Traditionally, Ducati saves its big reveals for the EICMA Show in November in its native Italy, but with the company now under the helm of Audi, we will have to start looking to Germany for the major announcements. Case in point is the 2013 Frankfurt Motor Show where today Ducati officially pulled the covers off its new 899 Panigale, revealing a new “Supermid” version of the 1199 Panigale using the same monocoque frame concept and Superquadro 90-degree V-Twin engine design. Our own Troy Siahaan will be attending the press launch, so check back soon for his review.
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The engine is new powerplant developed from the 1199’s engine but displacing 898cc with 100 mm bore and a 57.2 mm stroke. Ducati claims an output of 148 hp at 10,750 rpm and 73 ft-lb. of torque at 9000 rpm. These represent an improvement on the outgoing 848EVO’s claimed output of 140 hp and 72.3 ft-lb. At the same time, Ducati claims a wet weight of 425.5 pounds (with a full 4.5-gallon tank), making the 899 Panigale about 1.5 pounds lighter than the 848EVO.
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As with the bigger Panigale’s 1198cc engine, the 899 is a 90-degree twin with the front cylinder rotated 21° from the horizontal, allowing it to be positioned further forward to improve front-rear weight distribution. The smaller Superquadro is made with a Vacural vacuum die-cast method to optimize weight and ensure a consistent wall thickness and strength. The valves are actuated by Ducati’s signature desmodromic system with super-finished rocker arms with a diamond-like coating for reduced friction and fatigue. Service intervals are a generous 15,000 miles.
A Ride-by-Wire system controls the throttle, with the ECU offering a choice of Race, Sport or Wet ride modes. Both Race and Sport offer the full 148 hp, though Sport offers a smoother throttle response. Wet mode is restricted to 110hp. All three modes work in conjunction with the eight-level traction control system and three-level anti-lock brake while the Engine Brake Control monitors crankshaft de-acceleration and adjusts the throttle to compensate.
The transmission is the same six-speed gearbox used on the 1199 Panigale, with Ducati providing a quick shift as standard equipment.
The 899 Panigale is Ducati’s second production model with the engine serving as a stressed member of the chassis with an aluminum monocoque chassis that houses the airbox attaching to the cylinder heads.
As revealed in the spy photos that emerged over the last few weeks, the 899 Panigale shares many visual similarities to its 1199 predecessor with the notable addition of a double-sided swingarm, a change that is sure to polarize the Ducatisti who will miss the single-sided swingarm. The double-sided swingarm is suspended through a linkage system by a side-mounted fully-adjustable Sachs shock while a fully-adjustable Showa Big Piston Fork performs suspension duties up front.
Ducati equipped the 899 Panigale with radially-mounted four piston monobloc calipers from Brembo gripping the 320mm front disc while a two-piston Brembo caliper grips the 245mm rear disc. The 899 comes standard with a three-level anti-lock braking system with Bosch’s lightweight 9MP module.
Besides the double-sided swingarm, another distinct difference between the 899 and the 1199 is the display, with Ducati using a less expensive black-on-white LCD instead of the 1199 Panigale’s color TFT screen.
The 2014 Ducati 899 Panigale will be available in two colors, Ducati Red with black wheels or Arctic White with red wheels.