Ducati 1299 Superleggera driving report

Ducati 1299 Superleggera in the driving report

Approved carbon motorcycle

The Ducati 1299 Superleggera is the first motorcycle with wheels and chassis made of carbon that can be registered. Something stronger and lighter for the road has not yet been there. However, the effort involved is also enormous.

The man was completely wrong. “Every five years we are stung by the oats, then we have to do something totally crazy,” Ducati press spokesman David James grinned when the 1199 Superleggera was driving. That was 2014. Well, it didn’t take three years for the next wild thing to roll out of the factory in Borgo Panigale, the D.ucati 1299 Superleggera. However, the technicians had it a little easier this time, with the 1199 Superleggera there was already a usable blueprint.

Ducati 1299 Superleggera in the driving report

Approved carbon motorcycle

Ducati 1299 Superleggera meets Euro 4

But this time the technicians have outdone themselves. The chassis – a steering head with an attachment: made of carbon. The swingarm: carbon, rear frame and wheels: exactly, carbon. The huge Testastretta engine with a sand-cast housing became even lighter and more powerful. 215 hp peak power, up to 12 hp more than the 1199 SL at mid-rev. At a ridiculous 167 kilograms without fuel. World championship superbikes have a weight limit of 168 kilograms. But without lights and mirrors. In addition, the very latest electronics with two independently acting six-axis IMUs, which in addition to sloping ABS and wheelies, the sideways movements on slides can be controlled very precisely. Launch control and engine brake control are logically on board the Ducati 1299 Superleggera. And the best: Everything with Euro 4 and street legal.

For this purpose, the carbon components are examined in three steps for quality assurance using ultrasound, thermography and computed tomography before they are installed. The bikes come from BST from South Africa, the frame from 3C from Germany, the swing arm and rear frame for the Ducati 1299 Superleggera are supplied by Riba near Bologna.

Agile, strong, brutal, awesome

Everything that could not be made from carbon fiber seems to be largely made of titanium or magnesium. Or at least has been made lighter, like the aluminum tank or the Ohlins FL 936 fork, which saves 1.3 kilograms. The braking components that capture this surface-to-surface missile are beyond reproach: 330mm discs and Brembo M50 calipers. Just the thought of crumpling the red carbon dress in the gravel bed of the Ducati 1299 Superleggera, which is limited to 500 pieces and sold out despite a purchase price of 79,000 euros, puts beads of sweat on your forehead.

The Ducati 1299 Superleggera reports for duty with a brutal bark. It is – a matter of honor – equipped with the race kit that goes with the bike. The Akrapovic titanium exhaust, which corresponds to that of the factory machines, increases the output further to 220 hp with the right mapping – the factory racers are not far away: only about 10 hp, assures Ducati.

The pit lights give way to the hilly stretch of Mugello. And basically the story is told quickly. The Ducati 1299 Superleggera is agile, it is strong, it is brutal. She is horny. With obedience almost hurrying ahead, she turns into the curves. Even when the brakes are hard, like at the end of the approximately 1,100-meter-long home straight, where the load from top speed is compressed from sixth to second gear before entering the San Donato curve.

Carbon wheels with much lower moment of inertia

The two following chicanes reveal the full power of their handiness. The Ducati 1299 Superleggera can be thrown from left to right and back again in no time at all. Steering commands are implemented so intuitively that you are always too early to get up when turning in and when exiting a curve. You could do it much later, it’s so easy and quick.

This is of course one of the main merits of the carbon wheels. It is not primarily the lower weight compared to forged rims that brings this advantage. Rather, it is the significantly lower moment of inertia, which is 26 percent lower on the front wheel and a whopping 44 percent lower on the rear. However, this advantage was not entirely without side effects. Test driver Alessandro Valia grins: “It wasn’t easy to set up the lightweight bikes – with the traction control and especially the lean ABS. The wheels of the Ducati 1299 Superleggera come to a standstill due to their low moment of inertia and start rolling again just as quickly. We had some shocking moments. Everything should go smoothly. ”But the work was worth it. The electronics are extremely sensitive, especially the DTC-EVO traction control, which was already presented in the 1299 S Anniversario.

And that is sorely necessary. Because the engine of the Ducati 1299 Superleggera tears in with such a force that the spit stays away. Not only does the race kit add 5 horsepower, but it also adds a much meatier torque curve. At 6,500 rpm, twelve percent more torque is available than in the road version. And from here the twin powers ahead without slacking off for a moment – until it gently runs into the limiter at 12,000 rpm. In the last gear it can even turn a few hundred revolutions higher. The V2 hangs sharply and precisely on the gas. Larger titanium valves from Del West, sharper camshafts, lighter pistons equipped with only two rings, a compression increased to 13: 1 and milled heads and channels are the ingredients that tease out this performance.

Clinging to the handlebars does not work

Feeling free of any flywheel mass, the V2 turns viciously upwards, the curves come so quickly that there is almost nowhere to take a breather or breathe. At best on the home stretch. From the apex of the Bucine, the target entry curve, in which so many last-round dramas have already taken place, the cock can be fully cocked. The EVO electronics keep an inconspicuous, efficient watch, the Ducati 1299 Superleggera literally sticks to the narrow line when it hits the home straight – madness!

But be careful, just cling to the handlebars and support yourself on the back of the seat, the Ducati 1299 Superleggera cannot stand. Then she reacts to such less sensitive treatment with strong pendulums. So put your feet in the pegs, move your weight forward and loosely guide the handlebars. Then the Duc remains calm. And can use its full chassis potential. The chassis has the same rigidity as the aluminum counterpart of the Panigale 1299 S. The Ohlins spring elements work extremely sensitively, delivering crystal-clear feedback even for tricky passages such as the downhill Casanova and the subsequent, outward-hanging Savelli curve. The suspension setup is not even as hard as a rock. At 85 N / mm, the titanium spring of the shock absorber is 5 N / mm softer than that of the 1299 S. The swing arm is 15 mm longer in order to bring the force clean to the ground. Which works excellently in connection with the sophisticated electronics. Accelerate full shower from the uphill Arrabiata 2 over a blind knoll, where the wheelie control allows a gentle wheelie in an inclined position. And at the back there is only grip, grip, grip. Which is why we were unable to find out whether the drift control really worked during the 20 minutes’ driving time.

12,000 maintenance intervals

But the Ducati 1299 Superleggera also made such a deep impression. It is a flawless race bike. But that doesn’t make driving her really cool. The dynamic it offers is intense – full concentration is always required. You can hardly be closer to the feeling of riding a World Championship Superbike. Despite light and mirrors. A 1199 R from Ducati Corse for customer teams wants to be paid much more expensive at 135,000 euros. And for that you need a team of mechanics and specialists. The Superleggera, on the other hand, comes with a warranty and 12,000 maintenance intervals.

To be envied, who could get hold of a Ducati 1299 Superleggera or is at least on the waiting list. Everyone else has to wait at least three years for the next wild thing to leave the factory in Borgo Panigale.

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