The Ducati 1098R has been causing a bit of a stir ever since its first appearance. At almost £30,000 for this bike, it is a lot of money, but the consensus so far is that it is well worth the money.
The Ducati 1098R is the lightest and most powerful twin cylinder bike ever produced by the Italian Borgo Panitale factory. This bike has the highest torque to weight ratio in its category. It is rightly seen as the jewel in the crown of Superbikes and has been said to be the ultimate combination of racing bike features applied to a production bike. The engineers at Ducati worked closely with the Research and Development Team to produce a bike which is not only a true racing bike, but is the embodiment of innovation and performance, a masterpiece.
There is a total of 180bhp to call on from it’s 1198cc engine. One of the most advanced featuers is the weight savings made over the standard 1098 model. Standard 1098s weigh in at 173kg, whilst the 1098R is 165kg, a substantial percentage reduction in weight which has been achieved by the use of lightweight aluminium and carbon fibre components. Vacuum cast crank and engine cases have replaced sand cast equivalents. This has allowed Ducati to reduce the case thickness of the components whilst adding an element of extra safety as the sand cast process sometimes allowed air bubbles to creep in, which over a period of time can weaken a component. This possibility is removed in the Vacuum casting process. A lot of attention has been paid to reducing the weight of the engine throughout the process of manufacture, but the reduction of the engine crank cases saved almost 3.5kg in weight alone. The Ducati 1098R has rocker arms which are now chemically hardened, instead of chrome plated. Again, this approach has allowed significant weight savings and added to the durability of the bike. Carbon fibre fairings and a lightweight aluminium single seat cowl have contributed to yet more weight saving.
The new engine has been supplied with a cartridge style gearbox which allows faster changes to gear ratios. An advanced slipper clutch has been added as standard. In addition to the original road legal exhausts, the new Ducati 1098R has a range of new electronics including an adjustable traction control which offers eight different options as well as looking after the secondary injectors. What this system does is to allow different adjustment of the fuel level. Depending on the experience of the rider, this can allow differing levels of control over slide when cornering.
The suspension system of the Ducati 1098R is superb. Modern material used for the fork sliders, Titanium Nitride, produces low friction which allows the sliders to respond effortlessly to every lump and bump on the road. Fully adjustable 43mm Ohlin forks are of the highest performance standard. These Ohlin forks communicate the road contact patch superbly, advising the rider of condition and quality of tyre contact, putting the rider in complete control. The suspension is completed by perfectly balanced Ohlin shocks which are fully adjustable. Further control is added by an adjustable steering damper. This whole package adds up to a superb drive, with excellent traction and steering precision. Lightweight Marchesini wheels which have a weight reduction of almost 2kg over the equivalent supplied to the standard model are used and this adds to the ability of the manufacturers to keep the weight as low as possible.
The Ducati 1098R comes fitted with a system which analyses the ride data. This not only allows real time data to be evaluated, but also the rider is able to retrieve data from previous track sessions or road trips. It is even supplied with software for your computer and a data key which will allow you to download and analyse performance. All components used are the same as those used at British and World Superbike Races.
A special edition Troy Bayliss replica bike is being produced in a limited edition of 500 models. This special edition has been produced to mark Troy’s achievement in winning the 2008 World Superbike title and to recognise his achievements in the sport in total,whilst marking his retirement after the win. Each of the 500 bikes will have an edition numbered plaque, and will come complete with a racing exhaust, bike cover and paddock stand.
At almost £30,000 for this machine, it represents a substantial investment and many people will be wondering whether it really is worth that much of their hard earned cash. However, it is one of the most technologically advanced machines ever made, and the response so far suggests that it is already heading for the status as a modern classic. It has become almost overnight the number one aspirational Ducati.
The Ducati 1098 has got to be one of the best looking bikes there has ever been although it is suprisingly small in the flesh. Still knocks most Japanese designs to the curb though…