DUCATI 1199 PANIGALE R (2015 - on) Review

At a glance

Power: 202 bhp
Seat height: Medium (32.7 in / 830 mm)
Weight: Medium (406 lbs / 184 kg)

Prices

New £28,995
Used N/A

Overall rating

Next up: Ride & brakes
4 out of 5 (4/5)

The epitome of homologation specials. Yes, it takes some effort to ride, but it boasts phenomenal power, class-leading rider aids, and it’s exquisite to look at. If you’ve got the skill to explore its outer limits, you’ll experience a level of specialness few will ever be lucky enough to savour. 

Ride quality & brakes

Next up: Engine
4 out of 5 (4/5)

The R models in Ducati’s range have always been extraordinary, and the 2015 Panigale R continues the tradition. The 1198cc race-bred engine features titanium valves and rods to minimise inertia, while Ducati have worked hard to reduce internal frictional losses, all contributing to a claimed peak power of 202bhp – astonishing for a V-twin. The torque is no less impressive, 100.5ftlb, delivered at a dizzying 10,250rpm. This isn’t an engine that’s been developed with the road in mind. Peak power arrives at 11,500rpm, 1000rpm higher than the 1299 Panigale, which also makes peak torque at a more road-friendly 8750rpm.

The acceleration is brutal, so much so that it upsets your mental rhythms. The engine is immense; it feels like there’s no inertia as it spins up with lightning speed. I’ve never ridden a twin that can rev faster, or that delivers the full force of its hedonism so high in the rev range. If you really want the best from it you’ve got to keep the revs in five figures. The exhaust note from the full titanium Akrapovic system is utterly intoxicating, swathing you in tides of delicious music. If you think you don’t need rider aids, this bike will change your resolve. You need all the help you can get. 

The electronics are so good they don’t hinder the bike’s performance, or your fun, there’s no backfiring or spluttering when the traction control kicks in, so why risk offending the animal by slapping away its helping hand? 

When everything clicks and you’re on your A-game, it’s breath-taking. It feels so incredibly light, flicking through the tight chicanes with phenomenal ease. It holds its line, has incredibly accurate steering, and will hunt the apex with telepathic clarity. At full lean, or when brushing the brakes deep into the corner, it feels sublime. It delivers corner speeds and lean angles that other bikes can only dream of, and the riding position is fantastic. Wide bars, narrow-waisted tank, and accommodating pegs all conspire to make you feel like part of the bike, and it’ll carry you all the way over to elbow-down angles of lean. The clutchless shift works perfectly too, leaving you free to concentrate on your lines.

Engine

Next up: Reliability
5 out of 5 (5/5)

The 1198cc Superquadro twin-cylinder engine has a huge bore and an incredibly short stroke, (112mm x 60.8mm). Each twin-ring piston has specially developed crowns. The crank has been balanced and lightened and the rods and valves are titanium with dedicated cam profiles and timing.

Made in conjunction with Akrapovic, the exhaust is obviously street legal – but not exactly quiet! The Panigale R gets a full titanium system with larger pipes than the 1299, while the mufflers are finished with a carbon end cap. The system is an impressive 2.5kg lighter than the old version. 

Reliability & build quality

Next up: Value
4 out of 5 (4/5)

Ducati's nightmare years of build quality and reliability woes are long behind them. The post 2007 bikes are as fault free as any other major manufacturer, and with a solid dealer network and swift factory support, problems are very few and far between. That's no reason to skimp on servicing and maintenance though. 

Value vs rivals

Next up: Equipment
4 out of 5 (4/5)

Despite the race bike performance, the service intervals are exactly the same as any normal Ducati, while the exclusivity of the firm’s R models will always mean they command a premium on the used market. 

Equipment

5 out of 5 (5/5)

The list of rider aids is huge and exactly what you’d expect from a range-topping superbike. EBC (Engine Brake Control), DQS (Ducati Quick-Shift and auto-blipper), DWC (Ducati Wheelie Control), DTC (Ducati Traction Control) with IMU (Internal Measurement Unit) and cornering ABS. The IMU is the multi-axial brain that ties all of these systems together and works with the Bosch braking systems to give a level of control and safety we could only have dreamt of five years ago. The R features new handlebar controls with a thumb and finger paddle to make accessing the menu easier. .

Specs

Engine size 1198cc
Engine type Superquadro 8v, L-twin
Frame type Monocoque aluminium
Fuel capacity 17 litres
Seat height 830mm
Bike weight 184kg
Front suspension Öhlins NIX30 43mm with TiN, fully adjustable usd fork.
Rear suspension Fully adjustable Ohlins TTX36 unit. Adjustable linkage: Progressive/flat. Aluminium single-sided swingarm with adjustable pivot
Front brake 2 x 330mm semi-floating discs, radially mounted Brembo Monobloc M50- 4piston calipers with cornering ABS as standard
Rear brake 245mm disc, 2-piston caliper with cornering ABS
Front tyre size 120/70 R17
Rear tyre size 200/55 R17

Mpg, costs & insurance

Average fuel consumption -
Annual road tax £93
Annual service cost -
New price £28,995
Used price -
Insurance group 17 of 17
How much to insure?
Warranty term 2 years

Top speed & performance

Max power 202 bhp
Max torque 100.5 ft-lb
Top speed 186 mph
1/4 mile acceleration -
Tank range -

Model history & versions

Model history

The lates in a very long line of 'R' designated models and homologation specials, the 2015 Panigale R is closest in linege to 2014's Superleggera and 1199 Panigale R.

Other versions

This is the only 1198cc Panigale in the 2015, but there are two other big-capacity Panigale models, the 1299 Panigale (£16,995), and 1299 Panigale S (£20,795).

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