The extremely sexy Ducati 1098s immediately strikes you as a modern bike, with images of the old Ducati styling back, thankfully.
Ducati features like the high tail section, and compact front end flowing into twin under-seat silencers and single-sided swing arm are very pleasing to the eye. The 1098s actually looks fast on the side stand. Add the new Testastretta Evoluzione engine at the heart of the machine and you get an all-out performance Ducati Superbike.
The 1098 introduces a number of ‘firsts’ for Ducati, The 1098 is the first production motorcycle to have the amazing stopping power of Brembo Monobloc brakes, the first to have a data acquisition system integrated as standard equipment, and the use of the information-rich instrumentation, like on the Moto GP bikes, although there is an inherent problem with misting up of the instrument panel, which should have been sorted out in pre-production. But I suppose it is a Ducati and we need something to complain about don’t we?
Ducati have a lot riding on this new machine, least of all its heavily dented reputation after the 999 debacle, despite being successful at racing. Inspiration has clearly come from the infamous 916 model on which Brit Carl Fogarty won five world championships.
Ducati are also hoping to make their bikes more accessible by increasing the servicing interval and reducing the costs. They claim to have lowered the servicing costs by as much as 50%, which is no mean feat and bound to appease those who have wanted to own a Ducati before but couldn’t justify the extraordinarily high servicing costs.
The Superbike is available in three versions: the awesome 1098, and for those who demand the ultimate in performance with the very best suspension, lightweight wheels and components, the 1098S. Also there is an additional special Tricolore version in true Italian colours of red, white and green. The Tricolore is now sold out, but its not all bad as I got the last one!
The Tricolore is an ‘S’ version of the 1098 with the added feature of a gold coloured frame and wheels and a complete racing exhaust system with dedicated ECU. It has all the bells and whistles which I find myself not using to their fullest potential. Probably due to my lack of ability or it may be that when you sling your leg over the ride just takes over and your mind is on other things.
The 1098 has the soul of a race bike, pure and simple. The riding position encourages the rider to mould to the sleek lines of the tank, and at 5ft 9 inches I find it quite easy, man and machine are made into one, any taller and you may have problems though. The feel from the Ohlin rear shock and forks are the best I have ever had from any Ducati I have ever owned, albeit after a good few hours fiddling with the settings. It transmits what’s happening on the road in a way that even I can understand.
Satisfying all the senses, the throaty roar of the twin under-seat exhausts are synchronized with the Ducati’s sound of the slipper clutch that I fitted, although I thought it should have been included in the high price of the bike.
The 1098 is a masterpiece of incredible performance and innovation. I wouldn’t trade mine for anything else, well maybe a desmosedici RR.