Test Ducati 996 Biposto

Test Ducati 996 Biposto

Full of steam

With more displacement, the Italians want to make their superbike really fast again

It’s that time again. Time to get used to a new name. After Ducati won the Superbike World Championship one more time, the Italians are continuing their story away from the racetrack.

After 851, 888 and the four-year myth 916, the 996 is now following.
New name, old program? Far from it, because in addition to an improved lighting system, there are some improvements in detail hidden under the red shell. Although this 996 cubic centimeter Vau was already available in 1997 in the form of a sinfully expensive SPS version as a racing base, the Biposto, which cost 30,490 marks, did not offer pure top performance to make it more suitable for everyday use.
In contrast to the well-known 916 engine, two injection nozzles per cylinder now ensure optimum mixture preparation. In connection with more displacement, they drive the test machine on the test bench well beyond its paper form: 116 hp. A reinforced engine housing should improve the durability of the Italian despite this increase in performance.
With more emphasis, but noticeably more cultivated, the 996 now primarily pushes forward from low speeds. Already from 2000 rpm you can accelerate smoothly without annoying chain whips. Soft response even when transitioning from overrun to load. The new engine pleases with its smooth use of power over the entire speed range, its performance curve is significantly higher over the entire range than the curve of recently measured 916 engines (see performance diagram). The new and, above all, quieter exhaust system does one more thing to underline the smooth character of the 996.
Good news when it comes to braking too. New hand pump, milled brake calipers and new friction pairing between discs and pads – the Duc is already braking. Not yet as snappy and sensitive as the Japanese competition, but quite a match for everyday demands. With a decent pressure point and good deceleration with comparatively low hand force, direction is now in the right direction. Now the spring pressure for resetting the hand lever is reduced a little, and you could already speak of a system that can be adjusted with great sensitivity.
F.In terms of the movement, however, everything has stayed the same. Unmatched driving stability on flat roads, rather stubborn handling at higher speeds, gruesome righting moment when braking in an inclined position and almost allergic reactions when cornering on undulating slopes. Unfortunately, the new one stayed the same.

Ducati 996 (T + tire advice) – the right tire choice

Chassis weaknesses of the Ducati are less to be found in the construction of the motorcycle than in the unfortunate choice of initial tires. The specialists at Michelin are also aware of this. The TX 25 in the dimension 190/50 ZR 17 is built for a six-inch rim, this tire does not work optimally on the 5.5-inch rim of the Ducati. MOTORRAD put the test to the test and mounted the 180/55 ZR 17 of the same type, which had been specially delivered for this test, on the 996. The result, however, is not very exciting. The tendency to stand up when braking remains strong and reactions to any uneven ground when cornering are still strong. Only another alternative tire from Michelin ensures success. The Race 3 Soft transforms the stubborn Ducati into a precise driving machine, which enables precise steering even on the brakes and can be circled around radii of all diameters even on bad roads without constant wobbling. Despite official approval, despite all the euphoria about the quality of these tires should not It will be forgotten that the Race 3 Soft is a sports tire whose grip in winter temperatures is just as limited as its wear resistance.

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