is 24 degrees. Seat height is 82.5 cm.