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Ducati 1198SP Sports Motorbike Review

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Ducati 1198SP
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MCN overall verdict rating is 4

Replacing the 1198S, Ducati’s new 1198SP features an electronic quickshifter, an Ohlins TTX rear shock, slipper clutch and a lighter, larger 18-litre fuel tank. Overall weight is down 1kg to 168kg dry. Short of spending over £30k for the limited edition homologation-special 1198R Corse, the SP is the ultimate evolution of the 1198. It’s a brutally grunty machine, which needs a good suspension set-up to get the best from, but in the right hands and the right conditions it’s epic. The larger fuel tank is much needed and the quickshifter and slipper clutch makes track riding easier. It has an eight stage traction control system, but compared to the new-generation systems on the BMW S1000RR and Aprilia RSV4 Factory SE, it now seems basic.


MCN rating rating is 4
Owners' rating rating is 5

There’s no question the 1198 SP’s brilliant 170bhp motor is a thing of dynamic and sonic brilliance, but it’s on the verge of being too grunty for its own good. In the lower gears all it wants to do is wheelie when you’re hard on the throttle, which sounds like a good thing, but in practical terms it’s not. On tight tracks and roads it can be hard work feathering the throttle and clambering over the front end to keep the front wheel down, especially between corners. With the Ducati Traction Control (DTC) on a high (intrusive) setting, wheelies make the DTC cut the power abruptly. For most riding conditions we prefer the power characteristics of the smaller-engined 848 Evo.  

Ride and Handling

MCN rating rating is 4
Owners' rating rating is 5

We all know Ducati superbikes can be unstoppable on track, but on standard settings the SP is set-up conservatively soft and is slow to change direction. There’s a lot of weight transfer from front to rear when you unleash the massive torque from the engine and call upon the fiercely powerful Brembo monobloc front brakes. There’s plenty of adjustment in the Ohlins front forks and the new Ohlins TTX rear shock to suit rider and conditions, though. This is a track bike with lights through-and-through and while long distance runs are do-able, the extreme riding position and hard seat can soon be uncomfortable. 


MCN rating rating is 5
Owners' rating rating is 5

As well as the new electronic quickshifter and slipper clutch, which calms the 1198SP’s engine braking into corners, for a smoother entry, the Ducati is bristling with goodies. It has Olhlins forks, shock and steering damper, Brembo monobloc radial brakes, Marchesini wheels, carbon front mudguard, magnesium fairing bracket, traction control and datalogging. Compare and buy parts for the 1198 in the MCN Shop.

Ducati 1198SP (2010-2011)

Detail Value
New price £17,995
Used price range View Ducati 1198SP bikes for sale to see current asking prices
Engine size 1198 cc
Power 170 bhp
Top speed 175 mph
Insurance group 17 of 17
  MCN ratings Owners' ratings
Overall rating is 4 rating is 5
Engine rating is 4 rating is 5
Ride & Handling rating is 4 rating is 5
Equipment rating is 5 rating is 5
Quality & Reliability rating is 5 rating is 5
Value rating is 4 rating is 4

Quality and Reliability

MCN rating rating is 5
Owners' rating rating is 5

As you’d expect, the 1198SP is beautifully put together and nicely finished. As far as reliability goes, Ducatis simply don’t break down nowadays.


MCN rating rating is 4
Owners' rating rating is 4

You’re always going to pay extra for that badge on the fuel tank, but it’s pretty good value for what you get in terms of performance, electronics, heritage and looks. You can get more performance and electronic riding aids for less, though, in the shape of the Aprilia RSV4 Factory SE and BMW S1000RR. Find a Ducati 1198 for sale.


Insurance group: 17 of 17

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Model History

Model introduced in 2010

Other Versions

Ducati 1198
Superbike 1198 R Corse Special


Top speed 175 mph
1/4-mile acceleration secs
Max power 170 bhp
Max torque 97 ft-lb
Weight 168 kg
Seat height 820 mm
Fuel capacity 18 litres
Average fuel consumption 33 mpg
Tank range 132 miles
Annual road tax
Insurance group 17 of 17
Engine size 1198 cc
Engine specification 8v, V-twin
Frame Tubular steel trellis
Front suspension adjustment 43mm Ohlins forks, fully-adjustable
Rear suspension adjustment Single Ohlins TTX shock, fully-adjustable
Front brakes 2 x 330mm discs with Brembo monobloc four-piston radial caliper.
Rear brake 245mm disc with twin-piston Brembo caliper
Front tyre size 120/70 x 17
Rear tyre size 190/55 x 17

Owners' Overall Rating rating is 4.5(1 review)

  • Epic


    Average rating rating is 4.5

    Show Details

    Ride and Handling
    Quality and Reliabilty

    I am not sure if anyone actually expected this to be a bad bike, i suppose the question is if you really can justify the extra spend over a rsv4 factory APRC (which you can pick up for 4grand cheaper. I guess if your going to be using the either for track only work then get the aprilia, though I'm not certain that it will hold its value as well as the Duc. BMW certainly won't. all told 1198 sp has all the kit you would need for either. Don't bother if you see your chiropractor regularly. Expect many envious glances track / street. Some welcome and some not. will add more info as time goes on. I gave in to my inner evil and am not regretting it yet....... DO IT

    01 August 2011


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