Ducati 1198 S test

Ducati 1198 S test

Most powerful twin of all time

Now it’s happened. With the 1198 S, Ducati is not only sending the most powerful twin athlete of all time to the start, but also the first real traction control in a street suit. Superfluous gimmick on an overbred muscle man or technical highlight on a further improved superbike?

Everything seems like it always is. The same gorgeous dress, the same mischievous cat eyes and also the adorable one-sided swing arm. Now, like the footrests and engine cover, they are black. There is not much more news to discover at first glance. Oh wait, the design of the rims, right. So the whole dance around 1198 just because of 100 cc and a few more horsepower? Always with Tranquility. After all, there is not only a drilled 1098 twin in it, but practically a completely new unit. Compared to the 1098, this means that the motor housing is cast using the vacuum process, which saves three kilograms in weight. A crankshaft with a longer stroke, a huge 106 millimeter bore. In addition, valves one and a half millimeters larger (43.5 / 35.5 mm) on the inlet and outlet side, along with sharper camshafts, and four throttle valves that have grown to 64 millimeters so that this powerhouse is adequately fed. Plus a second lambda probe for a more precise, smoother response.

Ducati 1198 S test

Most powerful twin of all time

Ducati finally retired. There is no loss. Keep your thumb on it. And as heartbreaking as the start-up procedure sounds, the 1198 S starts reliably. Full-bodied, powerful drumming, wonderfully bassy and with a respectful tone. In contrast, the 1098 S that traveled with us for comparison sounds more aggressive, with a brighter, aggressive punch.

Running culture

The first few kilometers through the thicket of city traffic are as usual. The clutch calls for firm grip, but it is easy to dose. The weight is heavy on the wrists, and if you want to use the full steering lock when turning, it is better to grab the handlebar stubs far to the outside, otherwise your ankles will get into the enclosure with the fairing. So far everything as before. The look back, however, is now passable without acrobatic contortions. Thirty millimeter long spacers under the transom arms make it possible. And if there is only time for a cursory glance at the cockpit in the hustle and bustle of the city center, larger digits for the speedometer and engine speed make reading easier. In the dark, a brighter display lighting, thanks to better contrast, makes it much easier to read. Nice.

In addition to running smoothness, there is a tie in terms of shiftability. Although the 1198 S now has the gear box of the 1098 R with more closely spaced gears three to six and wider gears. A reinforced gearbox will actually be necessary. The test bench certifies the 1198 S a brutal 170 hp. Even better: a torque curve for connoisseurs, with a mighty plateau of 100 Nm, which ranges from 3300 to 5000 rpm, and then hits the driver’s ears with a grim rise up to the 132 Nm peak at 7900 rpm. Reigns, what a trump. How fitting that the cooling water, tires and the 3.7 liters of oil are well warmed and the narrowness of the city is shaken off. The open road receives the 1198 S, the 1098 S in the wake. But the first time you tug it on, the 1198 S doesn’t turn out to be an angry torque bull. In the first step, the 1098 S looks even more explosive, more aggressive. The 1198 S is hardly inferior to this, however, it just doesn’t crash into the pilot so impetuously, but comes more pleasantly, a little more gently. And where the 1098 S suggests unbridled dynamics after its torque dip at 4500 rpm with an abrupt increase in power, the 1198 S powers confidently across this range, evenly, without slacking off.

Performance and driving behavior


The twin athlete is in his element.

On the face of it, the 1098 S may feel more spectacular. The 1198 S, on the other hand, is not much less massive, but more relaxed, sovereign and yet more fixed. It smashes out of the corners with elemental force and saves one or the other gear change, where the 1098 S just hangs in its torque hole. The much longer overall gear ratio, which the ?? R ?? transmission imposes on her, prevents her from drawing greater capital from her torque strength in the pulling power rating. In return, it actually goes a bit smoother on the gas. The hammer falls from 7000 rpm if the intake slits are wide open. Really onions and consistently squeezed, the 1198 S, fully loaded, still lifts the front wheel slightly, even in the third, the twin rages with brute force and sucks the pilot’s adrenaline reservoirs empty in no time. Even if in the background the Ducati Traction Control (DTC) ironed out too much arrogance on the throttle.

Intervention can be set in eight stages, from very early (stage eight) to professional late (stage one). The DTC compares the front and rear wheel speed and detects any slip from speed differences. In addition, the throttle position, engine speed, speed and ?? important because of the changing circumference of the rear wheel ?? Inclined position. The inclination angle sensor required for this also detects a rising front wheel and continues to allow wheelies. If, on the other hand, the DTC detects slip, it first takes back the advance ignition. If that is not enough, the injection is also suppressed, which also ensures the survival of the catalytic converter, but hand on heart, even if some of you can already see yourself in the best Bayliss manner with artistic drifts brushing black lines on your home route: The DTC can only be used effectively on the racetrack. Although it works much finer and gentler than BMW’s own slip control. Because if it is sensitively adjusted, the control comes into play quite early and audibly, especially in large slopes or on bumpy surfaces. And adjusted for more slip, their intervention shifts to lean angles and speed ranges that are only lost on the racetrack.

Chassis and brakes


The Ducati brake system is one of the best you can get at the moment.

But you don’t even have to heat yourself up to enjoy the qualities of the 1198 S. This also applies to the chassis. There were small but effective changes that bring the 1198 S noticeable plus points compared to the 1098 S in a direct comparison. Not because it is much easier. One kilogram remains of the weight savings in the engine housing and headlight housing, as the new crankshaft drive and reinforced transmission gears take a toll in terms of weight. And the new forged wheels, together with the brand new Pirelli Supercorsa SP, also weigh almost 800 grams more. However, they can easily be got over. Because the Pirellis harmonize superbly with the Ducati. Self-damping, feeling for the road, perfect. The grip: beyond any doubt.

It can happen that in the heat of the moment at the exit of a curve, despite a slight lean angle, with the front wheel lifted out of the corner. And even on slightly damp stretches, the Supercorsa SP still make a quick dash. Above all, however, they inspire the handling a bit and give the 1198 S a good portion of more neutrality. From a full middle position, it folds smoothly and with constant effort down to the lowest positions, where the 1098 S, which is soled with Pirelli Supercorsa Pro, does not bend so readily, appears noticeably indecisive and circles curves with a slightly wobbly note. In contrast, the 1198 S appears fuller, better balanced, more harmonious, because the fork, which, according to Ducati, has a slightly tightened spring rate, also contributes to the better balance.

Although it still dips quite quickly when braking hard, the bottom line is that the successor is more balanced, stronger and at the same time easier to handle than the 1098 S. Even if the shock absorber still doesn’t give a damn about comfort. Speaking of the shock absorber: The useless adjustment rings for spring preload because they cannot be used with a hook wrench and the extremely fiddly, tiny rebound adjustment screw really don’t have to be in this (price) league. In view of the impressive performance of the 1198 S, that should have been it with grumbling. Especially since the milled monoblock pliers in the front wheel, with their superb controllability and ingenious bite, never make you want more. The pain of saying goodbye to the 1098 S after just two years of construction only lasts for a short time, because the 1198 S is a worthy and better successor.

Technical data Ducati 1198 S (1098S)


Water-cooled two-cylinder four-stroke 90 degree V engine, two overhead, toothed belt driven camshafts, four valves per cylinder, desmodromic actuation, wet sump lubrication, injection, Ø 64 (60) mm, regulated catalytic converter, 520 W alternator , 12 V battery / 12 Ah, hydraulically operated multi-plate dry clutch, traction control DTC (not 1098 S), six-speed gearbox, O-ring chain, secondary ratio 38:15.
Bore x stroke 106.0 x 67.9 (104.0 x 64.7) mm
Displacement 1198 (1098) cc
Compression ratio 12.7: 1 (12.5: 1)

rated capacity
1198 S 120.0 kW (163 hp) at 9750 rpm
1098 S 113.0 kW (154 hp) at 9750 rpm

Max. Torque
1198 S 131 Nm at 8000 rpm
1098 S 125 Nm at 8000 rpm

landing gear
Steel tubular frame, load-bearing motor, upside-down fork, Ø 43 mm, adjustable spring base, rebound and compression damping, single-sided swing arm made of aluminum, central spring strut with lever system, adjustable spring base, rebound and compression damping, double disc brake at the front, Ø 330 mm, four-piston Fixed calipers, disc brakes-
ten, Ø 245 mm, two-piston fixed caliper.

Forged aluminum wheels 3.50 x 17; 6.00 x 17
Tires 120/70 ZR 17; 190/55 ZR 17
Tires in the test Pirelli Supercorsa SP (Supercorsa Pro)

Dimensions + weights
Wheelbase 1430 mm, steering head angle 65.5 degrees, caster 104 mm, spring travel f / h 120/127 mm, permissible total weight 390 kg, tank capacity / reserve 15.5 / 4.0 liters.

Data service
Service intervals every 12,000 km
Oil and filter change every 12,000 km / 3.7 l
Engine oil SAE 10 W 40
Fork oil SAE 10
Spark plugs NGK CR9EK
Idle speed 1200 ± 100 / min
Tire pressure solo (with pillion passenger) front / rear 2.2 / 2.4 (2.4 / 2.6) bar

Two year guarantee
One year mobility guarantee
Colors red, black
Price 21,990 (21,295) euros
Additional costs around 255 euros

Technology news: the basis


White is reserved for base 1198, black for "S.", There is red for both.

Anyone who opts for the basic 1198 saves at least 4200 euros. But what does he have to do without? On the engine side, nothing at all. Both in the ?? S ?? as well as in the basic version the same, nominal 163 hp four-valve heart beats. The equipment is already narrower with the electronics. While the ?? S ?? standard data recording, the Ducati Data Analyzer (DDA), which is still available for the basic 1198 at an extra charge, the traction control cannot be retrofitted for money or good words. Instead of the noble milled forged aluminum wheels, the basic version also rolls on cast wheels, which have about two kilograms more rotating and unsprung masses. On the other hand, the different finishes of the mufflers, whose stainless steel covers are not anodized black in the standard version, should weigh less.

The fact that the 1198 is not equipped with Ohlins but with Showa spring elements should not be a serious disadvantage in everyday use due to the identical coordination, but rather a question of personal taste, perhaps also of prestige. And for the front plastic fender, the accessories catalog certainly has a carbon equivalent for those willing to convert. The basic 1198 white dress is not available for the "S" model.


+ The single-sided swing arm makes changing wheels child’s play ?? provided you have the necessary large torque wrench and the appropriate socket with 55 (!) millimeter wrench size

+ The lavishly equipped display can be easily operated from the handlebars, including the coordination of the traction controls

+ The individual parts of the cladding are manufactured to be extremely precise

– To top up the oil, the paneling, which does not have quick-release fasteners, must be removed. One might expect given the price

– The on-board tools are more than sparse and do not even include a hook wrench for the rear wheel eccentric to tension the chain

– When turning with full steering lock, caution is advised, otherwise the knuckles collide painfully with the upper part of the fairing

Our conclusion

As before, a Ducati is primarily made for speeding rather than for dreamy little pass roads. Nevertheless, the 1198 S also pleases in everyday life with better manners and more confident driving behavior. And because it combines its generous extra performance with finely tuned traction control, it is already moving very close to the Superbike 1098 R..

Comments MOTORCYCLE scoring


Despite all the similarities, their differences are plenty to talk about.

One would actually think that the 1198 S would accelerate the 1098 S in real terms thanks to its excess power. However, the engine starts so brutally that it is difficult to keep the front wheel on the ground up to third gear. The fact that the torque advantage is not reflected in better pulling power, on the other hand, is due to the transmission with its longer gears three to six, which comes from the 1098 R..

landing gear
Above all, changing the tires to the Pirelli Dragon Supercorsa SP has proven to be an ingenious grip. The 1198 clearly gains in harmony and somewhat in handiness. A congenial partner for a great motorcycle. In a direct comparison, the fork, which was a little tighter, provided an additional shot of better balance, which resulted in a much more harmonious driving impression.

everyday life
There is not much to report here, practically everything stayed the same. The traction control and the Ducati Data Analyzer help the 1198 S to obtain additional equipment points. And thanks to the longer mirror arms, you can now see more in the mirrors than just your own elbows. Because the turn signal cables are long enough, the mirror extensions can also be retrofitted for the 848 and 1098.

Another chapter in which everything stayed the same. Fortunately, one can only say. Because the monoblock Brembos activated by a radial brake pump really leave nothing to be desired. The racer’s heart laughs.

OKAy, those who do a lot have to eat properly. Very remarkable: like all Ducatis, the high-performance four-valve engines only need to be inspected every 12,000 kilometers.

Moderate marks for both in terms of value for money due to the high price. Six points more for the 1198 make no difference here.

The competition

Aprilia RSV4 Factory
Four-cylinder, six-speed, 180 hp, weight approx. 197 kg, 0 100 km / h: k. A. vmax: k. A. Consumption k. AT..
19,790 euros *

BMW HP2 Sport
Two-cylinder, six-speed, 130 hp, weight 200 kg, 0 100 km / h: 3.1 seconds, vmax: 260 km / h, consumption 5.3 liters
21,600 euros

KTM 1190 RC8 R.
Two-cylinder, six-speed, 165 hp, weight k. A., 0 ?? 100 km / h: k. A., vmax: k. A., consumption k. AT..
20,995 euros

* Additional costs included

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