Ducati always has had this insanity in them to time and again bring up machines that push the boundaries of two-wheeled glory, a boundary that will make every other manufacturer look like a speck of dust. For this alone, we must hand it to the Italian with all pomp and flair that they can literally pull off a true bloody special edition.

And this expression was very much evident with their flagship model, the Panigale ever since it broke covers in 2011. It is one of the world’s most powerful twin-cylinder motorcycle, and Ducati is giving the world one last taste of the L-twins by unveiling the 1299 Panigale R Final Edition. This will mark the end of the L-twin Italian superbikes.

Under all this is what I call a ‘Brobdingnagian’ twin Superquadro powerhouse that can scare the daylights out of most seasoned riders. If that still does not fit your bill, the electronics package on this, one would need a Master’s degree and a PhD to understand the concepts of it, and by the time you do understand, you would stop caring about it because your brain is gizzing already.


STYLING


Ducati 1299 PanigaleDucati 1299 Panigale Final Edition

jpg/201707/ducati-is-giving-the-15.jpg

Calling this ‘The quintessence of Panigale’ is no shortcoming. Combining beauty with the traits of a beast is not an easy task. But that is not a context with Ducati. The Italian marque has always amazed the enthusiasts in the past with its machines that hide a ruthless soul under their drop-dead gorgeous skin.

When Ducati chose to upgrade the prefixes to the name of Panigale, it decided not to fiddle the sheet metal. As a result, the new 1299 Panigale R Final Edition is pretty much the same bike as the 1299 Panigale R, with the beautiful design remaining almost unchanged. The mean front fairing with sharp and angular dual headlamps continue to catch your attention, even after being a six-year-old face. The bodywork panel, being designed in the wind tunnel, can cut through anything like a Damascus sword.

jpg/201707/ducati-is-giving-the-3.jpg

What stands out is that Tri-colour livery and the titanium Akrapovic exhaust. Although the red alloys might not be Ducati’s signature, but the Tricolore paint is. As seen before on the Ducati 1199 Panigale S Tricolore, it showcases homage to the country it is born in and because both Chaz Davies and Marco Melandri will be wearing this on their WorldSBK Ducati Corse. The exhaust unit style too is shared on the WorldSBK bike.

The fairing mounted rear view mirrors with incorporated turn indicators doesn’t come kitted with the factory setting, similar to the ‘R’. In addition to the full LED headlights of the standard 1299 Panigale, the Panigale Final Edition also gets LED positioning lamps as standard. The fuel tank, as well as devious side fairing too, has been borrowed from the R version, which partially hides the mechanicals beneath it. The front mudguard on this Panigale is made up of carbon fibre, and the Marchesini tri-W-shaped spoke alloy wheel pattern is borrowed from the R version.

jpg/201707/ducati-is-giving-the-7.jpgjpg/201707/ducati-is-giving-the-8.jpg

The rear section of the motorcycle is as striking as the front, with a more aerodynamic hollowed design for the tail section, akin to that of the new Yamaha R1. Again, the Final Edition misses out on the number plate bracket from the factory. The instrument console of the 1299 Panigale continues to be the same fully Digital unit with TFT colour display, showing an array of useful information ranging from speedometer to ride settings.

Overall Dimension

Make Model2017 1299 Panigale Final EditionSuzuki GSX-R 1000Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10RR
Length2070 mm2075 mm2090 mm
Width745 mm705mm739mm
Height1105 mm1145mm1145mm
Wheelbase1437 mm1420mm1440mm
Seat height830 mm825mm835mm
Wet weight178 kg203kg206kg
Fuel capacity17 L16 L17 L

POWERTRAIN

jpg/201707/ducati-is-giving-the-16.jpg

There is nothing unlike the whopping Superquadro twin-cylinder engine on the face of this planet or any planet for that matter. This is what powers the mighty Superleggera and now, on the Panigale R Final Edition as well.

Like a hidden gem under the fairings, the Desmodromic Euro-4 engine is prancing with an insane 209.5 bhp and 142 Nm of torque. That is a cool 13 bhp and 13 Nm more than the current flagship Panigale R. There are no titanium fasteners, and the barrels have steel liners rather than aluminium ones like in the Superleggera. And it is street legal. I think it is inhumane to unleash so much on the streets.

jpg/201707/ducati-is-giving-the-11.jpg

Similar to the 1199 Panigale R, the engineers have made use of lightened crankshaft having a larger crank pin and tungsten balancing pads. With increased bore and stroke, the 1285cc has a raised compression ratio of 13:1, thanks to the 116 mm diameter pistons, titanium con-rods and machined crowns.

The cylinders are lined with steel as opposed to aluminium in the Superleggera and run with a much lighter flywheel. The Desmodromic distribution now features new camshafts letting increased valve lifts that are itself larger in diameter and made from titanium. Even the exhaust valves are given an overhaul to have bigger diameter improving the fuel dynamics for efficient and powerful bursts.

jpg/201707/ducati-is-giving-the-4.jpg

A new forged aluminium clutch basket has been used to give the rider heightened ‘feel’ and stability to use a clutch with a new slipper and self-servo system. Through this, all the power made is transferred to the wheels via a 6 speed Ducati Quick Shift (DQS) gearbox with auto blip and lightweight and soundless chain. Thanks to the full Ride-by-Wire system, integrating spark advance and injection adjustment during upshifts with an auto-blipper function during downshifts makes for a smooth, instant and uninterrupted power surge across the power bands.

Specially made 2-1-2 system titanium Akrapovic exhaust spouts look quite menacing too. As a testament to Ducati’s highest level of quality and built, the service intervals of each engine is 12,000 km for oil service and 24,000 km for Desmo service are maintained.

jpg/201707/ducati-is-giving-the-5.jpg

Engine Specification

Make Model2017 1299 Panigale Final EditionSuzuki GSX-R 1000Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10RR
Capacity cc1285999.8998
Bore/ Stroke in116/60.876/55.176/55
Output209 bhp @ 1000 rpm200 bhp @ 13500 rpm197 bhp
Torque142 Nm @ 9000 rpm118 Nm @ 10000 rpm113.5 Nm
TypeSuperquadro: L-twin cylinder, 4 valve per cylinder, Desmodromic, liquid cooled4-stroke, liquid-cooled, 4-cylinder, DOHC4-stroke, Inline 4 cylinder, DOHC, 4-valve, Liquid-cooled
Clutch typeHydraulically controlled slipper/self-servo wet multiplate clutchWet- Multiplate with slipper assistWet- Multiplate with slipper assist
Transmission6 speed with Ducati Quick Shift (DQS) up/down6-speed with Bi-directional Quick-shift System6-speed, return shift

RIDE AND HANDLING

With all that power under the hood, this ’final’ Panigale will be a different performer whole together since it weighs 26 lbs more than the Superleggera. This is mainly because the chassis is still made up of aluminium monocoque version and not the all-carbon monocoque of the Superleggera. The characteristics of a frame designed with the utmost precision ensure that the race-inspired suspension offers superior balance in terms of stability and handling. At the same time, incredible braking performance on entering corners ensures meticulous precision.

Top of the line suspension setup is provided by massive 43mm Öhlins USD NIX 30 TiN-coated fork and multi-adjustable Öhlins TTX36 shock absorber with steering dampers. Coming to the braking job, it is taken over by twin 330 mm discs at the front and clutching them are Brembo M50 monobloc four-piston callipers. The rear has a single 245 mm disc.

jpg/201707/ducati-is-giving-the-27.jpg

Bosch cornering ABS comes as a standard option, managed by the ultra-light Bosch 9.1 MP control unit. To build the extreme sports bikes, just plain lightweight and a monstrous engine are no more enough. Electronics have been inculcated into every aspect of the riding styles and dynamics. The Panigale Final Edition gets all the electronic packages known to mankind and more new ones.

Providing MotoGP experience to the rider, the bike makes use of Bosch 6-axis Inertial Measurement Unit (6D IMU) and a bunch of others. The first one of them is the DTC EVO. It has an all-new algorithm to ensure faster and precise intervention than the system present in the 1299 Panigale S Anniversario. Various levels of settings can control the amount of rear wheel spin during banking and crunching those apexes. It also controls the throttle body and injection advances to provide better handling of the power and the bike. This will now allow common riders like us to explore the levels of riding that was previously possible only by expert riders.

jpg/201707/ducati-is-giving-the-26.jpg

The latest version of the Ducati Wheelie Control EVO (DWC EVO) has been equipped from the 1299 Anniversario and has a better controller structure and algorithm. This 3-level system ensures lightning-fast starts, letting the rider focus on releasing the clutch and keeps the engine revving at an optimal level to give you a start that can make your eyeballs gouge inside the sockets and see what nonsense is playing in your brains.

The Engine Brake Control (EBC) helps riders optimise vehicle stability under extreme forces applied to the rear tyre under severe engine-braking conditions. Precise Ride-by-Wire throttle openings are administered to balance the tyre torques and are integrated into its three customizable Ducati Riding Modes (Race, Sport and Wet) that allow the rider to have tailor-made performance.

As a standard feature, this Ducati gets the Ducati Data Analyser+ GPS (DDA+ GPS) that allows technicians to assess the performance of both man and machine and can automatically record lap time.

Chassis Specifications

Make Model2017 1299 Panigale Final EditionSuzuki GSX-R 1000Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10RR
FrameMonocoque aluminiumTwin-spar aluminium perimeter frameAluminium perimeter
Suspension / FrontÖhlins NIX30 43 mm fully adjustable USD fork with TiN treatmentSHOWA BPF, Inverted telescopic, coil spring, oil damped43mm inverted Balance Free Fork, adjustable stepless rebound and compression damping, spring preload adjustability
Suspension / RearFully adjustable Öhlins TTX36 unit, Adjustable linkage: Progressive/flat. Aluminium single-sided swingarmSHOWA rear shock, Link type, coil spring, oil dampedHorizontal Back-link with Balance Free gas-charged shock, stepless, dual-range (low-/high-speed) compression damping, stepless rebound damping, fully adjustable spring preload
Brakes / Front2 x 330mm semi-floating discs, radially mounted Brembo Monobloc M50 – 4 piston callipers with Cornering ABS as standard equipmentDual 320mm Brembo, Disc, Brembo 4-piston, Disc, twin ABSIntelligent Braking (KIBS), Brembo dual semi-floating 330mm discs with dual radial mounted monobloc 4-piston callipers
Brakes / Rear245mm disc, 2-piston calliper with Cornering ABS as standard equipment220mm disc Nissin, 1-piston, Disc single and ABSKIBS-controlled, single 220mm disc with aluminium single-piston calliper
Tyres / FrontPirelli Diablo Supercorsa SP 120/70 ZR17120/70ZR17M/C (58W)120/70 ZR17
Tyres / RearPirelli Diablo Supercorsa SP 200/55 ZR17190/55ZR17M/C (73W)190/55 ZR17

PRICE

jpg/201707/ducati-is-giving-the-25.jpg

You might want to sit down first for this. You can get your hands on this special Panigale Final Edition at a price tag of ? 58.18 lakhs, which to be dodgy is less than half of what you pay for a Superleggera.

Ducati says that this will be a numbered superbike rather than being ‘limited’. What this means is that each bike will be given a special production number that will be engraved on the triple clamp. Ducati will keep on making the Final Edition for its customers as long as there is demand and each of them will be numbered.

Make Model2017 1299 Panigale Final EditionSuzuki GSX-R 1000Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10RR
Price? 58.18 lakh? 22 lakh? 19 lakhs

COMPETITION

Suzuki GSX-R 1000 R
1.

Suzuki has regularly managed to update the GSX-R1000 time and again with a series of minimal cosmetic and mechanical upgrades. For this 6th generation, however, the folks at Suzuki are determined to restore the GSX-R1000 to its throne and become the top performing motorcycle to the world to see. Built by engineers with years of experience and dominations in production-based Superbike, Superstock and Endurance races worldwide, and most importantly the WSBK MotoGP technology, the 2017 GSX-R 1000 is touted to become the most compact, the most aerodynamic and the best-handling GSX-R 1000 ever.

All the models of Suzuki GSX-R1000 produced till date have always been in the middle ground in terms of design – they may not have been as exotic as the European or the new Japanese mongers of litre class motorcycles, but that doesn’t mean they were monotonous machines. Same goes with the new Suzuki GSX-R1000 – it has a clinical design.

The 4-stroke, 4-cylinder, liquid-cooled, DOHC motor retains the same 999.8 cc capacity, but that is where the resemblance ends with the previous generations. For 2017, the bike gets new bore and stroke along with new valve train developed in MotoGP and sheds weight wherever possible. Both intake and exhaust valves are made out of titanium thereby allowing higher rpm power. The engine belts out a 200 bhp @ 13200 rpm, and the peak torque it produced is 118 Nm @ 10800 rpm. The source of nightmares for its rivals. All this travels to the rear tyre through a Close-ratio six-speed transmission.

Boasting of having a powerful combination of acceleration, cornering, and braking doesn’t come cheap. This GSX-R 1000 gets the top of the line equipment in terms of suspension and braking units. Apart from the mighty engine to lurch this monster ahead quickly, this motorcycle has a huge gambit in terms of the electronics package it carries. Starting with the MotoGP developed 6 axis IMU that controls the 32-bit dual processor ECM (Engine Control Module), Suzuki Drive Mode Selector (S-DMS), TCS (Traction Control System), Low RPM Assist, Suzuki Easy Start System, Launch Control and Bi-Directional Quick Shift System that allows the rider to upshift and downshift without using the clutch or the throttle.

The GSX-R1000 R, is a limited-production model and will come for ? 22 lakh (ex-showroom) and will be available in Metallic Triton Blue and Glass Sparkle Black colour option. We knew that Suzuki had just the GSX-R1000 (ABS) version on sale in India. We will have to find out if they will get the GSX-R1000 R version or no.

Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10RR
jpg/201702/kawasaki-ninja-zx-6.jpg

Towards the end of 2016, Kawasaki surprised everyone with the much-awaited upgrade to its litre class supersport, the Ninja ZX-10RR. The motorcycle, which has always remained as one of the one of the most user-friendly and equally precise-to-use supersport in the world, received a thorough upgrade in each aspect, be its design, performance, mechanicals and set of electronics.

Apart from a minor cosmetic change which Kawasaki has carried out for the Ninja ZX-10RR, the basic powertrain of the motorcycle too has undergone a couple of small changes as well. On the new Ninja ZX-10RR, the overall engine and gearbox combination has been carried forward – the engine is the same four stroke, liquid cooled, inline four, 998cc engine, which pumps out 197bhp of power and 113.5 Nm of torque. With the help of ram air input, the power can be bumped up to 204bhp as well.

On the new Ninja ZX-10RR, the new revised frame and suspension combination of 43mm fully adjustable balance free telescopic forks at the front and a horizontal back-link with balance free gas charged mono shock at the rear has been lifted off from the standard Ninja ZX-10R. The brakes are same as well – dual 330mm Brembo discs at the front and a single 220mm disc at the rear.

As expected, the new Ninja ZX-10RR gets the same list of electronic aids as that of the Ninja ZX-10R, which includes ABS, Kawasaki Launch Control (KLCS), Kawasaki Intelligent Braking (KIBS), Kawasaki Sport Traction Control (S-KTRC), Kawasaki Engine Braking Control (KEBC) and Kawasaki Quickshifter (KQS). All of which work efficiently in making the riding as well as braking experience a bit more engaging in the part of the rider. All this could be yours for a price tag ranging from ?17.5 lakh to ? 19 lakhs.

VERDICT

jpg/201707/ducati-is-giving-the-23.jpg

They say that when you end the show, you must do it with a bang. Ducati here seems to just know how to conclude their greatest show of all time, the Panigale. The folks at Ducati have given all their muscle at getting the most out of the Panigale brand, and for the last mile, they have been fired on all pistons to create another masterpiece that will be an insignia of sorts for the Panigale brand’s history.

This Final Edition marks the end of an era of twin cylinder monster machines that have always managed to take the breath out of anyone wanting to throw a leg around them. The 1299 Panigale Final Edition continues to capture that legacy and give the world just one last go on the most powerful Panigale ever.

jpg/201707/ducati-is-giving-the-31.jpg

Aptly named, this last one gets all the bells and whistles some of which made headlines with the 1299 Panigale, the Panigale R and the 1299 Superleggera. Apart from being a pretty Tri-colour paint job, it gets an upgraded engine and other mechanicals that takes the superbike to new levels of lust. At $40,000 it will also be the second most powerful twin-cylinder engine to run on American streets (after the Superleggera of course).

We must accept the end of something in order to build something new that can take you past that feeling. It is becoming ever so difficult for Ducati to adhere to the rules package in most of the World Superbike Championships the Panigale is currently in competition; its v-twin superbikes will soon lose out to the four-cylinder counterparts. Luckily, the Italian company is also churning out a new V-4 superbike as we speak.

jpg/201707/ducati-is-giving-the-28.jpg

It will replace the L-twin powered Panigale and become the flag bearer of the Italian company. But that is only going to debut later this year, at the EICMA show in Milan. Until then, this Ducati 1299 Panigale R Final Edition will remain the flagship for the Italian manufacturer.

jpg/201707/ducati-is-giving-the-6.jpg jpg/201707/ducati-is-giving-the-9.jpg jpg/201707/ducati-is-giving-the-10.jpg jpg/201707/ducati-is-giving-the-12.jpg jpg/201707/ducati-is-giving-the-14.jpg jpg/201707/ducati-is-giving-the-17.jpg jpg/201707/ducati-is-giving-the-18.jpg jpg/201707/ducati-is-giving-the-21.jpg jpg/201707/ducati-is-giving-the-24.jpg jpg/201707/ducati-is-giving-the-29.jpg jpg/201707/ducati-is-giving-the-31.jpg