Welcome to the Find of the Month, where we share some of the cool bikes we find for sale on autoTRADER.ca. This month, we’re checking out a 2014 Ducati 1199 Superleggera for sale in Toronto.
The big moto-news last week was Ducati’s new Superleggera V4. It’s got an all-carbon fibre chassis, and a set of biplane winglets on its carbon-fibre fairing. With the race kit installed, including the Ackrapovic exhaust, the new V4 hyperbike makes a claimed 234 horsepower, and weighs only 152 kg.
But even before we knew those wild spec figures, people were excited when they just heard hints there was a new Superleggera en route. Why? Because the original 1199 Superleggera, unveiled in 2013, was itself a pretty amazing machine — just take a look at the original handout photo, above. Visually, this was one of the most appealing sportbikes ever made, but its beauty was much more than skin-deep.
The Ducati 1199 Superleggera was a modified take on the old V-twin Panigale R. Just like the latest V4 version, Ducati installed a hopped-up engine: lighter pistons and titanium crank, titanium exhaust valves and hot cams all made for a high-revving L-twin. Although this wasn’t the ultimate evolution of Ducati’s twin (that was the 1299 Superleggera), it was pretty close. Claimed output was 200 hp, and 99 lbs.-ft. of torque. Now, that’s not exactly passé, but you can buy a few different machines in that ballpark. In 2014, it was basically the nastiest street-legal bike you could buy.
This was also in the early days of modern advanced electronics. While it didn’t come with leaning ABS, the 1199 Superleggera did have standard ABS, wheelie control, eight-level traction control, an up/down quickshifter, adjustable engine braking, datalogger system, and selectable ride modes. Most of these systems were adjustable on-the-fly. TFT instruments were standard
There’s more carbon-fibre on the new V4 machine, but the 1199 still got a generous treatment, with carbon-fibre subframe and fairing. This was all part of a massive weight-reduction program. Many of the bike’s steel fasteners were replaced with titanium; even the bike’s exhaust was titanium.
The monocoque chassis had a cast magnesium frame, with forged magnesium wheels and carbon-fibre subframe. Ducati went so far as to replace the rear shock spring with a titanium piece, and even trimmed down little pieces like the radiator cap, axle nut, footpegs and fuel-filler cap to save a few ounces here and there. Like ultralight hikers say, watch the ounces and the pounds will look after themselves. Or something like that.
The single-sided aluminum swingarm had an adjustable pivot, to allow for geometry changes. Most riders likely won’t use that feature, but if you want to build a racebike-spec machine, you’ve got it.
Suspension was World Superbike-spec, with a custom-built FL916 fork from Ohlins, with fully machined bottoms and lots of other trick design. In the back, Ducati used an Ohlins TTX36 shock.
The brakes were also race-worthy: a set of dual 330 mm discs in front, mated to Brembo M50 monobloc four-piston calipers. The rear brake had a 245 mm disc and two-piston caliper.
The 1199 Superleggera was built in ultra-limited quantities, with only 500 manufactured. All of them were sold before they left the factory, and not many made it to Canada. Once the bike was announced, we basically never heard about it again, because they sold out so quickly that there was no point spending money on a big marketing campaign.
So this version that’s popped up in Toronto is a rare find. The seller says it’s #189 of the 500-bike run, and there’s a number plate to prove it. According to the ad, this is the last unregistered 1199 Superleggera in North America. Maybe? That doesn’t necessarily mean it’s worth any more or any less, but presumably it does mean this is a brand-new bike that’s never seen the road, probably just never sold by the dealership. It’s very noteworthy because it’s an 1199 Superleggera, but also because it appears to have never been used.
It’s also noteworthy due to its $100,000 asking price. This is one of the most expensive motorcycles on the market in Canada, ever. Is it worth the $100k? Well, it had a $65,000 USD price tag in 2014. The new V4 Superleggera is lighter and faster, an even more advanced bike, and will probably sell for at least $120,000 in our market. So, if you want one of the fastest L-twins ever made, this 1199 is almost as good as it gets, and it’s not like they come up for sale regularly.
On the other hand, in this price range, it’s amazing what other deals can be had, if you look overseas. If you’re spending this kind of cash, you can buy a machine sold off by a World Superbike or Isle of Man team, sometimes in unraced condition. So it all depends what you want to do: buy a street-legal hyperbike that you can view in person before buying, or buy Michael Dunlop’s cast-off BMW HP4? If you’ve got enough money to be asking those questions, maybe you should just buy both.