Ducati 1198/1198S first ride!

Published: 18 November 2008

MCNs Chief Road Tester, Trevor Franklin, is at the launch of Ducati’s new 1198/1198S at the Circuito de Algarve near Portimao, Portugal, here’s what he has to say:

“While the new 1198 retains the silhouette of the outgoing 1098 the bike is completely new. Most significantly the 1198S now comes with Ducati’s traction control (DTC), where previously it was only available on the £24,000 race ready 1098R. Quite simply it’s brilliant. 

"Ducati have altered the way the traction control works: on the 1098R the bike had to run open race pipes with no catalytic converter because the traction control system retarded the ignition before finally cutting the sparks completely. This meant the fuel injection continued to pump fuel through the engine which would have damaged the catalytic converter in the standard road pipes.

"On the 1198S the traction control system works by firstly retarding the ignition and then, if the system detects major wheel spin, it now stops the fuel injection from working and therefore no fuel can enter the exhaust pipe and the catalytic converter remains safe.

“The other major changes to the engine are new lighter crank cases which save in the region of 3kgs over the old. The cases are the same as the 848 enabled by a new casting process which removes any air bubbles or gases in the aluminium castings. There is also a reduction in the amount of aluminium material used to make up the cases.

“The 1198/1198S now produce a claimed 170bhp at the crank. This increase in performance comes courtesy of the bore and stroke previously seen on the 1098R which means that the bore and stroke is now 106mm x 67.9mm.

"As a result there is also an increase in torque which is really noticeable when driving out of the slower turns. You can also feel the traction control working before the activation lights situated on the dash tell you it’s doing so.

“The handling is much the same as the 1098 that the new bikes replace. It’s agile and easy to push through fast corners. Ducati has once again made it’s legendary V-twin superbikes perform like no other V-twin.”

Read the full test of the Ducati 1198 in the 26 November issue of MCN.