Pierobon, a company whose primary claim to fame is producing chassis components for Ducati motorcycles, wasn’t deterred when Ducati introduced the 1199 Panigale, the first Ducati which uses the engine as its main stressed member. Instead, the company saw the Panigale as an opportunity to essentially build a frame for the “frameless” motorcycle. This is the result.
Pierobon started with producing ancillary components for the 1199, like front and rear subframes. From there the idea to tackle a complete frame grew naturally. The Pierobon Panigale frame is constructed from 28mm steel tube, as this was determined to be the best compromise between tight spacing and structural rigidity. Engine mounts are cut from steel billet.
Essentially, Pierobon created a traditional trellis frame for the Panigale. One that includes a swingarm mount, and also allows the engine to be removed without the rest of the motorcycle to fold in on itself. The shape of the frame also keeps the original placement of the nearly horizontal shock in place.
One of the big changes the kit requires is a new airbox, as the standard unit wasn’t compatible with the trellis frame. However, a closed airbox that was separate from the tank was a key requirement. To do this, Pierobon created a new airbox entirely. The pipe section is tapered, leaving space only for the steering pivot, like that seen on Ducati’s early MotoGP machines. The tube was then stiffened with two pressed steel reinforcements. Moreover, through the use of two bushings, one upper and one lower, we added the possibility of changing the caster angle and the wheelbase.
The front frame is made in tubes and bended and forged sheets in aluminum alloy. To mount the front frame on the tubular frame we built a flange in aluminum alloy. This front frame can be mounted on the Superstock and Superbike version. In fact it is possible to mount or remove some parts in order to personalize the use for which it is intended.
In addition the subframe is composed of two spare parts: one consisting of the large air duct to the airbox and one from the fairing support. As is usual in a racing use, this allows a rapid substitution in the event of a crash. This front frame is also interchangeable with the original.
The rear subframe is slightly more complex. The connections of the original rear frame have been eliminated from the head of the vertical (rear) cylinder. Instead, the mounts are on the end of the trellis frame and obtain new fix position on the lateral aluminum plates of the frame. Aluminum alloy was used for the rear frame construction. In addition, the fairing mounts, the unit support and the fuel tank support allow the assembling with the original parts.
Another modification was the replacement of the radial type footpeg with a more traditional, fixed position, constructed from aluminum alloy. The foot peg linkages were maintained, with the ability to mount both the standard and reversed gear lever (for race shift applications).
As to the effectiveness of the Pierobon frame, they were used last year in World Superbike competition to mediocre results. This year, however, the official Ducati factory team of Chaz Davies and Davide Giugliano appear to be reverting back to the original design of the Panigale, as one would imagine.
Visit the Pierobon website for full details on the 1199 Panigale frame, including contact information regarding pricing.